UPCOMING INTENSIVE PROGRAM: “Beyond Strategy: Building Visions for a Free Society”. Click here to apply.

The Institute for Social Ecology offers 8-10 day intensives, which consist of a combination of lectures, workshops, guest speakers and field trips.  The objective of these intensives is to offer a holistic political perspective that challenges participants to consider radical social-ecological critiques and cultivate their own visions of a free society. In the past, we have proudly collaborated with guest speakers from organizations such as Organization for a Free Society, Picture the Homeless, West Harlem Environmental Action (WEACT), Perennial Solutions and the Tar Sands Blockade.

2012 ISE Intensive, New York CityWhat are Intensives Like?

A typical day at an intensive begins around 9 AM and lasts until about 3 or 4 PM. Guest speakers, community events, study groups, and informal hangout sessions take place in the evenings. While food arrangements vary from program to program, we often cook meals together and collaborate to find affordable, local food options.

It is of utmost importance to the ISE that programs are financially, physically, and culturally accessible. Participants come from many backgrounds – from university students to activists to full-time workers. Please discuss with us your needs.


Like the integrative perspective of social ecology, ISE intensives are more than the sum of their parts. Emphasizing movement from theory to praxis, we collaborate with participants to address the social and political issues that impact their activist work, academic studies, and everyday lives. Within this framework, we offer a “core” set of themes and presenters. See the descriptions of individual programs for details.

*NOTE: The Institute for Social Ecology does not offer academic credit.

IMG_3444_SmallerTime & Locations

The ISE operates primarily in the Northeast. We have held intensives in New York City, Northampton Massachusetts, upstate New York and, more recently, North Texas.  We schedule intensives in the summer around mid-August, or in early January. Stay tuned to find out when our next program will be announced. We hope to see you there!

Student Testimonials

“Radical, coherent and powerful body of ideas taught by talented and dedicated teachers that can transform your perspective of politics, evolution, nature, revolution, environmentalism, climate change, capitalism, power and hierarchy.” -Liana Sweeney

“I was able to attend two of these [Intensives] in NYC and would love to go again!” – Jose Whelan

For more information, just email us at: seminar@social-ecology.net


2012 ISE Intensive, NYC

2014 Winter Intensive: Denton, Texas

In early January 2014 participants gathered in Denton, Texas for the first ever week-long intensive in the South. This intensive was focused primarily on Climate Justice in response to a recent flurry of fossil fuel resistance organizing that had surged across the Lone Star State. Participating organizations included Frack Free Denton working to ban and hydraulic fracturing and Tar Sands Blockade working to stop tar sands pipelines. The intensive included courses on Climate Justice, Direct Democracy, Moral Economy, and Solidarity Organizing. Later that year, many of the participating organizers played key roles in successfully banning fracking in Denton.

2012 Intensive Series: “Building Directly Democratic Social Movements”: New York City

Drawing immense inspiration from the Occupy Movement, the Institute for Social Ecology hosted two seminars on Directly Democratic Social Change in partnership with the Brecht Forum.  These Intensives took place in New York City, from January 7 – 15 and March 11- 15.   Instructors focused on providing tools to deepen student’s analysis, historical knowledge, and strategic visions for fundamental social transformation. Courses included topics such as Climate Justice, Direct Democracy & Dual Power, Rethinking the Left, and Liberating Land for Community Control.  Central to our discussions were questions of strategic movement building, solidarity & accountability, and the unique potentialities and challenges presented to the Occupy Movement.

January Intensive Readings
March Intensive Readings

2011 Summer Intensive: Hudson Valley

The 2011 ISE Intensive was held from August 9 -17th in the Hudson River Valley region. Students enjoyed marvelous summer sunshine and ate delicious farm fresh foods in between classes on Alternatives to Capitalism and the Politics & Philosophy of Social Ecology. Several special presentations highlighted the 2011 seminar, spanning topics such as the history of revolutionary art in Mexico, left-libertarian political movements in Venezuela, and grassroots resistance organizing against hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota.


 2010 Winter Intensive: New York City

In January 2010 the Institute for Social Ecology held an 8-day intensive introduction to the philosophy and politics of Social Ecology in New York City. This 8-day intensive offered students an introduction to the dialectical philosophy and politics of Social Ecology. Using the lens of Social Ecology, students participated in four topical seminars focused on climate justice; alternatives to capitalism; race; and the history of Social Ecology and radical movements. Students also participated in a practicum applying the principles of Social Ecology to their own actual (or imagined) activist campaigns.

You can view the 2010 ISE Intensive Schedule.

*For information about upcoming intensives, please contact seminar@social-ecology.org