Dubai in the UAE: The Globalization of Consumerism and Community

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Program Type: Faculty-directed

Semester: Winter Break

This program explores the cultural, social, and political effects of contemporary globalization on a city that seems to represent the divergent outcomes of today’s capitalism.  Dubai has rapidly modernized in recent decades along with the rest of the country of the United Arab Emirates.  But, the Emirati community has had to struggle to reconcile the rapid economic development with norms, traditions, and attitudes.  The city has also attracted incredible wealth, but also significant population of migrants that has made Emiratis a minority in their own country.  These contradictory economic, and social conditions offer the opportunity to discuss the importance of changing contexts to cultural communities.  This tension is highlighted by the observation of the remembrance of traditions of the past in the midst of great plans for building a social and physical landscape for the future. 

Students will explore these themes in Dubai as well as in visits to other cities in the United Arab Emirates (such as Abu Dhabi and Sharjah) as well as a desert safari.  The program includes experiencing Dubai’s world famous New Year’s Eve fireworks and celebrations.