Critical Social Inquiry Course Web Sites
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.
Spring Term 2014 Courses
CSI-0114: Politics of Health Insurance
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 health 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. Go to the course website.
CSI-0116: Cultures of the African Diaspora
This course will deepen students' knowledge of the African diaspora through the study of what some scholars have called "Africanisms," a broad term that seeks to capture the wide array of technical skills, artistic practices, religious and spiritual beliefs, philosophies, linguistic patterns, and epistemologies that derive from the African continent and take root around the world. Though many of these practices continue in the present day, they are as likely to be found throughout the African diaspora in places such as the Panamanian city Coln, the Brazilian state of Bahia, and New York City as they are in Africa. In this course we will interrogate such concepts as "survivals," "retentions," and "the black Atlantic," and study critical debates between such major figures as E. Franklin Frazier, Melville Herskovitz, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ruth Simms Hamilton, Sheila S. Walker, Joseph E. Harris and others over the meaning of African culture in the New World.Go to the course website.
CSI-0119: Material Culture, Commodities and Consumption in Africa and the African Diaspor
What is the connection between the consumption of colonial postcards in Senegal, cosmetic products in Zimbabwe, African-American bric-a-brac during segregation, second-hand clothing in Zambia, Coca-Cola in Trinidad, and African art in New York? This course examines two central themes for material culture studies: commodities and consumption. Consumption is a process that enables people to reproduce themselves as social beings, as well as the maintenance and reproduction of social relationships, giving commodities 'value'. This course adopts an historical approach, tracing the evolution of the study of commodities and consumption in Africa and the African Diaspora. How does object consumption take on new meanings in different historical, political, social and economic contexts? How does the consumption of objects document ties spanning the seemingly remote into the global community? What is the relationship between consumption, commodities and identity? Adopting approaches from the disciplines of history, archaeology, anthropology and material culture studies, we explore the consumption of commodities as a politicized process addressing issues such as colonialism, globalization, citizenship, race, ethnicity, class, gender, power and inequality.Go to the course website.
CSI-0130: Interrogating Gandhi: Beyond the Myth of the Mahatma (Great Soul)
One of the most enigmatic political leaders of the modern period, M.K. Gandhi remains a controversial figure. On one hand, he is celebrated as the father of the Indian nation and an apostle of non-violence, and on the other hand viewed as a wily politician and a patriarch with problematic views of gender and sexuality. In his lifetime, thousands saw him as a saint, while others (mainly Hindu nationalists) reviled him as a traitor to Indian nationalism and blamed him for the partition of India. This course investigates these multiple myths and images around Gandhi in order to understand which, if any of these, have any historical validity. Using Gandhi's own writings and the words of his contemporary admirers and detractors, it attempts to go beyond these binaries and instead explore his biography, his politics and his philosophy in their full complexity. Go to the course website.
CSI-0139: Writing The Urban Experience
Tumultuous and robust, American cities have certainly enjoyed a rich history. As this course is primarily a writing seminar, we're particularly interested in how Americans have given voice to their urban experience, beginning with the literary realism of the late 19th century and culminating in the various expressions of the hip-hop culture of today. Are there universals in the urban story? How and why do shifting populations tell different stories? We'll read history, biography, autobiography, journalism, fiction, and poetry in order to understand the tensions that have informed urban life. More importantly, we'll also study these writings with an eye towards adopting their approaches in our own critical and creative written assignments.Go to the course website.
CSI-0150: Fighting Over the Facts: History as Debate
Many people have learned and are accustomed to thinking of history as an authoritative account of the past, based on indisputable facts. Scholars of history, by contrast, understand history as a matter of contested and evolving interpretation: debate. And they argue not just over the interpretation of facts, but even over what constitutes a relevant fact. This course will use some representative debates to show how dynamic the historical field is. Topics may include: Did women have a Renaissance? How did people in early modern France understand identity? Why did eighteenth-century French artisans find the torture and slaughter of cats to be hilarious rather than cruel? Were Nazi killers who committed genocide motivated by hatred or peer pressure? Are European Jews descended from medieval Turks rather than biblical Hebrews? Students will come to understand how historians reason and work. In so doing, they themselves will learn to think historically.
Go to the course website.
CSI-0151: Camelot and Crisis: Writing About the Kennedy Era
To this day, the charm of the Kennedy style and the drama of the Kennedy assassination disguise the mounting critique of American society during the first half of the 1960s. Upon closer examination, the criticism appears not only prescient but quite artful in its presentation. We will explore the social and political particulars under question - and also look to the writing as models for our own prose. We will devote considerable time to the development of effective writing strategies. Readings will include the work of Eqbal Ahmad, James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, Rachel Carson, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Betty Friedan, Michael Harrington, Joseph Heller, Jules Henry, Harper Lee, C. Wright Mills, and William Appleman Williams. Go to the course website.
