LIBS 202 2014
Challenge & Response in the Modern World

Professor:      Dr. Tom Shaw
Room:            CH 54
Phone:            (707) 664-3181
Class Hours: M 9 - 11; W 9 - 12; F 9 - 12

Office Hours: W 12 - 2        




Course Overview

Rapid change is the defining feature of modern life. Whatever the cause, shifts in the locus of economic or political power, technological developments, the results of war or revolution, environmental factors or the emergence of new ideas or values, the consequences of change inevitably produce dislocations in long-established patterns of behavior and belief, often with unpredictable and disturbing results.

This course is designed to explore significant changes undergone by societies during the past two centuries beginning with the Industrial Revolution, but intensifying in our own time under the impetus of global trade and commerce, modern media, accelerating innovations in technology, the clash of ideologies, and the struggles of nations and peoples to contend with the legacy of colonialism.

Closely following what historians have described as “the bloodiest of all centuries,” it is essential for us to assess both the challenges that have confronted us and will confront us. Among the key questions we will consider are: What have we learned which might help prevent further social and environmental destruction? What institutions, programs, and social movements are in place through which an increasingly global citizenry can take positive action?  How can individuals develop life-enhancing, sustainable, and realistic visions of the future? 

Serving as the final course in the Hutchins School’s four semester lower division sequence, Challenge and Response relies on the academic background and intellectual skills you have developed in the Hutchins program, on your ability to create an effective, increasingly self-guided learning community, and on your willingness to actively engage and reflect on social and environmental issues from both a global and local perspective.

As the culminating activity in the course, each student will be asked to review her/his Portfolio and prepare and present a Final Synthesis essay reflecting critically on her/his intellectual growth over the four semesters of the Hutchins lower division program.


This class can be taken for either a grade or for Credit/No Credit. Grades are based on satisfactory completion of course requirements and the quality and timeliness of your assignments. At mid-term you will be given a grade so you know how you are progressing. I expect you to make a good-faith effort on all assignments and encourage you to strive for the extraordinary; your grade depends on the work you do.  If you turn in a paper late, your grade may be adjusted downward.

Grading Criteria

A      Reserved for truly outstanding performance in all aspects of the course.

B      Strong performance; above average.

C      Satisfactory grasp of course content and adequate performance on writing assignments and in seminar.

D      Below average performance – this means that you will receive credit for the course but will not be able to continue into the Upper Division of the Program.

       Inadequate performance – this means that you did not complete the course requirements, will not receive credit for the course, and will not be able to continue into the Upper Division.

Credit/No Credit option

At the end of the semester there are three assessment options:

Credit - This means that you have completed the course requirements in good faith, will receive credit for the course, and will be continuing into the Upper Division of the program.

Terminal Credit – this means that you will receive credit for the course but will not be able to continue into the Upper Division of the program.

No Credit – this means that you did not complete the course requirements, will not receive credit for the course, and will not be able to continue into the Upper Division.

Also, you may ask for a grade equivalent to be appended to your evaluation.


It is important that you attend all classes punctually and remain throughout. Late arrivals, early or frequent departures, and absences will always impact your status in the program, and more than six absences (seminar or symposium) for any reason may result in you receiving “no credit” for the course. Arriving over ten minutes late and/or leaving early will count as one-third of an absence. Furthermore, using electronic devices during class time (seminar or symposium) is disallowed and will count as an absence. If there are difficulties or concerns, please bring them immediately to the attention of your instructor.


The quality of the seminar is primarily the responsibility of the students. Appropriate participation includes doing the assigned readings and taking notes, coming to class prepared to discuss the material, being respectful of your colleagues’ feelings and ideas, listening carefully at all times, contributing to the dialogue without excessive dominance or pervasive silence, engaging critically with the material and the world around you, having fun and learning to learn. Participation during film screenings is equally crucial. Specifically, this entails paying close attention, taking notes during film screenings, and posting reflections on the Moodle forum. This will allow you to reengage with your thoughts and impressions from the original screening when considering the film later on, either in your writing or in seminar discussion.


Collegial and respectful behavior toward the professor and toward your student peers is vital to the success of each seminar and is required. As students will be leading seminar discussions in this course, it is especially important to show respect to the facilitator and to be a respectful participant in each seminar discussion.  The instructor has the right to determine if and when a student is being disruptive and to ask that student to leave the seminar for that day. If the student refuses, it is appropriate to refer the student to campus authorities. Repeated incidents may result in permanent removal from the course.

