Reflecting the critical, engaged approach to scholarship practiced by faculty and students, the School of Social Science has changed its name to the School of Critical Social Inquiry.
Fall Term 2013 Courses
The U.S. is alone among the wealthy capitalist nations in not providing health insurance to all its citizens. In this course we will examine the reasons for this dubious distinction, focusing on Americans' historic distrust of government, the power of important stakeholders in medicine and insurance, the dominance of individualism in American political life and thought, and the bias toward incremental change that is built into our political institutions. We will examine the history of major heath insurance programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Veterans Affairs, the increasing problems with employment-based insurance, and the conservative push for programs based on personal responsibility. We will pay special attention to the politics and implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and will examine possible alternatives - everything from individual vouchers to a single payer system.
How does speculation on Wall Street affect wheat prices halfway across the globe? Why do most tomatoes taste so bad? Can organic farming methods feed the world? In this course, we'll use questions like these to guide our study of the economics, politics and environmental impacts of the modern industrial food system. In addition to studying and critiquing the existing system, we will spend significant time exploring more sustainable alternatives to mainstream methods of food production, distribution and consumption. Students will learn to apply economic theories studied in class to specific aspects of the food system and undertake an independent project on an alternative to mainstream food production.
This course will discuss the geographic imaginations through which the Middle East has been constructed as an entity, imagined as a space, intervened in and acted upon economically, militarily, and socially. The course’s main themes revolve around the geographies of imperialism, nationalism, capitalism, religion, and the colonial present. The course starting and ending moment is the Middle East today and the battles over what came to be commonly known as “The Arab Spring.”
Large numbers of students, particularly Latino, African American, and Native American students, disengage from school every year. Often this is in the form of "dropping out." However, there also is clear evidence that social policies as well school policies and practices work to push these students out of schools or exclude them all together. This course will examine the conditions of schooling that work to support students' formal and informal disengagement with school. We will explore what schools and their community partners can do to reengage students in schooling. We will explore research and current models of schooling that address the cultivation of a sense of belonging and community in schools. In particular, we will examine programs and schools that forefront community engagement, dialogue, racial justice, and student participation.
How and under what circumstances are non-human animals considered persons before the law? Using perspectives from anthropology, science studies, and legal studies, this course explores the shifting status of non-human animals in Anglo-American legal tradition. While our main focus will be the understanding and treatment of non-human animals in the contemporary United States, we will also examine these issues from historical and cross-cultural perspectives. Of particular interest is how scientific knowledge comes to bear on these kinds of legal questions. This course has no prerequisites, but students should expect a heavy reading load and weekly written assignments. All students interested in the moral, political and legal status of animals are welcome.
Today, newspapers speak of a decided tilt to the left in Latin America (Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Uruguay, for example, all have presidents who affirm socialism). This movement is accompanied, or propelled by, indigenous coalitions, that are challenging even governments firmly in the US orbit (Columbia and Mexico). This was not the case twenty years ago, when, to everyone's astonishment, the Zapatistas rose in revolt in Chiapas. Surfacing the same day that NAFTA went into effect-January 1, 1994, they announced a different vision of Mexico's future. The actions and writings of the Zapatistas constitute an extraordinary case study in which many preoccupations converge: the economic, the political, indigenous rights, women's rights, civil society, cultural memory, and writing that is poetic and political. Focusing on the Zapatista revolt enables us to consider an example of "local" resistance to "global" designs, the ongoing challenge to neoliberal economics and to limited conceptions of "democracy" that condemn populations to invisibility, their cultural memory to oblivion, and their needs and knowledge to subaltern status.
Please note that search tools for a transdisciplinary approach to Latin American and Latino studies are the following: HAPI, or Hispanic American Periodicals Index, and HLAS, Handbook of Latin American Studies; MLA—Modern Language Association—International Bibliography; as well as J-Stor and Project Muse.
