+ Curriculum – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \

critical social studies

critical social studies

Critical Social Studies


The critical social studies program involves us in a common project of studying, criticizing, and making theory, engaging faculty and students in increasingly demanding theoretical dialogues with three aims: First, to reflect on the “common sense” assumptions, practices, and identities that inform everyday life; to reflect on the practices, assumptions, and representations that constitute the common sense of academic disciplines; and to reflect on the consequences and implications of these. Second, to deal critically and historically, in social, political, and economic context, with those “common sense” attitudes that constitute everyday and academic life. Third, to encourage reflection on the personal, practical, and policy implications of such critical activity, that is, to consider what might be done for public policy and for social action, and its sought and unsought personal consequences.

The critical social studies program offers an interdisciplinary major (B.A.) and minor.

Course List

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Requirements for the Major (B.A.)

interdisciplinary, 11 courses

BIDS 200, four intermediate and six advanced-level courses from the critical social studies electives chosen in consultation with the adviser to form a coherent program. Of the 10 elective courses, no more than four may be in one department and no more than seven in one division.

Requirements for the Minor

interdisciplinary, 6 courses

BIDS 200, two intermediate level and three advanced level electives chosen in consultation with the adviser to form a coherent program. No more than three courses may be from any one department or division.