To accommodate students' broad interests and diverse backgrounds, course requirements are flexible.



Special Note: students must receive a grade of C or better in a course for it to count
towards the fulfillment of their STPEC requirements.


STPEC juniors and seniors may register for these courses on SPIRE.
STPEC sophomores may request these classes by filling out a STPEC course add request form in the STPEC Program Office.

STPEC 391H: Junior Seminar I – James Fiorentino

TueThurs 11:15-12:30
Fri 12:20-1:10
Schedule # 38762 Disc # 38763
This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Junior Seminar Sequence. Junior I focuses on major theoretical currents in political theory and the historical circumstances that gave rise to those theories-in particular Liberalism, Marxism and Anarchism. Junior II will analyze contemporary social movements in the context of these (and other theoretical apparatuses). As this is an interdisciplinary class, we will be bringing in analytic tools from various disciplines- including economics and political theory-but always paying attention to the historical construction and reception of ideas.

James Fiorentino is a Master's Degree student in History.

This is a four credit honors course. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. STPEC majors only. PREREQUISITES: One Intro to Social Theory course and one Intro to Political Economy Course chosen from the STPEC Recommended Course List.

STPEC 392H: Junior Seminar IISreela Sarkar

TueThur 11:15-12:30
Fri 12:20-1:10
Schedule # 38766 Disc # 38767

The second half of the Junior Seminar sequence, Junior II focuses on a series of interrelated political, social and theoretical movements of the 20th Century. In Junior I we studied some of the driving forces behind the production of modernity as way to organize and understand the world. Junior II will pay particular attention to the way in which the political practices and philosophies of the 20th Century relate to the successes and catastrophic failures of modernism in complex and contradictory ways. Some of the topics addressed include the Russian Revolution, totalitarianism, anti/post-colonialism, the role of identity in political theory/practice and postmodernism. A major research paper of the student's choosing will be produced over the course of the semester allowing her/him to both (1) more deeply engage with a topic, including one that may not be discussed in the seminar, and (2) practice applying the critical methodological and theoretical tools developed in the STPEC curriculum.

Sreela Sarkar is a Ph.D. student in Communication.

This is a four credit honors course. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. STPEC majors only. PREREQUISITE: Completion of STPEC 391H (the semesters may not be taken concurrently). This restriction will be enforced .


STPEC 393A: Writing for Critical ConsciousnessEthan Myers

Wednesdays 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule # 36153

The STPEC Junior Writing Seminar focuses on individual development of voice. We will weave this theme through standard essay assignments, weekly response papers, cover letters and resumes, and a student-driven class project of your choosing. Since you and your classmates with be struggling together to find your voices, we'll focus on peer-editing and tutoring techniques at the beginning of the semester. As we discuss peer-editing, we may consider issues of language and dialect, Black English, Standard Written English and feminism. The second half of the semester will focus on political, environmental, educational, cultural, and philosophical texts. Throughout all assignments I expect to see cultivation of your voice and communication of your own creative ideas. I encourage integration of ideas from your other courses and experiences. Be prepared to think critically and examine texts carefully. We will be sharing our writing with each other – be ready to give and receive constructive feedback.
This course meets only once a week; do not plan to miss any classes.

Ethan Myers has a Master's Degree in Literature and American Studies from UMass Amherst. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. STPEC majors only. Prerequisite: College Writing or equivalent.


All seminars are four credit honors courses. Enrollment for each seminar is limited to 20 students. STPEC majors only.
PREREQUISITE FOR ALL SENIOR SEMINARS: Completion of STPEC 391H with a grade of C or better (may not be taken concurrently with any Senior Seminar). This restriction will be enforced!
STPEC seniors may register for these courses on SPIRE.
STPEC juniors may request these classes by filling out a STPEC course add request form in the STPEC Program Office.

STPEC 491H: Media and Politics in the Global SouthPaula Chakravartty

Tuesday 2:30-5:00 pm
Schedule # 38764

In the last 20 years, there has been a dramatic explosion in access to television, mobile phones and to a lesser extent, access to computers and the Internet, in Africa, Asia,Latin America and the Middle East. In this seminar, we will select specific local and transnational case studies to examine the complex relationship between growing access to media and information technologies and political transformation. We will focus on a range of theoretical approaches to the question of media/technology and social change in the global South. These will include, among other areas, debates about electronic public cultures and democracy ,debates about popular culture and populism, debates about technology and poverty, and debates about mobile and digital media and social movements. This course will be conducted as a seminar and students will be expected to present on the readings on a regular basis. Students will also be expected to write a final research paper based on topics covered during the semester. Although not a requirement, background and interest in global or international studies is strongly encouraged.