****Besides these databases, other sources critical for studying Zapatismo are:a blog by the Oakland-based Zapatista Support Committee that posts up-to-date news from Chiapas: http://compamanuel.wordpress.com/2011/07/30/june-2011-chiapaszapatista-news-summary/ El kilombo Intergalactico http://www.elkilombo.org/: Great and up to date source. Most recent communiqués (Summer 2013) translated.
At El Kilombo Intergaláctico, we are dedicated to bringing together people from student, migrant, low-income, and people of color communities to tackle the challenges we face in Durham, NC.Mexico Solidarity Network ongoing programs in Chiapas and elsewhere in Mexico; often publishes weekly news analyses from Mexico: http://www.mexicosolidarity.org/; Subcomandante Marcos’s ZNet page, with translations from Feb. 2003 to Feb 2013 http://www.zcommunications.org/zsearch/url/subcomandantesubcomandante/znet_article Irlandesa’s library, with translations of many communiqués in 2005 and 2006 http://zaptranslations.blogspot.com/2006/05/zapatista-network.html
Spanish language sources (some with English translations):Enlace Zapatista: http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/ [some English translations] http://komanilel.org/?p=6294: mirada colectiva, desde Chiapas para el mundo http://palabra.ezln.org.mx/
has all communiqués up to 2005 by date
Sources for Mexican and contemporary Latin America are:
NACLA Report on the Americas (North American Congress on Latin America)
The Narco News Bulletin: "http://www.narconews.com"
the irc-americas program website and publications: "http://americas.irc-online.org/"
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/ Activism and politics in LA
John Ross’s Blind Man’s Buff archives: "http://johnrossrebeljournalist.com/BMBintro.html [his columns were also published in counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org;
for those who read Spanish:
Newspapers: La Jornada from Mexico: "http://www.jornada.unam.mx/" and Pagina 12 from Argentina: http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/ultimas
Today in American society we are inundated with questions regarding diet, wellness and longevity. Often used phrases such as low-fat, high fiber, no carbs, gluten-free, sugar-free, calcium-rich, anorexia, obesity, bone density, and supersize me, all offering complex messages to the public about health. At the core of this course is the interface between nutrition and the role of popular culture. Students will work on independent projects that test popular notions about diet and nutrition using a broad range of methodologies (such as, 24-hour dietary recall, diet surveys, food ethnographies, anthropometry and exercise physiology). Students will design and carry out an original project on some aspect of food, nutrition and culture. Topics in human diet and nutrition will be examined from a biocultural perspective and will include an examination of the evolution of human nutrition and gut alongside current information on things such as growth and development, nutrition and disease processes, diet and culture, anthropology, and genetics.
This course is an introduction to African art and material culture. In this class, we will focus on the major themes, ideas and debates that have shaped and continue to shape the theoretical and methodological frameworks for the studying and representation of African objects. In this class, our goal is to engage with the possibilities, problems and challenges presented by art historical, anthropological, archaeological and material culture approaches to African objects.
This class examines African objects’ pivotal role, within and external to the African continent under imperialism, colonialism and nationalism, particularly in light of collecting, museums, heritage, development and human rights. We will pay close attention to the ways in which African objects have been categorized, interpreted and displayed exploring issues such history, economics, politics and identity. We will also examine the politics and practical aspects of contemporary African cultural heritage practice by engaging with some of the associated controversies and ethical responsibilities. We consider questions such as: How did African objects arrive into nineteenth century European museums? What is the relationship between African material culture and the colonial imagination? And, how has this relationship between objects and the “invention of Africa” changed over time? Who “owns” African art? How do we work with African artifacts given international codes and conventions, yet also respect local, communal and indigenous rights?
This course examines the often contradictory impacts of economic development on gender relations in developing countries and asks: what challenges do global economic trends pose for gender equality and equity in developing countries? How do gender relations in turn shape the outcomes of economic development policies? To answer these questions, we will explore the links between development policy and gender inequality in Africa, Asia and Latin America, in the context of a globalizing world economy. Special topics to be explored through the close reading and analysis of books, scholarly articles and documentaries will include the household as a unit of economic analysis; women's paid and unpaid labor, the gendered impacts of economic restructuring, international trade, and economic crisis; the feminization of migration flows and the global labor force in the formal and informal sector, and the implications of these trends for economic development. The course will conclude with an evaluation of tools and strategies for achieving gender equity within the context of a sustainable, human-centered approach to economic development.
