Ecology, Democracy, Utopia: Introduction to Social Ecology

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To take this course for college credit, register here instead. To take as a self-directed flex course, register here. 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. In Fall 2023, this course will be held on Thursday evenings at 7pm Eastern Time, from September 14 to November 16.

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, Peter Staudenmaier, Blair Taylor, Grace Gershuny, Mason Herson-Hord, and Brooke Lehman.