Social and Political Thought

The College offers an interdisciplinary minor in Social and Political Thought. This program is designed as an opportunity for students in selected disciplines to have an enriched educational experience that enables them to refine their ability to read, think, write, and speak effectively. The student’s graded performance in the courses taken for the minor, and most particularly in the senior seminar (see below) will reflect the extent to which she/he has achieved the learning goals of the program. Classes are limited in size; a premium is placed on discussion and creative thinking; writing and research skills are actively cultivated; and the courses complement one another in a way that allows for sustained study of issues that cut across disciplinary lines.

The issues that constitute the focus of the program derive from the emergence of the way of studying human experience that is characteristic of modern social science. They are above all philosophical in character, and have to do with the effect that the rise of disciplines like anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology have had on the way people today conceive of the nature and purpose of their existence as human beings.

Requirements for the program include: 1) two integrating courses—an introductory seminar (taken in either the sophomore or the junior year) and a senior seminar; 2) four electives—two of which must be taken outside of the student’s major field: and 3) a senior essay. The senior essay is a revision of a paper that has already been written for a course taken in the program, and is completed as part of the requirements for the senior seminar. It is reviewed by a committee of appropriate faculty.

For further information contact the program director, Professor Richard Boyd, Department of Government.