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 – Sreela Sarkar

TueThurs 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 69291
This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Seminar Sequence. STPEC 391H 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 391H 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 IIAntonia Carcelén

TueThur 11:00-12:45
Schedule # 69292

STPEC 392H is the second half of the STPEC Seminar sequence. STPEC 392H 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 391H 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.

Antonia Carcelén is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature. This is a four credit honors course.  Enrollment is limited to 25 students. 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 # 51810

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: Resistance: Gandhi, Fanon, and Paradigms of Violence – Sayres Rudy

Tuesday 6:30-9:00 pm
Schedule # 70008

This course will examine ethical-strategic reasoning applied to resistance struggles, centered on the purported non-violence of Gandhi and pro-violence of Fanon but finding their traces in Said's essays on Palestine/Israel, Foucault's on Iran, and Butler's on the "war on terror." We will engage, then, normative approaches by activist intellectuals to material political struggles. Each author maps the relationship of "violence" and "peace" over the struggles of particular identities and universal aspirations, which the seminar will explore through discussions, presentations, short response papers, and a 15-25pp. term paper.

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: Housing Policy, Schedule # 51824 has been cancelled!


STPEC 492H, Section 2: International Political Economy, Global Health and National Development – Glendene Lemard

Mondays 4:40-7:10 pm
Schedule # 71262

This honors seminar will focus on current global health issues within the context of international development and international political economy. It will examine the ideas and principles that have guided some of the actions of developed and developing nations over the years, which have ultimately impacted population health today. We will also examine the question of development and where health is placed in the context of development. As developing nations are faced with the scourge of ill-health, how do they grapple with other forces such as globalization, violence, infectious diseases, debt and inequality? The course will address select global public health problems and international political economic policies to ameliorate them.

Glendene Lemard is a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences


STPEC 493H: The Politics of Law: Critiques of Western Legal Theory and Practice – Phil Cox

Thursday 6:30-9:00 pm
Schedule # 70538

This course considers the theory and practice of Western law (particularly US law) from a number of critical angles.  We’ll look at legal theory, how a mix of reasoning, textual interpretation, philosophical argument and not least politics constitute “what the law is,” and also at how law works “in the trenches,” how we are to construe concepts of morality, professional ethics, cultural mores, etc., in the daily practice of law.  Then we’ll broaden this critique to consider international law, in particular recent debates regarding torture, the International Criminal Court, and human rights initiatives.  We’ll investigate how political economy, wealth, class, and ethnicity radically affect how legal institutions function.  Finally, we’ll end with an extended case study in law and politics—an examination of the US Civil Rights Movement and the ways in which legal practices and institutions have functioned as instruments of both oppression and liberation.

Phil Cox is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at UMass Dartmouth.


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

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 51814

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

Wednesday 4:40-7:10
2 credits, graded
Schedule # 51823

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 291N: Sustainable Thinking
MonWedFri 1:25-2:15
3 credits mandatory pass/fail
Schedule # 71274
Sustainable Thinking is a student-facilitated course that will investigate the challenges of implementing sustainable solutions in various contexts by fostering environmental literacy. We will discuss topics such as energy justice, distribution of resources and wealth, sustainable practices as well as the history of sustainability within modern society. This course will be taught non-traditionally. Students will be encouraged to apply what they learned in the class to their lifestyles. Sustainable Thinking aims to be an experience-based learning opportunity relying on discussions, group projects and hands-on lectures. Majority of class time will be video-taped with student permission in order to create a final “Sustainable Thinking 2012” documentary.

This class will be facilitated by Tierney W. Barker, Psychology major and Mia Shimokana, German major. For more information please contact Tierney at or Mia at Since this class is not yet on SPIRE please contact Mia or Tierney to register. The first class will be held in Prince, on the first floor in a room called The Spot.

STPEC 291P: Power, Resistance and the Specifics of Social Change: The Campaign for Equity and Dignity in Boston's Housing Market – Steve Meacham and Katherine Mallory

Fridays 10:30 am – 3:00 pm. This class will meet Jan 6 – Feb 24, 2012.
2 credits pass/fail
Schedule # 71158
Bank CEOs are making record high salaries while foreclosures rock the middle and working classes into homelessness and dislocation. These same banks got bailed out of their own crisis, with taxpayer money, some of which came from the same people who are losing the substantial equity they'd built into these houses. Most of the tenants are being evicted due to predatory loans made in a non-regulated system by banks that knew very well the risks they were posing to these families. In our present example, the economic system does not serve -- in fact threatens, a significant portion of the working population, and legislation protects the interests of the banks and the wealthy. How do you organize, not only TO save homes, but through saving homes... to build awareness of the inherent violence of the system as you go so that communities can act to demand accountability, respect and legislative/policy change? This class will be taught by long time community organizer Steve Meacham, who will present conceptual analysis of organizing strategies and lessons learned during his now 10 year fight to change the political paradigm of housing policy in Boston's affordable neighborhoods.

This class is open to any STPEC major interested in community organizing, campaign strategy and the development of political analysis through grassroots social and political resistance. To register please contact Katherine Mallory in the STPEC Office.

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 # 51828

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.