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Spring 2020

ISF Courses

ISF 100 A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Xu
  • Cory 277
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 20073
LEC 001 TuTh 12:30P-1:59P | 277 Cory

DIS 101 M 3:00P-3:59P | 54 Barrows

DIS 102 M 10:00A-10:59A | 179 Stanley

DIS 103 Tu 9:00A-9:59A | 179 Stanley

DIS 104 W 4:00P-4:59P | 2 Evans

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 F Theorizing Modern Capitalism: Controversies and Interpretations
  • MW 12-2PM
  • Bhandari
  • Dwinelle 88
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30344

The focus of this course will be on the various ways the nature and trajectory of modern capitalism has been interpreted. Our stress will be on post-Marxist works of analysis. The initial focal point will be on the work of Max Weber and Joseph Schumpeter, as well as important current debates in economic history and social theory generated by their work. Both Weber and Schumpeter display a strong fascination and elaboration with the work of Marx. The way they analyze Marx is very revealing about the way contemporary analysts seek to understand the capitalist system. We will also consider a number of current efforts that look at the systemic nature of capitalism. In particular, we are interested in how economic historians now see the development of capitalism. We also want to examine the Weberian tradition in terms of the role of culture in shaping economic behavior. Debates about the nature of globalization will also be considered as well as analysis of the changing nature of work.

ISF 100 J The Social Life of Computing
  • TTH 9:30-11 AM
  • Kelkar
  • Wheeler 212
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 30345

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.

ISF 100 K Health and Development
  • TTH 9:30-11 AM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Haviland 12
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 23110

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 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • TTH 12:30-2PM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Cory 285
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 18483

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.

ISF 189 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research Methods
  • TTH 2-3:30PM
  • Kelkar
  • Evans 35
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 24073

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.

ISF 190 Senior Thesis
  • TTH 10-11AM
  • Xu
  • Barrows 186
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17225

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 11-12
  • Bhandari
  • Evans 7
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17226

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 2-3PM
  • Quamruzzaman
  • Evans 31
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17227

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 8-9AM
  • Kelkar
  • Evans 31
  • 4 Units
  • Class Number: 17228

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.