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The University as a Local and Global Citizen


Sophomore College 2006 - Symbolic Systems 10SC (2 units, S/NC only)

Meeting Times: September 5th through 20th, 2006, (excluding weekends), 10 am to noon in 160-321 (Wallenberg Hall, 3rd Floor), with special meetings in 160-328 and field trips at other times

Instructors: Tom Wasow (wasow@csli.stanford.edu) and Todd Davies (davies@csli.stanford.edu)

Sophomore College Assistants (SCAs): Ashley Baker (acbaker@stanford.edu) and Danny Bliss (dabliss@stanford.edu)

Course Website: http://soco-wasow.pbwiki.com (this syllabus is the FrontPage)


NOTE: This course wiki is readable by anyone but editable only with the course password (note the "Help" button on the upper right of each page). Changes will be made throughout the course. Students should feel free to add annotations/comments, but please do not delete material written by the instructors or sophomore college assistants.




Stanford's Founding Grant states that the University will seek "to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization." Stanford's success in achieving this goal is open to debate. On the one hand, many Stanford students, alumni, and faculty have had positive influences on the world throughout the University's history. Moreover, since the founding of the Haas Center for Public Service in 1984, Stanford has been a leader among universities in actively encouraging student involvement in public service work. On the other hand, higher education is increasingly associated with the widening gap in the United States between rich and poor. Stanford has not escaped the criticism that it and other top universities serve the interests of the rich and powerful much more than those of the poor and disenfranchised.


Universities measure their success on the basis of how well they compete for students, faculty, and financial support. How are these measures related to Stanford's stated goal of promoting the public welfare and how do they influence the university's impact on other communities, both locally and globally? How can we improve the relationship between the learning that happens in universities and the reality that happens ouside of them? In this course, we will explore these questions, with a particular focus on the opportunities for Stanford students, faculty and staff, and the institution as a whole to serve the world beyond our campus. On a local level, we will examine the history and causes of tensions between Stanford and its neighbors, as well as faculty and student involvement in local communities. We will also involve ourselves in some practical service work and take field trips around the Bay Area related to the themes of the course, with a particular focus on poverty and homelessness.




Sophomore College is meant as an intensive experience. We will be meeting at least two hours each day from September 5th through the 20th, and will have approximately three off-campus excursions in addition to special meetings with guests on campus. Everyone is expected to complete the reading prior to each class session, but some readings will be skimmable, with highlights pointed out ahead of time in class. Class sessions will consist of discussions of the readings, remarks by the instructors and SCAs, visits with guests, and student presentations. Most guests will be visiting during the regular class period (10 am to noon), but some have had to be scheduled at other times. Field trips will involve a mix of service and visits with people engaged in work related to the themes of the course. Full attendance by everyone at each session and special event/field trip is very important.




To receive credit ,each student must (a) attend and participate in class sessions and activities (and do assigned readings) and (b) do a 15-minute in-class presentation based either on a book related to the course themes (reviewed in the style of the New York Review of Books - see BooksAboutUniversities for a list of possible books) or on research concerning how activities at Stanford and/or other universities are related to an issue of social importance. The presentations are scheduled for September 19 and 20 during the regular class time, but by class vote we could switch to having both sessions on a single day. If you want to do a book, please note your choice on the BooksAboutUniversities page, or talk to us if the book you want to do is not on the list.


COURSE SCHEDULE AND REQUIRED READINGS (Watch here for changes - more readings and events may be added; add your notes and questions on the Discussion pages linked for each date)


Tues., Sept. 5: Introduction and Overview (see September5 Discussion)

  • Read before class:
    • Donald Kennedy, Academic Duty, Harvard University Press, 1997
    • Angela Schmiede and Leonard Ortolano, "Evolution of the Haas Center for Public Service", chapter 1, in Angela Schmiede and Leonard Ortolano (editors), Public Service Education at Stanford, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University, December 2005 link (.pdf)
    • Thaal Walker and Kim Vo, "Stanford and East Palo Alto Uneasy Partners", San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 22, 2002 link (.pdf)
  • Special event (1:30-2:45 pm): Visit with staff (Jackie Schmidt-Posner, Karin Cotterman, and Nicole Taylor) at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford


Weds., Sept. 6: Universities and Public Engagement (see September6 Discussion)

  • Read before class:
    • R. Eugene Rice, "Rethinking Scholarship and Engagement: The Struggle for New Meanings", The Campus Compact Reader, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 1-9, Fall 2003 link (.pdf)
    • Ira Harkavy, "The Role of Universities in Advancing Citizenship and Social Justice in the 21st Century", Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, Vol. 1, No. 1, 5-37, 2006 link (.pdf)
    • Thomas Ehrlich and Elizabeth Hollander (and signed by 539 college and university presidents), The Presidents' Declaration on the Civic Responsibility of Higher Education, Campus Compact, 1999 link
    • Stanley Fish, "Why We Built the Ivory Tower", The New York Times, May 21, 2004 link


Thurs, Sept. 7: Service, Activism, Charity, and Justice (see September7 Discussion)