CSI-0154: Getting to College: Access, Awareness, and Community Partnerships
Why do some students think about college as the natural next step in their education, while others do not consider college as an available option? What are the various factors that influence college access and what types of resources and programming contribute to the inclusion and retention of first generation and underserved students in college and universities. This course will build upon the outreach efforts of the Critical Studies of Childhood, Youth and Learning program (CYL) by acquainting students interested in education studies, youth mentoring & leadership, and youth development with the research on college access and retention. Students will explore the history of higher education with regard to educational access as well as the significance of early college awareness for students from underserved communities. Enrolled students will be required to participate in a semester-long community-based, college awareness project.Go to the course website.
CSI-0163: The Politics/Poetics of Space
In this course, we will examine the politics and poetics of space and the built environment. Space, broadly conceived, is not merely a physical manifestation of social processes that are embedded within it; rather, all social relations are fundamentally spatial. Accordingly this course looks at the social, political, and economic relations that produce space, focusing on urbanization and the spatial production of cities of the Global South and the Global North. We will specifically examine cities as produced by a set of contradictions: 1) cities as sites of wealth accumulation shaped by social and spatial inequalities and forms of contestation along constructed lines of difference- whether class, gender, racial, or religious, yet also 2) cities as hopeful sites imbued with ideals of democracy and citizenship, change and possibilities. Through this engagement with cities and their spaces, the class will also highlight how cities are shaped simultaneously by local processes of society, politics, and space, as well as transnational and global circulations of capital, finance, and diaspora. Go to the course website.
CSI-0169: Migration through Film
The dramatic increase in transnational migrations has prompted new debates by policymakers, activists, and scholars over the expanding global economy, cultural diversity and tolerance, and national and human security. We cannot intelligently engage these debates without first understanding the reasons for these migrations and the perspectives of migrants themselves. Using documentaries, feature films, and ethnographic works, this course will explore a variety of migrant lives and the processes that structure them. Why do people decide to go abroad? What effect does their migration have on communities at home? What is it like to be a migrant worker; to grow up as the "second generation"; to have a transnational family? What are the conditions of trafficked women and refugees? And finally, how do these experiences differ according to geography, citizenship, class, gender, age, ethnicity, race and religion? Through class discussions and analytic essays, students in the course will critically explore transnationalisms and compare and contrast the ways migrants are represented in films, public discourse, and in anthropology.Go to the course website.
CSI-0171: Puerto Ricans, Colonialism, Rebellion, and Diaspora Communities
There is growing interest in studying empire and citizenship in a postcolonial context. Yet, how can this perspective apply to delocalized Puerto Rican communities? In order to address this question, we will study conquest, colonial "encounters," and empire formation in the Americas, with a particular emphasis on Puerto Rico's unique position in the Atlantic world. This seminar will analyze Puerto Rico, its Diaspora, and its decolonial struggles, commencing from the Spanish conquest and the U.S. invasion, through the mass migration of Puerto Ricans after World War II into the U.S. We will examine how the scattered Puerto Rican nation developed in relation to European and U.S. expansion. We will begin with the emergence of the transoceanic movement of peoples and commodities to examine how ordinary Puerto Ricans became involved in the global economy and how their social and historical experiences overlapped with other racialized/colonized communities. We will also consider how local and global processes shaped social movements, anti-colonial struggles, transnational initiatives, Diaspora narratives, poetic visions, literary voices, and cultural/aesthetic agency. Go to the course website.
CSI-0178: Race and the Queer Politics of the Prison State
This course explores the history and politics of gender and sexuality in relation to the racial politics of prisons and the police. By engaging recent work in queer studies, feminist studies, transgender studies, and critical prison studies, we will consider how prisons and police have shaped the making and remaking of race, gender, and sexuality from slavery and conquest to the contemporary period. We will examine how police and prisons have regulated the body, identity, and populations, and how larger social, political, and cultural changes connect to these processes. While we will focus on the prison itself, we will also think of policing in a more expansive way by analyzing the racialized regulation of gender and sexuality on the plantation, in the colony, at the border, in the welfare office, in the hospital, among other spaces, historical periods, and places. Go to the course website.
