Global Curriculum

An interdisciplinary approach to international studies

Sarah Lawrence students explore different parts of the curriculum while simultaneously learning to cohere them. Conferences with faculty and conference work enable each student to transpose an interest from course to course and determine the focus of her or his own work.

Opportunities for incorporating International Studies into the Creative and Performing Arts are too vast to neatly categorize. You can write poems in Spanish or a novel that hinges on the worldwide economic collapse of 2008. Perform African Dance. Take music lessons on the gamelan angklung made specially for Sarah Lawrence in Bali. Explore Global Theater through conversations and workshops with international theater artists. Create a digital documentary on diaspora experiences specifically for the web. Attend readings, recitals, performances, screenings, and exhibits on campus and in New York City by artists and writers from around the world.

The Full Curriculum

Sarah Lawrence's curriculum includes course offerings in nearly 50 disciplines spanning four areas of study: The Creative and Performing Arts, History and the Social Sciences, the Humanities, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Explore the full curriculum»

Africana Studies

Africana studies embraces a number of scholarly disciplines and subjects at Sarah Lawrence College, including anthropology, architecture, art history, dance, economics, film, filmmaking, history, Islamic studies, law, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, sociology, theatre, and writing. Students examine the experience of Africans and people of African descent in the diaspora, including Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and beyond. Study includes the important cultural, economic, technological, political, and social intellectual interplay and exchanges of those peoples as they help make our world. Students will explore the literature of Africans and peoples of African descent in various languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English. The dynamics of immigration and community formation are vital in this field. Students will examine the art and architecture of Africa and the diaspora; their history, societies, and cultures; their economy and politics; the impact of Islam and the Middle East; the processes of slavery; the slave trade and colonialism; as well as postcolonial literature in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The program also includes creative work in filmmaking, theatre, and writing.

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Asian Studies

Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in current approaches to the varied regions of Asia. Seminars and lectures are offered on China, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Indonesia. Courses explore Asian cultures, geographies, histories, societies, and religions. Visual and performing arts are included in the Asian Studies curriculum. Faculty, trained in the languages of their areas, draw on extensive field experience in Asia. Their courses bridge humanities, social sciences, and global studies. Students are encouraged to consider studying in Asia during their junior year.

Ethnic & Diasporic Studies

Ethnic and diasporic studies as an academic discipline lies at the intersection of several increasingly powerful developments in American thought and culture. First, interdisciplinary and comparative scholarship has become so prevalent as to represent a dominant intellectual norm. Second, the use of this new scholarly methodology to meet new academic needs and illuminate new subject matter has given rise to a plethora of discourses—women’s studies; Native American studies; African American studies; gay, lesbian, and transgender studies; and global studies. Third, and perhaps most important, there has been a growing recognition, both inside and outside academia, that American reality is incorrigibly and irremediably plural and that responsible research and pedagogy must account for and accommodate this fact.

We define ethnic and diasporic studies, loosely, as the study of the dynamics of racial and ethnic groups (also loosely conceived) who have been denied, at one time or another, full participation and the full benefits of citizenship in American society. We see these dynamics as fascinating in themselves but also feel that studying them illuminates the entire spectrum of humanistic inquiry and that a fruitful cross-fertilization will obtain between ethnic and diasporic studies and the College’s well-established curricula in the humanities, the arts, the sciences, and the social sciences.

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Global Studies

Global processes, exchanges, and movements have remapped the contemporary world. Global studies courses seek to provide a coherent critical framework within which to study such increasingly fluid cultural and national crossings. Global studies faculty members working in the disciplines of Asian studies, history, and literature have been engaged in rethinking previous assumptions about history and cartography. Their courses tend to reframe familiar histories, as well as to uncover unfamiliar routes of human interaction. These classes adopt interdisciplinary approaches that help bring to light historic concerns that otherwise might be rendered invisible.

Examples of global studies offerings include courses on the intersection of cultures surrounding the Mediterranean; overlapping colonial and postcolonial histories of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America; linked Pacific Rim cultures—for example, shared histories among peoples from the western coast of the Americas, the Philippines, and Japan; intertwined histories and literatures of Africa and the Americas in light of the concept of a Black Atlantic; and homologous literatures and histories of native peoples from different geographic regions.

For course descriptions, see Asian StudiesHistory, and Literature.

International Studies

What kind of global society will evolve in the 21st century? Linked by worldwide organizations and communications, yet divided by histories and ethnic identities, people everywhere are involved in the process of re-evaluation and self-definition. To help students better understand the complex forces that will determine the shape of the 21st century, Sarah Lawrence College offers an interdisciplinary approach to international studies. Broadly defined, international studies include the dynamics of interstate relations; the interplay of cultural, ideological, economic, and religious factors; and the multifaceted structures of Asian, African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and European societies. A variety of programs abroad further extends students’ curricular options in international studies. The experience of overseas learning, valuable in itself, also encourages more vivid cultural insight and integration of different scholarly perspectives. The courses offered in international studies are listed throughout the catalogue in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, art history, Asian studies, economics, environmental science, geography, history, literature, politics, and religion.

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Latin American & Latino/a Studies

Sarah Lawrence College's program in Latin American and Latino/a studies (LALS) is devoted to the interdisciplinary investigation of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino cultures, politics, and histories. Through a variety of disciplines, students will have opportunities to explore the vibrant cultural life of Latin American and Caribbean countries, as well as the experiences of the Latino communities in the United States. Course offerings will include language, literature, dance, film, music, art, and other cultural expressions as a way to familiarize the students with a world that is rich in imagination, powerful in social impact, and defiant of the stereotypes usually imposed upon it. Students will also interrogate the complex political dynamics involved in such processes as (post)colonialism, migration, revolution, social movements, citizenship, and the cultural politics of race, gender, sexuality, and class. The histories of conquest, colonialism, development, and resistance in the area also require broad inquiry into the often turbulent and violent realities of political economic forces.

As this program is concerned with a broad set of border crossings, faculty in LALS are also committed to expanding educational experiences beyond Sarah Lawrence College. Accordingly, students are encouraged to study abroad through Sarah Lawrence College programs in Cuba, Argentina, and Peru or with other programs in Latin America. Students will also have opportunities to explore the borderlands closer to Sarah Lawrence College, including Latino communities in New York City and Westchester County.

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Modern & Classical Languages

At Sarah Lawrence College, we recognize that languages are fundamentally modes of being in the world and uniquely reveal the way that we exist as human beings. Far from being a mechanical tool, language study encourages self-examination and cross-cultural understanding, offering a vantage point from which to evaluate personal and cultural assumptions, prejudices, and certainties. Learning a new language is not about putting into another verbal system what you want or know how to say in your own language; rather, it is about learning by listening and reading and by gaining the ability to think in fundamentally different ways.

The College offers eight modern and two classical languages and literatures: