International Relations major creates two new concentrations

This fall, the International Relations (IR) program is offering two newly-revised thematic concentrations (TC) to be taken alongside the IR major’s core requirement classes. These thematic concentrations are TC5: Globalizations and TC6: Identity.

The new globalizations concentration focuses on worldwide practices in topics such as human rights, migration, technology and the study of cultures, among others, according to the IR program’s website

The new identity concentration centers on how people see themselves in the context of the rest of the world through lenses such as gender, class, race, nationality and ethnicity, with emphasis on the influence that identity has on international affairs, according to the IR Program’s website.

Over the past year and a half, the International Relations program faculty committees have been meeting to discuss curriculum issues in thematic concentrations, according to Ciara Pisano, program administrator, who spoke on behalf of the IR program staff.

As a result of these meetings, the new concentrations were created in place of TC5, which was previously titled The United States in World Affairs, as well as the former TC6, which previously included TC6A: Ideologies and TC6B: Empires/Colonialism/Globalization.

“After review of the old TC5 and TC6A/B concentrations, we noticed a need for clarity and coherence within the concentrations,” Pisano told the Daily in an email.

The International Relations Curriculum Committee and International Relations Executive Committee proposed Globalizations and Identity, the new TC5 and TC6 concentrations respectively, according to Pisano. They are both reconfigured from the old concentrations, but with newly identified themes that are not already offered in other areas of the IR curriculum, she added.

“By creating themed categories in both TC5 and TC6, students will have an easier time establishing coherence among their chosen courses,” Pisano said.

According to Pisano, the IR curriculum is composed of 13 different thematic concentrations. Students pursuing an IR major choose one concentration from the list, she said.

“All thematic concentrations require a minimum of seven courses from a variety of different categories including social science, history, culture, research methods etc,” Pisano explained.

Students interested in the globalizations concentration can take classes such as Childhood Across Cultures, History of Consumption and Global Justice, according to the IR Program’s website. The department website also lists classes for the identity concentration, which include Shaping Identity and Men, Women and Patriarchy in the Middle East.

Pisano said that TC1: Regional and Comparative Analysis, TC2: International Economics, TC3: Global Health, Nutrition and the Environment and TC4: International Security are all consistently popular thematic concentrations.

“The IR Program is excited about promoting and getting the word out to the Tufts IR community regarding the new concentrations and [they] are hoping to have a significant interest when the current sophomores and first years are declaring their major and concentrations,” Pisano said.

Nikki Margaretos, a student majoring in international relations with a concentration in global health, said that these new concentrations will allow the department to broaden its offerings and appeal to a wider variety of new students.

Many concentrations are very field-based in topics such as security or finance, which Margaretos, a junior, said can be limiting to students.

“I think it’s wise that they’re broadening it to some more abstract focuses,” she said. “They have all those concentrations currently, and a lot of those are very concrete.”

Margaretos said that these offerings open another door of the International Relations program to students who may be interested in pursuing social issues through the Identity concentration.

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