CSI-0181: West African Dance, African Independence Struggles and the Making of Revolutionary Nationalism
This course will combine West African dance classes, conducted with the help of musicians who will provide live drumming for each class, and discussion based classes on the cultural and social history of Guinea. Students will explore West African aesthetics as represented in the music and dance traditions of Guinea by engaging in the dance, watching films of performances and celebrations, and reading recent scholarship on the role that national dance companies, such as Les Ballets Africains, played in the anti-colonial, revolutionary nationalist politics of Guinea. The literature will include broader social histories of the struggle for independence and as well as cultural analysis of recurring themes such as authenticity and modernity. We will discuss the ways in which dance figured into the forging of national identity during the Independence era and consider how these projects in self-making evolved over time as the challenges of the post-colonial era constrained and informed the possibilities for such a project.Go to the course website.
CSI-0202: Africa, Islam and Slavery
This course explores Islam, the slave trade and slavery in Africa. The slave trade and slavery is an often-unacknowledged tradition in the 'Islamic world'. We will begin by examining Qur'anic and Islamic jurisprudence regarding slavery. Then, against the backdrop of slavery in early Islamic empires, we will proceed to slavery in East, West and Southern Africa, and the African Diaspora. Including readings from archaeology, history and anthropology, the course will explore the ways in which local interpretations of Islam influenced understandings of slavery by situating them within specific historical, political, socio-cultural and geographic locales. Examining the connections between Islam and slavery, and more specifically, labor, rebellion and manumission, we will also explore the role of the enslaved as rulers, soldiers and concubines. In addition, we will enrich our understandings of Islam and contemporary slavery in Africa.Go to the course website.
CSI-0209: The Rivals: US-China Geopolitics in the 21st Century
This course will examine the impact of China's rise on international affairs generally and US-Chinese relations in particular. It will focus especially on issues of contention in US-Chinese relations: Taiwan, North Korea, Iran, energy competition, trade, the environment and so on. Students will be expected to select a particular problem for research in depth. Go to the course website.
CSI-0210: Intro to Economics
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. Students are expected to spend at least six to eight hours a week of work outside of class time.Go to the course website.
CSI-0211: Queerness and Capitalism
In his 1983 essay "Capitalism and Gay Identity," John D'Emilio argued that homosexuality was made possible by the rise of capitalism. Since then, queer scholars have worked to explore more fully the relationship between economics and sexuality. This course will explore debates in queer studies about Marxism; race and class; capital and immigration; neoliberalism and gay rights; labor and queer identity; anti-capitalism and trans politics; among others. We will begin reading selections from Marx's Capital: Vol. 1 to understand the foundation of the study of capitalism, and then we will explore the ways that queer scholars, artists, and activists have modified, challenged, and rewritten Marxist theories, or invented entirely new conceptions of the economic. Go to the course website.
CSI-0215: From Choice to Justice: The Politics of the Abortion Debate
Abortion rights continue to be contested in the U.S. and throughout the world. Since the legalization of abortion in the U.S. in 1973, there have been significant erosions in abortion rights and access to abortion. Harassment of abortion clinics, providers, and clinic personnel by opponents of abortion is routine, and there have been several instances of deadly violence. This course examines the abortion debate in the U.S., looking historically at the period before legalization up to the present. We explore the ethical, political and legal dimensions of the issue and investigate the anti-abortion and abortion rights movements. We view the abortion battle in the U.S. in the wider context of reproductive justice. Specific topics of inquiry include: abortion worldwide, coercive contraception and sterilization abuse, welfare rights, population control, and the criminalization of pregnancy.Go to the course website.
CSI-0216: Framing Blackness: African Americans and Mass Media
In the 1970s artist Gil Scott Heron announced, "the revolution will not be televised." In the 1990s critic bell hooks observed a direct relationship between oppressive images via mass media and the maintenance of global white supremacy. And today, professor Jared Ball writes, "all that is popular is fraudulent." This course takes these perspectives into serious consideration while exploring the complex relationship between African Americans and the function of mass media in the United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Using an African American Studies interdisciplinary framework that incorporates political history as well as popular culture, this course begs the question of how media influences the perception of Black people in the U.S. and the world. Importantly, this course will also look at contemporary visionary efforts to challenge dominant stereotypic images of African Americans and communities of color in the media and their participation in current media justice efforts. FILMS & OTHER VISUAL/AUDIO MATERIALS WILL BE DISPLAYED AND VIEWED DURING OUR COURSE MEETINGS UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED. Go to the course website.
