Our Social Sciences Area of Concentration (AOC) is as distinctive as our students. When you pursue the social sciences at New College, you get the equivalent of a high quality private liberal arts education for the price of a public college. From traditional classes and labs to group tutorials and small seminars to one-on-one research arranged with faculty for senior project work, you have a chance to explore in depth the areas of learning that interest you.
At New College, we offer an unconventional, Ivy-League-quality education that is well suited to Social Sciences students. Our Division of Social Sciences includes the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. You can pursue any of these Areas of Concentration (AOC), or if you wish to combine study in several social science disciplines, you may consider a “Social Sciences” divisional AOC.
The Social Sciences AOC introduces you to methods of research while giving you the freedom and flexibility to explore everything from Global Environmental Politics and Medieval and Renaissance Europe to Self and Identity, Marine Mammal Behavior, African Anthropology and more. Working with a faculty advisor from within the division, you will create your own individualized plan of study, and at the end of each course you take, you will receive an in-depth, narrative evaluation from your professors. Specialized independent study projects (ISPs) and a senior thesis are also required for graduation.
Guided by your faculty advisor, you create your own plan of study to suit your needs and interests including Independent Study Projects (ISPs), tutorials, internships, research and other academic experiences. You’ll sign an academic contract that includes your short- and long-term goals and the work you register to complete that term. You’ll get a detailed narrative evaluation — not a grade — about your progress in each course. It’s the kind of advising that is rare in college today: one-on-one mentoring and feedback.
The in-depth, interdisciplinary nature of our Social Sciences AOC is one of the reasons that our students are so well prepared when they enter graduate school and the workforce. Graduates from the program have gone on to attend some of the nation’s leading graduate schools and to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, with law, business, education and government service being among the most popular.
Students pursuing a Social Sciences AOC at New College are required to take at least one introductory and two or more advanced courses and/or tutorials in at least three different social science disciplines. This amounts to a minimum of nine courses or tutorials within the field. Students are also required to complete a senior thesis that uses social scientific research methods, and they are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the various methodologies employed by social scientists.
In addition to general coursework, Independent Study Projects (ISPs), group research projects and off-campus research, as well as study abroad, provide important opportunities to gain direct experience of social sciences issues and concepts. Students are also encouraged to do field research, particularly in the local community.
Recent course offerings in Social Sciences:
Due to the flexible and interdisciplinary nature of our Social Sciences AOC, it is difficult to list “typical” courses that students pursue. Instead, you will work with your faculty advisor to design a plan of study and coursework that matches your particular interests and goals.
Sample courses available within each of the disciplines of the social sciences at New College can be found on the disciplinary AOC pages (e.g., Anthropology).
For detailed requirements, check out our General Catalog.
Shannon O’Malley ’94 is an advertising copywriter in San Francisco with Nike Women, Michelob Ultra and The Austin Chamber of Commerce among her clients. A self-described “urchin arts enthusiast,” she is the author of Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes for the End, “a cultural commentary wrapped up into curious cake recipes,” according to O’Malley. “Not like I’m some big pundit, but I probably wouldn’t have the critical mind to write such things if I hadn’t gone to New College. Also, New College encouraged me to go off and do my own weird thing — and trust my own direction. It was good training on how to think and act independently, without a lot of hand holding.”
