Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Social Sciences Courses


Social Science 224 | Oyogoa | 3 credits

Globalization is one of the defining features of the contemporary world, but there is considerable controversy regarding its nature, impact, and future trends. The goal of this course is to clarify what globalization is and how it is affecting communities around the world. This course draws upon various theoretical approaches from sociology and related disciplines to explore various issues pertaining to globalization.  Is globalization really a new phenomena or have we seen this before? Does globalization ameliorate or increase race and gender inequality? How has globalization impacted Third World countries? Is economic globalization a naturally unfolding process or are there specific groups of people directing the global economy?  What impact has globalization had on workers and organized labor? Does the West engage in cultural imperialism?  This course examines these questions and more.  Specifically, it looks at how globalization has developed recently and how it has impacted economies, nation-states, workers, gender relations, class inequality, culture, and other aspects of society.

Prerequisite: One 100-level course in social studies . This course is generally offered once every two years.

Baldwin and Friends: Lovers with Questions, Native Sons without Country

Social Science 230m | Abbas, Brown | 2 credits

The work of James Baldwin provides an exemplary, timeless, and acute lens on the politics of the United States. This course follows Baldwin’s many genres of expression and interlocution—plays, poetry, novels, essays, film and more—to get a sense of the complexity of the claim to be a native son who does not have a country of his own. Baldwin invites, even necessitates, a close analysis of the full scope of race and its politics and anti-politics in the US, by assessing the trends that he instantiates, institutes, and reacts to in his large corpus of work—not to mention the matter of relating to what refuses to relate to you, and to the home one either burns down or chooses to leave. Apart from Baldwin’s own key writings, his correspondence with others is taken up. Selected secondary literature is paired with readings for every week to bring out the full impact of the political and cultural forces within which he is etched. We consult not only Baldwin’s literal contemporaries but also those who fall into a more varied and imaginative genealogical web with him. Over the course of the semester, students are asked to write and perform in a way that engages and interacts explicitly with Baldwin’s many voices.

No prerequisites. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Social Science 309 | Hayes, O'Dwyer | 4 credits

This course provides students with an introduction to research methods in the social sciences with a focus on quantitative methods. Students read about and practice designing, implementing, and presenting findings from various types of research methodologies, including survey, experiment, and observation. In addition, this course covers some general issues related to social science research, including forming a hypothesis, ethics, and sampling. This course is heavily weighted toward a hands-on approach. The readings for the course are important and are required; however, it is assumed that a great deal of the learning takes place in actually attempting to design the studies.

Prerequisite: Seminar II or permission of the instructor. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Junior Proseminar: Possession: Spatialities, Identities, Ownership

Social Science 320 | Social Studies Faculty | 4 credits

To be human is to possess and to be possessed, or so we imagine. These twin conceits enchant and animate us; the first by supposing the subject’s control over itself, its surrounds, or both, including the assumption that we have a certain agency over proximal things—our bodies, ourselves, personal effects, private property, words, thoughts, and more. The second imagines the subject’s possession by forces or processes that are immanent within, or ambient to, our bodies, our minds, or our worlds—powers granting life, informing identities, or both: Myriad energies, spirits, vitalities, chants, symbols, and songs emanating from places, spaces, sensoria, landscapes, deities, people, animals, etc. While the subject in possession acquires powers of identity, ownership, belonging, sustenance, well-being, and selfhood, that which is possessed can also be dispossessed, and that which possesses may not be benign. This course explores ontic foundations of possession, ownership, belonging, and selfhood across the domains of social scientific inquiry by focusing on mind, brain, and (self-)possession; shamanism, trance, hypnosis, and spirit possession; property rights and possession; salvation and soteriologies of poverty and possession; sex, love, and possession; possession, performance, and performativity; and possessions of, and by, nature, resources, and nationhood.

Prerequisite: Acceptance by the Division of Social Studies into the Junior Fellows Program.  This course is generally offered once a year.

Social Science Tutorial

Social Science 300/400 | Staff | 4 credits

Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group.