Our understanding of the world is not only influenced by our place in the world, but it is shaped by it. Everybody is guilty of bias, whether they realize it or not. I’m sure I’ve been noticed quite a bit in the US class for my take on the classes’ inherently biased perspective on globalization, particularly about how western all of the viewpoints we are examining are. This occured to me when we were watching videos and looking at media sources at the beginning of the class, and Janine was having us reflect on who was producing the media and why. I got stuck on the “who” part, because I noticed that every media source we saw was from a European or North American point of view. Even after class, when I tried to find non-western perspectives on globalization, I found very few. However, the ones I did find were often written by someone at a school in the US or the UK. Granted, I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked on the subject, but this aspect of the education about globalization really speaks to the importance of recognizing the impact of individual perspectives, and multiple perspectives should always be taken into account (especially in matters of subjects such as sociology and globalization). My curiosity about non-western views on globalization is what’s leading me into my first honors tutorial, which, if all goes well, I will be doing next semester. I will be able to take the time to find these resources and really consider why they aren’t more prevalent in this school of thought.
This is simply an example of how each person’s respective experiences and cultures affect how they see and think about the world. Experientially, I come from a small homogeneous town, so I have always looked to learn more about other cultures and I have always strived to see the perspectives of others. I think that this, in part, is why I’m so attached to changing the purely western point of view on globalization. Additionally, my American status greatly affects my global perspective; I, like most other American students, have taken quite a bit of American history in school. Because I have a increased knowledge of specifically American history, which definitely outweighs my knowledge of world history, I will be more drawn towards American-centric globalization events. The same goes for my Dutch peers on the other side of the Atlantic. I assume that they take more European and Dutch history than they do world history, which might skew their views more towards European and Dutch events. This will be helpful in that we are supposed to relate our globalization events to Groningen and Arlington, however.
In this project, I didn’t see much influence from many other aspects beyond our western point of view; race, religion, gender, and social class didn’t seem to conflict between us enough to play much of a role in our decision making process.
These conflicts that may occur between people due to social location may seem like a bad thing, but are in fact a really positive aspect of developing a globalization timeline. This is why peer review is important; it brings new perspectives to the assignment. Not only did my classmates have a different take on what the assignment was supposed to look like, but we all had very different events and reasons for choosing the starting point for the global imaginary. This diversity in opinions and ideas is important, and environments like these are often what leads to discovery and innovation. In our, case, this environment means that we can learn more from a new and different environment with a diversity of perspectives.
Inevitably, this diversity also creates curiosity. While I was peer reviewing other people’s timelines, I was thinking along the lines of “I wish I had thought of that,” or “this is such a cool and unique take on the assignment.” Additionally, it made me question how and why we all took such a different perspective on the timelines, which further makes me question the complexity of globalization. I’m currently reading a book I was loaned by Professor Bakker, another sociology professor at Marymount, on globalization, and I think it tackles the complexity of such a topic very well. A powerful statement I found in the book was a call for globalization to be its own subject; a sociologist’s point of view is incomplete, just as a economist’s point of view is incomplete, just a politician’s point of view is incomplete when it comes to globalization. Globalization is such a new and complex field, I can’t wait to see where scholars like the ones I’m sitting in a classroom with or Skyping with will take it.