Critical Social Thought

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dean: Joel Kassiola

Critical Social Thought Program
HSS 263
Director: James Martel


Professors—Anton, D'Agostino, Heather, Jenkins, Kassiola, Kobashigawa, Longmore, Luft, Nichols, Oñate, Pinderhughes, Rivera, Schechter

Associate Professors—Biella, Carillo, Ferreira, Martel, Quesada, Steir, von Wahl

Assistant Professor—Willoughby-Herard

Lecturers—Gerson, Nutting


Minor in Critical Social Thought

Program Scope

Critical social theory challenges contemporary forms of political-economic power. In classes and internships, Critical Social Thought draws from Marxism, socialism, anarchism, the Frankfurt School, radical environmentalism and anti-consumerism, postmodernism and post-structuralism, globalization studies, feminism, queer theory, post colonial and subaltern studies, disability studies, critical race theory, theories of art and visual representation and other systems of thought that pay attention to the questions of power and exploitation in world politics, culture, economics and the formation of identities.

The minor seeks to address the way that so much of contemporary social thought is uncritical. It is guided by the belief that a better world is possible and that social thought has an important role in outlining the form such a world might take and identifying the agents who might be capable of bringing it about.


Critical social thought serves as a foundation in critical theory that can be applied to a variety of disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and the arts. Critical social thought can be pursued in conjunction with any number of majors enriching and diversifying these fields of study including but not limited to sociology, human sexuality studies, psychology, history, philosophy, women studies, raza studies, ethnic studies, political science, international relations, criminal justice etc. In addition, critical social thought can help establish skills that will be useful in post-graduate careers ranging from careers in social activism and social work, to politics, law, health care, policy and many others.


Each student shall, in consultation with a faculty adviser, develop an individual program of 18-21 units. Students may also take an internship program in political activism or other related areas in conjunction with these classes to count towards the minor.

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
Introduction--Overview of the tradition of critical social thought
CST 300 Introduction to Critical Social Thought 3
Core--Select at least two courses from the Theory and Pedagogy field.
Theory and Pedagogy 6-8
SOC 394 Topic in Advanced Research Methods  
CST 400 Topics in Critical Social Theory [any CST 400 title]
HUM 410 The Modern Revolution
HUM / PHIL 413 Arendt
HUM 430 Postmodern Criticism
HUM 440 / PHIL 409 Heidegger
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PLSI / PHIL 355 The Politics and Ethics of the Consumer Society
PLSI 351 Political Theory: The Classical Tradition (4)
PLSI 352 Political Theory: Reformation to Nineteenth Century (4)
PLSI 353 Political Theory: The Twentieth Century (4)
PLSI 360 Development of American Political Thought (4)
PLSI 370 Classical Marxism (4)
SOC 272 Social Inequality (4)
Electives--Choose at least two courses from at least two of the following fields:
   • Identity and Resistance
   • Globalism, Empire and Social Movements
   • Culture as Critical Social Thought
An approved internship may be substituted for 3-4 units of electives.
Identity and Resistance 3-4
ANTH 588 Anthropology and Human Rights  
ANTH 569/HMSX 567 Cross Cultural Sex and Gender
ANTH/CST 590/WOMS 595 Anthropology of Women
CST/ANTH 320 Racism: Cross-Cultural Analysis
HIST 490 A History of Disability in America
HUM/RAZA 520 North and South American Cultural Expression
HMSX 455 Sex, Power and Politics
HUM 360 Styles of African Cultural Expression
HUM 415 Contemporary Culture
GPS/PHIL 375 Peace Law and Human Rights in the US
PLSI 381 Political Theories of Sexuality
RAZA 415 Political Economy and Raza
RAZA 575 Raza Culture and Identity
RAZA 660 Chicano/Latino Politics
WOMS 160 Women, Politics and Citizenship
Globalism, Empire and Social Movements 3-4
CST 585 Multinational Corporations and World Cultures  
GEOG 571 Geography of Africa
GPS/IR/PHIL 315 Introduction to Global Peace Studies
HIST 386 Soviet Russia, the West, and the Cold War
HIST 390 European International History, 1918-1945
HIST 400 History of Modern European Imperialism
HIST 476 American Environmental History
HIST/SS 550 Social Change in Latin America
IR 307 Culture and Globalization
IR/PLSI 417 Gender, Equality and Politics: A Comparative Perspective
IR/SS 520 Modernization and Third World Countries
PHIL 435 Human Rights in a Global Perspective
PLSI 354 Politics, the Environment, and Social Change
RAZA/WOMS 445 Gendered Borders: Latinas and Globalization
URBS 514 Sustainable Environmentalism and the Cities
URBS 515 Race, Poverty and the Environment
Culture as Critical Social Thought 3-4
ANTH 327 Anthropology and Film (4)  
ART 403/HMSX 405 Queer Art History
ART 501 Art and Politics of the 20th Century
ART 501 Art in the 1980s: The Postmodern Dilemma
ART 501 Women and Art: 20th- 21st Centuries
ART 501 Three Women Artists: 20th Century
BECA/WOMS 485 Women and Media
CINE 305 Film and the Holocaust
CINE 308. Third Cinema
CINE 373 Film and Society
CINE 342 Documentary Film
DANC 350 Dance Aesthetics
MUS 505 Music of World's Peoples
MUS 511 The Roots of Rock
COMM 525 Sexual Identity and Communication (4)
COMM 697 Performance Theory and Practice in Communication (4)
TH A 407 Popular Theatre
TH A 691 Advanced Multicultural Production Workshop
Capstone course required of all minors: This is a supervised individual or collective project working with the Critical Social Thought faculty.
CST 680 Integrative Project in Critical Social Thought 3
Minimum total 18-21

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