Paula Chakravartty is a Professor in the Communication Department at UMass Amherst

STPEC 492H: International Human Rights - Legal Global Universalism or Western Hegemony?David Mednicoff

Thursday 10:00 am - 12:30 PM [NOTE: this is a change from original time]
Schedule # 36154

This advanced overview of human rights includes attention to the philosophical, legal and political origins of contemporary human rights, the substance of human rights, the UN and non-governmental organizations,
regional rights regimes, strategies to prevent massive rights abuses and critiques of human rights, among other issues. Along with broad coverage of the law and politics of human rights, two general questions run through the class. First, how do legal systems and legal obligations develop? Second, what might the establishment and expansion of global rights suggest about the nature and distribution of politics and power in the contemporary world?

David Mednicoff is a Professor of Legal Studies and Public Policy at UMass Amherst

STPEC 493H: Black ParisAnna Schrade

Thursday 2:30-5:00 pm
Schedule # 38765

Paris, the capital of the former French colonial empire, and famously known as the“Ville lumière,” in the double sense of “city of light” and “center of the European Enlightment,” has long been a “contact zone” (Pratt). It became what it is today not least through diverse currents of migration and transcultural interaction between Africa, the Black Diaspora and Europe. This seminar will trace these histories and encounters, which have often been silenced and erased within narratives of modernity, as we explore Paris as a site of exchange and discontinuity, translation and transition, an intersection of concealed, sometimes illegal or enforced encounters between Africa and Europe. We will critically read historical documents, literary examples, ethnographic reports and visual material (film documents, documentary film, “ciné beur”, artist videos) to explore the social and cultural history of “Black Paris”: from the African soldiers who faught for France during World War I, via African American artists, intellectuals, musicians and writers who lived and worked in Paris, up to contemporary social movements like the “sans papiers” or “les indigènes de la republique”. We will also question and challenge dominant national self-representations and the national imaginary of a color-blind French nation-state and the principles of inclusion upon which it is built.

Anna Schrade is a cultural anthropologist whose research focuses on African migration to France and who is currently working on the project "Crossing Munich: Places, Images, and Debates on Migration," part of a larger EU-wide project called "MELT -Migration in Europe and Local Tradition."


STPEC 498Y – Exploring the Intersection of Theory and PracticeKatherine Mallory

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 36141

This course fulfills the STPEC internship requirement. Students in this course undertake an internship of 120 hours or more in an organization of their choice, and engage in critical reflection on their experience. Fieldwork placements are identified and arranged by each individual student and must be approved by the instructor. Students are encouraged to use this class as an opportunity to synthesize knowledge gained in the classroom and test its applicability to “real life” situations.

The primary written assignment for the course is a 12-15 page (or longer, depending on credits) final paper emphasizing critical analysis of the student's experience in the organization and/or the organization itself. Analytical themes may include (but are not limited to): the interplay of organizational structure and mission; the strengths and weakness of various means of working for social change; the impacts of economic and/or financial conditions and structures on the organization; and dynamics of race, class, and gender both within the organization and in its interactions with the larger community. All students are required to apply an analysis of race, class, and gender.

To enroll, submit a completed STPEC internship contract before the end of add/drop. (Note: you must meet with Katherine and get her approval of your placement before you turn in your contract. She can be reached at .)

STPEC 494A: PraxisKatherine Mallory

Time and Date TBA
2 credits, graded
Schedule # 36144

This optional two-credit course is limited to students who are working on their STPEC internship requirement (STPEC 498Y). It is designed to provide support, structure and feedback for students writing their final internship paper.

Students in this course write four short (3-5 page) papers on assigned topics related to their internships. Topics include: mission, history and vision; organizational structure and funding; Marxian labor analysis; institutionalized oppression. Reading assignments are short. At the end of the semester, students can compile and revise their papers for the final paper for STPEC 498Y.

The class will meet either once weekly or biweekly from the second week of the semester. The day, time and location of the class will be announced during the beginning of the semester.

To enroll, contact Katherine Mallory at during the first week of the semester, so that she can inform you about the first class meeting.


The following courses do not fulfill any STPEC or university requirements

STPEC 291A-Z: Student Taught Colloquiums - 1-3 credits

Students may offer a colloq (for 3 credits - graded) or take a student taught colloq (for 1 credit - pass/fail). Any students wishing to offer a colloq for the Fall of 2007 should speak with both Sara Lennox, Program Director, and Deborah Reiter, Program Coordinator, as soon as possible.

