napier courses

The Napier Initiative, together with Pomona College, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College, offers intergenerational courses open to students at all five Claremont Colleges.  

Course I:    Religion, Ethics, and Social Practice:  An Intergenerational Learning Partnership on Vocations for Social Change   (RLST #155).  To be offered Spring Semester, 2018, Pomona College.  Instructors:  Professor Zayn Kassam,  David Mann, Pilgrim Place.

Twenty sophomores and juniors are permitted to pre-enroll with permission of instructors.   Ten retirees from Pilgrim Place and other local community partners are fully enrolled co-learners.  These persons have spent their lives in vocations of social change and/or service.

Course Objectives:    Through direct experience, related readings, structured reflection, and class discussion, this course seeks to develop an informed awareness of our interaction with the poor and otherwise marginalized members of our global community.  To what extent do factors such as class, gender, and ethnicity determine our assumptions about the human condition and our own role in society?  How does our own personal development foster or inhibit our capacity to deal effectively with injustice?  What are the religious, ethical, and/or simply humane elements that motivate and sustain our social practice?  How does our present commitment to justice become a lifelong vocation of participation and leadership in effective social change?   These are some of the question that will be addressed.

Undergraduate Expectations:

Syllabus available: To get a copy e-mail one of the co-instructors:  Prof. Zayn Kassam:;   

David Mann:

Course II: Women, Crime and Punishment (Philosphy 39).    To be offered Spring Semester, 2018, Pomona College.  Instructor:  Professor Susan Castagnetto.

Students from the Five Colleges and elders will be enrolled with the permission of the instructor.

Course Objectives:    The course explores issues of crime and punishment through a lens of gender examining the issues that bring women into the criminal justice system and that face them in the prison and on release, the impact of the system on mothers and families, and the gendered structure of prison. In addressing these themes, we will also consider the nature and purpose of punishment; the current state of the criminal justice system, mass incarceration and the growth of the prison industrial complex; how we define or conceive of crime; the relationship between the criminal justice system and other social and political institutions; whether prisons should be reformed or abolished. Readings are from a variety of sources and disciplines, including scholarly work, pieces from the media, work by advocacy organizations, and first-hand accounts by incarcerated writers.  The class includes participation in a multi-session writing workshop with women incarcerated at the California Institution for Women (CIW) on six Tuesday evenings (alternate weeks throughout the semester).

Syllabus available: To get a copy of the syllabus, please e-mail the instructor.

Course III: Political Economy of Food (Politics 135).    To be offered Spring Semester, 2018, Scripps College.  Instructor:  Professor Nancy Neiman Auerbach.

Eighteen students and six elders will be enrolled with the permission of the instructor..

Course Objectives:    This course will examine social, cultural, racial and gendered power relations around the production, distribution, consumption, and waste of food in the United States and globally. It analyzes contemporary practices in our industrial food system as well as the legacy and impact of global colonial structures on the production, consumption, and meanings of food. The course will also take a look at alternative food practices and will explore such practices through community engagement projects, including Hope Partners at Amy's Farm, Huerta del Valle community garden, and Crossroads Meatless Mondays program.

Syllabus availabe: For a copy of the syullabus, please email the instrucor.

Course IV:  HIV-AIDS:  Science, Society and Service (BIO#187).  To be offered Fall Semester, 2018, Harvey Mudd College. Instructor: Professor Karl Haushalter, Harvey Mudd College.

Sixteen juniors and seniors are permitted to pre-enroll with permission of the instructor.   A background in molecular biology and genetics is strongly preferred for the undergraduate participants.  Up to four retirees from Pilgrim Place and other local community partners enroll as co-learners, participating fully in class discussions and serving as mentors for the students as they embark on their community-based projects.

Course Overview:    Through a series of lectures, readings, and case studies, students learn the underlying molecular biology that accounts for the devastating effects of AIDS and the biochemical principles of the treatment and prevention of HIV infection.  By reading and discussing the history of the AIDS and current drivers of the continuing HIV epidemic, students critically examine the responsibility of scientists to society.  Finally, students discover their own agency in response to complex societal challenges by completing team projects in partnership with local community-based organizations. 

Syllabus available: To get a copy, e-mail Prof. Haushalter:

Course V:  Feminism and Science. (Philosophy 46). To be offered Spring Semester 2019, Pomona Colege.

Instructor: Susan Castagnetto, Scripps College.


Course Overview:    Considering various topics relating to gender and science, the course looks at the current and historical participation of women in science, structural barriers, the ways that social, political and cultural values shape science, the value of interdisciplinary work, and what constitues good science.  Fourteen undergraduates and six elders will study and explore these issues together. Syllabus available: to get a copy, email Professor Casagnetto,