Letter from the Chair

Dear Friends –

Global Studies at UCSB is a pioneer department studying the processes and impacts of globalization. We are proud that Global Studies at UCSB incorporates and forefronts questions that emanate from the Global South. We reflect on diverse issues of globally marginalized communities under stress: whether racially discriminated peoples, women and children, LGBTQ+ communities, indigenous peoples, the global poor, and those at the receiving end of accelerated climate change. The historical shaping of a globalized world forms the basis of our contemporary inquiry. Globalization of the world impacts the lives of humanity in myriad ways, and we strive to create an inclusive environment and discourse around compelling contemporary issues. The Global Studies Department deploys multiple methodologies – from a wide-range of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities – to study the globalization phenomenon, and encourage our students to benefit from mixed methods of inquiry.

Global Studies at UCSB has a strong undergraduate program that recruits and trains hundreds of Global Majors annually. It has a robust two-year MA program where students learn to engage on vital issues of human rights, environmental justice, global governance and policy concerns, issues of global economics and finance, labor flows, global migration and its impacts, racial justice, issues facing indigenous communities, global health concerns, neo-liberal capitalism and global supply chains, global media, global diasporas, and global histories among others. We are proud of our Ph.D. program where our graduate students engage in cutting-edge research that has global impact. The faculty at Global Studies is trained internationally, engages in state-of-the-art research, and reflects the diversity of our global community. We co-founded the Global Studies Consortium that maps and guides the progress of this emerging and salient discipline. The graduates from the Global Studies Program at UCSB go on to contribute to issues of global significance through policy work, community engagement, academia, and more.

The research at Global Studies Department has made major contributions to the development of the discipline globally, and we continue to provide leadership in emerging areas of global interest. Apart from our strong academic foundation, we do not shy away from action-oriented and public-facing research, policy-making, and world-shaping discussions. We look forward to building partnerships with global academic institutions, networks that can support our graduate students and research, as well as our strong alumni presence around the world.

Thank you!

Professor Anshu Malhotra

Chair, Department of Global Studies (2022-2024)



Global Studies Diversity Statement

Global Studies as a field and department are deeply committed to racial justice in our scholarship and our society, within the context of our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion—and beyond. We have been engaged as individuals and as an academic unit in racial justice research and pedagogy for many years, and we have carried forward the UC-wide diversity mission in our intellectual and social engagements. Our research, teaching and practice reflect our collective recognition that beyond individual or group biases, systems of oppression are built on historical and institutional domination and power. The Global Studies Department works to make material changes to institutions of the university that structurally erect barriers to equity for students, staff, and faculty that have been historically marginalized and oppressed. Additionally, the Global Studies Department is a scholarly community that aims to provide models of collegiality and professionalism to our students. As a UC campus, we are mindful of our obligation to ensure an inclusive and civil environment that respects the rights of all students to academic freedom, non-discrimination, and dignified treatment. All members of our community are expected to honor these norms of civility and respect in all interactions between and among faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff. Unprofessional and inappropriate behavior in our community includes public disparagement of any member of the community on the basis of any identity, background, belief, or personal condition (a full list is available on p. 38 of the Graduate Student Handbook).

What is Global Studies?

Global Studies is an emergent field concerned with understanding the historical and contemporary phenomenon of globalization in all its aspects.  Although global phenomena have been studies for many decades, global studies as a field developed largely after the turn of the 21st century and has expanded exponentially since the first programs were founded in Asian, European, and American universities in the 1990s.  Moving away from conventional state-based notions of international order, the field of global studies seeks to promote critical reflection on how the world works as an interlinked, interactive set of processes and relationships that operate across broad spheres of experience, from the social to the political, the economic to the cultural, the religious to the environmental, the legal to the technological, the scientific to the subjective.  

When UCSB’s pioneering Global & International Studies Program was established in early 1999, it was widely recognized as one of the nation's first interdisciplinary undergraduate majors in international studies to focus on globalization. The GISP Program has now expanded to become the Department of Global Studies and has added a highly successful Masters Program in Global Studies, an influential PhD in Global Studies, and a PhD Emphasis for students in other departments.

Faculty in Global Studies

Faculty related to the Global Studies program are engaged in a wide range of interdisciplinary research agendas which utilize approaches from the humanities and social sciences to provide perspectives that are historical, critical, and engaged. These faculty teach and conduct research in the department’s three thematic concentrations: (i) global culture, ideology, and religion; (ii) global political economy, development, and environment; and (iii) global governance, civil society, and human rights. Core faculty are augmented by affiliate faculty who teach undergraduate and graduate courses and by distinguished visiting faculty. A total of over thirty-five faculty participate directly in the program. (See our Faculty page.)

Graduate Program in Global Studies

In fall 2003 a graduate-level PhD Emphasis in Global Studies was created, supported by the departments of Anthropology, English, History, Political Science, Religious Studies, and Sociology departments, and coordinated by Global Studies. The PhD program welcomed it's first cohort in fall 2015. The PhD Program is the first of its kind at a Tier-1 Research University in the United States, and the first within the University of California system. It is a stand-alone degree (approximately 5-6 years) and is separate from our highly successful terminal MA in Global Studies.

Undergraduate Major in Global Studies

Within the first five years, the numbers of Global Studies majors grew to over 900 per year—60% focusing on the socioeconomic and political aspects of globalization, and 40% emphasizing the cultural and ideological side. More majors from Global Studies participate in Education Abroad experiences than from any other department or program on campus.

The first student to enroll in Global Studies was Safeed “Titu” Asghar. After graduation Titu attended the American University School of International Service in Washington DC. Now married, he is employed in government service in the Washington area. Other graduates of the program have attended Columbia University’s School of International Affairs, the George Washington University School of Foreign Service, UC-San Diego School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, other graduate programs in international studies, law schools, business schools, and medical schools. Some have gone directly into business, public service agencies, and government service. Many have traveled abroad. Several have gone into the Peace Corps and some completing the foreign service exam. The Alumni Page of the our website provides letters from alums reporting on their diverse and fascinating experiences around the world.