Course Requirements


The SCCT minor requires two core courses (6 credits total), two electives (6 credits total), and one practicum (1 credit 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 2017, 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 2017:  Professor Eithne Luibhéid (Gender and Women's Studies), Transnational Feminisms

The transnational turn in feminist studies has generated wide-ranging debates, projects and alliances. This course introduces key theorists and debates within transnational feminist theory and invites students to consider how their own research might contribute to this field-in-formation. Throughout the course, transnationalism is conceived neither as free-floating nor as “elsewhere,” but rather, as involving tension between movement and social structuring at interlinked local, national, and global scales. Centering scholarship by women of color, feminism is conceived as entailing struggles for social justice across multiple social hierarchies that include gender, race, sexuality, class, and geopolitics. Overall, the course explores how transnational processes rescale multiple inequalities while nonetheless opening up possibilities for transformation.  Visiting scholars include Professor Marcia Ochoa of UC Santa Cruz.  

Spring 2018: Professors Kaitlin Murphy (Spanish) and John Melillo (English),  Politics of the Senses

From #blacklivesmatter to the Dreamers and the Standing Rock; to the rise of Trumpism and the re-emergence of white supremacy movements -- our current political moment is being shaped by diverse affective, embodied, and performative forms of protest and intervention, community-building and identity-making. This graduate seminar seeks to make sense of this vitalizing and virulent moment by exploring the relationship between the sensorial, the embodied, and the political. Drawing from a range of methods and analytic approaches, including performance, visual, new media, and sound studies, this course will investigate the relationship between the senses and politics. Not simply a set of physical capacities, the senses are a complex amalgam of embodiment, cognition, and expression. How do the senses shape our relationship to the world and each other? How do they produce networks of temporal, spatial, affective, and physical relationships that link individual bodies to others, producing political bodies, publics, peoples, and masses? We will take a deep historical, political, and theoretical approach combined with critical engagement with prominent contemporary scholars and practitioners

Spring 2019: Professors Mark Kear (Geography) and Marcia Klotz (English),  Critical Finance Studies

This class is meant to help students critically engage with the question of how financialization and debt structures are remaking the world today. Under the rising influence of neoliberalism, financial considerations have become paramount in political and social decision-making, taking primacy over human rights, land use and environmental considerations, immigration flows, and democratic processes. This course will look at how these economic forces are remaking geographical boundaries, racialized, gendered, and sexualized identities, political structures, and population flows, as well as how these shifts find cultural representation in art, architecture, landscape formations, media and literature. Readings will include: Harvey, Brown, Foucault, Hardt and Negri, Moten, Dodd, Maurer, Thrift, McClanahan, and literature by Delillo, Moten, Eggers, Rankine, and many others. The course is designed to create a methodologically diverse community of students who can learn from one another as they engage with a broad array of scholarly and artistic approach to the common question of how financialization is changing contemporary society.

SCCT 597 — Workshop in Theory Applied

In this one-credit course, students will participate in either a research or service endeavor that involves applied theoretical fieldwork for which they would receive one hour of practicum credit. Practicum opportunities include action-oriented research initiatives and community outreach, as well as internships with related publications currently housed at the University of Arizona.



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.