2020-21 Junior Tutorials

Junior Tutorials  Fall 2020
Note: Admission is based on student preferences and a lottery system. Undergraduate non-concentrators may enroll in these tutorials if space is available.
 

Social Studies 98ax. Development and Modernization: A Critical Perspective
Stephen Marglin
Half course (fall term). Tuesday and Thursday 10:30-11:45.
What assumptions about human beings underlie the conviction that development and modernization constitute progress, that the developed West points the way for the rest of the world? Does economic growth involve a package that necessarily changes the society, the polity, and the culture along with the economy? This tutorial provides a framework for thinking about these questions, both in the context of the West, and in the context of the Third World.


Social Studies 98eo. Art, Political Culture, and Civic Life
Kiku Adatto 
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 3:45-5:45.

The course explores the interplay of art, politics, and civic life, drawing on studies in history, philosophy, art, literature, sociology, and photography. Among the questions we will address are: Why has the removal of statues and emblems become a flashpoint of political controversy? How is cultural domination exerted--and resisted? Do nations have a responsibility to atone for past injustices? In what ways are the arts vehicles for social witnessing and reform? How has political rhetoric changed in the age of the Internet?
 

Social Studies 98lf. Globalization and the Nation State
Nicolas Prevelakis 
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 9:45-11:45.
Despite globalization, the nation is still a major actor in today's world. This course tries to understand why this is so by examining the role that nationalism plays in peoples’ identities and the effects of globalization on nations and nation-states. It includes theoretical texts, but also case studies from the recent rise of populism and authoritarianism, the role of supranational entities such as the European Union, and the urgency of global issues such as climate change, inequality, and migration. Examples from the United States, Europe, Latin America, China, and the Middle East.


Social Studies 98mi. Migration in Theory and Practice
Nicole Newendorp
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 12:00-2:45.
In this course, we will examine how and why people migrate from one location to another, focusing both on the theoretical paradigms scholars use to explain migration processes as well a on the individual experiences of migrants. Topics include transnationalism, diaspora, identity formation, integration and assimilation, citizenship claims, and the feminization of migration. Ethnographic readings focus primarily on migration to the US, but also include cases from other world areas, most notably Asia.


Social Studies 98qd. Media, Power, and Resistance - NEW
Ieva Jusionyte
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 9:00-11:45.
Media and power are inextricably linked. On the one hand, mass forms of communication, such as national television and mainstream dailies, have long been circulating hegemonic discourses and given legitimacy to state projects and official ideologies. On the other hand, nicknamed the “Fourth Estate,” news organizations have also acted as watchdogs, monitoring the performance of the government and holding it accountable to the people. Today’s diversified and loosely regulated media landscape has destabilized and complicated this dual role of news organizations in reproducing existing power relations and providing a forum in which citizens can critically discuss public matters. The course draws on social theory and ethnographic research with various forms of media (from print newspapers to online memes, from public radio to “deep fakes”) to raise questions about political agency and trace its limits as well as possibilities through multiple public spheres that are both more participatory and more fractured than ever before.


Social Studies 98qi. Reimagining Populism - NEW
Angela Maione
Half course (fall term). Monday 12:45-2:45.
Who represents the people and on what basis? What role do the people play in creating, sustaining, or destroying democracy? Who is the most appropriate agent for democratic change: the masses, the working class, the peasantry, or the citizens of a representative democratic state? These questions are currently vibrantly debated by contemporary scholars who issue warnings that come out of fear of mob rule (ochlocracy), expert rule, or fear of the people themselves. Is some form of populism necessary to democracy or is it always a sign of its demise

This class will first explore different contemporary views, including anti-democratic, democratic, and left populisms. We will give attention to the increasing place of socio-economics in these discussions. In order to deepen our understanding of the questions these current positions raise, we will then return to key texts in the history of social and political thought. Readings include selections from Hannah Arendt, Niccolò Machiavelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, and Franz Fanon.


Social Studies 98st. The Many Faces of Tyranny
Rosemarie Wagner
Half course (fall term). Friday 12:00-2:45.
This course explores the way tyranny has been presented in different times and places and the many ways tyranny can create unfreedom. From a wild man out of control, to a carefully orchestrated system of control, tyranny wears many faces. This course begins with Plato's tyrant who rises from the rubble of a failed democracy, through early modern defenses of Regicide, to modern accounts of the tyranny of the majority, empire, and structural oppression. Through this course we will examine what a tyrannical nature is, what makes it rise to power, and what can be done to stop it.
 

