LIBS 202 2016
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 - 1:30        




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 5/6 & 5/8)

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. Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible (Harper) ISBN-10: 0061577073
  2. Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, (Monthly Review Press) ISBN: 978-0853459910
  3. Dayo Olopade, Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern (Houghton Mifflin) ISBN: 978-0547678313
  4. Chris Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (Nation Books) ISBN: 978-1568588247
  5. Michael Goodwin, et al., Economix: How and Why our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work) (Harry N. Abrams Publishers) ISBN-10: 0810988399
  6. Marx & Engels/Gasper, ed., The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document (Haymarket Books) ISBN: 978-1931859257
  7. Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press) ISBN: 978-0226264219
  8. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Picador) ISBN: 978-0312427993
  9. Bennis, Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror (Interlink Books) ISBN: 978-1566560948
  10. Seamus Murphy & Eliza Griswold, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) ISBN: 978-0374535186
  11. David Korten, Agenda for a New Economy (Berrett-Koehler, second edition) ISBN: 978-1605093758
  12. Jones, Haenfler, Johnson, The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make a Big Difference, New Society, ISBN: 0865715750
  13. Graeme Taylor, Evolution's Edge: The Coming Collapse and Transformation of Our World (New Society Publishers) ISBN: 978-0865716087
  14. Walidah Imarisha, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (AK Press) ISBN: 978-1849352093
  15. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau) ISBN: 978-0812993547
  16. Seth Holmes & Philippe Bourgois, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farm Workers in the United States (UC Press) ISBN-10: 0520275144
  17. Daniel Imhoff, Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill (Watershed Media) ISBN: 978-0970950079
  18. Alex Prud'homme. The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century (Scribner; Reprint edition) ISBN-10: 1416535462


The Course of Events
(Subject to Change)

Week 1 Welcome

Mon 1/25         Introduction
                        Boo, A Hundred Beautiful Forevers
Wed 1/27         Boo, A Hundred Beautiful Forevers
Fri 1/29            Symposium (CH 68/9:00 - 11:30): Film - The Mission

Week 2 The Legacy of Colonialism - Latin America

Mon 2/1           Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America, Foreword, Introduction, Ch 1
Wed 2/3           Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America, Part III  (everyone); 59-99; 99-134; Ch. 3, Ch. 5 (to be divided in groups)

Tutorial: Seminar and Writing Criteria

Fri 2/5              Olopade,Olopade, Bright Continent

Symposium (TBA): Film - Amandla                                                    [First Friday]

Week 3 The Legacy of Colonialism -

Mon 2/8           Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt
Wed 2/10         Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (cont)

Tutorial: Brainstorm Essay 1

Fri 2/12            Quijano & Wallerstein, "Americanity as a Concept" (reader)  

                        Symposium (CH 68/10:30 - 12:00): Francisco, "Hemispheric Americans"

Week 4 The Dismal Science

Mon 2/15         Goodwin, Economix, Introduction, Preface, Ch. 1-3  
Wed 2/17         Gaspar (ed.), Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto, pp. 9 - 117, 160 - 163

Tutorial: Workshop Essay 1

Fri 2/19            Goodwin, Economix, Ch. 4-8

Week 5 Neoliberalism and its consequences

Mon 2/22         Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, Prefaces (all 3), Introduction, Ch. 1-2, 10-11, 13
                        DUE: Essay 1 Draft
Wed 2/24         Klein, The Shock Doctrine, Introduction, Ch. 2-3                   
Fri 2/26            Klein, The Shock Doctrine, Ch. 14-15

Symposium (CH 68): Guest Speaker Panel - International Affairs

Week 6

Mon 2/29         Klein, The Shock Doctrine, Ch. 16, 18, Conclusion

DUE: Essay 1 Draft 2

Wed 3/2           Bennis, Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror; Murphy & Griswold, I Am the Beggar of the World
Fri 3/4              Bennis, Understanding ISIS (cont.)

Symposium (TBA): Film - Why We Fight

[First Friday]


Mon 3/7           MIDTERM EVALS  
Wed 3/9           MIDTERM EVALS     
Fri 3/11            Korten, Agenda for a New Economy, Prologue, Ch. 1-6; Jones, et al, The Better World Handbook, Part I

Symposium (CH 68): Film - Inequality for All



Week 9  -   An alternative vision of the future

Mon 3/21         Korten, Agenda for a New Economy, Ch. 7-13

DUE: Essay 1 Draft 3

Wed 3/23         Taylor, Evolution's Edge

Tutorial: Brainstorm Essay 2

Fri 3/25             Taylor, Evolution's Edge (cont.)

Symposium (TBA): Guest Speaker Panel on Local Initiatives

Week 10 Promoting social change

Mon 3/28         Jones, et al, The Better World Handbook (cont.)
                        DUE: Essay 2 Draft
Wed 3/30         Imarisha, Octavia's Brood
                        Tutorial: Introduce and Brainstorm Research Project
Fri 4/1              Symposium (CH 68): The Imaginists
                                                                                                                                    [First Friday]

Week 11 Race and Immigration in the U.S.

Mon 4/4           Coates, Between the World and Me
                        DUE: Essay 2 Draft 3
Wed 4/6           Holmes & Bourgois, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies
Fri 4/8              Holmes & Bourgois, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies (cont)
                        Symposium (TBA): Guest Speaker - Seth Holmes (tentative)

Week 12 We are what we eat

Mon 4/11         Imhoff, Food Fight
Wed 4/13         Selections from Ohlson, The Soil will Save Us & White, Grass, Soil, Hope (reader)

                        Tutorial: Film - Food, Inc (in seminar rooms); DUE: Research Project Outline and Annotated Bibliography

Fri 4/15            Symposium (9:00 - 12:00/CH 68): 9:00 - 11:00 Gaia Presentation & Intro to Soil Lab 11:00 - 12:00 Advising

Week 13 Reflections on Water and climate change

Mon 4/18         Prud'homme, The Ripple Effect, Prologue, Ch. 1-6 (pp. 1-72)
                        Soil Testing Lab
Wed 4/20         Field Trip: Wastewater Treatment Plant (2 groups - 8:45-11:00; 10:00-12:15)
Fri 4/22                        Prud'homme, The Ripple Effect, Ch. 22-25 (pp. 239-304)
                        Symposium (TBA): Film - Flow

Week 14 Making a difference

Mon 4/25         Readings on Climate Change?
                        DUE: Soil testing results and analysis
Wed 4/27         Field Trip: Landpaths or Sonoma County Well Head
Fri 4/29            Field Trip: Landpaths or Sonoma County Well Head

Week 15

Mon 5/2           Solnit?
Wed 5/4           Student Choice ???
Fri 5/6              Student symposium prep
                        DUE: Individual Research Project Reports
                                                                                                                                    [First Friday]

Week 16

Mon 5/9           Student symposium prep

Wed 5/11 Student Symposium (TBA)
Fri 5/13    Student Symposium (TBA)    

Due: Reflections on My Intellectual Journey

Week 17

Mon 5/16         Final Synthesis