CSI-0218: Litigating Guantanamo
This seminar will track the case of Boumediene v. Bush from the filing of the initial writ of habeas corpus to the Supreme Court's decision. The course will explore the anatomy of a constitutional/human rights litigation in uncharted legal waters, including the conflict over the correct legal frameworks to apply-law of war, international human rights law, U.S. criminal law. The course will also review the use of torture at Guantanamo and the practices that were then exported to Abu Ghraib. You will learn the history of the Guantanamo prison camp; the advocacy strategies employed by lawyers representing the detainees; the legal theories advanced on behalf of the detainees to challenge indefinite imprisonment without charge and those proffered by the Department of Justice to justify the detentions; the legal procedures the U.S. put in place (combatant status review tribunals, military commissions); and Congress's efforts to remove habeas protections. Go to the course website.
CSI-0221: Culture, Politics, and Policy in Europe
Traditionally anthropology has been conceived as the study of non-Western cultures, but contemporary critical approaches focus the ethnographic lens on Europe. This move was accompanied, perhaps even prompted, by an historic shift in anthropology from studying self-contained "communities" to questioning the construction of geographic categories such as "Europe" itself. After exploring this shift, this course examines the on-the-ground effects of recent political, economic, and cultural transformations here and individual roles in these changes. Themes to explore include the fall of communism or "postsocialism", new transnational migrations, rising multiculturalisms and xenophobias, European Union integration, and neoliberalism. Throughout, we will keep a close eye on the dynamic intersections of race, class, gender, citizenship, and ethnicity. Students will explore these themes through close reading of several ethnographies and careful study of a few films, class discussions and short writing assignments, and an independent research paper on a topic of their choice. Go to the course website.
CSI-0224: U.S. Environmental Law and Policy: The Role of Activism
This course will explore the legal regime in the United States in which citizens and activists work to protect public health and the environment, and various approaches to environmental activism. How does the law help protect us and our environment? What are its shortfalls? Who are the stakeholders in this system? What can you do to make change happen? We will explore the law and policy around major environmental issues including global climate change, mass toxic chemical exposure, environmental impacts of the industrial food system and more, through analyzing the different approaches, values and impacts of environmental activists dedicated to these issues. The different kinds of activism we will analyze in this course include: 1. direct action and eco-terrorism; 2. formal legal action; 3. grassroots activism; 4. corporate social responsibility work, and; 5. artivism. In addition to assigned readings, students will watch a collection of topical environmental documentaries and films. Coursework will include weekly short writing assignments responding to questions posted on Moodle, a medium-length reflective paper on an environmental action you will take (details below) and a semester-long project focused on an environmental activist or activist group culminating in a final written report and in-class presentation.Go to the course website.
CSI-0226: Past Performed: Creative Reconstructions of Oral History
This course immerses students in a creative process of hearing, interpreting and performing voices from the past. The voices are of ordinary people, describing their extra-ordinary experiences of living through the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Through a combination of creativity and historical inquiry, students explore what it means to 'hear' a voice from a different culture and time. In the first part of the course, students will engage with documentaries and historical writings to contextualize the people's memories of partition. In the second part, students learn about the interpretative methods used by oral historians and use them to develop their own method of 'hearing'. The final and culminating part of the course conceptualizes hearing as an active and creative process. Students use creative formats, such as acting, dance, movement etc. to reinterpret and perform voices from the past. No prior knowledge of South Asia is necessary, but some experience or comfort with performance and creativity is recommended.
Go to the course website.
CSI-0230: Middle Eastern Economics
The Uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have had a profound impact on the political economy of authoritarian regimes within the region as well as academic frameworks used to explain them. This course examines the economics of the MENA region and asks the following questions: Do the uprisings represent failures of the developmental state, neo-liberalism, or authoritarian regimes? How does human development within MENA compare to other regions in the developing world? To what extent does either religion or oil explain economic outcomes? What impact will the upheaval associated with the uprisings themselves have on the economies of the different countries? The course will explore these questions through theoretical readings, case studies from Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf as well as guest speakers from within or specializing in the region. Go to the course website.
CSI-0235: Childhood and Time
How do we understand childhoods as temporary states of being, and childhood itself as a temporal construct? How does time play a role across children's lives? How might children's ideas about and experiences of time differ from adults' ideas about and experiences of time? How do children imagine time in relation to themselves? In this course we explore time and temporality as a window onto children's self-experiences and adults' ideas about children and childhood. We will explore perspectives on time and childhood through readings in sociology, psychology, children's literature, and childhood studies, and a combination of analytic and creative assignments. Students are invited to integrate their interest in particular artistic media with their social analytic work. Go to the course website.
