Archive for December, 2011

Final Blog Reflection

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The last few weeks of summer in combination with the first few weeks of college are essentially a blur in my mind. The emotions in those weeks were mixed and almost palpable. I was excited and anxious to leave home but wary of the new shift at the same time; I was eager to start classes but nervous about how they would ultimately play out. I tried to make predictions about the nature of my classes- I did the typical research on my RateMyProfessor, read course descriptions repeatedly, and hoped that I’d survive. I’m the type of person who likes to have things planned out and organized, so I attempted to approach this new experience as informed as possible. When thinking back on this course, it is impossible to remove it from the context of my first semester at college. The beginning of my time here was dedicated to figuring out how to best function in a new setting, and much of that work was done in classrooms (including this freshman seminar). I came into this course, and this semester, unsure what to think. I didn’t know much about globalization and I didn’t know much about living in college. Throughout this semester I’ve learned a lot about both in a very short period of time, and developed not only my knowledge about globalization but also my knowledge about college life, learning, and how to be successful as a freshman. Through this class I’ve been able to develop what I consider a solid foundation of knowledge on globalization while increasing my ability to form and convey critical thoughts concerning the topic.

As I mentioned in my midterm blog reflection, the beginning of this class was a bit of a struggle for me. I spent the first few weeks grappling with the definition of globalization itself- I couldn’t exactly wrap my head around the enormity of the concept and found myself getting intimidated and bogged down by the strong economic connotations I was perceiving (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/01/hello-world/). Some of my first exposure to the concept was through reading Friedman’s The Lexus and the Olive Tree. Friedman for me was a bit mundane and too economically focused; I tend to have difficulty wrapping my head around economics in general and applying the concepts to the new idea of globalization was definitely a challenge. After completing the book and establishing the class definition of globalization, “the increase in interactions between people around the world that involves the sharing of ideas, goods, cultures, and businesses”, I felt better prepared to approach the topic. I look at these two things as the first steps in this course- they were my starting points for this semester-long trek through the causes, effects, and various dynamics of globalization.

Once I had a thin foundation to work off of in terms of globalization’s definition, I found myself more enthusiastic about the course’s direction and content. I was able to move beyond the standard class definition and give thought to my own opinions about what globalization as a whole means (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/05/what-globalization-means-to-me/). Compared to my earlier posts (such as my first one: http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/01/6/) I was already gaining confidence in expressing my thoughts. I saw globalization as a unifying force driven by society itself and society’s focus on technology, efficiency, and integration. Beyond simply identifying what globalization is and giving it a “face”, I began thinking critically concerning the topic. In my questions post I explored the topics that I found crucial to globalization (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/13/questions/), applying the general idea to real life and probing as to its consequences. Globalization had started to seep into my everyday conscious- I found myself identifying it everywhere from the music I like to my favorite websites (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/09/18/now-that-i-know/). By the time midterms rolled around I was moving beyond definitions and questions and beginning to apply globalization to larger concepts such as language and topics being discussed in my classes (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/10/01/patois-and-language/), (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/10/12/global-responsibility/).  Overall, up until midterms I saw a pretty fast transformation in my thinking about globalization; I went from grappling with the basic definition to finding parallels between the concept of globalization and my everyday life. Class discussions played a large part in not only encouraging me to think more deeply about globalization but also in providing a forum in which I could develop my thoughts. Throughout the first half of the semester I essentially used my blog as an outlet to map my progress from understanding globalization to identifying it in real-life context.

As the second half of the semester played out I felt as if we were truly beginning to explore topics I was interested in. Economics and politics have never been my strong point, so to move into culture and environment was really exciting. My primary interests have always been in the humanities, and to apply these topics to globalization was incredibly intriguing. Being able to explore issues I was interested in lead to much more in-depth posts on my blog. I began to wonder about the causes of globalization and if it was accurate to lay blame for undesirable phenomena on globalization itself (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/10/19/so-whos-to-blame/). When it came to the environment I found myself doing research on my own time; the information and statistics presented in class were so astounding they pushed me to seek out more information on my own. I found the modern levels of destruction to the environment appalling and I definitely utilized this blog as a platform to speak out about the environment and to theorize solutions (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/11/23/59/  and http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/12/01/this-drives-me-crazy/). Beyond exploring culture and discussing the environment, in the second half of the semester I also wrapped up my ideas about globalization as a whole. I’m aware that globalization is an immensely broad topic and there is no way to study completely all of its many facets and elements, but I felt at the end of the course I needed to bring together the thoughts I’d gathered throughout the seminar. Through “looking at the big picture” (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/11/29/looking-at-the-big-picture/) and “cultural capital, and what’s left of it” (http://emilyhumberson.umwblogs.org/2011/12/05/cultural-capital-and-whats-left-of-it/) I attempted to summarize some final thoughts on globalization. Overall, throughout the second half of the semester I feel that I truly hit my stride in terms of deeply exploring topics I was interested in and forming my own ideas about globalization and its magnitude.

Overall, this course has helped me to build not only an understanding of globalization but also to develop skills in blogging, communication, and articulating my thoughts. I came into the course with little to no knowledge of globalization, and now I see it as a force that integrates elements of life across the world with emphasis on ideas such as efficiency, technology, and the power of the individual. Throughout the semester I was able to track the progress of my learning through my blog. I went from being lost on the definition of globalization to connecting it to larger concepts such as culture and the environment. Our in-class discussions provided an open-ended forum in which we could all share thoughts, previous knowledge, and experiences in order to gain a broader understanding of globalization. I feel that my time spent in this course was incredibly productive and that I am walking away with not only a stronger handle on the concept of globalization but sharper skills in other areas of life as well.

cultural capital, and what’s left of it

Monday, December 5th, 2011


While I can see to a degree the point that cartoons like these are trying to make, the gist ultimately seems silly. If you don’t want Niketown to pop up in Paris, or a Disney Store to take prominence in London, simply don’t patronize these places. The concept seems simple enough- if we want to maintain cultural capital (non-financial social assets) in important historical places abroad, we have the ability to do so. Businesses succeed or fail depending on whether or not they gain enough profit, and if people refuse to patronize major corporations in culturally significant places then those businesses will ultimately fail. But what seems to be trending is MORE adoption of these prominent businesses, in which we have no room to complain. While globalization IS a big force and at times it DOES seem to be larger than all of us, it is important to keep in mind that we as human beings are the ones driving the direction in which we are headed. It is easy enough to sit back and blame unsavory changes in our society on globalization- but it’s incredibly important to keep in mind who fostered these changes in the first place.

 

this drives me CRAZY

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

feel to free to check out the following link:
http://www.science-sc.com/2010/11/surface-area-required-to-power-whole.html

According to this, it would only require 496,805 square kilometers to power the entire world with solar panels alone. Sure, it will be expensive. Sure, there will be issues in getting countries to comply and working out the distribution of power. But it seems that the global mentality is to a let problem get bad enough that you have no choice but to change it (great example: the air clean-up in Beijing for the olympics). We often seem to forget somehow, even through all our supposed connectedness and integration, that we are all human. Most countries let their desire for land, power, and money get in their way of working together, and the US is no exception. It seems so ridiculous to me that we are burning fossil fuels, ripping the tops off of mountains, and submitting our environment to extreme degradation to accomplish something that could be achieved with solar panels. This is beyond laziness, this is beyond ignorance: this is blatant disregard for a problem staring us directly in the face. Most of the time I try and accept society’s faults for what they are- we’re human and we can’t be perfect. But things like this are incredibly disheartening. Wake up, Earth!

 

 

 

 

 


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