Operations of Power

Courses in this cluster examine the question of power – what it is, who has it, and what it does – with specific attention relationships between culture, power, and politics.

Course Descriptions

CC100: Language, Power, and White Supremacy

Instructor: Christina Leza
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies & Human Behavior
CRN# 13779
Block: 1

This course addresses the role of language in shaping and maintaining unequal relationships of power in societies, with an emphasis on the ongoing impacts of colonialism and white supremacy. Drawing from multiple disciplines including linguistics, anthropology, Indigenous studies, race and ethnic studies, and cognitive studies, the course introduces students to various epistemological and methodological approaches to the study of power in society. While introducing students to disciplinary-specific ways of producing knowledge, the course will also critically explore the relationship between Western scientific paradigms and colonialism. Comparing Indigenous and decolonizing approaches to knowledge production with Western scientific and philosophical traditions, the course allows students to critically think across and toward the expansion of disciplinary paradigms.

Note: Occasional afternoon workshops and afternoon/evening events.

CC120: Foundations of Radical Nonviolence

Instructor: Evan Weissman
CRN# 13780
Block: 3

The Foundations of Radical Nonviolence examines the theory and practice of radical nonviolence. The course has a cultural and systemic lens, covering a broad range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, art, history, and science, as well as modern day practitioners in order to examine nonviolence as a powerful social force. Students will meet many guests who are practitioners and activists, exploring war and its effects on humans and the planet, strategic nonviolent conflict, prison abolition, civil disobedience, forgiveness, restorative justice, and nonviolent history. Creativity and independent research are highly encouraged in this course, and there is a heavy focus on connecting theory and practice.

Note: Some afternoon meetings with guests.


CC100: Anti-Colonialism

Instructor: Yogesh Chandrani
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Historical Perspectives
CRN# 13910
Block: 1

Colonialism figures in one of two ways in contemporary narratives. On the one hand, we are urged to think of it as a problem situated in the past, a problem that is said to have been swept away in the twentieth century by the great wave of decolonization after World War II. On the other hand, colonialism features as an object of nostalgia. It is celebrated for the benefits (parliamentary democracy, the market economy, rule of law, modern infrastructures, modern education, etc.) it brought to the colonized. This course, however, asks different questions: has the problem of colonialism disappeared? How are we to think about the legacies of colonialism in the postcolonial states and societies (many of them three generations old) that have emerged from the great wave of decolonization that followed in the wake of World Warr II? Almost everywhere in the postcolonial world the project of building independent states, economies and societies has faltered and sometimes run aground. Indeed, one might argue that the anti-colonial dream of emancipation has evaporated. In this course, we will carefully explore the works of key anti-colonial thinkers from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean (Mahatma Gandhi, CLR James, Aimé Césaire, Albert Memmi and Frantz Fanon) in order to inquire into colonialism as a structure of domination and into their visions of its anticipated aftermaths: What were the perceived ill-effects of colonial power? What harms did colonialism do to the colonized that required repair and rectification? In what ways did the critique of colonial power that these thinkers elaborated shape the longing for emancipation and ideas of freedom? How do these thinkers help us better understand contemporary struggles for social and economic justice in the United States and abroad?

CC120: Food and the Nation

Instructor: Tyler Cornelius
CRN# 13912
Block: 3

One of the best windows into the values of a society is by looking at what they eat – where their food comes from, how it is prepared and consumed, and what it can tell us about the larger forces shaping its past and present. In this course students will use environmental history to ask and answer questions about social, political, and environmental change. In exploring these ideas the course will engage a broad range of historical materials, including dairies, menus, recipes, documentary film, photography, advertisement, government legislation/regulation, architecture, and… food itself. This class will be both interesting and delicious!


CC100: Constructing Social Problems

Instructor: Gail Murphy-Geiss
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies & Human Behavior
CRN# 13913
Block: 1

This course will investigate how social conditions come to be defined as social problems, specifically examining the roles of advocates, policy makers, experts, the media, and the public. Why do some social problems receive so much attention, while others are ignored? What are the impacts of defining social problems in a particular way? Drawing on case studies of contemporary issues, including racism, wealth inequality, health care access, the criminal justice system, and climate change, the uneven consequences of social problems will be exposed; some groups are disproportionately disadvantaged while others disproportionately benefit.