Writing Assignments

All assignments must be completed in a timely fashion and be word-processed, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins and borders, and in a standard 12 pt. font (with the exception of daily connection papers). You may be asked to rewrite essays that the instructor feels have not met minimal requirements. You should have in your possession Diana Hacker’s Pocket Style Manual (also available on-line) for reference, as well as the class generated writing criteria for assessing your essays and those of your peers. You are responsible for correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting in all of your work. All assignments are due at the beginning of class. Late work will affect the final grade. 

The writing assignments for this class consist of: 1) Daily Reflection Papers and 2) Essay Drafts. Daily Connection Papers should include your thoughts, your questions, your reflections and your associations (your “connections”)  – essentially all ruminations regarding the assigned reading.  You should make specific reference to the assigned texts, and include relevant page numbers and quotations. They need to be at least one page in length. You need to have a Daily Connection Paper for each class. These will not be collected, but your professor will check to make sure you’ve brought one to class.  You must save these, and include them in your portfolio at the end of the semester. 

Essay Drafts should focus on one or more of the course themes and texts. Essays will go through at least two revisions. You may be asked to complete additional drafts if the instructor feels your writing still needs improvement. Essays should be at least 3-4 pages in length. The Final Synthesis Paper should be 5-7 pages. In composing these essays, you need to adhere to the MLA Format and include a Works Cited page. Specific due dates for Essay Drafts are listed below.

Lab and Field Work

In connection with the focus on ecology and environmental issues during the second half of the semester, the course includes water and soil labs, as well as some fieldwork in the campus garden. LIBS 202 is collaborating with a campus-wide water quality testing project in partnership with the Sonoma County Water Agency, and a representative (Stefan Klakovich) will be presenting some background on their work on February 13.

Student Symposium (to be presented 4/39 & 5/2)

In 202, students take greater responsibility for their own learning process than in any other lower-division course. In this vein, as the semester ends, each seminar group will create and present a 45-minute symposium that analyzes major social, economic, and environmental issues in relation to California's state and local government. Each seminar group will choose a specific topic to explore, drawing on the issues we have been studying in 202 as they apply to their particular focus, and will propose possible “responses” or “solutions” to problems they identify. Students are free to decide what information to present and how to present this information in their symposium. One possibility is to divide the seminar group into sub-groups that investigate a particular issue or set of issues in relation to the topic. The symposium should be informative, engaging, and thought provoking.  Good luck!


You need to collect, in a three-ring binder, all the writing you will do in this course (your notes, response papers, essay drafts, etc.). You will be asked to assess this Portfolio as well as those of the preceding three semesters in your final paper, an intellectual autobiography tracing the development of your thinking in the Lower Division. At the end of the semester, you will turn in your portfolio with all of your written work for the entire semester.

Disability Services

If you are a student with a disability and you think that you may require accommodations, you must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall 1049, phone 664-2677. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of you verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to your instructor before any accommodations can be made.


Students are expected to be honest in meeting the requirements of courses in which they are enrolled. Cheating or plagiarism is dishonest, undermines the necessary trust upon which relations between students and faculty are based, and is unacceptable conduct. Students who engage in cheating or plagiarism will be subject to academic sanctions, including a lowered or failing grade in a course; and the possibility of an additional administrative sanction, including probation, suspension, or expulsion.


LIBS 202 Text List (in order of appearance)

Available at Northlight Books (in the shopping center across from campus on E. Cotati Ave.)

1. Achebe, Things Fall Apart: Anchor978-0385474542
2. Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, Monthly Review Press, ISBN: 085345991
3. Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism Monthly Review Press, ISBN: 1583670254
4. Heilbroner, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism: W.W. Norton 978-0393955293
5. Willis, Learning to Labor Columbia 978-0231053570
6. Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document, Haymarket Books, ISBN: 1931859256
7. Kristof & WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Vintage, ISBN: 0307387097
8. Orwell, 1984 Centennial Edition, Plume, ISBN: 0452284236
9. Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226264219
10. Klein, The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Picador, ISBN: 0312427999
11. Korten, Agenda for a New Economy Berrett-Koehler, second edition, ISBN 978-1605093758
12. Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist Harvest 978-0156034029
13. Lohan, Water Matters AlterNet 978-0975272480
14. Taylor, Evolution's Edge New Society ISBN 978-0865716087
15. Imhoff, Food Fight The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, Watershed Media, ISBN: 978-0970950079
16. Jones et al, The Better World Handbook Small Changes That Make a Big Difference, New Society, ISBN: 0865715750


