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 101: Introduction to STPEC – Jennifer Sandler

Tuesdays 4:00-6:30
3 credits, graded
Schedule # 71032 or 71033
This course will familiarize new students with the program and its vision. STPEC is a rigorous, democratically run, interdisciplinary academic program. STPEC is also a community of students, staff, instructors, alumni, and friends that will help you navigate your time at UMass. Ideally this course will also familiarize us with each other.
The content of this course is organized around concepts students will encounter in their other STPEC requirements, as well as in the STPEC community and the greater world. It will provide an introduction to social theory, political economy, race and ethnicity, gender, masculinities and femininities, globalization and inequality in the Global North and the Global South. Assignments facilitate exploration of these and related topics. Students will have the opportunity to learn the value of social theory and how to make an argument; communicate for effective dialogue, and how to begin to identify social justice issues.
STPEC 101, like STPEC's other core classes, is seminar-style. This means small groups with an emphasis on discussion and reflection.

Jennifer Sandler is the Director of UACT and a Lecturer in Anthropology at UMass Amherst.

This class is open to STPEC majors only and is a graduation requirement for the major.


Note: This is one of several courses which will fulfill the STPEC Social Theory Pre-requisite. For other options please see the STPEC Recommended Course List.

STPEC 190A: Introduction to Radical Social Theory in Historical Context – Graciela Monteagudo
Thursdays 4:00-6:00 pm & Friday Discussion sections
4 credits, graded
Lecture Section 1 Schedule # 79353
Lecture Section 2 (Social Justice RAP students only) Schedule # 79356
This is an introductory course to radical social theory. Our focus is the history of social thought in the West, and the postcolonial critiques of some of these ideas. In this course, students will learn that "radical" means "at the root," and radical social theory is theory that explains the roots of social inequalities and proposes ways of transforming society to achieve justice. As a General Education course, our goal is for students to have the opportunity to discuss key societal issues through a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, economy, African-American, Native American and gender and sexuality studies. Through analysis of readings and films, we will explore the connection between cultural processes and power in the West and the implications for non-Western people on a global scale and on different times and places.

This is one of several courses which will fulfill the STPEC Social Theory Pre-requisite. For other options please see the STPEC Recommended Course List. This course fulfills the History and Global Gen Ed requirements.

Graciela Monteagudo is the STPEC Associate Director.


STPEC juniors, seniors and sophomores may register for these courses on SPIRE.

STPEC 391H: STPEC Core Seminar I – Graciela Monteagudo

TueThurs 2:30-3:45
Schedule #78137
This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Core Seminar Sequence. STPEC Core 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 Core 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.

Graciela Monteagudo is the STPEC Associate Director.

STPEC 392H: STPEC Core Seminar IIHari Kumar

TueThur 2:30-3:45
Schedule #78135

The second half of the STPEC Core Seminar sequence, STPEC Core Seminar II focuses on a series of interrelated political, social and theoretical movements of the 20th Century. In STPEC Core Seminar I we studied some of the driving forces behind the production of modernity as way to organize and understand the world. STPEC Seminar 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.

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.

Hari Kumar is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at UMass Amherst


STPEC 393A: Writing for Critical ConsciousnessEthan Myers

Wednesdays 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule #71030

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 juniors and seniors may register for these courses on SPIRE.

STPEC 491H: Economics, the Environment and Social Justice – James Boyce

Monday 2:30-5:00
Schedule # 78136

This course analyzes the causes and consequences of environmental degradation and environmental protection. In addition to “how much” questions on overall use and abuse of natural resources, the course explores “who” questions on the distribution of costs and benefits of environmentally degrading economic activities across individuals, groups, classes and countries.

James Boyce is a Professor of Economics at UMass Amherst


STPEC 492H: Marxism, Queer Theory, and Materialism – Jordana Rosenberg

Tuesday 4:00-6:30
Schedule # 71031

This course will consider materialist approaches to queer theory. Our main framing methodology with be Marxism, and we will seek to both review canonical understandings of the intersection of Marxist and anti-capitalist thinking with queerness, as well as develop our own theories about how these intersections might be described, understood, and felt. Special consideration will be given to the question of queerness and contemporary forms of finance capital, as well as queerness and settler-colonialism, colonial formations, and racialization. Authors will include: Karl Marx, Judith Butler, Jasbir Puar, Kara Keeling, Deleuze and Guattari, Fred Moten, Mel Chen, Scott Morgensen, David Harvey, Sandro Messadra, Rosa Luxemburg, Audre Lorde, Roderick Ferguson, Kathi Weeks, Silvia Federici, and more.

Jordana Rosenberg is an Associate Professor of English at UMass Amherst


STPEC 498Y – Exploring the Intersection of Theory and Practice Sigrid Schmalzer

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 71019

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 Sigrid and get her approval of your placement before you turn in your contract. She can be reached at


STPEC 494PI: Praxis – Keri DeJong
Wednesday 11:15-1:45
3 credits, graded
Schedule # 71009

This course teaches students to apply social theory to the real-life experience of their required STPEC internship. As an integrative experience (IE) course students are encouraged to draw on knowledge acquired in prior Gen Ed and core STPEC courses to explore connections between theory and practice as they analyze various aspects of the organizations. Class structure and assignments promote group communication, multi-disciplinary dialogue, and critical self-reflection. Course assignments focus on a self-designed project related to the student's internship placement and include multiple peer-edited drafts of a critical analysis of the internship, a self-reflective essay, an oral presentation, and a final cumulative paper.

Keri DeJong holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education from the School of Ed, UMass Amherst.
To enroll please contact Deborah Reiter at or 413 545-6398.


The following courses do not fulfill any STPEC or university requirements

STPEC 291SJ: Making Change: An Introduction to Activism and Social Justice
Wednesday 6:00-8:30 – 2 credits, pass/fail Schedule # 79383
This 2 credit class is designed to serve as an introduction to social change. Students will consider questions such as: What is social change? Who makes it and how does it happen? Which strategies for change are effective? Which are not? Students will study U.S.-based social movements that span the past one hundred years, and will begin answering these questions through conversations with academics, activists, and organizers. In addition to discussions and learning histories, students will work to build the skill sets necessary to put theory into practice and begin making change themselves.
This class will be led by AFSC Interns.

STPEC 291X: Executive Committee – Sigrid Schmalzer
student meetings: Tuesdays 9/16; 10/07; 10/28; 11/18 from 6:45-8:45 pm
full meetings: Fridays 10/17 & 12/5 from 3:00-6:00 pm
1 credit, mandatory pass/fail Schedule # 71008
Enrollment required for students serving as representatives to the STPEC Executive Committee. Requirements for credit include: attending an orientation session and all student representative and full Executive Committee meetings, delivering weekly announcements to designated STPEC courses and, in STPEC courses in which they are enrolled, facilitating a 15 min forum prior to both full Executive Committee meetings.

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 2012 should speak with Deborah Reiter, Program Coordinator, as soon as possible.

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 # 71013

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.


STPEC 497P: Praxis – Keri DeJong

Wednesday 11:15-1:45
2 credits, graded
Schedule # 71022

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. This class will NOT fulfill the Integrative Experience requirement.

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.

Keri DeJong holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education from the School of Ed, UMass Amherst.
To enroll please contact Deborah Reiter at or 413 545-6398.