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Spring 2018

ISF Courses

ISF 10 Enduring Questions and Great Books of the Western Tradition
  • MWF 10-11
  • Tang
  • Cory 289
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39006

This course is a broad survey of major canonical works (“Great Books”) emphasizing the Premodern traditions of Western Civilization since the Greeks. These texts offer responses to central questions that, across the disciplinary divides, continue to inform contemporary work in the social sciences and the humanities.  Indeed, the “disciplines” or departments as we know them on campus are of relatively recent invention, compared to the millennia of treatises, poetry, plays, literature, sacred writings, histories and philosophical inquiries that sought answers to the questions later asked by the disciplines themselves in the humanities and social sciences.  

This course is not a history of the disciplines, nor is it an attempt to find precursive texts for each discipline  -- we do not seek to construct disciplinary canons or genealogies.  Instead, it is an account of the enduring questions of western civilization that later found homes in the disciplines, but whose origins lie in a “pre-disciplinary” world.  While we choose the framework of the disciplines to present these texts, and to ask recurring questions that can today be found in separate disciplines, we seek to problematize the history of disciplinary knowledge.  In this course, we investigate how contemporary concerns about modern social problems have a deep, but also an interdisciplinary, history. 

ISF 60 Technology and Values
  • TTH 3:30-5
  • Kelkar
  • Wheeler 222
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 40178

If science and technology are value-laden activities, then where exactly do the values lie?  In this class, we will pick apart the black-box of science and technology and look for values not just in terms of bad actors, corruption, or "implications," but in the processes that constitute modern technoscience itself.  These processes include: the ways in which researchers construct problems, solutions, facts, and artifacts; the norms, standards, stories, and patronage relations that underlie science and technology; and finally, how the future is imagined and realized.  Readings will include academic and journalistic texts as well as science fiction. 

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
  • TTH 12:30-2
  • Wren
  • Stanley 106
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25909

This course, required of all ISF majors but open to all students, provides an introduction to the works of foundational social theorists of the nineteenth century, including Karl Marx and Max Weber. Writing in what might be called the “pre disciplinary” period of the modern social sciences, their works cross the boundaries of anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology, and are today claimed by these and other disciplines as essential texts. We will read intensively and critically from their respective works, situating their intellectual contributions in the history of social transformations wrought by industrialization and urbanization, political revolution, and the development of modern consumer society. 

ISF 100 B Interdisciplinary Theories of the Self and Identity
  • MW 2-3:30 PM
  • Bhandari
  • Tan 180
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39007

This course will explore how people come to develop and value the self as well their specific social identities. The course will draw on anthropology, sociology, neurobiology and philosophy to grapple with that which is most intimate yet often most opaque to us: our own selves. Yet we shall also explore the cultural limits of our unstable understanding of our individuated selves as well as the dialectic of self and other in the formation of identity. 

ISF 100 C Language and Identity
  • MWF 1-2
  • Xu
  • Cory 247
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31940

This course examines the role of language in the construction of social identities, and how language is tied to various forms of symbolic power at the national and international levels. As the saying goes, “A language is a dialect with an army and navy” – but how so? Questions about language have been central to national culture and identity, and the languages we speak often prove, upon close examination, not to be the tongues of ancestors but invented traditions of political significance. People have also encoded resistance into non-official and ambiguous languages even as the state has attempted to devalue them as inferior forms of expression. Drawing on case studies from Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and the U.S., we will pay special attention to topics such as the legitimization of a national language, the political use of language in nation-building processes, the endangerment of indigenous languages, and processes of linguistic subordination and domination.  This course will be interdisciplinary in its attempt to understand language in terms of history, politics, anthropology and sociology. We will not only study how language has been envisioned in planning documents and official language policy, but also analyze how speakers enact, project, and contest their culturally specific subject positions according to their embodied linguistic capital. 

ISF 100 K Health and Development
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Etcheverry 3108
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 41058

Meets the Social and Behavioral Sciences breadth requirement. Development is often defined as a process of economic growth. Only recently there has been a growing disagreement about this definition and scholars argue that development should be understood as a process of improving human conditions. Health is an important indicator of human development. It is still not conclusive whether economic growth automatically translates into better population health and whether healthy population is a precondition of economic growth because there are other factors that affect both health and development. This course will focus on this debate and examine social, political, demographic and epidemiologic determinants of health in relation to levels of economic development.

