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: STPEC Seminar I – Antonia Carcelén

TueThurs 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 38638
This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Seminar Sequence. STPEC Seminar 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. STPEC Seminar 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.

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: STPEC Seminar II –Sreela Sarkar

TueThur 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 38639

STPEC Seminar II is the second half of the STPEC Seminar sequence. STPEC Seminar II focuses on a series of interrelated political, social, and theoretical movements of the twentieth century. This course is designed to encourage students to deploy the critical-analytic methods and approaches that we discussed in STPEC Seminar 1 to some of the century’s pivotal events; we’ll examine the Mexican, Russian, Chinese, and Iranian revolutions in detail. We’ll pay particular attention to the cultural, intellectual, and economic contexts within which ideologies of Euro-American imperialism arose; we will assess the origins and development of “scientific racism” via a comparative study of South Africa, 1900-1948 and French-occupied Southeast Asia, 1918-1954. Other topics include: The struggle for Palestinian self-determination; the heyday of African independence movements, 1945-1974; global capitalism’s “neo-liberal turn,” ca. 1972-1999; race and nation in the modern United States. Evaluation is based on several short reading response papers (3-4pp.) and one major (15-20pp) research paper. Students will also be required to lead at least one in class discussion on the week’s assigned readings.

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

Thursdays 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule # 34677

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: Heritage of the OppressedAmilcar Shabazz

Tuesday 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule # 37367

The heritage of a people is an important area of study of real life historical relations in the making. This class uses as it's textbook one that we will working on together as we spend fifteen weeks taking a guided and selective look at cites of heritage such as Tuskegee to Selma to Greensboro, and other places in Alabama as communities of people attempt to define and live their heritage in various physical cultural ways. From We will consider and engage with Theresa Burroughs' founding of a history museum on the Black Belt as source of Sanders to enslavement and domination under Jim Crow, to the work of Comrades Hank and Rose Sanders with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee and museum work in Selma, to educational efforts at Tuskegee regarding medical ethics and the syphilis "experiments" as well as the Tuskegee Airmen and the Booker T. Washington story itself. The black press and folk tradition work of the Zipperts in Greene County, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Brother Willie King's Freedom Creek and the Rural Peoples Association, and Sambo Mockbee's Rural Studio work will also be engaged as we scrutinize the support, non-engagement, and opposition to black heritage studies and public history work of bodies like the Alabama Historical Commission, state higher education institutions, as well as public and private donors. This course will pursue an alternative hypothesis, namely that contemporary occupations (Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan) exhibit the general features of “post-sovereign” power. Toward that inquiry, in light of classic accounts of state-formation the course will examine several current analyses of the contemporary “post”-Westphalian/Weberian era of economic, social, and political de-territorialization, “pure war,” and monistic realism among and within national or juridical polities.

Amilcar Shabazz is the Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst.

STPEC 492H: Feminism, Science, and ReligionBanu Subramaniam

Wednesday 4:40-7:15 pm
Schedule # 34678

Science and religion represent two powerful institutions, their histories intertwined and inextricably interconnected. Patriarchal institutions, often hostile to women and gender, feminists have challenged both with great vigor. This course examines these contestations using a comparative analysis of the United States and India. The founders of the United States imagined secularism as a separation of church and state – religion being relegated to the private, and to non-state actors. In contrast, the founders of India imagined secularism as pluralism – the state actively supporting all religions. Despite these contrasting visions, there are animated challenges to secularism in both countries today. The “religious right” in the U. S. invokes its Judeo Christian origins to insist on the centrality of Christianity. Similarly, religious nationalists in India insist on privileging the dominant religion, Hinduism. The course will examine the complexities of the histories of science and religion, and our gendered visions of tradition and modernity. It will emphasize the defining role of gender, race, class and sexuality in the histories of science and religion in both contexts, and how these categories of difference continue to shape the gendered landscapes of religion and science India and the U. S. The course will include discussion on the new reproductive technologies, debates on evolution and the definitions of life, and our ecological futures.

Banu Subramaniam is an Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UMass Amherst.


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

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 34665

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 # 34668

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 197I: Intro to STPEC
This class is strongly recommended for first year STPEC students

Tuesdays 4:00-6:30 pm
3 credits, graded
Schedule # 37366
This seminar is intended for students who are just beginning the STPEC major, whether as first year students or transfers. This class will be geared toward useful conversations like what is the STPEC Program really, how to read and use theory, and who are we that we care about social justice, and community building. Through horizontal discussion sections and field trips, 'Intro to STPEC' will engage students in a non-conventional learning atmosphere that challenges students to critically look at the relationship between our actions and theory.

This class will be taught by Katherine Mallory, STPEC Chief Academic Advisor.
This class is open to STPEC majors only.

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.

Click here for more information on student taught colloquiums

STPEC 291N: Sustainable Thinking

Tuesdays 7:00-10:00 pm
3 credits mandatory pass/fail
Schedule # 39197
This course is intended for students who recognize the relevance of sustainability and are looking to play an active role in understanding and bringing this idea to the forefront of individual and institutional action. The first goal of the course is to form a foundation in sustainable principles, drawing from multi-national interpretations presented in policy, philosophy and spirituality. We will then move into gaining perspective on the different uses and applications of these principles. The course will also critically examine some of the major issues arising from unsustainable practices and relate what we have learned to potential mitigation strategies. Finally, by looking at innovative and replicable solutions from around the globe, from eco-design and biomimicry to activism and community movements, we will consider what actions we can take, given that we've understood their full implications.

This class will be facilitated by Rose Boyko, PSIS student, and Tosca Drum, BDIC student. For more information please contact Rose at or Tosca at

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 # 34659

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.