CSI-0237: Organizing in the Whirlwind: Twentieth Century Social Movements
This course will explore the organizing efforts of African-Americans during the twentieth century. We will examine activism in both rural and urban sites and in cross-class, middle-class and working-class organizations. The readings will provide critical perspectives on how class, educational status, and gender shape the formation, goals, leadership styles and strategies of various movements. Some of the movements include the lobbying and writing of Ida B. Wells, the cross-regional efforts of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the post-WWII radical union movement in Detroit and the local 1199 hospital workers union movement in New York. By extending our exploration over the course of the twentieth century, we will trace the development of various organizing traditions and consider their long-term impact on African-American political activism and community life. A perspective that consistently engages the ways in which African Americans respond and locate themselves within larger global transformations will provide an important frame for our discussions. Go to the course website.
CSI-0249: Critical Ethnography: Following the Chinese Food
In this course, we will use the method of critical ethnography to explore food as a system that connects individuals and communities, locally and globally. Students will carry out a multi-sited ethnographic research project that begins with a question about food, whether about production and consumption, identity and belonging, health and environment, memory and desire, community and activism. Students will "follow the food" wherever their questions take them-from table to market to factory to farm-and be guided through the process of posing ethnographic questions, conducting fieldwork and interviews, writing fieldnotes and other forms of ethnographic documentation, and engaging throughout in the critical, reflexive act of interpretation and writing. As part of the Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment, this year we will focus as a class on following the "Chinese food" as it connects consumers and producers, individuals and communities, from Western Mass to Boston to China.
Prerequisite: Students should enter this course with a viable research project in mind and ready to begin fieldwork by the third week. In this course, students are expected to spend 8-10 hours a week of preparation and work outside of class time. In addition to reading assignments, this time includes weekly fieldwork, conducting and transcribing interviews, and writing fieldnotes, memos, and other forms of ethnographic documentation.Go to the course website.
CSI-0250: Revolution through Collaboration: Theories and Practices of Peer Mentoring in Speaking
This interactive seminar for students selected to work as peer mentors with Hampshire's Transformative Speaking Program will provide an opportunity to help shape the work of a new discipline immerging at the intersections of education, politics, communications, philosophy, and critical social thought: peer mentoring in speaking. Students will grapple with questions about the political function of peer mentoring as it relates to academic institutions and broader society-from assimilationist interpretations to revolutionary agendas-paying particular attention to the negotiation of difference (racial, cultural, gender, linguistic, etc.) in mentoring sessions. Students will explore related research and juxtapose competing arguments about what makes for powerful speaking and how it should best be taught, participate in a mentoring practicum, strengthen their own speaking skills, and form their own philosophies-in-progress in response. Go to the course website.
CSI-0251: Politics,property & Land Use
This course focuses on the political, economic, ideological, social and cultural dimensions of South Asian migration to the United States as a case study for investigating processes of U.S. racial formation. In particular, we will unpack both the "exceptionality" of elite migration form South Asia (the "model minority") and the post-9/11 category of South Asian/Arab/Muslim within the larger context of South Asian diaspora (hi)stories. We will begin, roughly, with Indian labor migration with the system of British colonial indenture in the Americas, proceed through the "free" labor migration of workers in the colonial and post-colonial period, and conclude with the place of South Asia and South Asians in the US-led war on terror. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, working with social theory and history as well as literature, film, and music. Our primary analytic lens will be critical race theory, broadly construed to interrogate the interrelationships between hierarchies of race, gender, class, sexuality, nation and religion. Go to the course website.
CSI-0252: Exploring Youth Oppression: Age as a Social Justice Issue in Schools and Communities
What are prevailing constructions of childhood and youth in our society? Who do these constructions serve? Who benefits, and who is impacted? In what ways do young people respond to and challenge these constructions? This interactive seminar invites students to grapple with discourses of childhood in order to develop an analysis of youth oppression as a social justice issue. As a learning community, we will examine the period of childhood/youth in the lifespan as a socially constructed age status that impacts young people's lives while serving dominant political, social and economic interests. An exploration of youth led models of social justice will support envisioning possibilities to transform oppressive practices from multiple perspectives. These perspectives provide for a critical view of where young people are located in political and economic life. Through research and informed dialogue, we will envision stronger and more equitable partnerships between young people and adults in community and education settings.Go to the course website.
CSI-0256: Framing Climate Change: Who's Taking the Heat for Global Warming?