Introduction to Queer Studies explores the emergence and development of the field of queer studies since the 1990s. In order to do so, the course examines the relationship between queer studies and fields like postcolonial studies, gay and lesbian studies, transgender studies, disability studies, and critical race studies. Students will come away with a broad understanding of the field, particularly foundational debates, key words, theories, and concepts. As part of their research, students will explore alternative genealogies of queer studies that exceed the academy. Some questions that guide the course include: How have art, film, activism, and literature influenced the field? What people and events are critical to queer studies that may be ignored or forgotten? In this way, students will come away understanding the contours of the field, but they will also work to reimagine the field and its history.
China Rising: Reorienting the 21st Century: After a brief overview of the Maoist era, this course will examine the rapid economic, political, and social changes that have swept China in the last three decades. We will examine major issues in China's astonishingly rapid transformation from an agrarian to an industrial society (e.g. escalating inequalities, the emergence of a large migrant underclass, the crisis of rural social welfare and health care, the spread of AIDS, looming environmental crises, increasingly skewed sex ratios due to population policies) alongside the reduction of poverty, increasing freedoms, the rise of a middle class, and the emergence of consumerism as a cultural ideology. The treatment of ethnic minorities and the possibilities for a democratic transition will be considered and debated. At the end of the course we will consider the impact of China's international rise as an economic power and energy consumer on US-China relations as China challenges US global dominance.
In this class, you will be introduced to the main concepts and central problems of cultural anthropology. This course will provide you with theories and methods anthropologists have used to understand the similarities and differences of humans. While we are sure to delve into the “exotic” ideas and practices of far-away peoples, we will also investigate “strange” ideas and practices of our own. What makes a cultural anthropologist is not just who or where or even what we choose to study, but how we study it and our perspective on humankind. Anthropology helps us understand common global issues --- issues of power and social change -- through the investigation of the particular, local, cultural meanings in people’s daily lives. In this course, we explore these issues through close reading of ethnographies on a range of topics (including class, race, gender, and global migration). Students will be expected to participate actively in discussions, write short weekly commentaries, compose longer critical analytic essays, and conduct a presentation. In the end, I hope you will acquire an appreciation of the value of the anthropological perspective for understanding the global diversity of peoples and practices, as well as the complexity of processes of social change.
We enter the topic of culture and power through discussion of anthropology’s core concepts -- cultural relativism, holism, context, cross-cultural comparison, and participant observation. In this first part of the course, we will also explore the history of anthropology and different notions of culture and power. Here, we investigate anthropology’s theoretical frameworks -- evolutionism, functionalism, structuralism, interpetivism, and postmodernism. These foundational concepts and theories, covered in the take-home first essay assignment, will provide a launching pad for us to analyze contemporary ethnographies. The issues of ideology and resistance in terms of race and class in the US will be taken up in Bourgois’ In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio. This book takes up – and refutes – the idea of “a culture of poverty.” Reflecting on this, you will be asked to critique current representations of poverty in a short paper assignment. From here, we move on to the topic of ‘culture,’ transnationalism, and gender identities in What’s Love Got To Do With It? Transnational Desire and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic. Your next project will be to research and analyze an ethnography of your own choosing, on a topic of interest to you, present this analysis to the class, and write it up in a short paper. Your final take-home essay will cover the ethnographies we have read in the second part of the course, but is also comprehensive.
