Program Requirements 

Our two-year online master’s degree program is centered on the successful completion of a research-based portfolio. This portfolio will include original activist research, a collection of essays from core courses in the program, and one shorter integrative essay.

To help with assembling the portfolio, in year one, you will begin to make contacts or seek out appropriate material. You are also encouraged to engage in an activist research practicum, or fieldwork, with a community group or organization, and will be required to participate in an integrative seminar during the last semester of academic study.

Coursework for the program consists of three areas: theoretical, media skills, and organizing skills. Theoretical courses are required and include ideas for action, global social movements, radical political economy, radical theory, and unthinking social science. For the skills-based coursework, you will have the opportunity to choose two courses:

  • Media skills: Strategic filmmaking, writing and publishing, Internet skills, radical radio.
  • Organizing skills: Legal skills, policy analysis, environmental skills, economic skills, and campaigning and organizing skills.

Each semester, a residential intensive is also held to foster community-building while also accruing units. Over the week, you will have an inspiring experience that includes fieldwork exercises, skills-based in-person courses, attending public talks and film screenings, and other collaborative sessions.

Course of Study

Semester 1 | Fall
ANTH 6148 Approaches to Theory (3 units)
ANTH 6160 Activist Ethnography (3 units)
General Elective(s) (3 units)

Semester 2 | Spring
ANTH 6152 Global Social Movements (2 units)
ANTH 6159 Image and the Ethnographic Imagination (2 units)
General Electives (5 units)

Semester 3 | Fall
ANTH 6404 Ecology, Climate, and the Crisis of Nature (2 Units)
General Electives (7 units)

Semester 4 | Spring
ANTH 6198 Contemporary Capitalism (2 units)
ANTH 6599 Integrative Seminar (3 units)
General Electives (4 units)

*See current course catalog for situational differences in course sequence.

Curriculum Highlights

ANTH 6152 Social Movements and Social Change (2 units)
This seminar examines moments and movements of social protest on a world scale, from the early centuries of capitalist development to the present. The course covers a broad history, ranging from periods of path-breaking revolutions (e.g., “the Age of Revolutions” in the late 18th century) through anarchist, Marxist, feminist, and anticolonial movements in the 20th century, to global outbreaks of social movements surrounding 1968, to antiglobalization, autonomous, and occupy movements. Our aim is nothing less than an understanding of how antisystemic movements have successively challenged and changed the colonial/capitalist world system over the last three centuries.

ANTH 6160 Activist Ethnography (3 units)
The distinctive quality of our department is collaborative research of everyday utopias. In this course, you will be introduced to the practice and theory of what we refer to as activist ethnography. This is our signature approach to the study of social change and it rests on investigation of different research strategies associated with collaborative  research of viable alternatives to the present order of things.  We emphasize co-research and direct action, horizontality and self-activity, seen as essential ingredients of  collaborative knowledge production. Activist ethnography attempts to combine research  interest in militant ethnography, drift, mapping, co-research, participatory action research, workers inquiry, and radical oral history with collaborative and engaged participant observation. In this experimental play with different forms of politically engaged collaborative investigation, we strive to construct a distinct model of activist research. If  the first element of our approach is ethnographic, the second element is our active interest in forms of self-organization developed in opposition to, and on the margins of capitalist modernity.

ANTH 6198 Contemporary Capitalism (3 units)
All you ever wanted to know about capitalism but were too exploited to ask. This course will offer an introduction to political economy from a Marxist perspective. It introduces you to radical approaches to political economy and offers a critical perspective that provides an alternative to conventional economic theory as well as to more economic determinist versions of Marxian political economy. Can there be such a thing as a free market? What is globalization? Does capitalism have an “outside”? And what on earth is “overdetermination”? This course provides an understanding of economic processes and larger contexts of exploitation and domination.

Questions? Contact us.

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