New College is proud of the many Social Sciences graduates who have contributed to the field. Here’s a sampling of some of our graduates:
Sample of Graduate Schools Attended by NCF Students in Social Sciences:
Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Social Sciences:
“Black/White Biracial Identitiy and Self-Concept in the U.S.” by Alexis Schwartz
“Hammers and Sweat, Self and Other: The Gift of Habitat for Humanity Volunteerism” by Taylor Kennedy
“Credibility in Contemporary American Media” by Kerem Ozkan
“Collecting Stories: Oral History and Community Engagement in Urban Redevelopment” by Ryann Wolf
“Promoted Gender Roles in Heterosexual Teenage Dating: 1950s and 2000s” by Scarlett Taylor
“The 1.5 Generation of the Bosnian Diaspora” by Jennifer H. LeLaurin
“Changing Attitudes Toward the Elderly through Intergenerational Massage: A Case Study” by Rachel Marine
“Predicting Graduation Rates at Liberal Arts Colleges” by Bradley Moore
“Doing Good?: A critique of Outcome-Based Evaluation in Non-Profit Organizations” by Emily Gates
“The Cathedral in the Desert: Land Use, Ethics and the Damming of Glen Canyon” by Daniel Hauck
“From Scholar to Dollar: Food, Culture, and Society in England and France in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries” by Jonathan Trudeau
“Garbage Fell on Alabama’: Environmental Justice in Lowndes County” by Monica Pena
“Just Housing?: Evidence of Garden City Principles in a Postwar Japenese Housing Development” by Stephen Scott
“Rationalization and the Banlieue” by Brian Claeys
“High Hopes and Disappointment: Political Leadership and the Failure of Democracy in Haiti under Aristide” by David Paul
“Consume for the Cure” by Kate Loeffler West
“The Dam Situation on the Narmada: An Analysis of the Narmada Bachao Andolan Social Movement” by Sarah Kell
“Power/Hungry: A New Perspective on Eating Disorders” by Georjana-Grace Shames
“Implementing Self-Directed Learning in the Latter Years of Formal Schooling” by April Girtman
“Touring a Florida Plantation: Historical Archaeology of Gamble Plantation 1842-1858” by Felicia Silpa
“Environmental Equity in Chattanooga: Motivations to Participate in the Cleanup Movement of Alton Park & Piney Woods” by Ken A. Silverman
“The Current Status of Stem Cell Research in the Context of Public Health Policy” by Miranda Lee
“Which Way to Utopia?” by Matthew David Deschaine
“Differentiating African Political Participation and Economic Equality: The Colonial Legacy in the Modern African States of Kenya and Congo” by Darren Guild
“Deconstructing the Homeless/Reconstructing the Home” by Daniel Moore
“Intellectual Objections to Japanese Imperialism: Troubling Heroes and Hegemonic Ideas” by Patricia Decker
“Buying In: Marketing and the Construction of the Gay Aspirational Identity” by Shannon O’Malley
“Serial Killers: A Diathesis-Stress Model of Development” by Karen Demski
Many classes in the social sciences at New College are taught in our LEED-certified Academic Center and Koski Plaza, which opened in fall 2011. The center includes 10 classrooms, 36 faculty offices and a state-of-the-art computer lab, and its courtyard plaza is home to the College’s Four Winds Sculpture, designed for our 50th Anniversary by renowned artist Bruce White. Located adjacent to the library, these new facilities are the hub for learning and social interaction on campus.
The Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College is home to a broad assortment of books, scholarly journals, national and international databases, and other print and electronic media related to the study of social sciences and is available to students throughout the year. The hotspot of the library is the ` with chic café-style seating and every modern technological amenity in the book. It houses the Writing Resource Center, Quantitative Resource Center, Language Resource Center, Educational Technology Services and an open-use computer lab. The ARC provides state-of-the-art technology and plenty of room for library patrons to study and collaborate.
The Jane Bancroft Cook Library also holds the Dr. Helen N. Fagin Holocaust Collection, a collection of materials related to the Holocaust, genocide and humanitarian studies. The Fagin room can be reserved for occasional small meetings connected with the collection.
In addition to the general use labs and collections in the library, the Division of Social Sciences has a number of additional labs that are specifically oriented toward students within its disciplines. These include the Social Sciences Research Laboratory in the Academic Center, the Hal C. Ball Anthropology Lab, the New College Public Archaeology Lab (NCPAL), and psychology labs in Bon Seigneur House and Palmer Building C.
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New College hosts the Biennial Medieval Renaissance Studies Conference, a tradition since 1976 that draws top scholars from around the world. Encompassing European and Mediterranean history, literature, art, and religion from the fourth to the 17th centuries, the conference’s broad historical and disciplinary scope makes it particularly hospitable to interdisciplinary work, and it is recognized internationally as one of the preeminent venues for researchers working in Italian medieval and Renaissance studies. Students have the opportunity to meet one on one with the scholars and attend the conference presentations.
Each February, the New College community celebrates Black History with an African American Read-In, a community talk by a noted Black author and a student-led community service project. Participants read for two hours straight by passing it along from reader to reader — a reading marathon for literature lovers. The library’s Read-In is part of a national event in conjunction with Black History Month, endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association.