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PWR 2HK: Think Global: The Rhetoric of Global Citizenship

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Catalog Number: PWR 2HK

Instructor: Hayden Kantor

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP) 

Prerequisite: PWR 1, ESF, ITALIC 95W, or equivalent

Course Feature: WR-2 requirement



The slogan “think globally, act locally” urges us to consider the wellbeing of the entire world as we engage in our own communities. Universities like Stanford claim to transform students into global citizens. But what does it actually mean to be a global citizen? What vision of the world and ethical frameworks are invoked when claiming this sort of cosmopolitan identity? This course asks you to consider how you might articulate your own values and a sense of how you relate to the world.

Today we confront a range of global problems—public health epidemics, refugee crises, and climate change. With advances in connectivity, some suggest that we now inhabit a global village. We all partake in the “world wide web,” where memes go viral with a click. Activists worldwide march for the rights for women, minority groups, and indigenous people. Meanwhile, ethno-nationalists who reject the very notion of a shared world seek to erect border walls and use the term “globalist” as an epithet.

The world is united by more than just its challenges. We also celebrate our shared humanity in global art fairs, world literature and cinema, and pop music world tours. We compete for world championships at the Olympics and herald scientific advances with the Nobel Prize. These collective endeavors raise questions about who decides what’s valuable and what counts.

In this course, you will develop your written and oral communication skills by undertaking a quarter-long research project on the topic of your choice. As you move through the assignment sequence, you will make purposeful rhetorical choices about how you construct and convey your argument.

The course theme of global citizenship provides a focal point for the readings and class discussions, but you have wide latitude to select a topic that interests you. Students in STEM fields might study campaigns to eradicate infectious diseases or debates about regulating speech on the internet. Students in the social sciences and the humanities might examine the politics of humanitarian interventions or questions of representation in cultural festivals.

Major Assignments

Research Proposal

(5-minute live oral presentation; written text of 900-1200 words) The proposal situates your project amid the relevant scholarly literature, identifies a research gap, and introduces texts that you will analyze as evidence.

Written Research-Based Argument

(3000-3600 words; 10-12 pages) The essay advances an argument based on evidence that intervenes in the scholarly literature.

Delivery of Research

(10-minute live oral presentation) The presentation adapts the argument for oral delivery. You will hone your presence as a presenter, attending to voice, body, and slide design.

Genre/Modes Assignment

(600-900 words) You have two choices about how to complete this assignment. First, you can write a global citizenship vision statement. This is a space to consider the relationship between the course theme and your research project (or education at Stanford as a whole). In place of an essay, you may opt for a creative format, such as a video, rap, poem, or comic. Second, you can practice your rhetorical skills by translating your research from one mode (a research essay) to another (e.g., op-ed, social media campaign, video explainer, etc.) The goal is to adapt the argument for a new audience and genre.