PEX World Society

GenEd World Society courses explore societies and cultures outside of the United States.  These courses take one of two approaches.  Some concentrate on a single nation or region, examining in depth its political, social, historical, cultural, artistic, literary, geographic, and/or economic landscape. Others investigate globalization and its effects across nations and regions.

World Society courses are intended to teach students how to:

  • Understand the influences (e.g political, social, historical, cultural, artistic, literary, geographic, economic) on world societies or processes (e.g. globalization) linking world societies;
  • Access and analyze materials related to world societies and cultures;
  • Develop observations and conclusions about selected themes in world societies and cultures;
  • Construct interpretations using evidence and critical analysis; and
  • Communicate and defend interpretations.


Education for Liberation

This course explores educational issues in urban America and indigenous educational traditions in the “Third World.” The course focuses on the connections between education and politics, cultural diversity and economics, and the existence and persistence of poverty in developing nations. Students will critically analyze international films, course readings, and presentations from guest speakers. Culturally responsive, post-modern, and comparative approaches are used to investigate the impact of culture, poverty and development, and the goals of education in each societal context.

Philadelphia Dance Experience

DANCE 0827
Open your eyes to the wealth of culture right at your doorstep. Deepen your appreciation of dance and become an educated audience member about the various styles and layers of meaning present in any one dance. We will attend several live performances, looking at dance from a cultural studies perspective, focusing specifically on European, African, Asian, and Latin influences in the city of Philadelphia. We will be interacting with guest artists and lecturers, observing performances on video, and engaging in guided viewing exercises. Dance concerts are selected from a variety of styles, including classical and contemporary forms from around the world.

Religion in the World

Learn about the major religious traditions found worldwide today: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and several indigenous traditions. Examine the beliefs, practices, and values of these groups in order to understand the worldviews and ways of life of the people who practice them. Our interdisciplinary analysis and interpretation of specific examples of religious experience will help shed light on the overall meaning of religion and human existence. We will carefully consider examples while also focusing on particular thematic issues, like cosmology and ritual. Develop appreciation for the religious vibrancy and diversity that exist in human cultures while you actively engage in the learning process through class presentation, class participation, paper-writing, and a self-selected field trip.

War & Peace

Total war, weapons of mass destruction, genocide. These were not solely inventions of the twentieth century nor are they the natural consequences of a violent human nature. Leaders, armies, and the strategies they pursue are rooted in their social and political context. Weapons are the products of not merely technological but also historical and cultural development. Battles occur on a political and historical terrain. Learn how ancient ideology, medieval technology, modern propaganda, and more have changed how humans wage war and make peace.

War in Hazelton

The United States border with Mexico is 2,000 miles long, stretching from San Diego, CA to Brownsville, TX. Every year between 200,000 and 400,000 immigrants attempt to cross this border illegally. An estimated 12 million undocumented aliens live in the United States already. Does this influx of Mexicans, Central Americans and South Americans amount to a serious threat? Though close study of how one small, quiet Pennsylvania town reacted to a suddeninflux of 10,000 Spanish-speaking laborers, and with the aid of film, field-trips, guest speakers, fiction and poetry, we will explore global immigration issues.

World Performances

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Dance, puppetry, theater, opera; these are performance forms that are part of the cultures of the world. From the earliest religious rituals to modern interpretations of ancient traditions, performances are as varied and diverse as the cultures from which they arise. You are probably familiar with performances arising from western cultures, but the Noh Drama of Japan, the Water Puppetry of Viet Nam, the Koothu Patari folk performances of India, the Bejing Opera in China, the Caoperia Martial Arts performances of Brazil–these might be new to you. Explore world performances through live class presentations, lectures, video and attendance at international performances in Philadelphia. You might also have the chance to perform yourself!