Climate change is one of the most important environmental, social, economic and political challenges of our time. While there is now widespread scientific agreement about its causes, considerable controversy exists over its potential effects and what measures should be taken to address it. This course will look at the competing ways climate change is framed by different actors, including governments, international agencies, energy companies, militaries, environmental movements, celebrities, politicians, and social justice activists. What rhetorical and political strategies do different actors employ? How is popular culture implicated? How do race, gender and economic inequalities shape vulnerabilities and responses to climate change nationally and internationally? Go to the course website.
CSI-0262: Women in Business
Since 1982, women have earned college degrees at a higher rate than men. Yet in 2011, female full-time workers made only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and in 2013 only 4.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. This course is designed to provide students with ideas, information, and insights about women's experiences in business. The course will look at women's experiences both historically and currently, exploring the dynamics of power, leadership and access, and considering how this may inform and shape strategies to change the landscape for women in business. Joining us throughout the semester will be a range of Hampshire alumnae and friends who have successfully navigated careers in the business world. Students in the course will also have the opportunity to consider the ways in which their future goals may intersect with business, either directly or indirectly.Go to the course website.
CSI-0263: Encounter With the Past
Students and their parents see the value of their life histories in the classroom and they become more engaged with projects that draw from cultural-familial knowledge. How are teachers drawing from these sources of knowledge? What are the struggles of integrating children's community/family histories into schools? Does the integration of pedagogies of the home/family histories necessarily disrupt educators' deficit thinking? What does the process of integrating one's silenced history into school mean for under-represented/marginalized/silenced children and their families? How do educators work in solidarity with families for the education of children? We will draw from social and cultural foundations of education literature that highlights epistemologies and pedagogies exploring the intersection of cultural-familial knowledge and educational environments. While delving into the literature that addresses critical family history and oral history as pedagogical tools, we will engage in telling, writing, and researching our own critical family histories. Go to the course website.
CSI-0267: Economics and the Environment
How much environmental degradation is too much? How should we value intangible goods like environmental quality? Who wins and who loses from environmental degradation? In this survey course, we will examine how the theories of neoclassical, ecological and political economics have been used to answer these questions. Using these economic lenses, we will analyze a range of issues related to pollution and natural resource use, with special attention to climate change. We will also consider the policy prescriptions of these economic approaches and compare them to existing and proposed environmental policies. This theory-based survey class is appropriate for Division II students with some background in environmental and/or economic issues, though formal training in economic theory is not required. Some assignments will have a creative option and quantitative reasoning will be assessed through a student-led cost-benefit analysis of environmental goods.Go to the course website.
CSI-0271: Global War on Terror
SS 272 Global War on Terror The events following the attacks of September 11, 2001 were as shocking as the events of the actual day. The U.S. Attorney General's office created a new architecture for the way we treat suspected terrorists: Numerous anti-terrorism, surveillance, communications laws, material support statutes, and immigration restrictions, were passed. Various constitutional protections thought to be extended to all persons alike--citizens, legal residents, visitors, undocumented residents-were restricted. Is this framework an unprecedented response to a dangerous new world in which technology can be used remotely, religion functions as a commitment to certain modes of politics, and the government is trying to protect the safety of its citizens? What kinds of new paradigms does the War on Terror breed for us? Can we find this framework in other moments in history? In this course, we will read a range of historical, political, and theoretical materials in order to answer this question. Prefer that enrolled students have had one course in political philosophy, ethics, or legal or social theory. Go to the course website.
CSI-0275: Addressing "Wicked Problems" Through Critical Approaches to Planning
"Wicked Problems" are complex, ever changing, and resistant to simple solutions; they require transformative and purposeful innovation. In urban studies, the challenges posed by economic and social inequality, the need to plan for multiple publics, and the distancing of residents from public space and access to planning processes, suggest a number of questions: What do we need to understand about the people who seek to participate in, and are impacted by, spatial (and social) planning as we try to foster more equitable and sustainable living and working environments? How do we design methods for understanding the experience of multiple publics in places that are undergoing constant change and need to respond to a diverse constituency? Where are the spaces in which to experiment with improvisational and flexible forms of intervention that might open up new economic and social opportunities? These and other questions will be explored in this course through case studies of urban intervention methodologies and practices. Mid semester we will pair with a sister course in social entrepreneurship to both combine our collective learning and work collaboratively on a shared project. This project(s0) will bring students together to share, re-purpose and utilize the various approaches they have learned about social enterprise development and urban planning/design to creatively address an identified need on campus.Go to the course website.
CSI-0276: What is Psychotherapy?
