Carleton College, with a generous grant from The Starr Foundation, launched a new academic program of Cross-Cultural Studies in the fall of 2000. The Cross-Cultural Studies program brings together American and international students in team-taught, interdisciplinary seminars to address and explore global issues and problems in a comparative, collaborative framework.

Through regular course work, study abroad programs, and on-campus social events, faculty and students analyze topics that cut across traditional national and cultural boundaries and share cross-cultural experiences.

The Cross-Cultural Studies program is designed to increase students’ intercultural competencies and produce graduates who are able to participate in a global society and working an increasingly multicultural and global workforce. The program also intends to attract international students who, in coming to Carleton, will experience a culture not their own, giving them an experiential basis for comparative study.

Program Structure

The Cross-Cultural Studies program helps students interested in a particular culture or tradition place that area in a broader, comparative and cross-cultural context by seeing how it participates in and is influenced by trans-national dynamics and problems. The program is designed as a minor at Carleton. A concentration is a series of related courses representing a variety of disciplines that complement work in a student’s major, whatever that may be.

Carleton faculty in such disciplines as history, religion, art, political science, sociology, anthropology, music, philosophy, and economics as well as languages will teach most courses in the program.

Students electing to participate in the Cross-Cultural Studies minor take a variety of courses in several different academic disciplines. For example, students can enroll in a first-year seminar that focuses specifically on growing up cross-culturally, viewing childhood and adolescence in comparative perspective. Students will be expected to take a second year methods course designed to explore the basic tools of conducting cross-cultural comparisons effectively. Four additional courses, including regional, comparative and globally focused courses are also required to complete the minor. These courses may include such topics as Culture, Modernity and Identity in China and Japan; Ethnography of Latin America; English and Chinese Short Stories; Myth, Ritual and Symbolism; Economy, Ecology and Culture.

Students will also complete a senior capstone seminar in which they will use their own expertise and knowledge of the country or culture they have studied to research and write an essay that compares that country’s experience to that of the United States or another country. 

For International Students Interested in Cross-Cultural Studies

With generous suppport from the Starr Foundation, Carleton is able to offer scholarship assistance to qualified students from Asia for four years of study at Carleton College leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Starr Scholars are encouraged to participate in the Cross-Cultural Studies minor and are free to pursue any major they desire. Carleton College and the Starr Foundations expect that Starr Scholars will return to their home countries or regions either after graduation from Carleton or participation in a postgraduate program.

All international students are invited and encouraged to participate in the Cross-Cultural Studies minor, and may select any major and still participate in the Cross-Cultural Studies. All international students will have a special orientation before classes start, designed to acquaint them with the College, the program, and life in the United States. Throughout the four years of study, international students will work closely with both an academic advisor who will aid in the selection of courses, and an Advisor to International Students who will assist with visas, orientation, and activities to fully integrate international students into the life of the College.