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Social Change

From its founding, Hampshire College has attracted students who are engaged both inside and outside of the classroom with issues of social responsibility, change, and justice.

Hampshire has always connected a student’s education to the real world, not only through inquiry-based pedagogy, but also through encouraging a strong sense of social justice and community responsibility. Hampshire engages not only students’ mind but can also assist students in engaging the community around them. Emphasis is placed on continuing to build infrastructures to support community-based learning, by developing new areas of inquiry, including an anti-oppression curriculum and a multiple cultural perspectives requirement.

As a leader in campus activism for decades, Hampshire continues to live up to the college motto, “To know is not enough.”

Affiliated Faculty
Student Project Titles
  • » Strategic Rebellions from Revelations to Revolutions: A Choreographic Investigation into Social Justice Through
  • » Concert Dance
  • » Complex Organizations and Social Change: The Perpetual Return of the Phoenix
  • » Deconstructing the Warehouse State: Abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex in the U.S.
  • » Murals: Collaborative, Democratic, and Radical Creative Expression
  • » The Voice of Peace: Citizenry, Storytelling, and Conflict in Struggling Societies
Sample First-Year Course

Social Movements and Social Change: Zapatismo

On January 1, 1994, the day that NAFTA was signed between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, an armed uprising of indigenous campesinos of Chiapas, Mexico announced a different vision of Mexico’s present and future. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation fought with arms for only 12 days. For the subsequent twelve years, they have been conducting a different kind of radical political struggle—a “revolution to make a revolution possible.” In this course we will examine the formation, practices, discourse, and goals of Zapatismo, at the same time considering directly the question of how to understand a social movement. We will look at a variety of different narrations and images that have been produced by participants, scholars, journalists, and imagemakers, and ask about their impact on our understanding of Zapatismo. During the semester, students will have the opportunity to examine primary documents and engage in the kind of thinking that scholars who chronicle social movements do.

Sample Courses at Hampshire
  • » Constructing the Appropriate City: Competing Urban Visions
  • » Dangerous Teaching: Crafting Alternative Histories of Education
  • » Freedom of Expression
  • » From the Grassroots to the Streetroots: Urban Social Movements in Latin America
  • » Global Resource Politics
  • » Identity & Politics
  • » Lives of Commitment in a Complex World
  • » Living for Tomorrow I: Cultural Contestations, Gender Politics & the AIDS Epidemic
  • » Making Class Matter
  • » Making Community: Meanings & Methods
  • » Making Social Change
  • » Political Justice
  • » Power & Oppression in American Education
  • » Public Diplomacy
  • » Setting the Stage for Social Action
  • » Social Justice in Outdoor Experiential Education
  • » Social Movements & Social Change: Zapatismo
  • » Third World, Second Sex
  • » Using Theatre in Education for Social Change
  • » U.S. Labor History
Through the Consortium
  • » Gender and Social Change (SC)
  • » Poverty & Inequality (AC)
  • » Theatre for Social Change (UMass)
Facilities and Resources

Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP)
Founded in 1981, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP) was created to train and inspire new generations of reproductive rights activists and leaders. CLPP program activity expands the definition of reproductive rights to include social and economic justice, civil liberties, LGBTQ rights, access to health care, youth empowerment, and other related social change issues. The CLPP program includes courses and lectures, the annual activist reproductive rights conference, the national campus newsletter, National Day of Action, New Leadership Networking Initiative, and the Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps which places students at reproductive rights and related grassroots, national, and international social change organizations.

Population and Development Program
CLPP’s companion program, Population and Development, was established in 1986 to bring a global perspective to the study and investigation of population and environmental issues and challenge traditional views of over-population and immigration as primary causes of environmental degradation, political instability, and poverty. Pop/Dev now serves as a documentation and monitoring resource for educators, students, journalists, activists, opinion leaders, and policy makers in the U.S. and abroad. The program offers courses and forums, sponsors visiting scholars and activists to speak on campus, and publishes issues papers and curricula advancing alternative analysis and investigation on reproductive rights, population, development, environmentalism, and women’s health.

Community Partnerships for Social Change Program
Since 1987, the Community Partnerships for Social Change program (CPSC) has been a campus resource for students and faculty who wish to integrate their academic lives with social action and community-based experience, while also offering community-based organizations support to strengthen and improve their programmatic capabilities. CPSC offers trainings for students on issues of class, race, gender, and identity and also leads some classes on issues of community development and social action. CPSC helps students find opportunities with community organizations, and runs the Summer for Social Justice program, an internship for ten to fifteen Division II students to do social justice work with nonprofit organizations over the summer and be paid through Hampshire.

Some organizations students have recently worked with include: CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing & Employment Services), New York, New York; Boston Institute of Art Therapy, Boston, Massachusetts; LYRIC (Lesbian Youth Resource & Information Center), San Francisco, California; and BUST Magazine, New York, New York.


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Office of the Dean of Faculty
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.6081

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