Social Studies 98ta. What's the Matter with Inequality? Normative and Empirical Perspectives - NEW
Glory Liu
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 3:45-5:45.
This course investigates the diverse ways in which we theorize, study, and talk about economic inequality today. Is inequality wrong because some people have too much, or because others have too little? Or is it wrong simply because some people have more than others? To answer these questions, this course explores prominent social science explanations of the nature, causes, and consequences of economic inequality in the United States alongside normative theories of equality and inequality. We will also investigate the theory and practice of different “solutions” to inequality such as redistribution and "predistribution", philanthropy, and universal basic income.


Social Studies 98td. The Theory and Practice of Democracy in Developing Countries - NEW
Julie Anne Weaver
Half course (fall term). Thursday 12:45-2:45.
What does the practice of democracy look like in developing countries today? How does that practice map on to democratic ideals like representation, participation and accountability? The course will explore these questions through both theoretical and empirical social science research, with cases drawn primarily from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Topics will include political accountability, state and institutional strength, corruption and clientelism, participatory democracy, managing diversity, and activism and civil society engagement.


Social Studies 98te. Democracy and Education in America - NEW
Rob Willison
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 3:00-5:00.
This course is organized around three crucial questions: (1) What does a truly democratic society require of its educational institutions? (2) How well do our current educational institutions—especially our K-12 schools—live up to the standard set by question 1? (3) What approaches, at the level of both pedagogy and policy, should we take to make our school system more democratic? We’ll address these questions in conversation with philosophers (like John Dewey, Paolo Freire, and Danielle Allen), cognitive psychologists (like Susan Carey), jurists (like Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall), and social scientists (like Raj Chetty and Daniel Koretz).

 

Junior Tutorials  Spring 2021
Note: Admission is based on student preferences and a lottery system. Undergraduate non-concentrators may enroll in these tutorials if space is available.

 

Social Studies 98cl. Law and American Society 
Terry Aladjem 
Half course (spring term). Thursday 3:00-5:00.
The course examines law as a defining force in American culture and society in four dimensions: as it establishes individual rights, liberties, and limits of toleration; as it attempts to resolve differences among competing constituencies; as it sets out terms of punishment and social control, and as a source of informing images and ideological consistency.  We will take up issues at the level of jurisprudence or political theory, but also at the level of legal cases and public controversy in which these questions arise—cases in which racial or gender equality are at stake, religious or sexual freedom, cases in which the claims of religious communities seem irreconcilable, cases in which the nature and extent of punishment have been debated and the question of who deserves to be punished decided, and notorious public trials in which the national self-understanding has been shaped. Our aim is to bring theory to bear, and down to earth, in each consideration, (we will read Foucault and also visit a prison) and since this is an inaugural presidential year, the issues being debated publicly concerning the law and U.S. Constitution will be much on our minds.


Social Studies 98nd. Justice and Reconciliation after Mass Violence
Jonathan Hansen
Half course (spring term). Tuesday 3:00-5:00.
This seminar examines the problem of justice and reconciliation after mass violence: How does a nation sundered by genocide, civil war, or gross human rights violations reestablish the social trust and civic consciousness required of individual and collective flourishing? What is the proper balance between individual and collective responsibility? What is the role of trials, truth commissions, and apology in civil reconciliation? How do specific types of mass violence influence outcomes? What makes some reconciliations successful, others less so? The course engages these and other questions from historical and contemporary perspectives, exploring the legacy of mass violence going back centuries, while examining reconciliation projects across cultures, countries, and continents.

This course comprises three units: 1) a typology of mass violence (civil war, genocide, state repression, for instance) and historical responses; 2) case studies of the U.S. Civil War (and its continuing legacy), the Spanish Civil War, and the Rwandan genocide; and 3) a research and writing workshop emphasizing students own work. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the literature of mass violence from an interdisciplinary perspective (including but not limited to historical, sociological, and anthropological approaches), ultimately launching students on their own research projects.


Social Studies 98nq. Global East Asia
Nicole Newendorp
Half course (spring term). Wednesday 12:45-2:45.

In this course, we will explore how social life in contemporary East Asia is both influenced by and contributes to processes of globalization. Ethnographic readings on China, Korea, and Japan focus on migration, gender roles, consumption, media, and markets as we trace the role of the global in everyday life for rural and urban inhabitants of a variety of East Asian locations. For these individuals, engagement with the global structures how they make sense of the world and creates desires for future life change.


Social Studies 98pv. The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School
Charles Clavey
Half course (spring term). Monday 3:00-5:00.

This course examines the distinctive critical theory created by members of the Institute for Social Research—better known as the Frankfurt School—from its origins in the interwar era to the present day. Over these decades, critical theory has used tools from philosophy, psychology, and sociology to grasp the pathologies of the present and to chart a path towards emancipation in the future. We will reconstruct the Frankfurt School’s evolving theory through its connections to the most important themes of twentieth-century thought: capitalism, authoritarianism, individuality, bureaucracy, and alienation. Our goal is not only to gain a deep understanding of critical theory but also to assess its continued relevance to modern social and political thought.
 

