At Elon we capitalize on our desire to educate what we call “global citizens,” yet we have not considered using the phrase “cosmopolitans.” Why? Taking this question as a point of departure, this course invites students to explore the intellectual history of cosmopolitanism and the similarities and differences between being ‘global’ as opposed to ‘cosmopolitan.’ The term comes from Diogenes, the Greek philosopher, who when asked where he came from, replied: “I am a citizen of the world” [kosmopolitês]. The response was intended to mean that he was not bound to the laws of the metropolis to which he had arrived. The course, therefore, will focus on one of the most basic questions with which cosmopolitan discourse has always challenged us: why do we attach ourselves to local and/or national identities? And, based on this attachment, claim or strip away one’s rights, privileges and authority? In this context, the history and the tradition of cosmopolitanism in Latin America will prove to be illuminating, as it is a compilation of cultures highly influenced by Western socio-political, philosophical and literary discourses, but at the same time one that has always had to negotiate its peripheral place vis-à-vis the European center while searching for its own coherent identity.

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