This course is designed for students transitioning from Division I to II to introduce the diverse methodologies employed in the social sciences, while critically considering the implications of method for the production of knowledge. What philosophical assumptions underlie our methodological choices? How does choice of method shape what we can know? Why are some methodologies privileged as more legitimate ways of knowing than others? When do methodological conventions work for or against other goals, such as community empowerment and social change? How can we make more intentional and creative methodological choices that recognize both the limits and the possibilities of knowing through engagement with others? Each week, a faculty guest speaker will share a recent research project, focusing on the "behind the scenes" stories of the methodological assumptions, dilemmas, and decisions that drove his/her research. Subsequent discussions will relate this work to the larger questions and themes of the course.
This course will provide an introduction to economics from a political economy perspective. We will examine the historical evolution and structure of the capitalist system, distinguishing it from other economic systems that have preceded it, such as feudalism, and existed alongside it, such as state socialism. Most of the class will be devoted to examining economic theories that have been developed to explain and support the operation of this system. In particular, we will study how different theories explain the determination of prices, wages, profits, aggregate output, and employment in the short run, as well as economic growth and income distribution in the long run. The relationships between economy, polity, society, and culture will all be discussed and explored. This course functions as an introduction to both micro- and macroeconomics and will prepare the student for intermediate-level work in both fields.
Too often 'Western' historical narratives consider Africans and African Diasporans as 'People Without History'. Such a notion refers to peoples who cultures do not, or possess few formally written histories. This class employs archaeological evidence in order to investigate histories of imperialism, colonialism, genocide, slavery, resistance and black nationalism, dismantling the colonial library by exploring local histories once marginalized, silenced and erased.
This course focuses on the major themes, ideas and research entailed in the historical archaeology of the Africana experience, on both sides of the Atlantic, in Africa and in the Americas. Throughout this course we will adopt an interpretive framework that draws upon the use of objects, texts and oral narratives, thereby illustrating the historical and cultural continuities between Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora. We will begin by examining archaeological evidence from West Africa, exploring the impact of the Atlantic economy on African daily social life, for example shaping settlement patterns, architecture, sociopolitical organization and sociocultural practices. We will then focus on material from North America and the Caribbean, exploring the ways in which enslaved Africans in the diaspora interpreted their conditions in the Americas, addressing topics such as social, racial, ethnic, religious and gendered identities, power and inequality, resistance and maroonage.
The focus of this course is to examine the ways in which archaeological evidence can be interpreted to understand Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora in the past. A critical component of this class will also be to understand the historical underpinnings of contemporary issues in Atlantic Africa and the African Diaspora, by tracing how the past is mobilized within the present. Whilst some of the readings address archaeological findings in detail, do not worry about the methodological aspects – our goal is to engage with the possibilities, problems and challenges presented by an archaeological approach of Atlantic Africa and the African diaspora in dialogue with other scholarly fields, in order to become critical, self-reflexive thinkers concerning the production of knowledge about the Africana experience.
Do you own your body? Who has the right to profit from your genetic materials? Does testing for genetic diseases on embryos before implantation constitute eugenics? Should one company own a patent on a genetic test for breast cancer? These questions, among others, provide the basis for an exploration of the emergence and growth of bioethics in the context of genetic research (and for the growth of genetics in the context of bioethics). Using perspectives from legal studies, ethics, anthropology, and the social studies of science, this course takes as its starting point the investigation of the close relationships and continuing tensions that have developed between the fields of genetics and bioethics in the post-WWII era. In the first part of the course, we will focus on locating what has been termed the “post-genomic age”—the period following the mapping of the human genome in 2000—and explore how ethical issues have been (re)defined in this era. We will then look at a variety of ethical debates with particular attention not only to how the ethical itself has been framed in relation to the life sciences, but also to the larger cultural, political, and economic contexts that shape the fields themselves.
One social science course (or equivalent) or permission of the instructor. Students should expect a heavy reading load and weekly written assignments.
