Critical Social Thought

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College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Dean: Andrew Harris

Critical Social Thought Program

Humanities Building, Room 304
Phone: 415-338-2247

Coordinator: James Martel

Program Scope

Critical social theory challenges contemporary forms of political-economic power. In classes and internships, the Minor in Critical Social Thought program draws from Marxism, socialism, anarchism, the Frankfurt School, radical environmentalism and anti-consumerism, postmodernism and post-structuralism, globalization studies, feminism, queer theory, post colonial and subaltern studies, disability studies, critical race theory, theories of art and visual representation and other systems of thought that pay attention to the questions of power and exploitation in world politics, culture, economics and the formation of identities.

The minor seeks to address the way that so much of contemporary social thought is uncritical. It is guided by the belief that a better world is possible and that social thought has an important role in outlining the form such a world might take and identifying the agents who might be capable of bringing it about.


Critical social thought serves as a foundation in critical theory that can be applied to a variety of disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and the arts. Critical social thought can be pursued in conjunction with any number of majors enriching and diversifying these fields of study including but not limited to sociology, human sexuality studies, psychology, history, philosophy, women and gender studies, latina/latino studies, ethnic studies, political science, international relations, criminal justice etc. In addition, critical social thought can help establish skills that will be useful in post-graduate careers ranging from careers in social activism and social work, to politics, law, health care, policy and many others.


Biella, Carrillo, D'Agostino, Ferreira, Gordy, Kassiola, Luft, Martel, Nichols, Oñate, Pinderhughes, Quesada, Rivera, Schechter, Steir

CST 300 Introduction to Critical Social Thought (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or consent of instructor.

The tradition and development of critical social thought in interaction with social-economic, political conditions from Kant, Hegel, and Marx in the 19th century to 20th century Marxism, phenomenology, and feminism.
(This course is offered as CST 300 and PLSI 386. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

Course Attributes:

  • UD-D: Social Sciences
  • Social Justice

CST 320 Racism: Cross-Cultural Analysis (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Upper division standing or consent of instructor.

Cultural history of racism as related to colonialism and imperialism. Racism as on-going intellectual, political movement. Anti-racism and educational-anthropological methods to defeat racism.
(This course is offered as ANTH 320 and CST 320. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CST 585 Globalization and World Cultures (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: ANTH 120 or consent of instructor.

Effects of globalization and multinational corporations on cultures. Examination of contemporary globalization from a combined political-economic and cultural anthropological perspective.
(This course is offered as ANTH 585 and CST 585. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

CST 590 Anthropology of Women (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: ENG 114 or equivalent.

Ethnographic, physical, anthropological, and pre-historical materials on women. Theories on origins of the family, social structuring of sexuality, and changing sex and gender in modern societies.
(This course is offered as ANTH 590, CST 590, and WGS 595. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)