The mental health professions offer a range of approaches for the treatment of human suffering but there is often little explanation as to what the various treatments are and how they are thought to work. A central question this class will pursue is on what basis should one choose a psychotherapist and psychotherapy? We will examine what psychotherapy is from a range of perspectives with the intention of developing a moral and ethical framework through which psychotherapeutic practice can be critically understood. We will explore how shifting cultural values, economic changes in health care funding and accessibility, and the modern era's emphasis on efficiency and parsimony among other factors, contribute to the popular understandings about mental health treatment. Prerequisite: Some prior undergraduate background in psychology.Go to the course website.
CSI-0279: Death from Childbirth? Millennial Development Goals and Exploring the Role of Health Disparities and Childbirth in Understanding Global Female Health
This course examines the biological, cultural, and political frameworks that put females at risk for high rates of morbidity and mortality. Using the (8) Millennial Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations and its partners to frame our conversations, we will work to understand the UNs targeted programs. We will unpack the complex global issues that reproductive aged women face, and investigate how obstetric death rates can be used as a litmus test to understanding the underlying health contexts, disparities, and political/cultural systems that impact wellness. We will juxtapose the roles of biological health, specifically pregnancy and birth, with cultural practices, to consider other factors that adversely impact women's health including: endemic and epidemic diseases, domestic violence, and structural violence. Through this course we will aim to understand the larger contexts and complexities of improving and supporting reproductive aged women's health and wellness as we near the MDGs target date of 2015.
This is a course in the Culture, Brain, and Development Program (CBD).
This course fulfills the distributions requirement for PBS and PCSJGo to the course website.
CSI-0280: Citizenship, Nationalism, Toleration and Exclusion
Political Philosophy in the twentieth century features a reaction to the dominant liberalism of the 16th to the 19th centuries. At its heart, lie challenges to notions of subjectivity, borders, sovereignty, and membership. These challenges range from philosophers on the far left to the far right, and are core to the issues that we face today internationally as well as in the U.S. Is it the case, for example,that human rights should be restricted to those who are legalcitizens of a country? Can we agree that certain human beings should not receive protection from torture or excessively rough treatment? What are the conditions by which someone can be protected under the law? Should we accept that "freedom at home and abroad" will cost us millions of human lives, or don't the ends justify the means? Is cosmopolitanism an acceptable alternative to liberalism, or does it privilege those who already have? In this course, we will examine these questions, among others which are so relevant to contemporary politics. Go to the course website.
CSI-0288: Oral History Theory and Method: Power, Agency, and History "from Below" - Part II
This two-semester seminar discusses, theorizes, and illuminates the importance of oral history (the recording of life experiences) for silenced communities alienated from prevailing historical discourses. Oral history allows us to look at history from "below," to acquire "new ways of seeing," and to delineate new epistemologies. Some of the questions that guided the course include: Who makes history? Why have certain individuals been studied while others ignored? How does this shape the production of knowledge, our understanding of the past and the analysis of experience and thus challenge what Michel Foucault calls a "regime of truth"? Why have the meanings of particular events been diminished? How do particular identities complicate the writing and interpretation of history? How do particular social factors shape historical knowledge? How does historical memory affect the reading of the past? By the end of the spring term, each student is expected to produce an extensive oral history analytical research paper. Interdisciplinary/Multi-media projects that incorporate the performing arts are also welcome. Students and the Professor will co-organize a Spring Semester symposium showcasing the work completed in this course. Go to the course website.
CSI-0289: Poetry and Childhood
In this advanced seminar we will use poetry as a site of thinking about children and childhood in the U.S. We will consider questions of power, perspective, and experience regarding children and adults, examine works primarily in 20th century American poetry, and explore poetry-writing in relation to thinking about children and childhood. Our goal will be to balance attention to questions about ideas with questions about creative form. Readings will include poetry written by adults for adult audiences, poetry written by adults for young audiences, and poetry written by young people, supplemented by readings in childhood studies and literary criticism. Assignments will encompass analytic writing and weekly poetry writing. Previous coursework in childhood studies and creative writing is strongly recommended. Go to the course website.
CSI-0291: Decolonial Thought in Latin America
This seminar will be a reading and discussion intensive course. Go to the course website.
CSI-0293: Mass Man, Mass Movements, Mass Culture: Europe In The Era Of Classical Modernity
Although we talk readily of "postmodernism," do we really know what "modernism" was about? Never did change seem to be as dramatic and rapid as in the first half of the twentieth century. Leftists and rightists, avant-gardists and traditionalists alike, spoke of the age of the masses, characterized by conscript armies and political mass movements, mass production of commodities, and mass media. The European "great powers" achieved domination over the globe, only to bleed themselves white in wars that devastated the continent physically and psychologically, weakened the colonial empires, and undermined faith in progress itself. The real victors were two rival systems of modernity: American consumer capitalism and Soviet communism. Although the age witnessed great violence and despair, it also brought forth great hopes and achievements in social thought, the arts, and technology, many of whose effects we are still pondering.Go to the course website.