Support for the development of this course generously provided by the Five College Culture, Health, and Science (CHS) Program. For more information about CHS including requirements for the Five College Certificate, see http://www.fivecolleges.edu/sites/chs/
Cumulative Skills: Writing and Research, Multiple Cultural Perspectives, Independent Work
According to a famous and revealing anecdote, antisemitism means hating the Jews more than necessary. Among the most perplexing things about antisemitism is its persistence. It has flourished for over two millennia in a wide variety of settings, and, despite the rise of modern multiculturalism, seems to be on the rise again. It is no wonder that it has been called the longest hatred. Among the questions we will ask: How does it relate to other forms of prejudice? What are its origins? What forms does it take, and how do they change over time? What are its religious, psychological, or social roots? What were its effects? How did the Jews respond? The course moves from from the cultural prejudices of the Classical world, through the anti-Judaic teachings of the Christian churches, to the rise of modern social, political, and racial antisemitism and their new contemporary manifestations, including the Middle East conflict.
The era of the Renaissance and Reformation (c. 1350-1550) witnessed the rise of cities and commerce, the introduction of printing and firearms, the growth of the state, stunning innovation in the arts, scholarship, and sciences, bloody struggles over religion, and the European colonization of the globe. Crucial to many of these developments was the struggle to acquire and control knowledge, generally contained in texts--increasingly, printed ones. We will thus pay particular attention to the role of communication and the "history of the book" in shaping the origins of modernity. The course devotes equal attention to primary sources and secondary literature, introducing students both to the early modern era and to the discipline of history itself. A foundational course in history, social science, humanities, and cultural studies.
This course is of interest to all Div II students who seek to incorporate a historical perspective to their work. It will cover a wide range of topics and recent methodologies such as transnational identities, immigration/migration, race and ethnicity, women's history, early modern science, visual culture, sex and the body, gender and the law. Students will have the opportunity to engage directly with archival material and critically analyze oral history methods. The readings will be located in Renaissance Europe, the early modern Mediterranean, the Black Atlantic, and Contemporary America/Transnational Sites. In addition, we'll invite other Hampshire historians to speak about their own work in Afro-American, South Asian, Middle-Eastern, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. history. The first section is devoted to reading the historical literature; the second section is a seminar devoted to an in-depth study of your own work. The aim of this course is to provide you with a foundation in historical methods, and to produce a substantial research paper for your Div. II portfolio.
Feminist political economy is a rapidly expanding field of economics that critically analyzes both economic theory and economic life through the lens of gender and advocates various forms of feminist economic transformation. But is there a need for a feminist political economy, and if so, why? How is the analysis of feminist political economy different from mainstream economic analyses of gender inequality? The class will begin with a theoretical and empirical introduction to the concerns of feminist economics. Students will then be introduced to mainstream economic explanations of gender differences and inequality which form the basis for feminist political economic critiques. We will then embark on an in-depth study of feminist economic methodology, theory, applications and policy prescriptions, and visions of a feminist economic future. The class will be run as an upper-level seminar, and students will benefit from prior knowledge of economics and/or women's and gender studies. Students will have the opportunity to carry out independent research projects on an issue of relevance to feminist political economy e.g. household economics; environmental issues; the care economy; migration; feminist economics of trade; macroeconomic policy; financial crises; welfare policy.
This course takes a transnational approach to the study of race and sexuality by exploring the centrality of the modern nation-state to our conceptions of identity, subjectivity, race, sexuality, and gender. To that end, the course focuses on transnational and postcolonial work in queer studies, feminist studies, and the history of sexuality. Because the course takes a global approach to the study of race and sexuality, students will work to make connections across time and space in class discussions, research projects, and the course blog. Topics will include: Migration and immigration; slavery; colonialism and imperialism; science and biology; citizenship and belonging.
Struggles for equity in education have always been central to African-American strategies for advancement. African-American ideas about how to make educational equity a reality, however, have varied greatly over time. This course seeks to examine how various issues in African-American education have evolved throughout the twentieth Century. The class will begin with the dynamic struggle of Boston’s African American community to desegregate public education during the pre-civil war decade. We will cover other critical campaigns in the Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Civil Rights/Black Power eras.
