To accommodate students' broad interests and diverse backgrounds, course requirements are flexible.


STPEC 494A: Praxis
Instructor: Katherine Mallory
Phone: 413-545-0137
Office: Machmer E-27A

STPEC 494A: Praxis is a 2 credit course that accompanies STPEC 498Y: Field Experience and Critical Analysis (which fulfills the STPEC internship requirement). It is a seminar course best taken by students either after or during their internship experience.

“Praxis” is a widely overused term, but generally refers to the intersection of theory and practice. For our purposes in this class, praxis is a process. It is an opportunity, and an ethical intention, to reevaluate organization, structures, outcomes and the beliefs that underlie them in order to understand how power, organizational culture and policy are created and maintained. It is an inquiry into the role of institutions in social change, and the role of theory in those institutions. Students will be asked to rigorously analyze and effectively communicate both concretely and abstractly about the organizations in which they interned and the theories and ideologies they saw acting within them.

Terms students should be thinking about:
power, authority, sovereignty, democracy, individual vs. collective identities and processes of meaning, culture, difference, knowing and knowledge, among others.

The internship requirement is a graded 12-15 page analytical and narrative paper about their experiences and the organization. Students will be required in this class to write 4 3-5 page papers on topics of discussion. They may then combine these smaller papers into the longer paper they turn in for 498Y.

Small papers should be between 3-5 pages (not including charts, graphs, images, etc). They should be double spaced, in 12 point font with one-inch margins and page numbers. Please also, and always, proofread & spell-check your work!


Final grades for STPEC 494A will be:

80% Papers (20 points for each paper)
20% Class Attendance (2 points for each class)

Papers will be graded based on:
 Completion of Assignment
 Observational skills
 Depth of Thought / Critical Thinking
 Writing Quality – should be clear, concise, organized and proofread

I will accept one paper up to one week late without penalty. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from completing assignments on time, talk to me as soon as possible so that we can adjust the due date accordingly.

It is unwise to come to class late or skip class because you have not finished your paper. The penalty for missing class is higher than the penalty for turning papers a few days late. Class time is where most of the work for this course is carried out. Our discussion will suffer at your absence …. and plus your comrades will miss you.


Sample Course Calendar (from Spring 2008 Praxis class):

February 14, 21, 28:
Social theory and how we practice it?
What’s the difference between ideology and theory?
Mission and Vision

----- Theory versus Ideology, “The joy of Revolution” (chap. 2).

Write out questions we deal with in class in essay form:
Your organization, what does it do, why, what does it accomplish, why/how? What do you believe about social change that you chose that organization?

March 6: Organizational structure and funding
Organizations/institutions: structures, decision-making, personality, history, culture

Burke,B. (1999) ‘Antonio Gramsci and informal education’, the encyclopedia of informal education, last updated jan 30, 2005.

Rasmussen, Virginia. (2002) The Struggle for Democracy: Activists Take the Offense. Remarks delivered at the Empowering Democracy Conference, NYC. April 13, 2002.
Grossman, Richard. (uncopywrited). Can Corporations be Accountable? In Rachel’s Environmental & Health Weekly, #609.

Essay: organizational structure and funding in terms of mission and vision

March 13: Identity
Intersectionality/internalized oppression/levels and types
Identity development models (from sje)

March 27: Historical contexts

Quijano and Lugones
the world is a ghetto

April 3:
Race and whiteness
What do you see, what don’t you see?

Ruth Frankenberg, “Thinking Through Race,” in White Women, Race Matters: the Social Construction of Whiteness.
Rosaura Sanchez, book review of Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles by Paula Moya.
Audre Lorde, Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference.

essay: race and whiteness in your organization

April 10:
Gender (sexuality): Patriarchy – Feminist Geneologies
women and labor/globalization and the body-sexuality
Globalization and justice: women of color reproduction and labor and sexuality

Organizations, women and leadership
Transnational feminism

Essay: gender in your organization

April 17:
Class: class as process; kinds of wealth; review of process of appropriation and exploitation – necessary and surplus labor…social welfare
Karl Marx
Linda Stout

April 24:
Psychology and social justice….
-Lillian smith. North and south…. Hypocracy…complexity:
-Emma Perez. the psychic terrain of the desire/history/decolonial imagination of chicana women.
-Anne McClintock. Desire/whiteness and coloniality

May 1:
Open class