"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways;
the point, however, is to change it."

Social and Political Thought (SPT) is an interdisciplinary program that explores contemporary issues and events of global importance from several different and engaged perspectives. Students are invited to examine the deeper, often hidden and obscured, structures that give shape to our present-day society. We examine how our sense of self and our experience of others and the world are conditioned by social, legal, political, economic, military, and psychological forces of power. These forces of power not only produce societal orders, they also are the source of violence, aggression and conflict. SPT’s interdisciplinary focus gives students the unique possibility of understanding how concepts and imagined ends or goals of human power and desire come to shape and form the sense of ourselves, how we view others, and how we organise and build our worlds. 

Examples of problems/issues we cover:

  • Global migrations and refugees
  • Worldwide debt and its consequences
  • Emerging technologies of war and their impact on human life
  • Bio-power and the manipulation of the human
  • Overcoming colonization, racism and imperialism
  • New views of subjectivity and the rise of the posthuman
  • Precarious life and future

Methodologies and Active Learning

Whether we investigate the effects of debt and global financial capitalism, the environmental crisis, changing views of sexuality and social relations, imperial geo-political forces or the effects of colonisation and decolonisation, students will always be invited to examine the unspoken and often tacit assumptions at work in the play of power. Making evident the fundamental assumptions of the power plays mentioned above will give students the opportunity to challenge and think about and imagine alternatives to what is already at work in our present society. We deploy a variety of methods and pedagogical techniques to expose students to different disciplinary methods and approaches to relevant issues.

A Unique interdisciplinary and experiential learning programme

Hands-on experience. Program requirements include:

  • An introduction to Modern and Contemporary Philosophy (Phil 2206X)
  • An Introduction to Social and Political Thought (Phil 2208E)
  • A selection of courses from other disciplines
  • Two upper level courses with an SPT focus
  • Possibility of integrating experiential learning courses from various partner disciplines

Benefits and Possible Future Careers?

SPT serves as excellent preparation for those interested in graduate school and/or future careers in think tanks, law, politics, activism, public policy planning and analysis, education, government and diplomacy, healthcare, and urban and social planning.