Course Descriptions

Newcomb Institute's Pre-College Summer Session offers five different courses. 

Students may take any course or pair of courses; all courses work synergistically to deepen students’ understanding of gender, leadership, and social change. 

Women's Advocacy

Prof. Aidan Smith

Students are passionate about social issues in their communities – but how can they get the word out and effect change? In this course, students will learn the strategies and tactics of persuasive communications necessary to advocate for the causes they believe in. In independent and collaborative projects, students will practice these methods, from effective public speaking to strategic social media, to create oral, written, and visual communications to advocate for policy change on campus and in their community. Seminar discussions will focus on contemporary issues of gender, politics, and advocacy work.

Media and Reproductive Rights

Prof. Clare Daniel

How have television, film, and new media technologies shaped public opinion and policy around reproductive issues? This course focuses on relationships among reproductive politics, popular media, social media, and movements for reproductive rights and justice in the United States. By analyzing a range of today’s media – from Jane the Virgin and Teen Mom to sex ed and fertility apps – students will gain an understanding of key issues within reproductive politics, including the effects of social inequalities on reproductive freedom and outcomes.

Dismantling Rape Cultures

Prof. Hannah Knipp

This course models a “think-tank” approach to addressing an urgent social issue: ending sexual assault. Although #MeToo has shed new light on the issue, there is much work left to do in order to dismantle a culture that normalizes, excuses, and enables gender-based violence. Students will learn about the scope, causes, and consequences of rape culture, and they will develop evidence-based strategies for peer education, prevention, and intervention.

Reconstructing Civility

Profs. Julie Henriquez Aldana, Lauren Wethers, and Gabe Christian-Solá

Do critical conversations have to be civil? What does it look like to have difficult conversations about race with people you love? The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed a movement toward racial justice. People are uniting to challenge the status quo and lift the veil off the systemic oppression that is woven into the fabric of our nation. In this course, we will examine how to have critical conversations through the lens of transformative justice and racial healing, while also examining how intersecting identities influence and guide our approach to these conversations. Students will receive tools to lead courageous dialogues and begin to explore the foundations of racial allyship through small group discussions, reflections, and readings centering Black feminist thought.

Decolonizing Feminisms

Prof. Jacquelyne Thoni Howard

This seminar explores the histories and issues surrounding the women’s rights and feminists movements, especially those of Indigenous, Latina, and Black women, using frameworks of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Through films, media, and key texts, students will be encouraged to develop critical reading and analytical skills as they explore arguments for including Intersectional feminism, Native feminisms, and trans-national feminisms into contemporary mainstream discourse. Seminar discussions will include cases where colonialism, capitalism, heteropatriarchal power, and racialized systems were used to position the issues important to some groups of women over the needs of other women. Students will examine specific calls to action for using various forms of feminisms to empower and address the issues that affect marginalized groups.

Newcomb Summer Session