SOC 335
Nowheres Fall 2022
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed GBST 335
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Class Details

We live in a world of nation-states. The world map, according to journalist Joshua Keating, is “itself as an institution, an exclusive club of countries” that rarely accepts new members. Throughout the course, we question how countries conquered the world and became the taken-for-granted political unit. We do so, paradoxically, by looking at contemporary nations that do not appear on the world map. These include nations without statehood, such as Somaliland; those that span countries, including indigenous nations across the US and Canada; and nations that have lost their countries, such as Palestine and South Vietnam. By interrogating “nowheres,” we tease out what it means to be a country, and pinpoint when and why the definitions do not apply uniformly. Students will reflect on why the world map has been so remarkably static since the end of the Cold War. We will further probe the social, political, and human costs of the exceptions to this general rule. Students will raise questions and attempt answers to what our interconnected world means for “nowheres” looming on the horizon–nation-states that, as a result of climate change, will soon vanish.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1644
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Thoughtful and consistent class participation, visits to Sawyer Library and WCMA, three short response papers, and a final assessment on a "nowhere" of students' choosing
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology and Sociology majors, Global Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
SOC 335 Division II GBST 335 Division II
DPE Notes: This course asks students to grapple with the asymmetries of modern statehood--why some places meet the criteria for statehood but are denied it, while others fall short of formal definitions but are still considered states. Students will assess the stakes of statehood for places that cannot achieve it or do not aspire to. They will creatively marshal these lessons to become the class expert on a "nowhere" that provides us with a lens for interrogating the world map as it currently exists.

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