Ecology, Democracy, Utopia: Introduction to Social Ecology


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To take as a self-directed flex course, register here instead. Also available for college credit; inquire to for details.There are no assignments or grades for non-credit seeking participants.

This course introduces students to social ecology: an interdisciplinary body of ideas that explores the relationship between social and ecological problems. Students in this class will learn the foundations of social ecology and apply these insights to a variety of contemporary political and ecological problems, sharpening their understanding of the world while developing visionary ideas to change it. The course explores a broad range of interconnected themes including: social theory, hierarchy and domination, gender, race, capitalism, nature philosophy, food and technology, direct democracy and the state, political organizing and movement history, and reconstructive vision.  Offered most years during the fall season, sometimes more than once in a year. This course will next be offered in Fall 2024.

The ten units explore:

  • What is Social Ecology? 
  • Understanding Nature
  • The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy
  • Cisheteropatriarchy and Feminist Responses
  • Race and the Colonial Order
  • Capitalism, Critique, Alternatives
  • Agriculture, Climate, and Ecology
  • Politics Beyond the State: Direct Democracy & Popular Assemblies
  • Getting from Here to There: Social Movements and Community Organizing
  • Reconstructive Vision: Reclaiming Utopia

See full syllabus here.

Instructors: Dan Chodorkoff, Chaia Heller, Brian Tokar, Kali Akuno, Yvonne Yen Liu, Peter Staudenmaier, Blair Taylor, Grace Gershuny, Mason Herson-Hord, and Brooke Lehman.