October 22, 2008
The most contentious and critical questions of contemporary times relate to the nature, scope, impact and conceptualization of globalization. The intensified impact of globalization and the acceptance that it is a contemporary social reality has manifested itself noticeably in a variety of disciplines. However, the inherently multidimensional processes of globalization demand new insights. The resultant rise of a Global Studies approach is expected to be unencumbered by dominant perspectives and existing academic loyalties by placing global theorizing and issues first. In light of this context, the paper raises several epistemological and ontological questions while outlining the broad contours of this emerging field. The analysis is based on academic literature as well as the examination of a selection of global studies programs in academic institutions to ascertain the contemporary application and perceptions of what constitutes global studies. The ensuing discussion explains why global studies is regarded as an overwhelmingly North American phenomenon. Finally, the paper suggests ways of broadening the disciplinary lens, which may also help global studies to overcome the wide regional divide.