Critical Social Thought  {SF State Bulletin 2011 - 2012}

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Critical Social Thought

Critical Social Thought Program

HSS 263
Phone: 415-405-2162

Director: James Martel



Professors: Anton, D'Agostino, Jenkins, Kassiola, Kobashigawa, Longmore, Luft, Martel, Nichols, Oñate, Pinderhughes, Rivera, Schechter
Associate Professors: Biella, Carillo, Ferreira, Quesada, Steir, von Wahl
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 and gender studies, latina/latino 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.


Minor in Critical Social Thought

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. If the introductory course is not available, other courses can be substituted on advisement.


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




Overview of the tradition of critical social thought

Course Title Units
CST 300/
PLSI 386
Introduction to Critical Social Thought 3



Select at least two courses from the Theory and Pedagogy field.

Theory and Pedagogy (6 - 8 units)

Course Title
SOC 394 Sociological Field Methods
HUM 410 The Modern Revolution
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PLSI 355/
PHIL 355 
The Politics and Ethics of the Consumer Society
PLSI 351 GW Political Theory: The Classical Tradition - GWAR (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)
SOC 272 Social Inequality (4)


Electives (6 - 8 units)

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 units)

Course Title
ANTH 588 Anthropology and Human Rights (4)
ANTH 569/
SXS 567 
Cross Cultural Sex and Gender
ANTH 590/
CST 590/
WGS 595 
Anthropology of Women
CST 320/
ANTH 320 
Racism: Cross-Cultural Analysis
HUM 520/
LTNS 520 
North and South American Cultural Expression
SXS 455/
S S 455 
Sex, Power and Politics
HUM 360 Styles of African Cultural Expression
HUM 415 Contemporary Culture
GPS 375/
PHIL 375 
Peace Law and Human Rights in the US
PLSI 381 Political Theories of Sexuality (4)
LTNS 415 Economic Progress of Latinos in the US
LTNS 575 Latina/o Culture and Identity


Globalism, Empire and Social Movements (3 - 4 units)

Course Title
ANTH 585/
CST 585 
Multinational Corporations and World Cultures
GPS 315/
I R 315/
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 550/
S S 550 
Social Change in Modern Latin America
IR 307/
ANTH 307 
Culture and Identity in World Politics (4)
IR 417/
PLSI 417 
Gender, Equality and Politics: A Comparative Perspective (4)
I R 520/
S S 520 
Globalization and Development (4)
PHIL 435 Human Rights in a Global Perspective
PLSI 354 Politics, the Environment, and Social Change (4)
LTNS 445/
WGS 445 
Gendered Borders: Latinas and Globalization
USP 514 Sustainable Environmentalism and the Cities (4)
USP 515 Race, Poverty and the Environment (4)


Culture as Critical Social Thought (3 - 4 units)

Course Title
ANTH 327/
CINE 327 
Anthropology and Film
ART 403/
SXS 405 
Queer Art History
ART 501 Art and Politics of the 20th Century
ART 501 Postmodernism: Art of the 1980s
ART 501 Women and Art: 20th- 21st Centuries
BECA 485/
WGS 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 Advanced Performance Study (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.

Course Title Units
CST 699 Special Study 3

Minimum total: 18 - 21 units


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