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 – Sreela Sarkar

TueThurs 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 17468
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.

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. 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 IIJames Fiorentino

TueThur 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 17470

Junior II is the second half of the STPEC Junior Seminar sequence. Junior 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 Junior 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.

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. PREREQUISITE: Completion of STPEC 391H (the semesters may not be taken concurrently). This restriction will be enforced.


STPEC 393A: Writing for Critical ConsciousnessEthan Myers

Tuesdays 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule # 11944

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: Occupation as Sovereign Excess Sayres Rudy

Tuesday 6:30-9:00 pm
Schedule # 18773

We usually think of empires, states, and occupations as discrete political and social orders with distinct temporal, spatial, institutional, and ideological features. In the conventional history, states build empires, empires collapse, and new states inherit the “post-colonial” period. Whatever contention remains over the putative occupation of some (national or ethnic) peoples’ lands by other peoples is seen as an outlying legacy of an especially knotty or witless imperial design awaiting a proper statist solution.
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.

Sayres Rudy is a Visiting Lecturer and has taught previously for the School of Social Sciences at Hampshire College, for the Political Science Department at Amherst College and for the STPEC Program.

STPEC 492H: Assaults on the Environment: Responses and Consequences Vahram Elagoz

Thursday 4:00-6:30
Schedule # 11959

Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro (1992), widely referred to as the ‘Earth Summit,’ many critical issues have been raised and debated: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity, food security, environmental justice, clean energy, and water scarcity, among others. Much is still under discussion, controversies persist, and change is slow to come. In this seminar, we will examine the major environmental challenges and potential solutions at the local, national, and global level. We will also explore the interconnections between these issues and develop an understanding of the larger picture. The seminar will not only focus on identifying the problems and solutions, but will explore the politics behind environmental policy and action.

Vahram Elagoz is a Research Fellow at PERI and an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst.

STPEC 493H: Artivism and the Social Imagination Wilson Valentín-Escobar

Monday 4:40-7:10 pm
Schedule # 17985

In this interdisciplinary course, we explore how artists have historically responded to the call for social change, whether through political or activist art (or other creative strategies), and the overall ways in which artists and/or art collectives “socially enact” their imagination(s) across various historical and social circumstances. Drawing from a wide array of perspectives, such as history, sociology, cultural studies, performance studies, and others, along with analyzing a range of art forms, we will also investigate a variety of themes and issues, including artistic citizenship, feminist art, art and social movements, public art, the avant-garde, the role of artistic institutions, how artists invoke new social imaginations, the role of artists in cultivating social change, the relationship between art and new or alternative public sphere(s), the tensions between the socially “real” and the “imaginary,” political art vs. activist art, and the impact of artistic expressions and movements in transforming collective mentalities or consciousness. We will also consider how artists and art collectives articulate numerous forms of activism while simultaneously challenging the formal aesthetic frameworks and strategies of various art forms. While a close analysis of various art texts and practices may occur throughout the semester, the course largely centers on the multi-dimensional social, cultural, economic, gender, geographic and racial processes that constitute the production and reception of artistic practices and objects. Finally, throughout the semester we will consider how creative (art)iculations vary through time and circumstance, offering opportunities to examine how art mediates between those who are heard, seen, and silenced within particular social conditions.

Wilson Valentín-Escobar is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Hampshire College.


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

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 11948

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 # 11957

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 # 11961
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 291L: Ruptures with Eurocentrism

Wed 4:40-6:15
2 credits mandatory pass/fail
Schedule # tba
The goal of the colloquium will be to look at the thinkers, writers, and artists of the post-WWII period and to find the moments where these white intellectuals began to look toward the movements of colonized people, particularly East Asians, African, African-descended peoples, and their struggles for liberation as not only something to take seriously but something they might follow rather than simply presuming to lead. By examining this particular historical moment, we will call attention to this extremely significant rupture and explore the ways in which it led to radical shifts in the political and cultural frameworks of western thought (i.e. Sartre's support for Algerian liberation and the introduction he wrote to Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth").

We will explore how this distinctly experience became a point of rupture which led to a distinctly new form of social consciousness for all sorts of radicals in the US and in Europe. And, not insignificantly, I will attempt to demonstrate how, when these white European men finally made the effort to step back (at least partially) and really listen, it had enormous political consequences all over the world.

The questions we will ask throughout the course are: How did we get to this place? Where did this consciousness come from? What made it possible? How did it disrupt the functioning of certain types of supremacy and exploitation? In what ways did it fail? And, perhaps the guiding thread which aims to bring it into the present: Can we create another rupture akin to this (albeit very different) in our own time and place?

This class will be facilitated by STPEC students Don Lippincott and Kevin Lamory. For more information on this class please contact Don at

STPEC 291M: Tech-Nationalism: Digital Identities in the 21st Century

MonWed 12:20-1:10
2 credits mandatory pass/fail
Schedule # 19566
Is technology changing the relationship between citizens and nation-states? In this course we will investigate that question. We will discuss technological innovations that first enabled national unity and trace subsequent technological innovations that have shaped and continue to shape the state-citizen relationship. We will study innovations in security and surveillance technologies that have helped fortify state controls and discuss the implications of those controls. Conversely, we will also investigate the technological innovations – from cell phones to Twitter - that have potentially empowered citizens. Additionally, we will study recent contemporary issues in human development and the impact of technology upon impoverished communities, as well as the relationship of those communities to their nations. Finally this class will seek to problematize social movement theory in light of technological innovations. We will parse, in depth, the propulsions of recent social movements in China and Iran and attempt to explain the role that technology has played in those movements. DISCUSSION INTENSIVE.
This class will be facilitated by Josh Sowalsky who is a Political Science student. For more information on this class please contact Josh at

STPEC 291N: Sustainable Thinking

Mon 7:00-10:00 pm
3 credits mandatory pass/fail
Schedule # 19586
A holistic approach to sustainability, this course is designed to understand the "big picture". The effects of globalization and rapid development have opened a door of opportunity for humans. As a species, we have only started to realize the consequences of our actions – this course is intended to track the cause and effect and change the cause by addressing our mental modes. First we will look at the importance ecosystems and services from nature, and then we will look at how these cycles, services and functions have been disrupted by humans as well as how this is affecting us, in the global north and the global south context, and how they affect one another. From there, the course will dive into the moral aspects of becoming a sustainable society, how we perceive our needs, our desires, and our need to find a collaborative harmony between our species and the rest of nature, this will include an analysis of ecopsychology and the new spiritual shift. Finally, we will be looking at what actions we can take given that we’ve achieved this shift in perception, we will look at innovative and replicable solutions from around the globe, from personal mastery, eco-design and biomimicry to activism and community movements. The goal of this course is to address the true meaning behind acting “sustainably”, thus before performing an action we need to understand and address its purpose and foundations, only then can we live in a more holistic and balanced world.
This class will be facilitated by Adrien Tofighi, STPEC student, and Nicholas Daly, Plant and Soil Science student. For more information please contact Adrien at or check facebook for “UMass Student Interest in Sustainable thinking Course” event.

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 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 # 11963

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.