We are very excited to present the inaugural Global Studies Literature Review, a resource of the Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Knowledge Community of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This new resource is an online compilation of book reviews, written by a wide variety of voices—faculty members, independent researchers, practitioners, and graduate students. We hope the GSLR stimulates the intellectual side of our work and, whether it serves an academic, professional, or simply personal interest of our members, provides a resource to encourage our curiosity and commitment to ground-breaking ideas.
Why choose the title "global studies" over international education? The Global Studies Literature Review looks to address a future-oriented trend: the growing convergence of international education with the core discourse of global higher education and society. This convergence (some might say reconvergence) is happening at a variety of levels and in many sectors. It is occurring between the professional practice of international education and the academic fields of global/international studies:
- the globalization and internationalization of higher education;
- increasing expectation of global competences for professionals in the global business community;
- the challenges of migration from legal, educational, and human rights perspectives; and
- the need for public diplomacy exchanges and policy making professionals to function in the transnational and post-September 11 realities of the twenty-first century.
Professionals in the field of international education and exchange are expressing a growing interest and need for knowledge in a wide range of disciplines and fields. The convergence of international education, higher education, and society is also happening at the organizational and social level. International education is increasingly asked to "right the ship" of higher education, help build knowledge economies, and make students more competitive in the global economy. We as a field are part of societal forces that sometimes feel out of our control. More and more stakeholders want to understand the value of international education and are asking us to prove that it matters.
The range of review articles and synopses in the inaugural GSLR reflects these diverse issues, concerns, and perspectives of our field. From reflections on global citizenship to appreciations of new work in intercultural competence and assessment, our authors have considered what they see as the "best of the best" of recent contributions to international education while still asking questions that push us to pursue new thinking and directions. Other authors have examined our institutions of higher education, from community college and vocational education to global higher education, as education itself becomes a more competitive service sector of the global economy it purportedly prepares students to enter. The political realities of the emerging world community of the twenty-first century also surface in reviews that focus on social justice and the divisive—and sometimes catastrophic—situations our students either come from or prepare to enter. Creative writing and novels with subjects closely related to international education (e.g., cross-cultural encounters, immigration, international travel, and culture shock) also get treatment, reminding us that literature fiction is often a window into emotions and ideas, and can therefore provide a medium for discussing difficult or controversial topics. Faculty and international education professionals can benefit from these works in a variety of ways, including their own professional development, student/scholar orientation preparation, and use in academic courses.
We've also included a special editor's essay, a lyrical riff on the work of J.D. Salinger as, in our final closing hours of editing this version, news broke of this influential author's passing.
Over time, as additional colleagues hopefully contribute to the GSLR, the ideas analyzed and expressed here might help us tackle these convergences in a focused way. They will ideally show that international education does matter, that, in fact, it provides a lens through which to relate all education, both experiential and classroom based, both "at home" and abroad. The reviews will also aim to comment directly on the applicability of international education to the major global issues of our time—environmental change, conflict resolution, justice and human rights, access to resources, and many more. Already, we're very pleased that more than 25 international educators volunteered to contribute to the GSLR, and that 12 different authors are featured in this inaugural version. Thank you to all of them for their excellent contributions.
We hope, ultimately, that this first GSLR inspires reactions—positive or negative. We'd like to experiment with formats and styles, and foster different perspectives using Web technologies—not an authoritative voice, but one that evolves and perhaps even contradicts. A second GSLR, with many more synopses and articles about recent books, is already in the works, and we hope to publish online later this year.
We welcome future submissions and direct your attention to the submission guidelines posted on the Web site. A new Call for Reviewers will be posted within the next few weeks.
We'd very much welcome your feedback at either Rebecca.Hovey[at]sit.edu or bgrande[at]brandeis.edu.
Rebecca Hovey and Bryan McAllister-Grande
View the articles from April.