Social Studies 98rc. Language, Culture, Power and the Making of Europe
Andrew Brandel
Half course (spring term). Tuesday 3:00-5:00.

How do the languages we use shape our thinking? And how do our ideas about how language works intersect with issues of race, gender, and class? This course is an introduction to key debates in the social scientific study of language as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon.

Our readings focus on a range of contexts and issues unfolding across Europe – from colonial practices of language documentation and translation to discourses of bilingualism and code-switching, from “migrant” literature to public debates about the roots of national identity. At the same time, we will explore how the study of language itself has historically contributed to the creation and maintenance of the idea of “Europe” in the first place, both in the way it narrates the history of and relationships between languages, and in describing their differing capacities. Tracing this story will in turn require that we ask how European ideas about language have been naturalized in the social sciences, and what kinds of alternatives have emerged to challenge this hegemony. Instead of treating language as a separate domain of research, therefore, we will see how language helps constitute the social and political worlds in which we live, as well as how our ideas about language reflect and produce a variety of normative assumptions.


Social Studies 98rg. Aesthetics and Politics
Ana Keilson
Half course (spring term). Thursday 9:45-11:45.

Since Ancient Greece, individuals have considered aesthetics, defined alternately as the appreciation of art and beauty and the felt (sensible, embodied) experience of the world, as a way to theorize society and politics. This course examines the history of ideas about aesthetics by major modern political thinkers (Kant, Burke, Nietzsche, the Frankfurt School, Chantal Mouffe) alongside some of their cultural contemporaries in the literary, visual, musical and performing arts. 


Social Studies 98sc. Caste, Race, and Democracy
Hari Ramesh
Half course (spring term). Wednesday 12:45-2:45.

Drawing on the resources of social and intellectual history, political theory, and social science, this tutorial will explore the intimacies and differences between two forms of social differentiation: caste in India and race in the United States. We will focus, in particular, on the relationships between caste, race, and imperial power; the diagnoses of and forms of democratic resistance to caste and race subjugation that were articulated in the 19th and 20th centuries; and the place of contemporary social science in documenting both the persistence of oppression along caste and racial lines and the success of efforts to combat such oppression.


Social Studies 98se. Race and Ethnicity in the United States
Christina Ciocca Eller
Half course (spring term). Tuesday 12:45-2:45.

The United States is more racially and ethnically diverse than at any point in its history. Yet racial and ethnic social categories remain persistent sources of inequality in American society. This tutorial will interrogate the relationships between race, ethnicity, and inequality, examining theoretical and empirical approaches across multiple social domains. It particularly will emphasize how race and ethnicity structure experiences, opportunities, and outcomes in important social contexts such as neighborhoods, educational institutions, and the labor market, among others.
 

Social Studies 98sh. Human Rights in History
Justin Reynolds
Half course (spring term). Tuesday 3:00-5:00.

Human rights have become the dominant moral language of our day. When, and how, did they first emerge as an operative system of moral and political belief, and how can their history inform an understanding of contemporary politics and society? Focusing on European, American, and global contexts, this course explores the history of ideas and practices of human rights from the 18th century to the present.


Social Studies 98sv. Capitalism, Time, and Value 
Tracey Rosen
Half course (spring term). Thursday 12:45-2:45.

College students are often counseled to "make the most valuable use of their time." The "budgeting" of hours, days, and weeks of a semester often rests on an evaluation of how much time an activity is worth. In this tutorial we will explore how capitalism might shape the way we perceive, understand, and value time. We start from the premise that economic systems do more than organize the production and distribution of goods; they also help organize how we experience the world as well as the meanings and values that shape our actions within it. In order to ground the dynamics of time and value within capitalism, we begin by drawing from anthropological and historical examples to consider the relationship of time and value in a variety of pre-capitalist contexts. The course then considers the way in which capitalist transformations coordinate new forms of value and perceptions of time. We end with an examination of our everyday, contemporary experience of time against the backdrop of "neoliberal" capitalism and the rise of "futures" markets.


Social Studies 98ti. Innovating Democracy: Designing Public Engagement for the 21st Century - NEW
Sean Gray
Half course (spring term). Monday 3:00-5:00.

This course explores the exciting field of participatory innovations in democratic governance and public policy. Our goal will be to identify proposals that generate effective citizen participation and engagement while addressing pressing public problems. A number of challenges for democracy reform will be considered, including the role of expertise, inattention and misinformation, the tyranny of powerful minorities, political polarization, and rising public distrust and disaffection. Throughout, our discussions will be grounded in an analysis of real-world cases, from elections and criminal justice, to international development and urban planning.