Globalization is already a part of our everyday life. Capital, technology, labor and culture are leaping over national borders, moving and circulating with speed. And problems related to the environment, human rights, and other critical concerns are emerging as pending issues demanding actions on a global scale beyond the national unit. Our lives in the 21st century are rooted in a transnational matrix in which solutions for these problems cannot be found with the nation-state framework. A return to the nation-state system and nationalism is an anachronistic way of thinking that ignores the realities of life in the 21st century.
Critical global studies at Sogang University starts from the outlook that 'globalization from below' is the alternative to the 'globalization from above' dominated by power and capital. From the perspective of 'globalization from below', it is our position that critical global studies is the desirable political, academic, and ethical orientation in dealing with global inequalities. Critical global studies rejects both the humanities of the empire that erases the differences of human life and the diversity of human experience in the name of 'universality' and the humanities of the nation that essentializes them in the name of 'particularity'. The vision of humanities must transcend the artificial boundary formations regarding humans such as nation, class, gender, race, culture, civilization, and religion and ultimately be open to 'humankind'.
In that it is open to 'humankind', critical global studies is a project of recovering the original vision of the humanities. The vision of CGSI that starts from facing the realities of our 21st century living rooted in a transnational matrix can be summarized in the following 4T keywords:
1. Transnational – go beyond national boundaries to develop global ethics and epistemology.
2. Transregional – deconstruct both Orientalism and Occidentalism and cultivate democratization of scholarship.
3. Transdisciplinary – establish theoretical/practical groundwork for research that aims to cross the borders of knowledge and ideas and yet move beyond interdisciplinary modes of inquiry.
4. Transinstitutional – establish networks that surpass the boundaries of educational and research institutions to create and expand transcultural and transdisciplinary collaborations.
CGSI has the ultimate mission of presenting through the 4 'trans' keywords the theoretical and academic vision regarding 'globalization from below' as an alternative to 'globalization above'.