GSI Positions open for spring 2020


ISF 100A Introduction to Social Theory and Cultural Analysis


Fang Xu (

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 

Course Description:

ISF 100A is an interdisciplinary introduction to social theory and cultural analysis.

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.

I am looking for GSI's who will enjoy working across the disciplines (sociology, history, political science and geography, anthropology, rhetoric, environmental economics and policy, ethnic studies, education) in thinking through the legacies of great thinkers and the relevance of their theories to our everyday life. 

Please send resumes and a list of faculty references to