UVM studies go global

For the Fall 2009 semester at UVM, the Area and International Studies (AIS) program is changing more than just its name, to become the Global and Regional Studies program. The new title demonstrates a change to a more collaborative view of international relations that focuses on relationships between nations. The name “Area and International Studies” has been in use since 1962 and is a product of the mentality of the time, Director of Area and International Studies and Associate Professor of anthropology, Luis Vivanco said.”Students and prospective students [would] always ask us what ‘area studies’ was, which is an outmoded term born of a particular initiative in the Cold War to educate college students in the languages and cultures of interest to U.S. geo-political strategy,” he said. “We’re moving away from terms like ‘international,’ which, by its name, focuses on the relations between nation-states,” Vivanco said. “The point of ‘global studies’ is that, while relations between nation-states are important, they are not the only relevant focus if you want to understand current world events and dynamics,” he said. AIS is an umbrella program which houses eight majors. The switch also adds a global studies major and minor to the program, which primarily focuses on globalization. Students will be able to declare the new major and minor in July 2009 according to an e-mail announcing the program from Jonathan Holdsworth. Sophomore Amanda Fox said she is really excited about declaring herself a global studies major for the fall semester, stemming from its focus on globalization. “Globalization is something I find really interesting,” she said. “It affects all of us, whether we like it or not.” The switch represents “a more comprehensive view of globalization through all different lenses,” Fox said, who previously knew she wanted to major in the social sciences but had trouble deciding which program to choose. Her introduction to the department came when she took a class taught by Vivanco. “I think it’s important to point out that our program is growing, with our new Global Studies program and a budget increase last year,” Vivanco said concerning the impact of the recent budget cuts on AIS.