“A Chapter of Renewal for the HSA Department” by Sean Wu

During these unprecedented times, the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts welcomes new leadership, new faces and new initiatives.

Paul Steinberg, professor of political science and environmental policy and Malcolm Lewis Chair of Sustainability and Society, steps down after three excellent years as department chair overseeing the department’s growth and increasing its visibility across the Claremont Consortium. During his tenure, the department produced a self-study that highlights a number of accomplishments, including:

  • Department courses attract an average of 200 off-campus enrollments from the other Claremont Colleges every year.
  • Thirty-one HSA courses explicitly explore links between STEM and society, on topics such as “Medicine, Healing and Religion,” “Science in Fiction” and “Water, Culture, and Technology.”
  • In HSA’s Core course (HSA10)—offered as a dozen sections featuring different topics and common writing requirements—98% of HMC students were able to enroll in one of their top two section choices.
  • A content analysis of 134 HSA department course syllabi finds that diversity and/or equity comprise a central theme in 44% of the department’s courses. A global (non-U.S.) perspective is featured in 48% of a representative sample of assigned readings.

Stepping in as HSA department chair is Ken Fandell, professor of art. Fandell is managing departmental changes that will address ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long term, Fandell looks forward to continuing the department’s expansion in exciting new ways.

The department is committed to providing the most enriching experience for students in their off-campus settings. Faculty members have been working this summer to modify humanities courses to offer online versions, opening up new possibilities and ideas. In addition, the department welcomes two new members to its faculty who will bring new courses to campus. Anup Gampa, assistant professor professor of psychology, focuses on the relationship between an individual’s psychology and, particularly, social movements, racism and capitalism. His research links social movements with a decrease in individuals’ negative implicit attitudes toward marginalized people. Ekaterina Babintseva, Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow in Science and Technology Studies, is a historian of science and technology. She is interested in the ways mid-century psychologists mobilized computing and mathematical methods of inquiry to describe, model and simulate human cognition.

HMC arts programming also will move online, and organizers will introduce a new online gallery platform during the fall.

Sean Wu ’23 manages the blog for the department.