Team-Taught Courses

Equity, Diversity, and Student-Centered Pedagogy Across the Disciplines

One of the Futures Initiative’s key program areas are a unique set of interdisciplinary, inter-institutional team-taught courses. To date, the Futures Initiative has supported more than 40 team-taught courses at the CUNY Graduate Center. We’ve partnered with CUNY campuses in all boroughs and have had team-taught courses with CUNY’s professional schools, such as CUNY School of Law and the CUNY School of Public Health.

Each year, we select proposals from faculty across CUNY to inspire students with interdisciplinary and innovative courses. Our team-taught courses provide opportunities for faculty to learn from each other and their students in a more equitable learning-teaching arrangement. For students, courses are structured to support the connections between the three pillars of higher education: research, teaching, and service to society. In addition to connecting faculty members from multiple CUNY colleges, by focusing on graduate pedagogy and ways doctoral students can apply student-centered methods in their own classrooms, the courses create renewed possibilities for graduate students to consider their dual role as learners and instructors.

Our Team-Taught courses pair one central line CUNY Graduate Center faculty member and one CUNY faculty member based at another two or four-year college, many of whom have not previously had the opportunity to teach at the GC. To create a more equitable faculty exchange, FI provides a course buy-out to support the campus faculty member’s involvement, working through Provosts on both campuses. These collaborative efforts create unique, interdisciplinary learning opportunities for both students and instructors. 

Goals of Futures Initiative Team-Taught Courses

  • Diversity is a key goal of Futures Initiative courses, both in terms of who is teaching, what they teach, and how they teach it. Our FI courses are committed to inclusiveness in all of its forms.
  • The Futures Initiative is especially interested in supporting diverse pairs of scholars from the GC and other CUNY colleges, including senior and junior faculty members who have not taught at the GC previously. We hope to support graduate courses in any field that (1) have equity, diversity, inclusion, and innovation built into the course design and that (2) dedicate some of the course to graduate student teaching methods and translation of specialized research for a wider public.
  • Critical pedagogy is another FI goal. FI courses include active, engaged learning, experiential learning, project-centered learning, both to offer graduate students the chance to develop as independent thinkers and to try out methods they might also use in the introductory courses they teach across the CUNY system.
  • A social equity component—relating course material to social issues, modeling higher education as a public good—is another important factor.

FALL 2024 COurses

Race and Caste

Co-Taught by Ajantha Subramanian (CUNY Graduate Center) and Shreya Subramani (John Jay College of Criminal Justice).

Race and caste are two of the most enduring forms of social stratification. While their histories date well before the advent of political democracy, they have taken on new forms in the context of democratic social transformation and neoliberal capitalism. In this course, we will grapple with the meanings, uses, and politics of race and caste historically and in the contemporary moment. Drawing on work in history, anthropology, sociology, political theory and other related fields that traces the legacies of imperialism, settler colonialism, and capitalism in shaping race and caste, and on insights from anti-racist and anti-caste social movements, this course considers the intersections of and divergences between the two forms of stratification. What does thinking of race and caste together tell us about inequality and justice today?

Coalition Formation in Urban Politics

Co-Taught by John Mollenkopf (GC/Political Science) and Keena Lipsitz (Queens/Political Science). In-person at the GC in Fall 2024.

In many large cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston, no racial group is a majority of the population or the voting age citizenry. They are all becoming more diverse, as immigration reshapes and sometimes blurs the older racial boundaries. Many new immigrant origin groups do not easily recognize themselves within U.S. racial categorizations. How groups relate to each other, when they form coalitions, and how they differ or polarize with each other will shape the future of urban politics in the decades to become. This course uses New York City, in comparison with peer cities, as a laboratory for exploring the contours of racial-ethnic collaboration and competition in forming political and electoral majorities — and the implications they hold for how city government distributes benefits and regulates development. The course will build empirical skills in collecting and analyzing relevant data as well as theoretical understandings of group identity formation, racial hierarchies, and inter-group cooperation and competition. Seminar participants will be expected to select a ‘community of interest’ defined not just in racial-ethnic terms but along other lines of shared interest (cultural, ideological, work, consumption, geographic co-location…) to explore group mobilization, cohesion, and leadership as well as the ways they are manifested in political actions. They will compare their group with others in New York City and, where possible, similar groups in other urban contexts. Seminar co-leaders will provide electoral results, demographic context, and public opinion data as a foundation for this work.

Spring 2024 COurses

Narcotic Geographies

Co-Taught by Filip Stabrowski (GC/EES) and Karen Miller (GC/MALS). Both faculty are also affiliated with LaGuardia Community College. In-person at the GC in Spring 2024 (Course # 81620).

This graduate seminar will explore the historical-geographical relationship between drugs and racial capitalism in the modern era. The course will consider how the extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and regulation (including prohibition) of psychoactive substances of various sorts have intersected with the expansion, consolidation, and (potential) unsettling of capitalist social relations of production across the globe. Through a selection of commodity-based case studies exploring the material and cultural production of a range of drugs (including sugar, tea, coffee, opium, alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and legalized pharmaceuticals), the course will address topics such as: the role of drugs production and regulation in historical processes of state- and empire-building; il/legality as a political/historical construction rather than natural category; drugs, racial capitalism, and the carceral state; the state/corporate nexus of international drugs production and trafficking; cannabis prohibition and post-prohibition; drugs and consumer/counter cultures; and alternative drug futures. Though the focus will largely be historical, the course will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the topic and will include the work of historians, geographers, and anthropologists, among others. To receive full credit, participants will be expected to write a research proposal (or other appropriate project) and to participate actively in reading and responding to fellow participants’ work. 


View our course archive for a complete list of past courses, or explore the websites and posts below:


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309