New international studies class: Cultural Encounters and Tensions

This coming spring quarter Bellevue College has added a new course in international studies. INTST 202 Cultural Encounters and Tensions is a five-credit class scheduled on only Monday and Wednesday for two hours from 10:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

The new course is targeting those who are interested in world affairs and want to be better informed about global politics and topics. Through lectures students will gain more perspective on culture and conflict throughout the Middle East with a major focus on Islam and the West. The class will be formatted with multiple visual frameworks such as film and media clips that “bring to life the challenges and opportunities of global conflicts,” says instructor Maliah Masood.

The class is also forgoing any assigned textbook allowing the students to “design the course themselves,” said Masood. She explained that she wants to put an emphasis on today’s conflicts and policies and dealing with the contemporary world.

There are multiple discussion topics that are brought up throughout the entirety of the quarter such as public diplomacy and foreign policy, national branding and image perception as well as social media and youth culture as well as many more.

On Monday, Feb. 24, Masood held an introductory lecture discussing the various topics which will be covered in the upcoming course. Masood, an author and educator, grew up in Bellevue and was born in Karachi, Pakistan. Fluent in Urdu, French and basic Arabic, Masood traveled throughout the Middle East and spent six months in Cairo basing her introductory lecture off her experiences there and the people she met.

During the lecture Masood spoke of her travel abroad and the things that she learned. She introduced the audience to two people she met in the Middle East, Mohammad and Yasser. She explained that while the two men were Muslim they held a certain respect for the American culture. Mohammad was an avid baseball fan and knew every American team down to the logo. This led her to question what went wrong that caused such a drastic clash of our two cultures. She came to the conclusion that although the Middle East respect and love our culture, they do not like our policy.

She then went on to give the audience the same assignment, which she will be giving in her upcoming class allowing the students to get a taste of what the two-hour period will hold.

Bellevue College’s newly offered course is not abundant in diverse topics and themes, but is also a transferable credit to the Jackson School of International Studies.