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Mary Neuburger, Director BUR 452, 2505 University Avenue, Stop F3600, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3607

Spring 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
44790 TH
5:00 PM-8:00 PM
UTC 1.116

Course Description

The purpose of the Seminar is (i) to help further students' understanding of the major cultures, political systems and economic structures that exist throughout the world and of the social forces bringing change to those structures and systems, and (ii) to assess how the interaction of such cultures and systems and forces will shape the world in which our individual, corporate and national aspirations must be pursued. In exploring those issues, the seminar will pursue such questions as: Will the events of September 11th be the flashpoint for a clash of civilizations, which brings an end to the recent expansion of global activity between and among countries, or will they be a catalyst for a new era of international cooperation? In the new world that is emerging, can we expect the political, economic and social structures that exist in the United States to continue to spread around the globe, or will other nations and cultures necessarily evolve in ways distinctly different from the U.S.? \In so far as other countries do proceed differently from the U.S., are there ways countries and cultures can learn to associate with one another productively, fueling an era of cooperation, or must we remain in separate universes and in perpetual tension, perhaps reinforcing a clash of civilizations? What impact will this new era have on corporations, corporate executives, financial markets, business managers, and other people who rely on jobs and financial support from these enterprises? What about other trends, other issues, other crises? What will become of Africa? What about the AIDS pandemic? What of the homeless? The starving? Is the climate truly warming? Will water become a new source of conflict? What other forces of change are in the offing? Michael Howard, in his book The Lessons of History, wrote that the real lessons of history are not so much about "pride and folly," as about "people, often of masterful intelligence, trained usually in law or economics or perhaps political science, who have led their governments into disastrous miscalculations because they have no awareness whatever of the historical background, the cultural universe of the foreign societies with which they have to deal. It is an awareness for which no amount of strategic or economic analysis, no techniques of crisis management or conflict resolution...can provide a substitute." The seminar will endeavor to bring such historical and cultural factors into our discussions.


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