  • Special event (all day, beginning at 8 am - meet at the tip of the oval): Service learning in San Francisco at Glide Memorial Church
  • Read before event:
    • Sam Marullo and Bob Edwards, "From Charity to Justice: The Potential of University-Community Collaboration for Social Change", American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 895-912, 2000 link
    • Donna M. Bickford and Nedra Reynolds, "Activism and Service-Learning: Reframing Volunteerism as Acts of Dissent", Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, Vol. 2., No. 2., pp. 229-252, 2002 link (.pdf)
    • Jonathan Baron, Thinking and Deciding (Third Edition), Cambridge University Press, 2000 (short excerpts)
  • Discuss the San Francisco field trip on the GlideDebriefing page


Fri., Sept. 8: Inequality (see September8 Discussion)

  • Guest (11-noon): David Grusky, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequalilty
  • Read before class:
    • Janny Scott and David Leonhardt, "Shadowy Lines That Still Divide", The New York Times, May 15, 2005 link
    • Paul Krugman, "A Few Notes on Income Inequality", The New York Times, March 13, 2006 link; and video of remarks at a panel: "The New Class War in America", New York Society for Ethical Culture, June 13, 2006 link (.mp4)
    • Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective", American Economic Review, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 200-205, May 2006 link (.pdf) NOTE: You can skim section I - focus on sections II and III and the figures at the back of the paper.
    • Lauren Joy Krivo and Robert L. Kaufman, "Housing and Wealth Inequality: Racial-Ethnic Differences in Home Equity in the United States", Demography, Vol. 41, No. 3., 2004, pp. 585-605 link NOTE: You can skim this paper, but be sure to read the first three paragraphs under "Prior Research" (pp. 586-587) and the "Discussions and Conclusions" section at the end.
    • Stanford News Service, "Institute to Study Social Issues Related to Governance and Poverty", March 22, 2006 link


Mon., Sept. 11: Homelessness and Poverty (see September11 Discussion)

  • Guest (10:30-11:30): Donald Barr, Associate Professor of Sociology and President of the Community Working Group
  • Read:
    • E. Fuller Torrey, Nowhere to Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill, Harper & Row, 1988 (excerpt)
    • Barbarah Ehrenreich, "The High Cost of Being Poor", ZNet, August 17, 2006 link
    • Albert Camarillo, "Reflections of a Historian on Teaching a Service-Learning Course About Poverty and Homelessness in America", in Ira Harkavy, Ed., Bill M. Donovan, Ed., Connecting Past and Present: Concepts and Models for Service-Learning in History, American Association for Higher Education, 2000
    • Bjorn Johnson, "SHAC", The Stanford University Disorientation Guide, 1997-1998 link
    • Editors, "Who Are the Homeless?", Palo Alto Weekly, July 27, 2005 link
  • Special event (afternoon, beginning at 1:30 pm - meet at the "B counterclockwise" Marguerite shuttle from Campus Drive/Escondido stop - east side): Visit to the Opportunity Center of the Midpeninsula in Palo Alto
  • Special event (evening, meet at 6:45 in front of Wilbur): Excursion to Tom and Judith Wasow's house for dinner and the film, Berkeley in the Sixties.


Tues., Sept. 12: Critiquing Academic Perspectives (see September12 Discussion)

  • Read before class:
    • Fabrizio Ferraro, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton, "Economics Language And Assumptions: How Theories Can Become Self-Fulfilling", The Academy of Management Review, 2005 link
    • Sumantra Ghoshal, "Business Schools Share the Blame for Enron", Financial Times, July 17, 2003 link
    • Noam Chomsky, "The Responsibility of Intellectuals", The New York Review of Books, February 23, 1967 link NOTE: This can be skimmed. Look for references to academics and their responsibilities.; and "The Chomsky Tapes - Conversations with Michael Albert", recorded in 1993, published in Z Magazine, November 2001 link NOTE: This can be skimmed. Be sure to read the sequence beginning with "But that implies that in the social sciences" and ending with "They're not training the people who are going to rule"; and also "Is that true that a decent person's..." to "Almost by definition".
  • Special event (afternoon through evening, meet at 1 pm in front of Wilbur): Visit to Berkeley to learn about the relationship between the University of California, Berkeley, and People's Park
  • Discuss classroom process issues on the ClassroomProcess page
  • Discuss the Berkeley field trip on the BerkeleyDebriefing page


Weds., Sept. 13: Universities and K-12 Education (see September13 Discussion)

  • Read before class:
    • Jonathan Kozol, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, Crown Publishers, 2005, Introduction and Chapter 5
    • Nicole Yohalem, "Putting Knowledge to Work", The Center: Bridging Research and Practice in Out-of-School Time, Summer 2002, pp. 26-29 link (.pdf)
    • Denise Clark Pope, "Juggling Academic Pressures", San Jose Mercury News, June 12, 20005 link
  • Special workshop event (1:15 pm in Sweet Hall, room 303): How to Prepare a Spoken Presentation with Joyce Moser of Freshman and Sophomore Programs
  • Special guest event (4-5 pm in 160-328): Visit with Milbrey McLaughlin, David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy and Executive Director of the John Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities


