Global Studies

Areas of Concentration

The Ph.D. program in Global Studies at UMass Lowell offers three areas of concentration to meet the specific research interests of students.

Comparative Cultures

This area emphasizes the contributions of the Humanities and Fine Arts to the issues of Global Studies. Humanistic approaches to cultural inquiry offers the chance to examine the etymology and purpose of fundamental terminology and concepts in the field, such as “globalization,” “nation,” “security” or “identity.” It further offers an opportunity to assess the history and historiography of globalization, for one cannot understand this movement’s present and future without analyzing its past and the impact of cultural context. An awareness and understanding of cultures, especially through literature, language, media, and the arts are essential to a holistic understanding of global systems. 

The increasing conflation of reality and its representation in the media calls for critical analysis of the images broadcast by television, print journalism, and the Internet. With the influx of digital images, debates around the nature of truth are evermore important. The Internet is instrumental in the global diffusion of culture; its capacity for instant transmission of photographs, music and videos is directly connected to social justice and human rights and as a medium for engaging common human expressions. Faculty members within FAHSS Departments have the expertise to address the issues noted above. Specific topics will include the history of globalization, environmental history, and the history of particular regions (e.g., Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia); postcolonial literature and world literature; cultural studies, art history, mass and popular culture; film and visual studies, music and community arts, media and communications. 

Security and Human Rights

Drawing primarily from the departments of Political Science and Criminal Justice, topics for research and study in this area include major transnational security threats such as terrorism, criminal networks, human trafficking, weapons of mass destruction proliferation, energy security, maritime security, environmental security, and the global trafficking of drugs, small arms and light weapons and other contraband. 

Study includes the critical importance of political regime legitimacy, criminal justice systems and the rule of law in order to understand how governments and multinational organizations respond to these and other kinds of security threats. The concept of “human security” and the promotion of justice at the local, national, and international level include human rights, environmental justice, public policy, self-determination, and international law. The Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice and Criminology with a concentration in Global Perspectives on Crime and Justice contributes coursework to this area. Faculty members in the Philosophy Department have expertise in human rights and transnational issues that will provide valuable contributions to coursework.

Socio-Economic Development

This area is designed to enhance understanding of economic and social development around the globe. Globalization is enhanced by international trade, foreign investments, world financial markets, migration movements, and technological transfers. All of these factors affect countries growth potential as well as their income distribution. This leads to changes in their citizens’ health, education, poverty, literacy, environment, and sustainability. 

The Department of Economics provides an essential fundamental contribution to the study of these phenomena. This includes coursework in the causes and consequences of the internationalization of markets for goods, financial capital and labor, in the growth of informal sections and microfinance institutions in emerging market economies, and in the economic implications of environmental changes. Faculty in History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology can offer various courses on topics such as immigration/migration, work and society, and the politics of labor. The role of international organizations, such as the UN or Amnesty International, as well as NGOs, is the subject of courses in Philosophy and Political Science.