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 – Christopher Hamilton

TueThurs 11:15-12:30
Schedule # 77436

This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Junior Seminar Sequence. Through the reading and discussion of key texts in early European, non-Western and subaltern political theory we explore questions of decolonization of social theory and liberation of the political imagination. We will study some of the politico-philosophical-experiential foundations of liberal, radical, and anti-colonial worldviews paying attention to the ways in which ideologies and political consciousness are constructed in relation to historical events and in oppositional social movements, such as colonization, the French and Haitian Revolutions, the rise of the modern/colonial capitalist-patriarchal system and various forms of pre-20th century resistance.

Christopher Hamilton is a Master's Student in the Social Justice Education Program in the School of Education.

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 Carcelen

TueThur 11:15-12:30
Schedule # 77439

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.

Antonia Carcelen is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature.

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 1:25–4:00 pm
Schedule # 76067

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: The Neo-Colonial Present: Iraq, Afghanistan, PalestineSayres Rudy

Monday 1:25-4:00 pm
Schedule # 78471

This seminar addresses conceptual, explanatory, and empirical debates about state formation, imperialism, and occupation through three case studies: Iraq, Palestine, and Afghanistan. These countries motivate the book by Derek Gregory that gives the course its name and purpose – a reading of the “neo-colonial” occupations of those lands through forms of power, sovereignty, and jurisdiction arguably new to our era. They also form the trilogy by Yasmina Khadra: The Attack , The Swallows of Kabul , and The Sirens of Baghdad , provocative fictional reflections of the conditions and experiences Gregory portrays in his account of bare life and unbounded domination. The course will, then, access and analyze, through diverse writings, the politics of what might be called post-post-colonialism by exploring these three places in light of several insightful theories drawn from political science, social theory, and legal philosophy.

The course will involve extensive reading and require three short critical pieces. A final research paper may be substituted with instructor permission. The critical pieces or final paper may go beyond the assigned works and topics, but are not required to. Short reaction papers will occasionally be collected to facilitate class discussions and enhance one-on-one learning experiences. The class is on Monday afternoon for two and a half hours with a short break. The class is discussion-based with supplemental lectures.

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: Black Politics: Cartographies of Race and ClassMichael D. Ford

Tuesday 4:00-6:30 pm
Schedule # 76068

The central focus of this course will be on the context and conduct of Black politics in the post civil-rights era. With the elimination of the historical barriers to political participation that followed from the civil-rights movement, Black people have secured a very real place in the American political system. Simultaneously, there have been marked changes in the cultural, social and economic forces in the black community which have shaped a very different context for political action. The continued hyper-concentration of the Black poor, the expansion of the Black middle class, and the changing fabric of urban life are key factors shaping political agendas, alliances, limits and pre-conditions for contemporary Black politics.

We will pay attention to the historical and cultural foundations of Black politics, but our concentration will be on the nature of the struggle for power and place that defines Black politics today.

Michael Ford is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science at Hampshire College.

STPEC 493H: Religion, State, Secularization: Negotiating Jewish ModernitiesSusan Shapiro

Thursday 2:30-5:15 pm
Schedule # 78010

Today the question of the relation between Religion and State has returned to center stage. This relation has been negotiated differently across national boundaries and over time. This senior seminar will focus on the role of Jews and Judaism as the key minority/foil in the emergence of the modern nationstate. As such, they have arguably played a distinctive role in shaping some of the basic terms of this negotiation--including secularization--which, in turn have had direct implications for the status of both religious and secular Jewish and non-Jewish minority positions and communities today in Europe, the US, and Israel. Indeed, some of the overdetermined character of contemporary relations between Religion and State may in part be a result of the forceful, if unexpected, return of these issues to the national and international scenes after many had considered these matters as having been already settled.

Susan Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst.


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

(aka “Practicum”) No Class Meetings
Schedule # 76055

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 # 76058

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 296A & C-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 # 76049

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.