About the Major

My degree, from the University of California, Santa Cruz, is in Modern Society and Social Thought. I am often asked what in the world that could mean, so I thought I would type in the catalog listing. At least people will have a general idea this way. This is from the 1988-89 catalog, the year I arrived at UCSC and declared the major.

I suppose technically this is a violation of the UC Regents' copyright on the catalog. Unfortunately, I cannot simply point to the current section of the catalog, because Mod Soc (as it was known) was canceled in the 1990-91 school year. (I was away in Canada -- it was rather a shock to come back and find my major was canceled.) However, those of us who had already declared the major were able to graduate.

I've omitted several things: the faculty list, the names and descriptions of courses that were the same for every department ("Student-Directed Seminar," "Tutorial," etc.)., the descriptions of courses I myself didn't take, the names of the faculty members who taught each course, and the quarter in which each course was taught.

Modern Society and Social Thought




Modern Society and Social Thought is an interdisciplinary major program, grounded in both the humanities and social sciences, and international in scope. It focuses on the social conditions and human problems in industrial societies and how they may be understood in terms of theories of social change. Empirical study of societies in America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, and developing parts of the Third World is juxtaposed with study of the evolution of scoial theory from Hobbes and Marx to the present day. The student may choose concrete aspects of modern society to study in depth, such as politics, class conflict, urban life, work and lesiure, family and sex roles, intellectuals, and cultural radicalism.

Modern Society and Social Thought also sponsors a series of courses focusing on issues of war, peace, and nuclear policy in connection with the Adlai E. Stevenson Program on Nuclear Policy. These courses are open to all students on campus and are listed in the 163 series below. Other courses in the nuclear policy series include

Economics 154, The Political Economy of Military Spending

Physics 80T, Introduction to Technology

Sociology 170, Sociology of Violence, War, and Peace

The major in Modern Society and Social Thought has been attractive to those whose interests are not confined within traditional disciplinary lines, and who prefer to work in small seminar groups. A senior thesis is required of all students. Copies of past theses, some of which have been published, are available for perusal at the Stevenson College Office.

Requirements for the Major

Nine upper-division courses are required in the major. Students are strongly encouraged to combine the major with a concentration (major or minor) in a traditional discipline, althought he Modern Society and Social Thought major may be taken on its own. Students must take two courses which are case studies of particular advanced industrial societies or studies of themes common to them. Typically these courses use history, fiction, visual evidence, and sociological portrayals of local communities, and emphasize the problems of sifting evidence as well as gaining substantive insight. These courses are offered in the 150 to 159 range.

Juniors entering the program must take 160A-B-C, an all-year seminar in social theory. Course 160D, Recent Continental Social Philosophy, is strongly recommended. A course exploring a pre-industrial society in depth, normally offered by anthropology or hisotry, and two electives including any courses in the 166 to 169 range or any reevant offerings approved by your adviser, are required. The thesis, focusing on any topic approved by the student's adviser, rounds out the requirements. To facilitate writing the thesis, students may take 194, Research Methodology, (preparation for thesis). One quarter of course 195A-B, Senior Essay, (thesis research and writing) is required. Upon completion, the thesis is presented to all students and faculty in the program.

Although there are no formal prerequisites to the major, and entering junior transfer students are most welcome, it is strongly recommended that students prepare themselves by taking elementary courses in several of the following fields: economics, sociology, American and European history, politics and political philosophy, and psychology. The second and third quarters of the Stevenson Core Course are also recommended.

Entering juniors who wish to major in Modern Society and Social Thought should see the coordinator as soon as possible after arriving.

Upper-Division Courses

152. Modern Life in the Soviet Union

154C. Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry

154D. Investigative Journalism in Modern Society

154F. The Impact of India in British Society.

155. Women in Communist Societies

156A. Quality of Urban Life.
Examines the role of cities as containers of tradition and generators of change to see how the urban habitat delimits and expands human experience.

157. Plan, Planning and Contemporary Social Structure.

160A-160B-160C. An Introduction to Modern Social Theory.
Analysis of social philosophies, from the Enlightenment forward, relevant to interpreting the course of industrial development and patterns of human relationship within modern societies. Enrollment limited to 25.

160D. Recent Continental Social Philosophy.

161. Politics in Modern Literature.

162C. Cinema and Soviet Society.

163B. Nuclear Weapons: Effects, Proliferation, and Control.

163C. The Soviet Threat: Myths and Realities.

164. Parliamentary Government: The British Experience.
A survey of contemporary government and politics in Britain, set against an outline of constitutional development and a consideration of the nature of parliamentary systems.

195A-195B. Senior Essay.
Preparation for the required senior thesis over one or two quarters normally including the middle quarter of the senior year. If taken as a multiple-term course, the grade and narrative evaluation submitted for the final quarter will apply to the previous quarter. May be repeated for credit, or two courses may be taken concurrently, with consent of the chairperson.

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