So my university has decided to create an International Studies major to reflect the growing need for specialists who are aware of other cultures and can interact with them productively. The major offers a very wide selection of courses from all kinds of departments: Anthropology, History, Geography, British Literature (that one is really big), and even Music. Only one department is conspicuously absent from the list. Namely, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. Which is also the department where most of the faculty are international. Where languages such as Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Yoruba and Arabic are taught. Where a variety of courses on the literature and culture of places other than Great Britain is offered.
I guess the general idea is that you can become a specialist in International Studies as a result of sitting in a classroom with a bunch of your fellow Americans and hearing your American professor discuss British Literature before 1789 (which is one of the courses featured prominently on the major.) Learning the languages, the literature and the culture of other countries and continents, however, does not bring you any closer to majoring in International Studies.
Somebody asked me recently on this blog what I mean when I say that the US is becoming more parochial by the second. This is the push towards parochialism in action, my friends.