The Institute for Social Ecology offers online courses on a variety of ever-expanding topics. Our seminars combine weekly interactive video seminars with ISE faculty and participants from across the globe, video lectures and readings, and online discussion forums. They are generally offered 2-3 times a year (check individual course pages below for time/date details). All our courses are also available in a self-directed format featuring the syllabus and materials but without the fixed time commitment of the weekly seminar. Registration for the full seminars is $80 and $40 for the self-directed version. We try to make our programs affordable while also covering costs; payment plans and need-based scholarships are available. To enroll, complete the form on the relevant course page or contact us at social-ecology@mail.mayfirst.org.

Ecology, Democracy, Utopia is an eight-unit course that provides a comprehensive overview of Social Ecology, an interdisciplinary body of ideas that examines social and ecological problems from a transformative and holistic perspective. Students 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, capitalism, nature philosophy, food and technology, direct democracy and the state, political organizing and movement history, and reconstructive vision.  The next seminar is January 11 to March 1 2021, meeting on Mondays at 10am/1 pm PT/ET.

Rethinking Social Transformation is a five-unit seminar that explores the tension between transformative social change and practical political action. It engages with questions of dialectical thinking, state theory, agency, and political strategy. Participants will read and discuss texts by Murray Bookchin, Karl Polanyi, Karl Marx, David Harvey, Nicos Poulantzas, and others, with short contextualizing lectures by instructor Dr. Robert Ogman.

Understanding Antisemitism: Historical Roots & Contemporary Relevance is a five-session seminar that explores antisemitism in history and social theory.  Recent events – from the deadly Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the alt-right’s chant of “Jews will not replace us,” up to recent controversies within the Women’s March and UK Labour Party – have demonstrated a critical need to understand antisemitism as an ongoing threat that requires analysis and action from an emancipatory perspective. Co-taught by Robert Ogman (PhD Sociology, De Montfort University) and Peter Staudenmaier (Professor of History at Marquette University), each week participants will discuss assigned texts after a short input by the instructors. AThe next seminar is March 10-April 7, 2021, meeting Wednesdays at 10 am PT/1 pm ET. 

Frankfurt School Critical Theory is a seven-unit seminar that introduces the core concepts, thinkers, and texts of this famously rich yet challenging school of radical thought. These transdisciplinary thinkers have been a foundational influence on social ecology, which has drawn on their penetrating analyses of a wide array of topics including capitalism, fascism, modernity, reason, science and technology, nature, pop culture, mass media, aesthetics, the left, and more.   Participants will read foundational texts including Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man, exploring their continued relevance for contemporary political and theoretical questions related to capitalism, imperialism, modernity, culture, race, gender, colonialism, and more. The next seminar starts January 12, meeting on Tuesdays from 1-2:30 pm ET through March 2 ($80).

All courses are also available in a self directed format featuring the same material minus the weekly time commitment of the live seminar ($40).

To enroll or get more information, complete the form on the specific class page, or write us at social-ecology@mail.mayfirst.org.