Student, Alumni & Faculty Work

Fall 2022 First Year Registration and Department Information

All Our Fall '22 Courses are listed and linked below.

Information about our extensive Social Justice Internship Program is below the Fall '22 Course Listings. 

Fall 2022 Courses in Critical Theory & Social Justice

CTSJ 100 Introduction to Critical Theory

This course introduces students to critical theory in its necessary and intertwined relationship with effective social and political activism. Students will study the historical and conceptual reflexive transformation and expansion of critical theory/activism. The course of study will follow a critique of liberal and neo-liberal theory through Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic, critical race theory, queer theory, trans theory, structuralist and deconstructive theory.

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: Global Connections

 

CTSJ 102 Justice Bootcamp

Meaningful social and political change requires not only critical and thoughtful engagement with our grounding ideas, dominant theories and our existing positions. It also demands that we learn the concrete, practical skills necessary to make our ideals real, to exercise our rights, to fulfill our duties to one another, and to transform the actual mechanisms and institutions that shape our lives. This course — unique at either the undergraduate or graduate level — will provide students with an intensive and full-spectrum introduction to the most important, most effective and newest techniques, tools and technologies used in political and activist campaigns from the highest levels of electoral politics to non-profit, non-governmental and community campaigns. The course curriculum is organized in three dimensions, training students with the core skills necessary to participate in existing political and activist work, but also empowering them to, when necessary, imagine and carry out their own innovative and transformative campaigns. To this end, students will learn not just tactical skills, but also strategic planning and management approaches that will help them invent, implement, and improve the campaigns to which they commit themselves. This course will include instruction and workshops that bring the best practices and lessons from top businesses and campaigns, refined by political practitioners and distilled for students. It will also include tactical skills training-- media messaging and communication strategies, polling literacy, database management, budgeting and campaign finance, Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts, and lobbying basics. 

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: United States Diversity

 

CTSJ 105 Immigration and Education

This course will locate the topics of immigration and education within historical, legislative, and cultural debates on what it means to be an American and who has the right to an education. Students will explore and debate precedent-setting Supreme Court cases, such as Mendez v. Westminster, which challenged the segregation of Mexican children into separate schools, and Lau v. Nichols, which fought hard for non-English speaking students to have linguistic access to the public-school curricula. In addition, students will research the historical antecedents to the recent anti-immigrant movements in California, Arizona, and Colorado, which target the use of languages other than English in school settings, and have all but abolished bilingual public schools. Against this historical and legislative backdrop, students will examine ethnographic research detailing the persistent challenges that immigrant children face in schooling, including migrant children, and the ways in which they, their parents, and communities experience those challenges.  This course is part of the California Immigration Semester, and enrollment is open only to first-year students simultaneously enrolled in CTSJ 105, DWA 282, and SOC 105.

Credits: 4 units

Corequisite: DWA 282 and SOC 105

Core Requirements Met: Global Connections

 

CTSJ 107 Introduction to Postcolonial Studies

This course will introduce students to major concepts, theories, and intellectual inquiries in the area of postcolonial studies. Students will engage with broad questions around knowledge production, representation, and subjectivities through the examination of topics such as: decolonization, migrations, transnationalism, diaspora, cultural productions, and practices of resistance. The course will look at relationships between postcolonial studies and critical race, feminist, and queer theories.

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: Global Connections

 

CTSJ 120 Power and Politics

This course introduces students to theories of power from multiple disciplines, and applies these theories to analysis of how power operates in formal and informal politics. Students will be introduced to the basic operation of politics and public policy in the U.S., as well power operating in economic and social systems. It will analyze contemporary public policy, political campaigns and elections, social movements, hashtag activism, and other aspects of the struggle for power in the U.S. context. This class is open to frosh and sophomore students.

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: United States Diversity

 

CTSJ 180 Stupidity

Stupidity is neither ignorance nor organicity, but rather, a corollary of knowing and an element of normalcy, the double of intelligence, rather than its opposite. It is an artifact of our nature as finite beings, and one of the most powerful determinants of human destiny. Stupidity is always the name of the Other, and it is the sign of the feminine. This course in critical psychology follows the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, and most recently, Avital Ronell, in a philosophical examination of those operations and technologies that we conduct in order to render ourselves uncomprehending. Stupidity, which has been evicted from the philosophical premises and dumbed down by psychometric psychology, has returned in the postmodern discourse against nation, self, and truth, and makes itself felt in political life, ranging from the presidency to Beavis and Butt-head. This course examines stupidity.

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: United States Diversity

 

CTSJ 221 Inequity and the Law

This interdisciplinary course is designed for students considering the law as a potential career path and who are interested in developing an understanding of the relationship between inequity, the law and critical theory. Our materials will include federal and California statutes and case law, government-issued reports, and legal journal articles related to education; housing justice; police practices; consumer protection; immigrants' rights; and other topics. This course will teach students the methods of law and policy analysis. The two main questions that will guide our critical thinking are: what is the impact of the law on inequity and what is the impact of inequity on the law? 

Credits: 4 units

Core Requirements Met: United States Diversity

 

CTSJ 300 Research Methods and Critical Inquiry

This course is an introduction to the process of conducting social science research. Students will learn to execute a research project from start to finish—including the formulation of a research question, selecting the best method(s) for addressing the question, statistical analysis in a lab setting, and research report writing. Students will also learn to critically analyze the production of knowledge and unmask the power dynamics of “scientific” inquiry, “objectivity,” and “authority.”

Credits: 4 units

Prerequisite: CTSJ 100

Core Requirements Met: Mathematics/Science

 

CTSJ 384 Bataille

A close reading of the works of Georges Bataille, including: The Impossible, The Unfinished System of Non-knowledge, The Accursed Share, On Nietzsche, Story of the Eye, The Dead Man, and Collected Poems. First year students are not permitted to enroll in this course.

