HUM-462 / 3 credits

Teacher: Eichenberger Pierre

Language: English

Withdrawal: It is not allowed to withdraw from this subject after the registration deadline.

Remark: Une seule inscription à un cours SHS+MGT autorisée. En cas d'inscriptions multiples elles seront toutes supprimées sans notification.


Globalization is the linguistic omnivore of our times. This course addresses the long history of worldwide encounters and goes behind the rosy vision of a global village. It gives particular attention to inequalities and to the men and women who fought for alternatives to capitalism.


Globalization rose to conceptual stardom in the 1990s, when the ascent of Western liberal democracy and capitalism looked irresistible. For some time, that triumph seemed to herald the “end of history,” as political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell. Since that period, nationalism, wars, racism and inequalities have vastly invalidated the rosy vision of a global village of cultural exchange and of ever-greater understanding.

This course will show that globalization has had a longer history. Corporations did not wait for a label to be created to invest and make profits on a global scale. Religions and ideologies conquered the world and inspired revolutions long before CNN, Facebook and Twitter spread information in real time. Colonialism created empires on which the sun never set, exploiting racism and inequalities that still haunt our world.

This course will investigate the various dimensions of globalization (economic, political, social, military, cultural and environmental) to help students question our contemporary reality from a historical perspective. Over the course of the class, we will question the view of globalization as a linear, Western, homogenizing process and investigate the power struggles that shaped the advance of capitalism worldwide. We will go behind the rosy narrative of an ever more integrated world and give particular attention to the social, political and economic inequalities within different assemblages of territories and in terms of authority and rights across time and space (Saskia Sassen). We will also investigate the roles of the men and women who fought for alternatives to capitalism.

The course will be divided into two related semesters. During the fall, we will become acquainted with the vast literature on globalization. We will also visit some international organizations in Geneva to become familiar with those crucial actors of our globalized world. In the spring, students will use the knowledge they gathered during the previous semester to write an original historical research paper investigating one aspect of globalization.

For further information, see the full description of the course in History of globalization I (HUM-427a).


History - Gobalisation - Inequalities  - Capitalism

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses

History of globalization I: HUM-427(a)

Assessment methods


Moodle Link

In the programs

  • Semester: Spring
  • Number of places: 60
  • Exam form: During the semester (summer session)
  • Subject examined: History of globalization II
  • Project: 3 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
  • Type: mandatory

Reference week

Related courses

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