Political Science Students Take on the International Debt Crisis

Professor Xiofei Li teaches in York College’s Political Science Program. This semester, students in her Contemporary Global Issues class created video projects investigating the international debt crisis.

As a Global Citizenship Foundation course, the Contemporary Global Issues class aims to help students gain greater insight into current issues facing the world today. In this case, students were asked to think about people in countries with significant levels of debt. Particularly, which of the effects and feelings were being felt by these people? How did the recent financial crisis compare to the international debt crisis? What were the links?

To visualize this matter, students were required to make a skit of a family in debt with creditors in the U.S. They wrote their own script following certain lines. They also rehearsed and acted out various roles. Finally, they recorded their acting and made it a small, coherent play. The purpose of this project was to show the story of this family’s debt situation is very similar to the history of the international debt problem. In the form of a forum theater, students eventually came to see these parallels while increasing their global awareness.

They noticed exploding adjustable interest rates were used in both situations. They compared family’s sacrifice of private school, health care plans to the IMF demanding that countries reduce public spending on health and education. They also equated daughter’s acting out to poverty breeding instability in the debt-stricken countries, as well as a payday loan in the family setting to lack of accountability from IMF and World Bank. Finally yet importantly, student’s final product shows that they from various disciplines were able to utilize their specialties and talents to collaborate and to achieve their common task.

Check out their project below!

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