Thurs., Sept. 14: Philanthropy and University Funding (see September14 Discussion)

  • Read before class:
    • Eyal Press and Jennifer Washburn, "The Kept University", The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 285, No. 3., pp. 39-54, March 2000 link
    • Frank Koch, "Free Enterprise: Should Business Support Those Who Don't Support the System?", chapter 12 in The New Corporate Philanthropy: How Society and Business Can Profit, Plenum Press, pp. 124-140 (1979) NOTE: This is skimmable. Try to read pp. 124-131.
    • John T. Jost and Orsolya Hunyady, "The Psychology of System Justification and the Palliative Function of Ideology", European Review of Social Psychology, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 111-153, 2003 link (.pdf) NOTE: Do the best you can with this article. Todd will give a summary in class, but it is better to read the article thoroughly if you can.
    • Mildred Cho, Donald Dahlsten, Chris Scott, and Peter Robinson, "Corporate U: Corporate Funding of Academic Research", TV Transcript, Uncommon Knowledge, Hoover Institution, June 28, 2000 link NOTE: This is skimmable. It is a transcript of a discussion - find exchanges that interest you and read as much as you like.
    • Nathan Newman, "Big Pharma, Bad Science", The Nation Online, July 25, 2002 link NOTE: This is skimmable. Just be sure to read the last four paragraphs.
  • Special guest event (2:30-3:30 pm in 160-328): Rob Reich, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Ethics in Society and instructor at Hope House in Redwood City


Fri., Sept. 15: College Access (see September15 Discussion)

  • Guests (11-12 am): Nicole Taylor (Human Biology,'90, M.A.Education '91), Managing Director of the Haas Center for Public Service and former CEO of College Track, and Abdi Soltani (Biological Sciences, '95), Executive Director of The Campaign for College Opportunity
  • Read before class:
    • Ross Douthat, "Does Meritocracy Work?", The Atlantic Monthly, November, 2005 link
    • Tia O'Brien, "Ivy League or Bust - What does it take to make it through today's college marketing mill? And can we stop it?", San Francisco Chronicle, August 20, 2006 link
    • Daniel Golden, "How Lowering the Bar Helps Colleges Prosper; Duke and Brown Universities Rise in Prestige In Part by Wooing Kids of Hollywood, Business Elite; A Debate Over Michael Ovitz's Son", The Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2006 NOTE: Try to read before Rob Reich's visit on Thursday afternoon.
    • Campaign for College Opportunity, "`Keeping California's Edge' Fast Facts" link (.pdf) and "`Return on Investment' Fast Facts" link (.pdf)


Mon., Sept. 18: Stanford and Social Responsibility (see September18 Discussion)


Tues., Sept. 19: StudentReports

  • Special session (9 am - 1:15 pm in 160-321)


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (spotty/incomplete - feel free to add to this list)


Charity and Justice


  • Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics", Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2006, pp. 699-746 link (pdf) (advanced)


College Access


  • Scott Jaschik,"Silver Spoon Admissions", Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2006 link
  • U.S. Census Bureau, "A Half-Century of Learning: Historical Statistics on Educational Attainment in the United States from 1940-2000" (graphs) link


Environment and ecology



Homelessness and Hunger





  • Douglas S. Massey, "The Wall That Keeps Illegal Workers In", The New York Times, April 4, 2006, p. A23 link


Inequality and poverty


  • David Brooks, "The Populist Myths on Income Inequality", The New York Times, September 7. 2006 link
  • Paul Krugman, "For Richer", The New York Times Magazine, October 20, 2002 link
  • Paul Krugman, "Whining Over Discontent", September 8, 2006 link
  • Woonjin Lee and John E Roemer, "Racism and Redistribution in the United States: A Solution to the Problem of American Exceptionalism", Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 90, 2006, pp. 1027-1052 link (pdf) (advanced)
  • Thomas M. Shapiro, The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality, Oxford University Press, 2005 link (first chapter)





Pharmaceutical Companies


  • Marcia Angell's The Truth About Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It. Random House: August 2005.
  • Film: The Constant Gardener, 2005. Directed by Fernando Meirelles.
  • The True Story of How Multinational Drug Companies Took Liberties with African Lives, The Independent: September 2005. link


Philanthropy and corporate influence


  • Max Blumenthal, "Princeton Tilts Right", The Nation, March 13, 2006 link
  • Andrew Carnegie, "The Gospel of Wealth", 1899 link
  • Film: The Corporation (2004)
  • Milton Friedman, "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits", The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970 link
  • Paul Jacobs, "How Profits, Research Mix at Stanford", San Jose Mercury-News, July 9, 2006 link
  • Google Creates For-Profit Philanthropic Arm, "Philanthropy Google's Way", NY Times, September 13, 2006


Stanford and Public Engagement


  • Angela Schmiede and Leonoard Ortolano (editors), Public Service Education at Stanford, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University, December 2005 link  (full book, from which chapter 1 appears in the first day's reading list of this course)


Universities and society


  • See BooksAboutUniversities for a list of possible books on which to base reports
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar", 1837 link
  • "The Washington Monthly College Rankings", September 2006 link

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