Note: If COVID restrictions allow, there may be a morning or afternoon visit to a court.

CC120: Private Troubles, Public Issues, and Social Change

Instructor: Sandi Wong
CRN# 13914
Block: 4

The sociological imagination enables us to not only understand and explain social patterns, but also to relate what we know to individual agency, collective action, and the common good. This linked course builds on theories, concepts, and approaches studied in CC106 Critical Inquiry: Self and Society. While we will continue to investigate the ways in which social structure and culture shape individual lives, we will also explore two other facets of the sociological imagination: the relationship between private troubles and public issues, and the politics of addressing these issues. Toward this end, we will ask several questions: Why is it important to learn about social institutions and systems of power? How does the scholarship we study inspire further inquiry and knowledge production? What do we do with what we know? How do individuals, as sociologists and social actors, imagine alternative visions of community and society, and affect systemic change?


CC100: Afro-Latin American & Caribbean Culture and Literature

Instructor: Angela Castro
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13915
Block: 1

This course will study Afro-Latin American & Caribbean Culture through different disciplinary fields and cultural productions. This includes the study of literature, art, history, and music (from a non-canonical viewpoint). We will read contemporary poetry, fiction and watch Afro-Latin American films such as the Mexican film Black Mexicans: La Negrada (2018) by Jorge Perez Solano and the Colombian movie La Playa. D.C (2013) by Juan Andrés Arango. The students will appreciate how these literary and cultural productions intersect with a colonial Latin American & Caribbean history and legacy. This course will analyze issues of power, race, gender, and resistance and touch on culture, ethnicity, and economic dependency. We will examine who writes and defines Latin America & the Caribbean, its population, literature, art, and politics.

Note: We will visit Museo de las Américas & the Denver Art Museum. At the Fine Art Center, we will attend the Caribbean Studies Symposium: "Gather Them: Breath into the past, Contemporary Caribbean Art."

CC120: Writing the Record of the Earth

Instructor: Christine Siddoway
CRN# 13916
Block: 3

This course introduces writing as a mechanism for inquiry, original expression, and discovery of the ‘fossilized’ record of Earth processes and past environments contained in the rocks of the Colorado Front Range. Through visits to local parks, open spaces, and world-renowned geological features, students will acquire observations and engage in critical thinking that provides a foundation for writing in the disciplines of geology, environmental science, and the natural sciences more broadly. The course will encourage students to ‘read’ the rocks through use of geological principles that guide observations and reduce the “noise” in nature, then compare their own experiences with literature that communicates compelling hypotheses that illuminate dynamic Earth processes. Characteristics of geology discourse and rhetoric will be examined, and students will employ writing approaches suited to varied audiences. An intertwined practice of research and composition will offer the means to communicate about and increase understanding of past events that humans did not witness. By writing the record of Earth, students will gain a greater ability to engage in original scholarship in the natural sciences, experience scientific discovery, translate difficult concepts, and communicate new knowledge in impactful ways that engage diverse audiences.

Note: There will be afternoon excursions to local destinations one or two times per week. As a part of the 'excursion schedule,' there will be one field trip that is two full days in duration, with an overnight stay at the CC Cabin.


CC100: Musicals in American Culture

Instructor: Ryan Bañagale
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 14077
Block: 1

Musicals stood at the center of American culture for much of the twentieth century and up through the present. They not only generate tunes and tales that became the hits of their day, but also comment on the ever-shifting social and political landscapes from which they emerge. Rather than offer a comprehensive survey, this course explores the musical artistry and cultural resonances of the American musical through a cluster of shows that confront issues of race, ethnicity, politics, immigration, and globalization. No previous experience with music is required. However, a primary goal of this course is to improve critical listening and analysis skills as a means for more fully articulating the power and significance of popular art forms more broadly.

CC120: Introduction to Political Philosophy

Instructor: John Grace
CRN# 13900
Block: 2

Investigates the foundation and aims of politic rule as well as fundamental debates over the meaning of justice, liberty, power, authority, law and rights through an examination of basic but competing perspectives drawn from ancient, medieval, and modern texts. Thinkers include, but are not limited to, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli, and Locke.

Note: May require one or two afternoon class meetings in addition to the regular morning class meeting.


Report an issue - Last updated: 07/22/2022