ISF Courses

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis

  • day and time TTH 12:30-2PM
  • location Cory 277
  • instructor XU
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 24652

101 - MONDAYS 3-4PM
102 - MONDAYS 10-11AM
103 - TUESDAYS 9-10AM
104 - WEDNESDAYS 4-5PM

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 G Introduction to Science, Society, and Ethics

  • day and time MW 12-2PM
  • location CORY 247
  • instructor BHANDARI
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 30110

This interdisciplinary course will explore whether it has proven possible and desirable to understand society through value-free and 11 Positivistic scientific methods as predominantly developed in the transatlantic worlds of the 19th centuries.
We shall explore questions that may be applied to the realms of public health and human biology, or to the social sciences generally, including anthropology, sociology, economics, and political science.

ISF 100 J The Social Life of Computing

  • day and time TTH 9:30-11AM
  • location Wheeler 212
  • instructor KELKAR
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 27871

The time we live in is often called the “information age” or the age of computing. Some analysts have likened it to a third Industrial Revolution: the first one happened in the 18th century in England and involved the use of water and steam power in the manufacture of textiles; the second happened in the 19th century United States and involved the rise of the railways, electricity grids and the managerial corporation; the third Revolution is ostensibly happening through the increasing development and use of computer networks. In this class, we will look at computing as a “social” phenomenon: to see it not just as a technology that transforms but to see it as a technology that has evolved, and is being put to use, in very particular ways, by particular groups of people. We will be doing this by employing a variety of methods, primarily historical and ethnographic, oriented around a study of practices. We will pay attention to technical details but ground these technical details in social organization (a term whose meaning should become clearer and clearer as the class progresses). We will study the social organization of computing around different kinds of hardware, software, ideologies, and ideas.