California Institute of Integral Studies

School of Consciousness and Transformation

Anthropology and Social Change


1453 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

MA in Anthropology and Social Change with an Emphasis in Activism and Social Justice, PhD Program in Anthropology and Social Change

Format: Campus

Program Description:

Founded in 1981, the Anthropology and Social Change program is a small innovative graduate department with a particular focus on radical activist scholarship, critical theory, and social change. Our unique approach to ethnographic research methodology dissolves traditional barriers between researchers and communities of struggle; we aim to liberate existing alternative knowledges, and to co-create new emancipatory knowledges with those communities.

As radical anthropologists, we explore real alternatives and possibilities for systemic change in the world. The program regularly hosts lectures, conferences, and workshops on variety of social justice issues that bring together scholars, activists and artists, both local and international.

MA Program in Anthropology and Social Change

The master of arts program in Anthropology and Social Change is unique among graduate programs in the United States due to the its focus on activism and social justice. We recognize social movements as a key location of knowledge production alongside that of the university. The mission of the MA program is to generate a dialogue among agents active in these two locations of knowledge production. Our intention is to establish a particular kind of institutional space where social movement activists immersed in organizing would meet scholars primarily engaged in theoretical work.

The program is envisioned as a space of translation of academic and grassroots knowledge and experiences, produced in the encounter among social scientists, artists, and activists from the Bay Area. Students will work with some of the most prominent activists in San Francisco Bay Area, as well as with core faculty from the department and the Institute. In this process of encounter and co-learning, students and faculty are expected to share ideas, debates, and practices of radical politics and social movements, as well as practical skills in research, organizing, campaigning, policy analysis, legal and environmental work, and activist media.

The MA in Anthropology and Social Change provides students with an opportunity to simultaneously engage with the world of social movements and with the world of social science and radical theory. As our program is located in an area that is unique in terms of diversity and richness of social struggles, we encourage students to establish a relationship with local social justice groups, organizations, movements, and campaigns. Activist ethnography with a focus on integral research makes this graduate experience rewarding both for students and for the local community.

PhD Program in Anthropology and Social Change

The Anthropology and Social Change PhD focuses on exploring counter-hegemonic alternatives, postcapitalist cultures, and prefigurative practices. In a certain sense, we are a department of postcapitalist studies.

The program is distinctive in its emphasis on:

  • Postcapitalist analysis of historical alternatives in the present
  • Global social movements and lost revolutionary treasures
  • Issues of colonialism, globalization, development
  • Anarchist, Marxist, feminist theoretical perspectives
  • Political ecology
  • Integration of activism and scholarship: developing research skills in activist ethnography, intercultural translation, and emancipatory research

Many classes include a research component, and the doctoral dissertation is based on activist ethnographic research. Activist ethnographic frameworks include participatory and collaborative research approaches as well as more recent research techniques and strategies associated with militant research and co-research approaches.

Students may pursue a part-time course of study in consultation with their academic advisor.


Accredited by: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100 Alameda, CA 94501 (510) 748-9001 Fax: (510) 748-9797 Email:

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: Yes

International Financial Aid: Yes

# of Credits Required: MA -36 units; PhD-36

Average Cost per Credit (Graduate): 1006 USD

In State Tuition (per year): 18270 USD

Out State Tuition (per year): 18270 USD

Classification: Master's College or University I

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 1,000-2,999

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