Small and interactive, all courses explore important problems in a seminar setting, involve penetrating discussion and analytical writing, and empower students with an integrated approach to the social sciences that shapes their studies and thinking both inside and outside the classroom.

Fall Seminars

EC 060 - Capitalism & Human Welfare

Instructor: Elaine McCrate Associate Professor of Economics (More about Professor McCrate ...)

How capitalist economics both succeed and  fail in promoting human welfare is one of the most fundamental questions in the social sciences. First this course will define and investigate the central institutions of capitalism – private property, markets, and firms, and explore the relationship between these institutions and historical patterns of economic growth. Second, it will explore one of the central coordination problems of capitalist economies: if there are no monarchs or traditions to prescribe what everybody in society is supposed to do, can the relatively unfettered pursuit of self-interest deliver human welfare? For whom? Under what circumstances? Third, it will ask how power differentials between the “1%” and the “99%” are reproduced in a capitalist economy, especially through the employment relationship.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course


POLS 095 - Global Gender Inequality

Instructor: Caroline Beer Associate Professor of Political Science (More about Professor Beer ...)

Why does the status of women vary so dramatically across countries?  The purpose of the course is to answer this question using social science methods.   We will examine how different scholars have defined and measured gender equality.  We will study the role of women in society, culture, politics, and the economy across various countries in the world.  We will also compare gender equality policies (health, education, reproductive rights, maternity policies, violence against women, gay rights).  The main assignment will be a workshop style, multi-stage research/writing assignment about the status of women across the world.  Each student will choose an indicator of gender equality, collect data on that indicator, and use the data to test hypotheses about the causes of gender equality.  While focusing on global gender inequality, the main purpose of this class is teach students how to design research projects and write research papers.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course


SOC 032 - Social Inequality

Instructor: Moustapha Diouf Associate Professor of Sociology (More about Professor Diouf..)

Who gets what and why?  This course examines class, racial/ethnic, and gender inequality in the distribution of valued rewards (e.g., wealth, power, prestige) in society. Students will describe the distribution of rewards, explain its causes, and discuss its consequences. The focus is on the contemporary United States, and the history of social inequality under Globalization.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course

Spring Seminars

ANTH 059 - D2: Culture and Environment

Instructor: Luis Vivanco Professor of Anthropology (More about Professor Vivanco...)

Environmental degradation is currently one of the most pressing problems facing humanity. This course examines the socio-cultural causes and consequences of environmental degradation around the world, as well as the efforts to solve these problems. Students will analyze the increasing globalization of human/nature interactions and environmental degradation, and consider how solutions to environmental problems have dealt (or not dealt) with culturally distinct definitions of nature and social change.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course, a D2/Non-European Cultures General Requirement course, and a University-Wide Sustainability Requirement course


GEOG 099 - Lives of the Global City

Instructor: Pablo Bose Associate Professor of Geography (More about Professor Bose...)

For the first time in human history, more of the world’s population is urban rather than rural.  And more than any other kinds of urban spaces, it is global or world-class cities that draw our imagination and so many people from across the planet to them.  Yet what does this idea mean?  What does the global city look like?  How has it been produced and reproduced?  In this course, we will explore the idea of the global city, not only in its contemporary form, but also through earlier historical periods.  We will look at various manifestations and mutations, at failed experiments, reinventions and renewals in both the Global South and Global North.  From London, New York and Paris to Tokyo, Mumbai and Beijing, from Dubai, Bangalore and Singapore to Toronto, Dublin and Sydney and many more besides, these are the nodes in interconnected networks of capital, labor, resources, and culture.  We will explore such flows and patterns of interdependencies with particular attention to issues such as inequality, governance, informality, and social justice.

Requirements Satisfied: one Social Sciences course