Fall Courses

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Fall 2019

ISF Courses

ISF 10 Enduring Questions and Great Books of the Western Tradition
  • Mondays 12-2PM
  • Bhandari
  • Hearst Annex B5
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 24411

This course is a broad survey of major canonical works (“Great Books”). These texts offer responses to central questions that, across the disciplinary divides, continue to inform contemporary work in the social sciences and the humanities. By considering these enduring questions, we seek to examine core issues of the liberal arts as they find expression across what would later become disciplinary divisions. 

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
  • MWF 2-3PM
  • Kelkar
  • Wheeler 212
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 22074
Discussion Sections:

101: M 3-4 PM
102: M 10-11AM
103: T 9-10 AM
104: T 3-4 PM

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 G Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics
  • TTH 12-2 PM
  • Bhandari
  • Mulford 240
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 32560

In our time of dizzying change, questions of value and fact often get mixed up. We'll see this to be the case in three of the most important contemporary developments: germline editing of embroys and bioengineering generally, climate change and decision-making by algorithms. There are obvious ethical questions at stake in these developments: intergenerational justice, fairness of engineered advantages, external costs imposed on third parties, and possible responsibility of systems for outcomes, to name a few. While this course will create room for explict ethical discussion around these developments, it will also aim to understand in social scientific terms the nature of ethics and ethical dispute in society. What role does ethics play in society? How does ethics inform scientific practice? What are the sources of ethical dispute? Can ethical disputes be resolved rationally? We'll pursue these questions not in the abstract but in the context of the said controversies: climate change, algorithmic decision-making and genetic engineering. No prior scientific knowledge is presumed.  

ISF 100 I Consumer Society and Culture
  • MWF 1-2 PM
  • Xu
  • Wheeler 102
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31166

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 colonization, 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
  • MWF 9-10 AM
  • Kelkar
  • Cory 237
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 19186

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 3-4 PM
  • Xu
  • Cory 237
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 19187

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
  • TTH 9:30-11 AM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Evans 2
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 19188

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
  • TTH 2-3 PM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Barrows 186
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 16924

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 10-11 AM
  • Xu
  • Dwinelle 104
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 16926

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 156 Politics and Anthropology
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Holston
  • Kroeber 221
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31483

Anthropological concepts relevant to the comparative analysis of political ethnography and socio-political change. Particular attention will be given to the interrelations of culture and politics.

Anthropology 157 Anthropology of Law
  • TTH 11-12:30PM
  • Laura Nader
  • Cory 277
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 20999

Comparative survey of the ethnography of law; methods and concepts relevant to the comparative analysis of the forms and functions of law.

Comparative Literataure 100 D Introduction to Comparative Literature
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Britto
  • Dwinelle 246
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31340

An introduction to problems of the comparative study of literatures of the world in international and cross-cultural perspective . Emphasis on principles of comparative methods and analysis with focus on contemporary social and cultural issues in at least one foreign culture along with selected literary, critical, and theoretical texts. Readings in English.

Demography C 126 Sex, Death, and Data
  • MWF 11-12
  • TBA
  • Latimer 120
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 21600

Introduction to population issues and the field of demography, with emphasis on historical patterns of population growth and change during the industrial era. Topics covered include the demographic transition, resource issues, economic development, the environment, population control, family planning, birth control, family and gender, aging, intergenerational transfers, and international migration.

Economics C 110 Game Theory in the Social Sciences
  • TTH 9:30-11 AM
  • Powell
  • Li Ka Shing 245
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 21637

A non-technical introduction to game theory. Basic principle, and models of interaction among players, with a strong emphasis on applications to political science, economics, and other social sciences.

Education W 142 Education in a Global World
  • TBA
  • Erin Murphy-Graham
  • TBA
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 29063

What is globalization? What are the implications of living in a "global world" for education? How can education be used as a tool to promote global social justice and prosperity? In this course, we will address these and other related questions through collective reading assignments, class discussions, and online collaboration through our learning platform (bSpace or other).

ESPM 161 Environmental Philosophy and Ethics
  • MW 3-4
  • TBA
  • Morgan 101
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 26813

A cross-cultural comparison of human environments as physical, socio-economic, and technocultural ecosystems with special emphasis on the role of beliefs, attitudes, ideologies, and behavior. An examination of contemporary environmental literature and the philosophies embodied therein.

ESPM 162 A Health, Medicine, Society and Environment
  • MWF 12-1PM
  • TBA
  • North Gate 105
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 27310

Introduces students to intersections between health, medicine, society, and environment through medical and environmental anthropology, political ecology, medical geography, and the social studies of science, technology and the natural environment. Readings, discussions, and assignments will explore the sociocultural, political economic, and environmental aspects of illness, care, disease, biomedicine, and health (in)equity.

History 100 U Special Topics in Comparative History
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Ogle
  • Barker 101
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 31605

Modern Money: A Global History: This course uses money as a vantage point from which to survey major historical developments from roughly the 16th century to the present. It is not an economic history in the strict sense but rather an attempt to understand the broader, political, social, cultural, and even religious context of money in addition to its economic nature. What exactly is money, and what is it for? You might be tempted to answer this question by simply opening your wallet and taking out a quarter and a dollar note. But what about the credit card next to it? What about those bitcoins that you may have bought ‘for fun’ when the cryptocurrency first became known to a broader audience, but that you now keep because their value has gone up and might do so even more? Was it historically better to have the biggest silver mine in Europe, or the biggest stock market in the world?

Legal Studies 145 Law and Economics I
  • TTH 9:30-11 AM
  • Salama
  • Kroeber 160
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 25135

The course will apply microeconomic theory analysis to legal rules and procedures. Emphasis will be given to the economic consequences of various sorts of liability rules, remedies for breach of contract and the allocation of property rights. The jurisprudential significance of the analysis will be discussed.

Legal Studies 151 Law, Self, and Society
  • MW 12-2PM
  • Meir Dan-Cohen
  • Barrows 166
  • 3 Units
  • Class Number: 24648

Contemporary moral and political philosophy has been increasingly interested in how conceptions of the self relate to various aspects of our social and political life. These issues have an important bearing on legal theory as well. Law is shaped by certain implicit assumptions about the nature of individuals and collectivities, while it also actively participates in forming the identities of persons and in structuring collective entities such as families, corporations, and municipalities. This course will explore some theoretical approaches to this reciprocal relationship between law and the different social actors that it governs.