By exploring a range of critical perspectives on black educational history, students will begin to identify specific research questions. This course will require students to become familiar with resource materials found in the library research databases and in the W.E. B. Dubois Special Collection located at UMASS. You will also have several opportunities to develop your abilities to analyze primary documents in education during classroom discussions. Reading materials will cover a wide range of areas of education, such as school building on the local level, desegregation, competing educational philosophies, Black Colleges and Universities, school boycotts, Black teachers and Civil Rights Movement and early childhood education. You will notice many gaps in the existing literature. Much of the second half of the course will be devoted to exploring new areas of research for a final paper.
Class participation is critical to the success of this course. You are required to complete the readings for each meeting and to develop three thematic questions for class discussions. These weekly assignments require that you take some time to jot down questions as you read. Developing your own critical questions will also allow you to gradually craft research questions that will hold your interest for the duration of the project. Another important aspect of your classroom participation involves your engagement of the recommended readings. You will be required to present one of the recommended readings to the class. In preparation for the presentation, you will write a three page reading response that explores how the recommended reading informs your understanding of the topic for that week.
Professor and activist Angela Davis recently asked "Are prisons obsolete?" And Grier and Cobb once noted "No imagination is required to see this scene as a direct remnant of slavery." Since the 1980s state and federal authorities have increasingly relied on the costly and unsuccessful use of jails and prisons as deterrents of crime. This upper division course will grapple with ideas of incarceration and policing methods that contribute to the consolidation of state power and how it functions as a form of domestic warfare. This course takes a close look at how race (especially), but also class, gender, age and background intersect in shaping attitudes and perceptions towards incarceration and often determine who is incarcerated and who is not. While a number of individuals and organizations continue to push for prison abolition, dependence on advance methods of incarceration persists. As such, we will analyze the historic and contemporary tensions between incarceration and ideals of democracy, citizenship, family, community and freedom. Topics will include: criminalization, racial profiling, surveillance, and police brutality. This course will also acquaint students with many of the active local and national reform and abolition initiatives. It is expected that students have taken an introductory African American Studies or a U.S. history course prior to enrolling in this course. This course may include a community engagement component, site visit, or field trips.
This course will explore the concept of environmental human rights, focusing on indigenous rights, the environmental justice movement in the United States and abroad, and global linkages to environmental human rights law. Course materials focus on the similarities and differences between legislative, administrative, judicial and international organization responses to toxic and hazardous environmental conditions. We will ask questions such as: who has power, and how do those in power interface with communities most affected by environmental injustices? We will discuss legal concepts of "property", "fundamental human rights" and "justice". Readings will consist of first person accounts, seminal legal cases, primary source documents for international organizations and treaties, news articles, law review articles, academic journal articles and academic analyses. Writing assignments include two short response papers, a 12-15 page final paper and a group-authored summary report.
Over the past seven years brutal and intensely visible forms of violence have increased drastically in Mexico. Most people who come in contact with these forms of violence do so through media representations, and most of these media accounts contain, overtly or covertly, an official logic that blames victims for their violent deaths while celebrating the very increase in such deaths as a sign that the State’s policy of militarization is “winning.” In this class we will question common understandings of what constitutes violence. We will examine how certain acts of violence are portrayed in media discourse, while others are banished from such discourse. We will read and analyze both short and long-form works of journalism on the “drug war” in Mexico published between 2007 and 2012. We will briefly consider the historical and political contexts of drug policy in the United States and Mexico. We will build a theoretical network of ideas from decolonial and critical thinkers from Latin America, Africa, India, the Pacific Islands, North America and Europe. We will apply these analytical tools to the so-called “drug war” in Mexico to study how visible and invisible forms of violence are exercised and disguised in language and in the streets.
