GLS upper division courses are organized into five concentrations. You will select one, as a sophomore, that will focus your studies after completing your core courses.

The following four courses must be taken within your concentration: Sophomore Seminar: Approaches, Junior Independent Research Seminar, and the Senior Colloquium and Thesis, which ensures you will graduate with a sophisticated understanding of a specific academic method of analyzing global issues. You may take your other upper division courses either within or outside your concentration. Your academic advisor will work carefully with you to select a coherent set of courses that realize your educational goals.

For detailed information on each concentration, including course descriptions, syllabi, student profiles, and contact information, please follow the links below.

Arts and Literatures

This concentration studies the arts as a means of global conversation, intensively examining artistic works across various media, including, but not limited to, literature, film, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, and performance. It encompasses aesthetic, historicist, political, and ethnographic theory in developing students’ critical understanding of the arts, treating artistic works as expressive objects, as distinctive products of a specific time and place, and as distinctive of their genre, while also examining them as points of cultural contact and transmission and as the means of interaction across time, place, genre, and civilization. Students experience the arts as a means of conceiving ourselves and our place in the world, acquiring a critical lexicon in the interpretation of the arts and developing the ability to examine multiple and diverse modes of representation. Students may have the opportunity to work in multiple languages and explore issues of translation. Arts and Literatures enables an understanding of the ways the arts are shaped by their cultural contexts, and in turn how they shape our world. Learn more about Arts and Literatures.

Contemporary Culture and Creative Production

How do we read, reflect upon, and shape contemporary culture? This concentration examines people as agents in creating contemporary culture. It synthesizes theory, context, and creativity, exploring a wide range of phenomena on the contemporary cultural landscape. Areas of study span and connect creative writing, literary journalism, film, music, performance, aesthetic theory, social media, technology, architecture and urbanism, advertising, fashion, visual cultures such as photography, interface design and television studies. Approaches to these topics combine scholarly analysis with creative work, so that students both explore and practice the expression of meaning in current world media. Learn more about Contemporary Culture and Creative Production (CCCP).

Identities and Representations

Terms like “us” and “them” imply divisions that must be bridged in a world where people, knowledge, images, and resources move across borders more quickly than ever. Identities and Representations provides the interdisciplinary tools of social and cultural analysis for doing advanced research on the way identities and their representations are formulated, distributed, and deployed around the globe. Guiding questions like “what does identity mean?” and “how is identity legible?” lead to more advanced explorations into the social and cultural uses and ramifications of representations and identities. Students explore from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (diasporic studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, sexuality studies, etc.) the complex relationships between identities, representations of identity, and labels denoting such categories as race, class, gender, nation, dis/ability, citizenship, and sexuality. Learn more about Identities and Representations.

Law, Ethics, and Religion*

The global, interdisciplinary investigation of the foundation and interrelationship of human values in Law, Ethics, and Religion focuses on such questions as: What are the roots of contemporary legal systems and practices, their accompanying ethical and social implementation, and their consequences over time? How have religious traditions helped shape our moral and legal ideas about violence and its justification? How do contemporary societies deal with crime and punishment (e.g. the death penalty, incarceration, policing, etc.), and how should they? This concentration engages students in thinking critically about questions in legal theory, history, philosophy and religious studies. Learn more about Law, Ethics, and Religion (LER).

Politics, Rights, and Development

Politics, Rights, and Development examines the historical contexts and controversies surrounding social action: power and policy, justice and human rights, and economic and social development. Questions are addressed in an interdisciplinary manner that combines political, economic, and cultural analysis to pursue topics in international relations;the many forms of imperialism; law, justice, and human rights; ethics and the conduct of war and peace; challenges of democratization, revolution, and social change; industrialization and globalization; and policies of health and the environment. This concentration highlights the role of governments, non-governmental organizations, individuals, and corporations in the effort to achieve sustainable development and social justice. Learn more about Politics, Rights, and Development (PRD).

*Formerly named Histories, Philosophies, and Worldviews (HPW). HPW remains the concentration designation for GLS students who were admitted in Fall 2013 or earlier.