The Course of Events
(Subject to Change)

Week 1

M,  1/13: Introduction
W,  1/15: Achebe, Things Fall Apart
F,    1/17: Symposium, 9-11:15am: The Mission (film, 2hrs, Schulz 3001)

Week 2

M, 1/20:  No class (MLK Holiday)
W, 1/22:  Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America
F,  1/24:   Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism

Symposium, 10:30am-12: Night and Fog (documentary, 30 min + discussion, CH 68)

Week 3

M, 1/27: Selections from Lux, Adam Smith's Mistake and Buchholz, New Ideas from Dead Economists
W, 1/29: Heilbroner, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism

Tutorial: Brainstorm Essay 1

F, 1/31:  Heilbroner, cont.

Symposium: Inequality for All (documentary, 90 min + discussion, CH 68, 10am)

Week 4

M, 2/3: Willis, Learning to Labor
          Essay 1, first draft due.  Bring 2 copies for peer assessment.
W, 2/5: Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto

Tutorial: Workshop Essay 1.  Peer feedback

F, 2/7: Marx, Selected Readings & Willis, cont.

Symposium: Faculty Panel on Marx (Schulz 3001)

Week 5

M, 2/10: Kristof & WuDunn, Half the Sky
              Second draft of Essay 1 due.  Bring revised essay, with both edited peer reviews attached.
W, 2/12: Kristof & WuDunn, cont.
F, 2/14:   Symposium, 9-11am: The Battle of Algiers (film, 2hrs, CH 68)

Week 6

M, 2/17: Fanon, "Algeria Unveiled" and Solinas, Selections from The Battle of Algiers screenplay
W, 2/19: Orwell, 1984

Tutorial: Brainstorm Essay 2

F, 2/21: Fromm, Afterword to 1984

Symposium, 9am-12: We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (documentary, 130 min + discussion, CH 68)

Week 7

W, 2/26: Friedman, Capitalism & Freedom
F, 2/28:  Friedman, cont.

Symposium, 9am-12: Wall Street (film, 125 min + discussion, CH 68)

Week 8

M, 3/3:  Klein, The Shock Doctrine
W, 3/5:  Klein, cont.

Tutorial: Introduce Research Project

F, 3/7:   Klein, cont.

Symposium: Guest Speaker Panel (Schulz 3001)

Week 9

M, 3/10: Korten, Agenda for a New Economy
W, 3/12: Korten, cont.

Tutorial: Brainstorm Research Project

F, 3/14: Symposium: Inside Job, 9am-12pm (documentary, 105 min + discussion, Schulz 3001)


Week 10  -    SPRING BREAK     no class


Week 11

M, 3/24:  Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
W, 3/26:  Selections from Chomsky, 9-11
F, 3/28:   Symposium, 9am-12pm: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (film, 130 min + discussion, CH 68)

Week 12

W, 4/2:    Lohan, Water Matters  (Intro and Section 1)
F,  4/4:     Lohan, cont. & additional readings on water  (Section 2)

Symposium, 9am-12pm: Flow (documentary, 84 min + Introduction to Water Lab, Schulz 3001)

Week 13

M, 4/7:   Taylor, Evolution's Edge  (Chaps 1-3)
W, 4/9:  Taylor, cont.  (Chaps 4-7)   Visit SR Farmer's Market
F, 4/11:  Symposium, 9am-12pm: Power of Community (documentary, 1 hr) + Local Activists Panel (Schulz 3001)

Week 14

M, 4/14:  Imhoff, Food Fight  (Forward, Intro, Preface, Part 1)
               9am Orientation and Advising .. Carson 68
W, 4/16:  Imhoff, cont  (Parts 2 & 3) 
               Water Testing 10:30

[Optional Symposium, 10:30am-12pm: The Global Banquet (documentary, 50 min, Room TBD)]

F, 4/18:  Symposium, 9-10:30am: Food, Inc. (documentary, 90 min, CH 68)

Week 15

M, 4/21:  Jones et al, The Better World Handbook
W, 4/23:  Student Symposium Prep + work on water lab
F, 4/25:   Presentation of Water Lab results & Debora's symposium presentation (Room TBD)    

DUE: Individual Research Project Reports

Week 16

M, 4/28:  Jones et al, cont + Student Symposium Prep
W, 4/30:  Student Symposium, 9am-12pm (Schulz 3001)
F, 5/2:     Student Symposium, 9am-12pm (Schulz 3001)   

Week 17

Mon 5/5           Final Synthesis