Credits: 4 units

 

CTSJ 395 Humming in the in Between: Black Southern Organizing and Sound

This interdisciplinary course examines the politics of sound in how moments in between resistance and deep oppression are documented and understood when considering Black Southern pursuits of liberation. This course will challenge students to engage in familiar political moments in a sensory capacity, challenging understandings of political consciousness, movement success, and power building. In this course, sound will be used as a  critical field to examine the voices that will produce the sound as they construct and navigate constructions of democracies and oppressive state actions that have entangled their Blackness to a dance of freedom and coercion. Thinking through a sonicscape allows for an investigation of the overlapping of the institutional and lived realities of Black rural Southerners.

Credits: 4 units

Prerequisite: Any 100-level CTSJ course or permission of instructor

 

CTSJ 490 Senior Seminar in Critical Theory & Social Justice

This course is offered in conjunction with CTSJ majors' ongoing research for the Senior Comprehensive Project. Seminar meetings will be devoted to discussion and critique of students' work in progress, and to close readings of a select few texts in Critical Theory and Social Justice. Only open to senior CTSJ majors.

Credits: 4 units

Internship Program

We offer a robust program of student internships with course credit (see our Social Justice Practicum, CTSJ 398) through our long-term and well-developed relationships with excellent social justice organizations in Los Angeles, nationally and globally. Our internship program places students in the Fall and Spring semesters as well as over the summer. For more information and to inquire about being placed in an internship, please contact the department's Internship Coordinator, Prof. Malek Moazzam-Doulat, at mdoulat@oxy.edu.

 


CTSJ Projects:

Scholarship, Activism, Awards, Media & Other Great Work

by CTSJ's Students, Alumni and Faculty

2021 Senior Comprehensive Projects

Congratulations, Seniors!

 

 


The 2021 CTSJ Department Awards

2021 Social Justice Impact Award for Alumni — Director, US House of Representatives Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds, Shanna Devine (CTSJ, 2008)

Shanna Devine is the inaugural winner of the CTSJ Social Justice Impact Award for alumni. An early graduate of the CTSJ program, Shanna worked with Prof. Griffin and Prof. Heldman at Oxy and earned her Master of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. Shanna Devine was appointed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as first Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. In that capacity, Ms. Devine is responsible for 1) developing best practices for whistleblower intake for House offices, and 2) providing trainings to House offices on how to safely receive information from whistleblowers.

For more about Shanna, see below under Featured Alumni and read her Oxy Story profile.

Video of the conferral and acceptance remarks: 

 

 

 

2021 Best Senior Comprehensive Project —  Kayla Lim: " 'Equitable' access to the online curriculum: identifying barriers in remote learning during the covid-19 school shutdown"

In the Fall of 2021, Kayla will join the UCLA Graduate Teacher Education Program (TEP) that "prepares aspiring teachers to become social justice educators in urban settings."  She is also working with Prof. Mary Christianakis to publish her Sr. Comprehensive Project in a peer-reviewed academic journal. 

2021 Kai Allen Award for Best Scholar-Activist — Serena Pelenghian 

The Annual Kai Allen Award honors and memorializes a beloved and impactful CTSJ alum who, sadly, passed away in 2016.

Each year, the award recognizes a graduating student whose activism and scholarship during their time with the department most fully reflect Allen's loving, intense, and sustained commitment to the pursuit of liberation and justice for others . 

Serena also won the 2021 Senior Class Mortar Board for the promotion multicultural understanding and inclusion while at Oxy. While maintaining an extraordinarily high academic standing at Occidental College and in CTSJ, Serena:

  • Served two years as a driving force on the CTSJ Undergraduate Journal Editorial Board.
  • Revived/Created the Armenian Students Association who were much needed and a great support and source of information for the college and broader community during a year in which Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan. 
  • Helped revive/create the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) Students Association
  • Planned and organized a series of events about the Armenia-Azerbaijan war, including an excellent episode of the Matrix. 
  • Served as an intern for Armenian National Committee of America (Western Region) and was one of three members of the Impact Media Institute, doing research on genocide indicators and genocide prevention in other countries.
  • Was a staff and opinions writer for The Occidental, the college newspaper, helping raise awareness of social justice and other important issues on campus. 

 


 

CTSJ Students Awards


Summer 2021 Student Fellowships and Internships


Featured Faculty Work and Recognition

 


DR. CAROLINE HELDMAN | CTSJ PROF. & DEPT. CHAIR | HOST | HELDMAN HEADLINES 

circa 7 minutes of Daily Headlines and Analysis

Here is a link to the full Playlist on Now's YouTube Channel

 

Read More about HNBA's 2021 Top Lawyers Under 40


 

Featured CTSJ Alumni

 


PLUS ME Project

RICHARD REYES | CTSJ ALUM | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | + ME PROJECT

Created by CTSJ alumn, Richard Reyes, the + ME PROJECT is a community partner dedicated to empowering middle & high school youth to build their confidence for college, career, and community advancement by teaching the art of storytelling. Their vision is for everyone to find motivation, connection, and self-worth by listening to others & sharing their own stories.

 


 

SHANNA DEVINE | CTSJ ALUM | FIRST DIRECTOR | WHISTLEBLOWER OMBUDSMAN OFFICE OF THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

Ms. Devine earned her bachelor’s degree in Critical Theory and Social Justice from Occidental College and earned her Master of Public Management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. 

Shanna Devine serves as the Director of the House Office of the Whistleblower Ombuds. In that capacity, Ms. Devine is responsible for 1) developing best practices for whistleblower intake for House offices, and 2) providing trainings to House offices on how to safely receive information from whistleblowers.

See the Official Annoucement by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi