Psy 303. Person in Society

Fall 2003
3 units

Instructors: Mary Gomes & Art Warmoth

Rachel Carson 68

Teaching assistants: Wayne Downey, Sarah Fry, Chaz Gormley, Gwendy Kilfoyle, Carol St. Clare, Molly Walter

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
       -- Margaret Mead

Course Description:
How are our lives shaped by the societies that we live in? Can we become active participants in and creators of those societies? The first part of the course will explore the connections between human well-being and healthy societies and communities, and will provide conceptual frameworks, such as that of the commons, for understanding our lives in a broader social context. The second part of the course will look at ways that various economic and social systems influence human well-being, community vitality, and ecological sustainability. We will  focus on a body of alternative economic theory that treats the economics of the commons as different from and complementary to the economics of the market. The third part of the course will examine applications to current issues in Sonoma County in light of the California economic crisis. We will look at the blueprints for California 2020 developed by John Vasconcellos’ “Politics of Trust” network as a holistic model of a healthy commons in a healthy society. Finally, we will turn to an aspect of society very close at hand ? the Sonoma State campus, to identify and implement ways to support and create thriving commons.

The course will be both theoretical and personal in its orientation. Through readings, lectures, and films, you will be introduced to relevant concepts and theories such as the commons and ecological sustainability. Through exercises, small group work, and writing, you will be encouraged to apply these concepts to your own life, to reflect on your hopes and visions for the future, and to identify ways that you can make creative contributions to a healthy society.

Goals and objectives of course:
In this course, you will:
*Gain an understanding of how individuals and social systems interact
*Employ the concept of “the commons” to better understand several current social dilemmas
*Develop the ability to step back from immersion in the urban-industrial social system in order to identify its central qualities
*Reflect on the role of media in shaping your views of society
*Explore several complementary economic theories and apply them to contemporary social issues

Course structure:
In general, we will meet from 1 - 2:30 as a large group for lectures, films, and discussions. From 2:40 - 3:40 we will meet in small groups for structured exercises and discussion of class material. This schedule will change on occasion to accommodate guest speakers.

GE credit:
This course meets GE Area D1, Individual and Society. If you have upper division standing, it also serves to meet the upper division GE requirement.
If you are a psychology major, you can count this as a GE course or as a course for the major, but not both. You can count it as both GE and supporting units.

Important note:
If you using this course for the Psychology major, it must be taken for a grade. If you are using it for GE credit, you may take it credit/no credit. The requirements for a grade are significantly different from the requirements for credit/no credit, so please read carefully over the following descriptions as you make your decision.

Click here for the CLASS CALENDAR
Click here for COURSE READINGS
Click here for Art Warmoth's Web Site