The structure of the course will be somewhat cyclical. We will begin with discussion. We will then read English-language media reports on the “drug war” in Mexico published between 2007 and 2012. We will then move through several theory-history cycles, constantly referencing and re-reading the media texts with which we began. We will consider a few other forms of writing such as reports produced by non-governmental human rights organizations and government policy reports. We will read Mexican journalists covering the “drug war” whose work was published between 2007 and 2012 and whose writing has been translated into English. We will compare the NGO and government documents and the Mexican’s writing with the initial set of media texts. We will consider various approaches to writing that take an explicit stand against violence.
Students often approach the field of psychology with a desire to both understand themselves and to help alleviate the suffering of others. Many are also motivated by a desire to work towards social justice. Yet psychology and the mental health disciplines, along with their myriad forms of inquiry and intervention, are inextricably entangled with current social and political arrangements. This course will survey the vast field of psychology from a critical perspective, problematizing and inquiring about psychological methods, practices, and philosophical assumptions with the intent of coming to understand how psychology has come to be such a potent and undetectable sociopolitical force. By inquiring about how psychological knowledge shapes and defines how we come to self-understanding and what we believe it means to be properly human, we will explore how these understandings support or challenge existing arrangements of power and privilege. A prior college-level course in psychology is a prerequisite for enrollment. Students should be committed to submitting twice-weekly commentary on assigned readings, reaction papers, a mid-term paper, and to initiate and complete a final paper project of their own design by the end of the course.
Independence from British rule saw colonial India being partitioned into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan in 1947. This 'event' was accompanied by riots, genocidal ethnic violence and led to the displacement of over 15 million people. This course is designed as an exploration of the many meanings of this watershed in South Asian history. Beginning with the 'high politics' of partition, we will move on to exploring common people's experience and memories of partition, 'from below'. Causes of religious hatred, the refugee crisis, memory and fiction on partition will be some major themes. The continuing relevance of partition in the politics, society and culture of South Asia today will be explored in detail, using the broadest range of sources (newspapers, films, primary historical sources, creative writing, interviews and documentaries). This course will be of interest to all students interested in exploring the inter-relationship between conflict, history, gender and memory.
This course looks closely at the radical imagination expressed in the writing and activism of poet Claude McKay, performer Paul Robeson, and activist-theorist Assata Shakur. The scholar Anthony Bogues has written that Africana intellectual work is centrally concerned with the moment of rupture; when black subjectivity dislodges from western epistemology. This course asks how that moment of rupture can be traced in the activist careers of McKay, Robeson, and Assata. What does their lives and writing offer us concerning the development of Africana intellectual thought? As figures experiencing different degrees of alienation, this course will also engage with questions of home, exile, citizenship, and diaspora in the shaping of liberatory projects that challenge American liberalism and western imperialism.
This course explores contemporary debates over the role of religion and science in public policy, specifically in the areas of sexuality and reproduction. We look both at claims that science and religion are inevitably in conflict, as well as arguments for their compatibility. We will investigate the FDA's refusal to approve over the counter distribution of emergency contraception; claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the debates over public funding for abstinence-only sexuality education, and coverage of abortion and contraception in the Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage. We will look at these issues in the context of broader societal debates over creationism and intelligent design and challenges to claims about the objectivity of science. Students are required to participate in class discussions, give an oral presentation, write short essays based on the readings and a final research paper or project.
This course explores two related concepts-hybridity and authenticity-that underlie contemporary conflicts over cultural identity and representation. While the hybrid is often charged with being inauthentic or fake, claims to authenticity are frequently criticized for being reactionary or exclusive. Such conflicts are increasingly common in a globalizing world where people's lives and livelihoods straddle multiple and often contending communities, where cultural identities are aggressively marketed for consumption, and where paradoxically the desire for authenticity-for home-may be greater than ever. When and why do we feel the need to claim an authentic self? What purposes do such claims serve? And how might we embrace our hybridities as a source of both personal and political identity? We will take the "mixed race" experience as our primary lens while interrogating the ways that racial categories intersect with other axis of power and difference in the making of selves, identities, and communities.
Distribution Requirement: Power, Community and Social Justice
Cumulative Skills: Multiple Cultural Perspectives, Writing and Research