Course Requirements


The SCCT minor requires two core courses (6 credits total), two electives (6 credits total). The goals of the coursework are to broaden your knowledge of crucial theoretical traditions, to help you orient your research in context of the new movements and directions in social, cultural, and critical theories, and to provide tools to advance your individual career as a scholar and professional. Please plan your course of study well in advance to take full advantage of this program.

Core Courses

SCCT 500 in Fall 2018, Leerom Medovoi (English) — Introduction to Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

Tuesday  3:30-6:00pm

Philosopher Max Horkheimer defined critical theory as a genre of intellectual writing with a definitive purpose, namely to “liberate human being from the circumstances that enslave them.” This course will survey the intellectual traditions interested inenvisioning how human beings have come to be repressed, exploited, instrumentalized, disciplined, or otherwise dominated by their own social, cultural, economic or political orders. The course will also consider how liberation from such conditions has been differently imagined by these traditions.  We will read work by such foundational thinkers as G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Franz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Stuart Hall and Judith Butler. Traditions we will engage include historical materialism, psychoanalysis, postcolonial and critical race theory, feminism, British cultural studies and queer theory. The seminar will rely on intensive group discussion of shared readings.

SCCT 510 — Problems in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

Operating as a team-taught course by two faculty members from different units, SCCT 510 will address and explore an annually selected topic that raises challenges or introduces problems to our theoretical frames of study.  The course will be tied to an annual theme that will also be investigated through academic events, reading groups and/or public programming. 

Spring 2019: Profs. Mark Kear (Geography) and Marcia Klotz (English), Cultures and Spaces of Finance and Debt

It has been ten years since the global financial crisis, but its effects remain all around us. Yet long before it first appeared on the horizon, Gilles Deleuze argued that the United States and other advanced capitalist astates had become "societ[ies] of control," where social order was produced not only  through disciplinary institutions (prisons, factories, schools), but increasingly through relations of debt; in short, "encircled man [sic] had become indebted man." The consequences of this shift have been profound, altering human spaces and architectures as well as our daily lives, our sense of the future, intimate relationships and subjectivities.

To analyze the origins and consequences of the neoliberal "financialization" of the economy, society and culture, this seminar adopts interdisciplinary methodologies drawn from geography, history, literary analysis and critical theory to track the changing role of debt, finance and money in shaping the human experience from the scale of the body to the scale of the globe.  To help us along the way, we will explore the work of Giovanni Arrighi, David Harvey, Annie McClanahan, David Graeber, Karl Marx, Michel Foucault, Wendy Brown, Mary Poovey, Fred Moten, Maurizio Lazzarato, Randy Martin, Arjun Appdurai, and Greta Krippner, among others. A speaker series with public presentations may be organized alongside the course.

Students enrolled in this course will have the unique opportunity to present their work at the international Futures of Finance and Society conference to be held in Tucson in Fall of 2019, and meet eminent scholars from across the US an around the world.

Spring 2020: Profs. Anita Huizar-Hernández (Spanish) and Jamie A. Lee (Information) Politics of the Archive/s

Tracing what's been called 'the archival turn' in a large number of disciplines, this graduate seminar centers the archive/s as both the conceptual 'archive' and the material 'archives' to make semse of the tension that arises within transdiciplinary deployments, translations, and interpretations of what might be considered 'archival.'  Drawing from a range of theroetical, methodological and analytic approaches to archive/s --from archival studies, the humanities, feminist and queer studies, and Latinx and Critical Indigenous studies --, we aim to explore together the seeming neturality and simplicity of the archive/s in order to enact both a politics of recovery and an intervention into singular and dominant histories.  Through hands-on archival production and research, students will interrogate the archive/s through 1) the Colonial, 2) the Postcolonial, and 3) the Decolonial frameworks to study the material consequences of the political projects of archive/s, archiving, and remembering.



Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory electives should broaden your knowledge of the field, not simply provide additional depth in your research area. Two approved elective courses are required (6 units). The electives should be selected from the list of courses above, with guidance and approval of the SCCT PhD Minor faculty on your committee. Courses on this list are offered regularly and have few or manageable prerequisites.

In addition to the classes listed here, many departmental seminars are extremely relevant to interdisciplinary theory and can be counted for elective credit. Such substitutions must receive advance approval by a member of the SCCT executive committee and fulfill the “broadening” objectives as described above.

We know that course offerings change rapidly, and we would appreciate students alerting us  to additional classes that may be relevant to include on this list.


We understand that unusual circumstances may require modification of these requirements. If you find you cannot meet these requirements due to truly extenuating circumstances, you can petition the SCCT executive committee for a modification. You should provide written documentation of your situation and the curricular modification required.