ISF Courses

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis

  • day and time MTWTH 1-3PM
  • location CORY 241
  • instructor QUAMRUZZAMAN
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12217

ISF 100A engages and analyzes the selected foundational texts of social theory from its classical roots to its contemporary branches. Social theory seeks to explain change in society, how it develops, what factors facilitate and inhibit it, and what results from it. Looking at foundational texts across disciplines, we will consider the principal ideas offered by leading theorists of the last two centuries and how those ideas relate to the social and intellectual contexts in which they were produced. More importantly, we will consider their relevance for ongoing issues we face today.

Through an examination of works of the classical roots, by Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Simmel, and of the contemporary branches, by Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Edward Said, Herbert Marcuse, and David Harvey, we will explore central issues in contemporary debates concerning the nature of the socio-economic order, the modalities of power, and the process of cultural production. We will examine selected original sources in depth. In addition, we will explore some reflections, elaborations and criticisms of this work in the context of significant contemporary issues.

ISF 100 B Interdisciplinary Theories of the Self and Identity

  • day and time MTWTH 1-3PM
  • location CORY 241
  • instructor BHANDARI
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12817

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 D Introduction to Technology, Society, and Culture

  • day and time MTWTH 10AM-12PM
  • location LEWIS 9
  • instructor BHANDARI
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12608

In this course, we shall explore how advances in AI and genetic engineering may change not only society but the very idea of what it means to be human. In interdisciplinary fashion, we shall combine stimulating pieces from the sociology of science and technology with works of the imagination, such as “Ex Machina”, “Gattaca” and episodes of “Black Mirror”.

ISF 100 E The Globalization of Rights, Values, and Laws in the 21st Century

  • day and time MTWTH 10AM-12PM
  • location EVANS 2
  • instructor QUAMRUZZAMAN
  • 4 Units
  • Class # 12607

With the world being globalized, concerns about the role of international laws in safeguarding human rights across different cultures are increasing. This course will address these concerns from an interdisciplinary perspective. More specifically, we will address the following questions: Are cultural values, human rights, and international laws becoming more homogeneous in the era of globalization? What role does the state play in maintaining the specificities of cultural values, rights, and laws? Do states rights inevitably conflict with the global human rights regime? What kind of values, rights, and laws will prevail at the global level?