What is a concentration and why does it exist?

  • There are two types of concentrations: thematic and area concentrations

    • Thematic concentrations focus on a subject throughout the world
    • Area concetrations focus on a specific region or cultural grouping in the world.
  • We require a concentration to encourage you to deepen your expertise in a given culture/places or them interest; a relevant double major or minor accomplishes the same end..

Must I have a concentration?

  • Yes, majors must complete a concentration within the major UNLESS they have a double major or minor in:

    • Anthropology
    • Economics
    • Government
    • History
    • Environmental Studies
    • Latin American Studies
    • East Asian Studies
    • French
    • German
    • Spanish
    • Italian
    • Russian
    • Chinese
    • Japanese

What are the thematic GS concentrations focused on?

  • International Relations/Foreign Policy: International Relations is the study of conflict and cooperation between states and other political actors in our current international environment in which there is no higher authority to regulate international behavior.  It focuses on the interactions among states (and between states and international institutions), transnational business enterprises, non-state political actors, and on the tensions between state sovereignty and the forces of globalization.  The core courses within the government department focus on how states and other political actors interact with each other either through security competition, international laws and institutions, or global markets.  Interdisciplinary courses that complement this focus include international economics courses focusing on interactions between national economies or with international economic institutions, diplomatic and military history courses, international environmental policy courses that focus on institutions and negotiations, or other classes that focus on institutions and negotiations, or other classes that focus on how political actors compete and cooperate with each other across borders.
    • Alums have gone onto positions in the State Department, Congressional Offices, Time magazine and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • International Economic Policy: International Economic Policy analyzes the flows of goods, services, capital and labor across borders.  It develops and understanding and appreciation for economic interactions based on policies developed by sovereign states and multilateral organization as opposed to interactions among consumers and among firms within a country.  It concerns itself with how production and investment is distributed across borders, global allocation of resources, and patterns of income distribution.  As countries become more closely linked through economic ties, it analyzes the policies that nations and global institutions implement to address questions of fairness and stable growth.  International Economic Policy courses treat international economic interactions among countries as well as regional explorations, e.g. of Europe, the Americas, Africa or Asia.  In addition to upper level economics courses, work in government that focuses on economic institutions and policy coordination, in anthropology analyzing cultural aspects of allocation and trade, in history chronicling global flows contribute to an understanding of international economic policy.  The study of international economic policy leads to fields in international business and positions at policy think tanks such as the Peterson Institute for International Economics, IBM and the Poverty Action Lab.
  • Development Studies: Courses in Development Studies consider theories, issues and policies in the process of development.  Students engage in the political, economic, historical and cultural study of improving the human condition in poor and middle income countries of the world.  Development courses provided a comparative perspective on the long-term social, political, and economic changes that have accompanied industrialization and the growth in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  Central concerns of Development Studies include understandings how processes of change impacts the distribution of wealth and opportunity both within and between nations as well as the environmental sustainability of growth over time.
    • Alums have gone from Development Studies to positions at regional think tanks such as the InterAmerican Dialogue, the ONE campaign and the Peace Corps.
  • Human Rights & Social Justice: The study of Human Rights & Social Justice draws on multiple disciplines and perspectives to consider questions of freedom, peace, protection of the dignity and rights of human beings around teh world.  Thematic courses address human rights or social justice issues in terms of the historical or contemporary experiences of specific populations or identities; they address particular kinds of human rights or social justice struggles, movements, discourses and engage the development of policy and/or popular responses to address human rights or social justice concerns.  This concentration considers the modes through which people around the world experience and respond to human rights abuses and other injustices as well as the conditions which obstruct or enable action (by groups or states) to pursue human rights and social justice.  Global Studies students of Human Rights & Social Justice are especially encouraged to take advantage of the residence of Colby’s Oak fellow in International Human Rights each fall (check out the OAK Institute page on Colby’s website for more information).
    • Alums have worked for NGOs such as Oxfam and Accion.

***You can also petition to design your own concentration. Please see the form here***

What are the GS area concentrations?

  • Asia
  • Europe and Russia
  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East

Do I have to take extra courses to fulfill the concentration?

  • Not necessarily, but probably a few,  If, for example, you select a culture and places concentration such as Latin America, you might have 2 of the required 3 culture and places courses in Latin America, plus the study abroad experience where it is possible that you would have approved two additional courses.  Your language would be Spanish and you would complete a senior seminar with a topic treating Latin America.  In this case there are no additional courses-just a careful plan that targets your culture and places interest.  You might, however, be interested in an international relations/foreign policy requirement, if you didn’t get foreign policy study credit abroad because you went on a language program, you would need two additional courses from the concentration list, and a senior seminar where the topic dealt with international relations/foreign policy.  Alternatively, you might build on your policy interest in the selection of your study abroad program, and have the courses count toward your concentration.

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