Previous MCSI Programs

Theme for Spring 2013

Examining THE CITY: Issues of Sustainability, Social Stratification, Democratic Public Spheres, Privatization, Cosmopolitanism and the Arts

In 2013, MCSI’s spring event series explored the City.

One definition of “city” might be “a place of such dense inhabitation that it (i) cannot feed itself and (ii) produces more waste than it is healthy for humans to live with.” Yet, even while there is some truth to this definition, there are also good reasons to think that humanity’s only sustainable future involves further “densification,” that is, further urbanization. This lecture and event series looks at “cities” in terms of issues of human sustainability, but equally in terms of social stratification, democratic public spheres, cosmopolitanism, and the arts.

Theme for Spring 2012

Democracies (and forces that thwart and pervert them)

In 2012, MCSI’s spring event series explored the difficult work of making democratic politics and social relations happen.  In pursuing this inquiry, we examined forces that thwart and pervert democracy, particularly in our own time. These forces are complex and in some cases elusive. They include, to start, the activities of corporations and militaries. However, they also include the ways political boundaries—between, for example, cities and incorporated suburbs, as well as between independent sovereign states—limit and often pre-empt democratic political organizing.  In examining these and other forces that thwart and pervert democracy in our historical moment, we will be particularly concerned with the uneven impact of professional-managerial “experts” on democratic political projects.

Theme for Spring 2011

Schooling in Mass Societies

In the Spring 2011 semester, the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry presented a semester-long event series on "Schooling in Mass Societies. This series pursued a dialogue between (i) debates about educational policy and (ii) the study of mass schooling as a prominent element of societies throughout the world over the last two centuries or so (since the industrial revolution, roughly speaking).

Theme for Spring 2010


During the spring 2010 semester, the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry at Pitzer College presented lectures, seminars, and a gallery exhibit that re-opened questions about capitalism and its discontents—rather than treat capitalism, or “markets,” as the all-purpose answer to social questions. This sustained thematic inquiry looked backward in time to examine the most recent and earlier “busts” following capitalist “booms,” and looked forward in time to consider the range of forms, both desirable and undesirable, that might emerge when the global economy “recovers” from the Great Recession of the present.

Theme for Spring 2009

Global Issues in Public Health and Foods