STPEC 291B - Public Space, Public Identities: Identity in the Urban Landscape -
Azeen Khanmalek
TuTh 9:30-10:45
2 credits
Schedule #40201
This course will explore the role of space in urban areas. The course will be centered on the discussion of public vs. private space, the role each plays in our lives, and how the formation of this space affects the identities of citizens in urban areas. Implicit in this discussion are questions of what is the city, who does it belong to, who is space for, what role public space plays in urban life, how it is created, and how it creates a normalized public identity for the urban resident. We will explore how global economic orders affect the view of space and the built environment in urban areas, and the role of space and the borders it creates plays in shaping the identity and character of a place and the people within it. We will start with a look into issues of
identity and territoriality on a global scale, and move down to the local. A part of the course will also focus on the politics and policy of public space.
Azeen Khanmalek is a Political Science major at UMass Amherst.
For more information, Azeen can be contacted at

STPEC 291C: The Great American Road Trip - Steven Hoeschele and Kerstin Egenhofer
Thur 5:00-6:00
1 credit
Schedule # 40426
This course will examine the American road trip through books and films (shown outside of class) in a fun and thought-provoking series of discussions rooted in social theory, anthropology and economy. Key to analyzing the texts will be identifying the power dynamics and privileges that are implicit in taking a road trip and examining how unfamiliar cultures are documented and represented through the "tourist gaze." We will critique the road-tripper as ethnographer: a participant observer or simply a participant or an observer. We will ask about motivations for and processes of the trip: with or without a mission, simply for escape, as a coming of age ritual, etc. We will also interrogate the materiality and ideology of the trip: travelling with comfort or "on the margin," four-wheeling or "hoofing it," going with the familiar or seeking local "authenticity." Here we wish to tie in critiques of economic centralization. Additional course themes include: the future of the road trip with peak oil; manifest destiny and "goin’ out West;" the role of drugs; the road-tripper as ambassador/culture broker; perspectives that are left out, based on race, class and gender.
This class will be facilitated by Steven Hoeschele, STPEC student, and Kerstin Egenhofer, Anthropology student. For more information contact Steve at or Kerstin at

STPEC 291E: Slavery Today - Laura Reiman and Kimberly Ovitz
TueThur 4:00-5:15
3 credits
Schedule # 40415
This course will thoroughly examine real situations of contemporary slavery throughout the world, beginning with a recent historical analysis of slavery with discussions of proposals for ultimately ending slavery. We will research slavery in the past and present asking critical questions about political economy and its ties to modern human trafficking. This class will give insight to the production of every day materials such as chocolate, coffee, rugs, bricks, and charcoal, which are likely made by the hands of the enslaved.
This class will be facilitated by Laura Reiman, BDIC student, and Kimberly Ovitz, STPEC student. For more information contact Laura at or Kim at

Click here for more information on student taught colloquiums

STPEC 298Y, sections 1-3: Practicum (1-12 credits, mandatory pass/fail) No class meetings
STPEC 398Y, sections 1-3: Practicum (1-12 credits, graded) No class meetings

These two options are for students doing elective internships (i.e., this course does not fulfill the STPEC internship requirement). The primary differences between the courses are grading (STPEC 298Y is pass/fail) and recommended final paper length: students in STPEC 298Y write about 2-3 pages per credit, and students in STPEC 398Y write about 3-4 pages per credit.

Students in these courses receive one credit for every 40 hours of work that they complete in an organization of their choice. They must find a faculty sponsor who is willing to grade their written work and submit a grade. The STPEC Internship Advisor can provide assistance with finding placements and faculty sponsors, but this is ultimately each student's responsibility.

To register, speak with Katherine Mallory (the STPEC Internship Advisor) and complete a STPEC Internship Contract by the end of add/drop. She can be reached at

STPEC 298Y: Section 4: Peer Advising in the STPEC Office

Time to be arranged
1-3 credits, pass/fail
Schedule # 36135

Advise current and prospective majors, participate in staff meetings, and help with other aspects of running the STPEC program. Provides the opportunity to become intimately involved with decision-making and program development. Requirements include helping with peer advising, reception and general office tasks in the STPEC Program Office, a written evaluation paper at the end of the semester, attendance at several skills seminars and weekly attendance at the STPEC staff meeting. Students are also encouraged to engage in special projects of their own design which will be beneficial to the STPEC community. Eighty hours per semester for two credits, pass/fail. STPEC majors only. To register please speak with Katherine Mallory, STPEC Internship Coordinator or Deborah Reiter, STPEC Program Coordinator.