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Class Descriptions

Power in the Global Context


Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required

Pathway Associations

Community ChangeElective
GlobalRequirement (Host)
Interpersonal Practice
Mgmt & Leadership
Policy & Political
Program Evaluation
Older Adults
Children & Families

Course Description

Social problems affecting individuals, families, groups, communities, and nations are globally interconnected. This course is designed to introduce students to an understanding of power in the global context and to help students develop a critical and reflexive understanding of how such power informs social work practice, utilizing decolonizing and social justice-oriented perspectives (e.g., feminist, participatory, liberatory/emancipatory). Students will gain an analytic de-centering framework for critical understanding and assessment of pressing social problems (e.g., human trafficking, climate change, and environmental disasters) and models of social interventions across global contexts. Students will learn to develop research- and policy-related questions and procedures that may address these pressing social problems. In exploring these themes, we will review underpinning theories and practice in global social work, such as: colonization, international aid and development, and democratization.


1a- Demonstrate an understanding of the global capitalist project, including acts of war, colonization, extraction, international aid and development, and democratization (EPAS 2, 3, 5).
1b- Demonstrate an understanding of social policy and social work practice globally in response to the global capitalist project (EPAS 2, 3, 5).
2a- Demonstrate critical and reflexive understanding of social, economic, and environmental problems and injustices and human rights violations within a global context (e.g. human trafficking, gender-based violence and gender discrimination, climate change) (EPAS 1, 3).
2b- Demonstrate critical and reflexive understanding of potential solutions to select global problems (EPAS 4, 5, 7, 8).
3- Critically and reflexively examine the structure of institutions and the actors who influence global policy and practice decision-making (e.g. United Nations programs, international social work federations; indigenous and transnational communities and advocacy groups) (EPAS 1, 5, 7, 9).
4. Apply the understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice and human rights to develop policy, practice, and/or research-related projects (EPAS all).


Class meeting time will be devoted to didactic content discussions and related didactic activities. Presentations (by the instructor, students, and guest lecturers) and readings will provide the basis for the discussions. Guest lectures will focus on a global social work lens and global contexts. There is a Canvas site (TBD) established for this course. Readings, lectures and other resources will be posted on this site. There is one required textbook (TBD).

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

This course has a substantial focus on PODS as it emphasizes understanding power in the global context, including how power contributes to privilege, oppression, diversity, and social justice in a global social work. The course will teach students to apply social justice lenses (e.g., feminism, emancipation, decolonization) to describe and explain global phenomena (e.g., human trafficking, climate change, and environmental disasters) and potential solutions to global problems.

The course emphasizes the following PODS skills:

Critical contextual/structural thinking
● Demonstrate skills relevant for the critical and reflexive understanding of how global issues (experienced locally and globally) are constructed, understood, and addressed, through information gathering and application of critical theories.
● Critical analysis of manifestations, consequences, and mechanisms of injustice at a global level.
● Demonstrate analytical skills by applying comparative, historical and global perspectives

Take Actions towards Social Justice
● Demonstrate the ability to develop research- and policy- questions relevant to global problems by using collaborative/participatory theories and methods.
● Build on positive sources of power to envision and work toward globally social justice and empowerment.

Critical Self-Awareness, Use of Self & Strategies for Resilience & Generativity
● Recognize one’s own positionality as citizen, resident or member of a specific community, location or nation, within the global context.
● Demonstrate knowledge and skills for intersectional humility, related to community, location or nation membership (be able to suspend one’s own assumptions and perspectives in order to understand/recognize alternative worldviews).

Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Education Description

Definitions/Criteria for Interdisciplinary or Interprofessional Practice Focus:
This pathway required-course intentionally integrates interdisciplinary or interprofessional practice content in several ways, including:
Focused, intentional integration of interdisciplinary or interprofessional practice perspectives through assigned content, readings, speakers, and/or assignments

ID/IPE content to be covered:
This course will emphasize the following ID/IPE skills in meeting course competencies:
Students' demonstration of critical and reflexive understanding of social, economic, and environmental problems and injustices and human rights violations within a global context will help them develop intercultural humility (IPE 5).

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