School of Critical Social Inquiry

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Curriculum Statement

The School of Critical Social Inquiry, also known as the School of Social Science, includes historians, psychologists, anthropologists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, and lawyers as well as faculty trained in geography and urban studies, philosophy, cultural studies, and education. Many faculty orient their teaching and research toward specific geographic areas in the developing world. Others focus on Europe or the United States, including many with strong interests in African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos/as, or Native Americans. Many are interested in the social, political and economic interrelationships of these different regions and communities in the increasingly mobile and transnational realities of the 21st century.

What unites us is our common commitment to understanding the processes of continually changing social and cultural formations and their implications for people's lives. As a consequence, we emphasize comparative, historical, and interdisciplinary approaches and encourage critical reflection from multiple perspectives. Faculty focus on a wide range of topics in their teaching and research, examining these from the perspective of individual and collective identity, social and cultural institutions, political economy, and our relationship to the natural world.

We consider class, race, and gender to be key categories of social analysis. As a School, we also acknowledge that heightened cross-border movements of goods, services, peoples, ideas, images, sounds, and structures of inequality affect virtually all aspects of social and cultural life, and require us to question previous certainties. The significance of these changes makes it even more important for students to acquire some facility in a second language and to fit one of our many rich study-abroad opportunities into their undergraduate years.

Regardless of the particular approach, all of us in the School recognize the importance of integrating scholarship with social activism, thus enriching both. We therefore encourage students' involvement in community-based internships and College-wide programs such as Community Partnerships for Social Change, Civil Liberties and Public Policy, Environmental Studies, Population and Development, Education Studies, Peace and World Security Studies, and Childhood Studies, as well as other programs and initiatives.

Most recently, the School has received a generous external grant with which we are constructing a Global Migrations Program. This program provides an opportunity to initiate new and innovative curricular offerings in, for example, the changing meaning of citizenship, nationalism in the post 9-11 era, and transnational identities in the wake of globalizing economies. The School is also a participant in a generous new grant to fund a Program in Culture, Brain & Development to encourage curricular initiatives at the intersection of psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience. Many School faculty and students will be involved in developing these programs over the next few years-a uniquely exciting opportunity. The programs will allow us to host visiting scholars, offer grants and internships for advanced students, and sponsor colloquia, conferences, and new, collaboratively taught, cross-School courses. See the links at left for more information on these exciting new programs.


A list of current Critical Social Inquiry faculty can be found on the faculty page.

Student Members

Student members meet on a regular basis to discuss issues being covered in their respective committees as well as issues brought up at CSI School meetings.

Becoming a Student Member

Why should you join CSI?

  • Find out how Hampshire really works behind the scenes
  • Vote your conscience in SS faculty meetings
  • Fulfill your Division II community service requirement
  • Get to know your professors outside of the classroom
  • Help make important decisions about reappointment and hiring
  • Free food and pearls of wisdom
  • Play a vital role in shaping both CSI and Hampshire-wide policy

Meetings are some Thursdays from 330-5. If you are interested in becoming a student member, please email Chyrell George at with a short statement describing why you would like to become a CSI student member.

Present Members

CSI Student Member Guidelines

The student members has a set of guidelines delineating their role. Read the full guidelines here.


Division III CSI Research Grants

Small grants to help with research expenses are available for Division III students in Critical Social Inquiry. These grants will normally not exceed $250.

To apply, you must submit the following material:

  • A description of what you want the money for. Be sure to show the importance of the proposed research to your Division III project.
  • A copy of your Division III contract.
  • A proposed budget.
  • A letter of support from your Division III chair (who must be a faculty member in the School of Social Science).

Send your application by October 17 to:

Bob Rakoff Dean, School of Critical Social Inquiry

Winning proposals will be announced by October 30. Funds are limited, so we may not be able to fund all requests.

Resource Guides for Critical Social Inquiry Students

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