ISF 110 Free Speech in the Public Sphere: An Interdisciplinary Approach
  • TuTh 2:00-3:30
  • Bhandari
  • Wurster 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 41547

Meets ISF Theory and Practice requirement. We shall take up the nature of public speech from Socrates' public dissent to social media messaging today. The course reading will combine classic philosophical statements about the value of free, subversive and offensive speech; histories of the emergence of public spheres; and sociologies of technologically-mediated speech today. With openness to divergent perspectives we shall tackle difficult regulatory questions about hate speech and digital platforms. 

 

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • TTH 12:30-2
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Latimer 121
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25915

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises.  The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences.   At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation in preparation for ISF 190.

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • MWF 3-4PM
  • Xu
  • Evans 5
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39008

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises.  The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences.   At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation in preparation for ISF 190.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • MW 10-11AM
  • Xu
  • Cory 237
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17392

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • MW 2-3PM
  • Wren
  • Evans 4
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17393

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • TTH 9-10AM
  • Kelkar
  • Evans 51
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17395

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • TTH 2-3:30PM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Evans 4
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17396

The ISF Senior Thesis requirement is the capstone experience and final product of the ISF Major.   The thesis is a sustained, original, and critical examination of a central interdisciplinary research question, developed under the guidance of the ISF 190 instructor.  The thesis represents a mature synthesis of research skills, critical thinking, and competent writing. As the final product of a student's work in the major, the thesis is not the place to explore a new set of disciplines or research problems for the first time, but should develop methods of inquiry and bridge the several disciplines that students have developed in their Course of Study.

Approved Theory and Practice courses
Note: students who enroll in one of these courses cannot count the course as part of their Upper Division Course of Study Requirement.

Anthropology 114 History of Anthropological Thought
  • TTH 9:30-11AM
  • Brandes
  • Kroeber 160
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39620

This course will present a history of anthropological thought from the mid-19th century to the present, and will draw upon the major subdisciplines of anthropology. It will focus both upon the integration of the anthropological subdisciplines and upon the relationships between these and other disciplines outside anthropology.

Demography 180 Social Networks
  • TTH 11-12:30
  • Feehan
  • McCone 141
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 41045

The science of social networks focuses on measuring, modeling, and understanding the different ways that people are connected to one another. We will use a broad toolkit of theories and methods drawn from the social, natural, and mathematical sciences to learn what a social network is, to understand how to work with social network data, and to illustrate some of the ways that social networks can be useful in theory and in practice. We will see that network ideas are powerful enough to be used everywhere from UNAIDS, where network models help epidemiologists prevent the spread of HIV, to Silicon Valley, where data scientists use network ideas to build products that enable people all across the globe to connect with one another.

Economics 115 The World Economy in the Twentieth Century
  • TTH 12:30-2
  • Eichengreen
  • Hearst Mining 390
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 23510

Development of the world economic system with particular reference to world-wide trading relationships. This course is equivalent to History 160; students will not receive credit for both courses.

English 166 Science Fiction
  • MW 1-2
  • Jones
  • 2 LeConte
  • 3 Units

This course will examine in depth the history of speculative fiction and its engagement with the thematics and topoi of the new life sciences—representation of cloning, ecological dystopias, hybrid life-forms, genetic engineering dystopias. While science is the thematic point of departure of speculative fiction, the concerns of this course will be the literary. How does literature’s encounter with the projected realities of the new biology revise our conceptions of the subject? Could there be a Leopold Bloom of the genetically engineered, a subject whose interior voice is the free-flowing expression of experience? Behind the endless removes of social, material and technological mediation stand the construction of a flesh and blood body, separated from itself through the workings of consciousness. If indeed the post/modern subject requires a psychic space shaped by the authenticity of ‘being’, a consciousness deeply rooted in the human experience, then how do we represent that being whose point of origin is the artificial, the inauthentic? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this course. 

Environmental Science, Policy, and Management 168 Political Ecology
  • TTH 2-3:30PM
  • Peluso
  • Mulford 159
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 34754

Analysis of environmental problems in an international context with a focus on political and economic processes, resource access, and representations of nature. Discussion of the ways in which film, literature, and the news media reflect and influence environmental politics. Approaches to policy analysis arising from recent social theory.

History 182 A Topics in the History of Technology: Technology and Society
  • TTH 2-3:30PM
  • Mazzotti
  • VLSB 2040
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39672

Where do science and technology come from? How did they become the most authoritative kinds of knowledge in our society? How do technology, culture, and society interact? What drives technological change? The course examines these questions using case studies from different historical periods. We shall discuss the emergence of science as a dimension of our modernity, and its relations to other traditions such as magic, religion, and art. The aim of the course is for students to learn about how science and technology shape the way we live and, especially, how technological change is invariably shaped by historical and social circumstances.

