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Bachelor of Arts in International and Intercultural Studies

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  • Objectives
    The mission of International and Intercultural Studies is to provide an interdisciplinary course of study that will help students to understand multiple perspectives on power relations in the social, economic, political, scientific, and cultural arenas. The coursework balances in-depth learning in local cultures with general issues of relations between cultures and nations.

    IIS students are trained in perceiving the socially constructed character of knowledge, including different cultural and disciplinary knowledges. IIS students will acquire analytical skills to understand that widely accepted claims to neutral universal truths and to objectivity actually derive from local knowledge systems.

    Moreover, they come to see how cultures and nations are defined within the context of issues of ethnocentrism, cultural appropriation, genocide, national and cultural imperialism, and homogenization and other developments due to a contested history of development and globalization. They come to see how cultures and nations are not fixed but derive from migration and transformation across heterogeneous and diverse social networks involving dominant and non-dominant groups. Students approach these topics through linking cultures and nations to history, institutions, economics, philosophies, world views, and ideologies, and the structural politics of domination at the global, regional, national, and local levels.

    The methods and requirements for the students combine interdisciplinary course work with disciplinary classroom study, experiential learning at an external studies site and through community based involvement, linguistic training, in-depth regional or global study, and advanced coursework using interdisciplinary methods and epistemologies, such as postcolonial studies, political ecology, political economy, cultural studies, feminist studies, ethnic studies, diaspora studies, and environmental studies.

    As an outcome of study in IIS, students develop skills at respecting different cultures, at engaging with issues of social and political movements, and at interacting with and negotiating between cultures and nations in ways that recognize the complex ethics and politics of construing meaning and building social relationships across differences.
  • Course description
    The International and Intercultural Studies major is a multidisciplinary course of study designed to deepen and broaden a student's understanding of countries and cultures different from their own. Through course work at Pitzer, language acquisition, and an intensive experience away from the campus, the major seeks to make students aware of what binds them to, and separates them from, other peoples and other places. Courses examine history, philosophy and the arts as well as the politics, economics, and cultural contexts of a broad diversity of societies and nations. They explore the interconnectedness of global processes and treat the impact of culture on the way those processes are experienced. Coursework for the major is outlined below. Courses should be chosen in consultation with a major advisor. A detailed list of courses offered in each of these areas will be published annually by the IIS field group.


    Students are encouraged to choose a major adviser whose interest and expertise correspond with their proposed track and region. Each of the advisers listed below can provide a list of courses available at The Claremont Colleges from which the student can develop an individualized course of study. Appropriate courses for the major should be discussed thoroughly with the adviser.


    Requirements of the Major

    Core Courses: Majors must complete the Introduction to International and Intercultural Studies and two of the courses listed below in history, anthropology and political studies. These courses should be completed during the freshman or sophomore years. Each major will complete the senior seminar in which each participant will write a major research paper or complete a major project. For joint or double majors, they may take one senior seminar if the IIS senior seminar instructor's other field(s) is(are) the student's joint or double major field. A senior thesis or senior project is optional, unless the student is being considered for honors (see below).

        * IIS 10, Introduction to International and Intercultural Studies.
        * History 21. The World Since 1492
        * Anthropology 2. Introduction to Social-Cultural Anthropology
        * Political Studies 46. International Politics, or Political Studies 30. Comparative Politics.
          Senior Seminar.

    Language: To satisfy the language requirement, any of the following methods may be used:

        * Two years of college or university-level classroom language instruction.
        * Proficiency by immersion, normally completed in a Pitzer External Studies or other language-intensive external studies program approved by the field group. (See advisor or External Studies office for list of approved programs.)
        * Demonstration of competence at the equivalent level of two years of college or university-level classroom instruction by successfully completing an oral or written examination administered by a qualified language instructor.

    External Study. Students are expected to participate in a semester-long program of external study relevant to their chosen track. Students should consult both with the Director of External Studies at Pitzer to choose an appropriate program and with their advisors to select courses that will prepare them for this experience. It is strongly recommended that students planning to study in a particular Pitzer External Studies program take courses designed to prepare them for that program. Preparatory courses are listed below under Core Courses, with the appropriate program indicated parenthetically. Students returning from External Studies programs are strongly recommended to take IIS 100, External Studies Colloquium.

    Global Studies: Students may choose appropriate courses from any of the groups of courses but must include at least one from three of the following groupings.

        * History, political thought, and cultural studies (appropriate courses would include histories and theories of different global phenomena-modernization and industrialization, imperialism and colonialism, liberalism, socialism and fascism- as well as histories of different regions, nations, and cultures)
        * Art, music, literature, philosophy and religious studies (appropriate courses would include those which explore ways of knowing, experiencing, and communicating in different cultural contexts)
          Political studies, economics, and environmental studies (appropriate courses would include those which examine the dynamics of international relations and transnational politics, the structures and processes of the global economy, and the consequences of global political and economic forces on the environment)
        * Anthropology, sociology, and psychology (appropriate courses would address the processes of forming, sustaining, and transforming groups and cultures in the contemporary world and how those processes shape and reshape conceptions of individual and collective identity).

    Regional Studies: Students may choose Asian studies, European studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, Middle Eastern studies, or Third World studies. They may choose appropriate courses from any of the following groups of courses but must include at least one from three of the following groupings. In consultation with a faculty advisor, students may also design an alternative regional track such as African studies if sufficient appropriate courses can be identified at The Claremont Colleges.

        * History, political thought and cultural studies (appropriate courses would include histories of the countries or cultures within the chosen region)
        * Art, music, literature, philosophy, and religious studies (appropriate courses would include those which focus on the arts, philosophies, or religions of the chosen region, or country or culture within that region
        * Political studies, economics, and environmental studies (appropriate courses would include those addressing national or regional political issues and institutional responses; economic issues such as national development strategies, regional integration and their impact on human welfare; and particular environmental challenges facing individual countries and cultures or the region as a whole)
        * Anthropology, sociology, and psychology (appropriate courses would address the formation and transformation of groups and cultures specific to the region and explore issues of race, class, and gender as central to individual and collective identities of the region).

    Honors: Students with a cumulative and major GPA of 3.5 or higher may be considered for honors in International and Intercultural Studies. Honors candidates must write and successfully defend a senior thesis. The determination of honors is based on excellence in course work in the major and the quality of the senior thesis.

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