SFSU Experimental College

SFSU students are offering to teach five courses this fall.  The list and descriptions of these courses are below. This is a pilot project to facilitate the revival of SF State College’s Experimental College of 1965-69.  
 
The purpose of reviving and updating this program is to give students experience in teaching and leadership, forums for discussing important community and campus issues, and empowerment for organizing.  This will, we argue, will promote courage, equity, the life of the mind, resilience, and community. 
 
·      Contact the student-teachers for more information about the specific course (their contact information is below)
 
·      Contact Kathy Emery (kemery@sfsu.edu) for more information about this program.
 
The Courses (detailed descriptions below)
 
·      PLSI 699.15 - Limiting Democracy, a study of Noam Chomsky
 
·      PLSI 699.16 - Art and Murals as a means of expression
PLSI 699.17 - Syrian Refugees – Analysis of Global Issues 

 
·      PLSI 699.18 - Community Organizing in the Digital Era

 
·      PLSI 699.19 - Cybersecurity, World Affairs & Social Implications in the Digital World
 
 
 
Limiting Democracy, a Study of Noam Chomsky
 
PLSI 699.15 – 1-3 units
 
Time & Location: TBD
 
Student teacher: Ben Feldman: bfeldma1@mail.sfsu.edu; benjaminfeldmann8@gmail.com
 
In this class we will read and discuss some of Noam Chomsky’s political work including Requiem for the American Dream,  “Manufacturing Consent, and Profit Over People.  Chomsky is critical of our system, explaining the ways that democracy is undermined and limited in this country. Chomsky is profoundly optimistic, however, because he believes and hopes that social activism could “reclaim people’s rights as citizens rather than consumers, redefining democracy as a global movement, not a global market.” The course will conclude by reading and discussing some of Chomsky’s critics.  The goal of the class to persuade students that voting is not enough. Democracy means a system of government by the whole population; and yet, in the United States, our government consistently acts against the interest of the people.
 
 
 
Art and Murals as a Means of Expression
 
PLSI 699.16 – 1-3 units
 
Time & Location: TBD
 
Student teacher: Julio Flores: jflore18@mail.sfsu.edu
 
This course will focus on the use of art to express ones feelings or opinions about current political issues.  The first part of the class will consist of visiting San Francisco murals chosen by the students then discussing our impressions.  We will then research the history and meaning of the murals according to the artists who made them.  After that, we will choose current event topics to study, discuss and then draw.  This could include the Trump administration; racism; military action in the Middle East; Global Warming or education budget cuts.  The choice of issues will depend on what the students wish to discuss. The class will be a safe space in which everyone’s opinion matters and is not judged. 
 
 
 
Syrian Refugees – Analysis of Global Issues
 
PLSI 699.17 – 1-3 units
 
Time & Location: TBD
 
Student teacher: Alisar Mustafa: alisarmustafa@yahoo.com
 
This course will explore the history, legal, political and humanitarian aspects of Syrian Refugees in a Socratic-seminar style discussion.  This will include learning about Syrian refugee camps in the Middle East and Europe; understanding the evolving Syrian Refugee policies of the U.S. government; and learning about what services are available for Syrian refugees.  The final assignment will consist of the class organizing a fundraising event for the Syrian Refugee Crisis.
 
 
 
Social Movements and Digital Technology
 
PLSI 699.18 – 1-3 units
 
Time & Location: TBD
 
Student teacher: Cesar Plascencia: CesarJPlascencia@gmail.com   Phone: (714)788-2743
 
This class will examine how various digital technologies—such as the advent of the internet, and social media—have impacted social movement development. Traditional understandings of movement development emphasize the need for a strong organizational framework necessary for carrying out the day-to-day activities of grassroots organizing. With the advent of digital technologies, particularly the increasing prevalence of social media, it has become easier to assemble large groups of people for collective action. With the promising organizing potential of new technologies it is important that we deconstruct the mechanisms that make such changes possible. In this class, we will examine the technology itself, the downsides of this kind of explosive movement development, global networked protest culture, signals and capacities theory, and governmental (especially authoritarian) responses to networked protest. By the end of the semester students will have a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between modern social movements and the affordances of digital technologies.
 
 
 
Cybersecurity, World Affairs & Social Implications in the Digital World
 
PLSI 699.19 – 1-3 units
 
Time & Location: TBD
 
Student teacher: Ray Larios: rlarios1@mail.sfsu.edu
 
Long before the current events surrounding hacking and cybersecurity issues in the realm of government and the private sector, cyberwarfare has been used as a covert instrument to survey the enemy, undermine foreign governments, and degrade a commander’s ability to be effective in the battlefield. This course will trace the use of Intelligence, more specifically that of information gathering, surveillance, and penetration of computer networks throughout the 20th and 21st century with a multidisciplinary approach to better understand the potential impact of its use by military, terrorist, and criminal organizations. The goal is for the student to gain an appreciation of how the internet has both benefited society and made portions of its infrastructure more vulnerable. An overview of cyber weaponry will be presented, and various offensive and defensive strategies will be examined via case studies.