SOC 177A

In 2016 Hillary Clinton was defeated in the presidential election, Simone Biles showed us what #blackgirlmagic is all about, and Mother Teresa was canonized by the Catholic church. What do all of these people have in common? The personal is political: their gender–for better or worse–certainly played a role in each of their stories.
In SOC117a, we uncover and unpack the underlying systems, institutions, and norms regarding gender that influence our lasting achievements in work and career. We identify and explore the ways in which we–as those who make up society–are responsible for and perpetuate these systems, institutions, and norms. And then we talk about our abilit(ies) to change these systems, institutions, and norms to create a just world for all.
The primary goal of this course is to give you the tools to practice seeing the world as it is–so that you can hopefully change it where you think it needs changing.
Teaching the course this summer is Kim Lucas, whose research and work focus on using her sociological tools to make the world a better place for those who live in it. Folks, get ready for 5 weeks of awesome.

ECON10A: Introduction to Microeconomics

This course is an introduction to the field of microeconomics, and is intended for all possible economics majors, minors, and for all other students who plan to take Econ 20 (Introduction to Macroeconomics) later in their academic career. This is the first economics course that economics students should take at Brandeis, and anyone contemplating a major or minor should start with this course. It will give you an idea of the range of behaviors that economists investigate, introduce you to the basic tools that we use to analyze economic behavior, and apply these tools to public policy issues. Perhaps most important, this course will introduce you to the “economic way of thinking,” an approach to decision making that applies to personal decisions, to the decisions of businesses, labor unions and other organizations, and to the larger choices that society faces.

This course satisfies the School of Social Science distribution requirement and the Quantitative Reasoning component of the General University Requirements. It is also the first course for any student considering a concentration or minor in Economics.

This course has two “broad” goals. First, it is hoped that everyone will come out of this course a more educated citizen, being able to use basic economic principles to critically evaluate the arguments for and against public policy proposals (various tax proposals, immigration reform). Second, this course should give students the theoretical tools necessary for success in subsequent economics courses.

ANTH 156A Power and Violence

Are you curious or confused over recent spikes in activism and how protests relate to current political powers? Do you want to know how relations of power and political authority work between dominant and subaltern groups today and how they might differ from the past? Or, how do those with greater access to power condition and constrain the choices of those without such access? What happens when encounters among individuals and groups become violent, structurally or visibly? How does power and violence relate to social justice? If you’re a student with interests in social justice, activism, anthropology, social science, and politics then this class might be for you.

Social Justice has always been at the center of Brandeis, characterizing the continued initiatives students and faculty. This summer, the course ANTH-156a Power and Violence seeks to explore this theme through addressing questions on power dynamics and violence. Through readings by classic and contemporary social theorists, we will take a critical perspective to current events paying keen attention to deeper trends that often go unnoticed. Attention will be given to activism, the recent Women’s March and Science March, ongoing debates on health care, and human rights. These subjects and much more are open for student research projects, that will drive the work of the course throughout the short semester.


As a case study this class will build towards exploring the culture of trafficking on borders, drawing on current tensions between the U.S. and Mexico from multiple perspectives. To do so, we will use media, including blog posts, podcasts, video clips, and journalism to disentangle different voices and discern why difference comes about and understand what can be done about it.


Click here for more course information and the course link for the syllabus.


Your instructor, Ryan H. Collins is a PhD Candidate in the Anthropology department focusing on Latin American Archaeology and Public Anthropology as the co-host and co-creator of the Podcast: This Anthro Life.





Online Session

Brandeis Summer School offers an extended, online session that allows students to make progress towards their degrees while being away from campus.

This summer the online session will run from June 5 through August 11!

You’ll need to complete our online learning orientation before you can enroll in an online course. If you’re interested, please email and we can help get you enrolled!

MUS21A: History and Practice of Electronic Dance Music: A Global Perspective

Are you thinking about taking a music class this summer? Charles Stratford, instructor for MUS 21, gives students an inside look at the course!


A note from the instructor: Originally from Los AngelesI am currently a fifth-year PhD candidate in musicology here at Brandeis; my wife is a Speech Language Pathologist, and we have two sons who like to boogie!

In summer of 2015, I taught MUS 35A “History of Rock,” which was well received by my students; we spent a whole unit on EDM, and many students gave their semester presentations on their favorite EDM tracks.  This experience prompted me to design a course solely devoted to this fascinating topic.

What makes your course unique?

This is the first time the music department at Brandeis has offered a course that focuses entirely on the history and practice of EDM.  Other undergraduate surveys on popular music mainly focus on the development of rock and hip hop in English-speaking countries.  This course will dig deeply into the roots of this genre by examining pioneering artists whose music has been revitalized in recent years, namely because of the explosion of dance culture worldwide.  Due to the diversity of the Brandeis student body, each student brings their own unique perspectives on EDM (and music in general), often influenced by contact made with musical traditions outside of the US. In this sense, I hope that our learning will be collaborative, since everyone has their own story about what kind of music might move them.  However, this course also reaches the layperson with little or no experience with this genre.

What draws you to this subject area?

I bring over a decade of experience as an electronic musician, dancer, and scholar of music history.  As a teenager, I was first exposed to the music of Stockhausen, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Josh Wink, Paul Oakenfold, The Orb, and Aphex Twin, to name a few.  These formative experiences prompted me to ask philosophical questions that one commonly encounters in studying the history of classical music, for example.  To illustrate, how does one’s national identity affect the way one writes music? Why and how does this matter? What goes into making a particular composition/track a work of art? Will this artist’s work withstand the tests of time and endure beyond being just a “one hit wonder”? I firmly believe that serious, infectious “art music” takes many shapes and forms and is not confined to the orchestral concert hall.  We live in a day in age when skilled EDM artists (Daft Punk and their soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy” comes to mind) are considered composers in their own right: they draw upon advanced compositional techniques, they think deeply about the music they write, and they unite people around the world through creating positivity and community.  I am passionate about this music and its history, and I devote a significant part of my activities as a classically-trained musicologist to pursuing scholarship on EDM.

What do you hope students will learn from your course?

I hope that my students can enrich their understanding of music they are already familiar with, as well as broaden their horizons with respect to music that is new to them.  Moreover, as technology is key to EDM, we will learn to analyze this music in terms of how the means of production influence artists’ distinct sounds.  Due to the large cross-section of pieces we will study (ca. 1970s through the present day), I hope that my students can understand the history of EDM as a totality by tracing a thread of stylistic development; that is to say, without “Krautrock” or funk, there would be no Detroit techno, without Detroit techno, there would be no trance, without trance, no electro, no breaks, no dubstep, etc. It is my hope that the analytical and writing skills gleaned from this course will aid students in all of their collegiate studies, since thinking and writing well are helpful tools in many disciplines outside of music.

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