History of Art 101 Theories & Methods for a Global History of Art
  • MWF 3-4PM
  • Lenssen
  • Moffitt Library 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 39167

Simply put, art history is a history of image worlds, objects, and material practices. Could art history, then, help us better understand the haptic and visual potential of activist laser projections onto urban surfaces, the deification of the natural environment in ancient India, the sound of Arabic calligraphy, early modern European maps, or the kinesthetic of contemporary museum display? Co-taught by faculty with diverse specializations, Theories & Methods for a Global History of Art aims to do precisely that. The course is not designed to function as a history of world art or even a history of the discipline of art history, and it works very well as a complement to HA 100. By moving from the ancient to contemporary worlds, from the Americas to Asia, the course offers a toolkit for developing the required skills for visual analysis and interpretation. In the classroom, we will engage with major theoretical frameworks (for instance postcolonialism, feminism, and sexuality studies), critical methodologies (for instance formalism, sensory histories, and anthropology), and key concepts (for instance artist, mimesis, avant-garde). Our discussions in the classroom will be complemented by trips to local museums and built sites (for instance the Sustainability Walking Tour on campus) to provide students with hands-on experience in fieldwork. At the same time, we will acquire a pragmatic foundation in framing research questions and writing papers in preparation for upper division coursework.

Rhetoric 115 Technology and Culture
  • MWF 2-3
  • Zakariya
  • Dwinelle 215
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 40158

This course will examine the place and meaning of technology in culture, emphasizing the ways in which technologies shape and inflect social and political interactions. The primary focus will be on the wider reception and perception of technological and cultural shifts as represented in imaginative scientific and cultural works, endeavors and ambitions. This course will then question the conditions for the production and sustainability of these technologies and technological dreams.

Sociology 145 Social Change
  • TTH 3:30-5
  • Riley
  • Barrows 170
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 32125

Study of major changes in modern societies: the sources of these changes; the processes through which they spread; their meaning for individuals and institutions.

Summer 2017

ISF Courses

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
  • MTWT 10-12
  • Rakesh Bhandari
  • GPB 103
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 11981

Session A: May 22 - June 30

This course, required of all ISF majors but open to all students, provides an introduction to the works of foundational social theorists of the nineteenth century, including Karl Marx and Max Weber. Writing in what might be called the “pre disciplinary” period of the modern social sciences, their works cross the boundaries of anthropology, economics, history, political science, sociology, and are today claimed by these and other disciplines as essential texts. We will read intensively and critically from their respective works, situating their intellectual contributions in the history of social transformations wrought by industrialization and urbanization, political revolution, and the development of modern consumer society. 

ISF 100 I Consumer Society and Culture
  • MTWT 10-12
  • Fang Xu
  • GPB 103
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 15109

Session D: July 3 - August 11

Following Weber, Veblen, and Bourdieu, social scientists often emphasize consumers’ motivations to establish or display their status. In many ways, consumption defines our lives – our identities as consumers are even more important, some would argue, than our identities as workers or producers. But what are the implications of a society in which “you are what you consume?” In this class, we will address: Under what conditions does a “consumer society” develop?  What does global commodity chain tell us about colonialization, global inequality, and environmental injustice? How can we shape the life cycle of basic commodities—from raw materials to iPhones, from creation to destruction--in a socially sustainable way? This course will be interdisciplinary in its attempt to understand consumer society and culture in terms of political economy, geography, history, anthropology and sociology. It is divided into six major segments: "Consumption and Inequality," "Consumption, Meaning and Identity," "Global Commodity Chain," "Consumption in Contemporary China,” “Critiques of Consumer Society," and “Environment, Sustainability, and Social Justice”. The goal of this course is to provide students with a broad overview of debates and theories about consumption, and to provide them with an opportunity to explore a consumption-related topic themselves.

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • MTWTH 1-3
  • Rakesh Bhandari
  • Leconte 251
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 11992

Session A: May 22 - June 30

This class is an introduction to research methods, leading students through different units built around specific learning goals and practical exercises. The course is designed to teach a range of research skills, including the ability to formulate research questions and to engage in scholarly conversations and arguments; the identification, evaluation, mobilization, and interpretation of sources; methods and instruments of field research (interviews, questionnaires, and sampling) and statistical thinking; and the construction of viable arguments and explanation in the human sciences. At the same time, the course is designed to help students identify their own thesis topic, bibliography, and methodological orientation.