COOL CLASSES: “Origins of the Global South”

A history course analyzing “the first phase of globalization in world history,” a complex historical process rooted in the ancient and medieval worlds.

Class name: “Origins of the Global South”

Taught by:  Professor of History James Krippner

Here’s what Krippner had to say about his class:

The class examines the origins and consequences of what I provocatively term “the first phase of globalization in world history,” namely the events associated with the year 1492. We begin with a survey of the late medieval world, including the peoples and cultures of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. We then explore how this late medieval world is reconfigured through frequently forced, at times devastating, but also extremely productive exchanges of peoples, goods, technologies, and cultures in the Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) Empires that played such a significant and controversial role in the early modern era (from the 16th through the 18th centuries). As I frequently tell students in the class, by the time the semester ends you will understand the origins and contours of our contemporary world.

I created the course because I wanted to introduce students to new currents of global and trans-regional historical scholarship that really began to emerge in the 1990s and that remain vibrant and even of increasing importance today.

Secondly, I wished to stress the skills required to be a history major at Haverford College, including the ability to conceptualize and carry out an independent research project. All the students in the class research and write an original intermediate length essay analyzing the art and architecture of the late medieval and early modern world, along with a series of shorter response papers and oral presentations that introduce them to the analysis of written sources, oral histories, and visual culture.

Finally, I hope the students leave the class with an empowered sense of being stewards of a shared environmental space and common human history, despite the many challenges we have had and continue to face.


See what other courses the Department of History is offering this semester.

Image: “The Capitulation of Granada” by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz.

Cool Classes is a series that highlights interesting, unusual, and unique courses that enrich the Haverford experience.