Critical Social Thought

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dean: Joel Kassiola

Critical Social Thought Program
HSS 336
Directors: Richard Busacca and Roberto Rivera


Professors—Anton, Grewal, Heather, Luft, Stolz

Associate Professors—Busacca, Caulfield, Kobashigawa, Oņate, Rivera, Rivera-Pinderhughes

Assistant Professors—Carillo, Quesada



Minor in Critical Social Thought

Program Scope

Critical Social Thought is an intellectual and political tradition which takes a critical posture toward both society and the very process of thinking about society. It emerges from society in order to criticize it, to sharpen societal transformation, and to deconstruct society's categories of 'legitimate' order and domination. This tradition began with the philosophies and social critiques of Kant, Hegel, and Marx. In the twentieth century, it has been repeatedly and broadened. First, by a fundamental rethinking of Marx associated with Lukacs, Gramsci, the Frankfurt school, and Jurgen Habermas; second, by the French attempt to absorb Saussure, Nietzsche, and phenomenology--an attempt associated with Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Althusser, Foucault, Kristeva, Derrida, and Lacan; third, by the development of feminist and gender theory from Simone de Beauvoir to Gayatry Spivak to Judith Butler; fourth, by critical race theory and cultural studies; and finally, by the full range of postcolonial and postmodernist theory.

The minor seeks to acquaint the student with both the theoretical development of critical social thought and its links to social-political action in different social and historical settings.


Each student shall, in consultation with a faculty adviser, develop an individual program of 21 to 24 units that draws upon the following four areas and is organized around a coherent theme and/or methodology.

Online course descriptions are available.

Program Units
Introduction--an overview of the tradition of critical social thought, required of all minors
CST 300 Introduction to Critical Social Thought 3
Theoretical Courses--a set of courses concerned with the theoretical development of critical social thought. Depending on student qualification and with prior approval of adviser, each minor shall elect six to nine units from this segment; courses elected here must be topically or thematically integrated with those elected from the analytical segment. 6-9
Suggested Courses (other appropriate courses may be used with consent of adviser)
CST/ANTH 320 Racism: A Cross-Cultural Analysis
ETHS 571 Women, Class, and Race
HIST 348 Recent European Intellectual History
HUM 410 The Modern Revolution
HUM 430 Postmodern Criticism
NEXA 330 Marxian Revolution
NEXA 331 Feminist Revolution
NEXA 391 Biological Sex and Cultural Gender
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy
PHIL 382 Women and Philosophy
PHIL 425 Topics in Existentialism and Phenomenology
PLSI 351 Political Theory: The Classical Tradition (4)
PLSI 353 Political Theory: The Twentieth Century
S S 510 Sociocultural Change
SOC 370 Theories of Society
WOMS 530 Women Studies and Social Theory
WOMS 621 Feminist Thought
Analytical Courses--a set of courses concerned with the refinement and practical application of critical social thought in different social and historical settings. With prior approval of adviser, each minor shall elect nine units from this segment; courses here must be topically or thematically integrated with those from the theoretical segment. 9
Suggested Courses (other appropriate courses may be used with consent of adviser)
ANTH 321 Endangered Cultures
ANTH 555 Urban Anthropology
ANTH 557 Ethnography of Inner City
ANTH 560 Economic Anthropology
ANTH 569 Cross-Cultural Aspects of Sex and Gender
CST 400 Topics in Critical Social Theory
CST 585 Multinational Corporations and World Cultures
CST 590 Anthropology of Women
BIOL 349 Bioethics
BL S 301 Africa in Global Perspective
BL S 302 Black Diaspora
BECA 485 Women and Media
CINE 373 Film and Society
CINE 444 The Spectacle of Revolution: Politics in Theater and Film
HIST 400 History of Modern European Imperialism
HIST 474 History of Labor in the U.S.
HIST 530 Revolution and Reform in Latin America
HIST 535 History of Women in Latin America
HMSX 458 Introduction to Transgender Studies
HUM 420 Marxism and its Critics
HUM 431 Derrida and Deconstruction
IAC 635 Western Culture: Queer and Canonical
I R 446 Multinational Corporations in World Affairs
LARA 415 The Socio-economics of La Raza
LARA 520 North and South American Cultural Expression
LARA 660 Contemporary Movements in La Raza
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PHIL 472 Marx the Humanist
PLSI 354 Politics, the Environment, and Social Change
PLSI 371 Classical Marxism
PLSI 466 Racial Politics and the American Dream
S S 350 Homosexuality as a Social Issue
S S 429 The Sixties
S S 520 Modernization and Third World Countries
S S 540 Rich and Poor Nations
S S 544 Women in the World
SOC 469 Gender and Society
SOC 472 Social Inequality
SOC 483 Global Sociology
SPCH 542 Intracultural Communication
WOMS 440 Antisemitism, Misogyny, and Racism
WOMS 514 Incarcerated Women
WOMS 531 Women and International Development
WOMS 532 Politics of Reproduction
WOMS 541 Women Writers and Social Change
WOMS 561 Women of Color in the U.S.
WOMS 564 Women Writers and Colonialism
WOMS 630 Matriarchy/Patriarchy
URBS 515 Race, Poverty, and the Urban Environment
URBS 560 Urban Poverty and Policy
URBS 565 Social Policy and Family Systems
URBS 582 Homelessness and Public Policy
Integrative Seminar--required of all minors
CST 680 Integrative Seminar in Critical Social Thought 3
Minimum total 21-24

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