CSI-0297: Interpreting Culture
This course will look at globalization and contemporary art through the lens of border culture, a term that refers to the "deterritorialized" nature of subjects when they are removed from their context or place of origin. Their themes include borders within the realms of language, gender, ideology, race, and genres of cultural production as well as geopolitical locations. Border culture emerged in the 1980s in Tijuana/San Diego in a community of artists who had spent many years living outside their homelands or living between two cultures—an experience that in 2014 might well represent the nature of contemporary life as well as art praxis. Division II and III students will have the opportunity to develop an independent paper or portion of their thesis in this course.Go to the course website.
CSI-0303: Space, Race, and Nationalisms: Division III seminar
This Division III Seminar is geared towards students who are in their final semester of writing and who are engaged in projects related to urban studies, planning, and geography; nationalism, security, and territoriality; discrimination and exclusion; non-governmental organization and political parties; and/or Middle Eastern studies. The class will be structured around the students' Division III work-in-progress. Students will be responsible to establish and work in writing groups, present their work in class, facilitate sessions, and engage thoughtfully with their peers through written and oral feedback. The aim of the class is to provide an intellectually engaging classroom that allows for writing partnerships to flourish and enables the production of Division III in a peer-supportive context. Go to the course website.
CSI-0305: Writing Against Culture: Division III Seminar
This course is for Division III students who are in their final semester and whose projects are based on ethnography, interviewing, oral history, community-engaged research, and other participatory methodologies. The course will be organized around students' Division III projects and will focus on writing as a critical juncture in the research process when questions of interpretation and representation loom large. We will begin by considering some interpretive strategies and writing choices that may help students find the forms needed to write within and across the communities that comprise their research. Students will be responsible for presenting their Division III work-in-progress several times during the semester and for providing written and verbal feedback on one another's work.Go to the course website.
CSI-0312: Theories of Law in Culture
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. Go to the course website.
CSI-0320: Division III Seminar
This Division III seminar will be organized around students' Division III Independent Study Projects. Students will be responsible for presenting their Division IIIs in progress several times during the semester and for providing serious, thoughtful written feedback on one another's work. We will also address general and shared issues of conducting research, formulating clear and persuasive analysis, and presenting results both orally and in writing. The primary purpose of the seminar is to provide a supportive and stimulating intellectual community during the last phase of the Division III process. We welcome students from a variety of fields within CSI; students working within a political economy framework are especially invited to enroll. Go to the course website.
CSI-101T: Introduction to Critical Analysis
This tutorial is designed to introduce first semester students to critical reading, research and analysis at Hampshire College. Some of the questions we will explore are: How do scholars from different fields and disciplines choose their topic of inquiry and how do they go about answering those questions? What does it mean to conduct interdisciplinary research? How does choice of methodology impact the kind of knowledge created? We will be answering these questions and others as well as exploring some of the diverse research methodologies and themes of Hampshire faculty by inviting different faculty guest speakers to discuss their research or teaching interests. Students will be expected to design and undertake a research project and present their findings to the class at the end of the semester. Go to the course website.
CSI-175T: Syria in Crisis
Once one of the most isolated and least studied countries in the Middle East, Syria has become a daily topic of coverage in news media all over the world. This interdisciplinary course will focus on the Syrian crisis by placing it in historical and regional context. Through movies, documentaries, short stories, news items and academic research we will explore the modern history of Syria and the origins and trajectory of the current crisis. The course will examine in detail the origins and trajectory of the Syrian uprising focusing on the internal as well as regional dynamics. We will also study the humanitarian crisis unfolding across the region. Students will be expected to write weekly assignments and a final research paper. Go to the course website.
CSI-1IND: Independent Study - 100 Level
To register for an Independent Study with Hampshire College faculty you need to pick up an Independent Study form in the Central Records office and get the form signed by the faculty supervisor as well as your advisor. Go to the course website.
CSI-2IND: Independent Study - 200 Level
To register for an Independent Study with Hampshire College faculty you need to pick up an Independent Study form in the Central Records office and get the form signed by the faculty supervisor as well as your advisor. Go to the course website.
CSI-3IND: Independent Study - 300 Level
To register for an Independent Study with Hampshire College faculty you need to pick up an Independent Study form in the Central Records office and get the form signed by the faculty supervisor as well as your advisor. Go to the course website.