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Napier Courses

What is a Napier Course?

Since 2012 the Napier Initiative has been partnering with the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges to offer intergenerational courses related to fostering justice for all people, caring for the earth, or nurturing peace and reconciliation. The courses provide a platform for bringing theory and practice together, enrolling undergraduate students with an interest in learning more about justice issues and how to bring their knowledge to bear on making real world change. Retirees from Pilgrim Place and local communities may enroll as fully participating co-learners.


Napier Courses Aim to:


  1. Maximize the mutually rewarding possibilities unleashed by collaborative learning between elders and undergraduates.

  2. Develop intergenerational interactions that encourage undergraduates to form and act upon vocational and avocational commitments to leadership in a variety of arenas for justice oriented action.

  3. Provide opportunities for transformational learning through participation in real world change-making.

Click here to link to an article, by David Mann, about a Napier course."


Napier Courses Offered for Fall Semester 2022:


Feminist Ethics - Sue Castagnetto, Director of Intercollegiate Feminist Center, Taught at Scripps College. Community Educator: Chris Blackburn -

Course Objectives: In this course, we will learn about feminist ethical frameworks, developing out of, but going beyond, the ethics of care in their political dimensions. We will consider whether ethical thinking and practice is gendered, how care and justice are related, and care as labor. We will spend a fair bit of time examining social justice issues, including reproductive justice.  Other likely topics include wealth and poverty, criminal justice, and environmental justice. We will examine the relationships and intersections among different ethical issues, individualistic vs. systemic analyses of issues, and the importance of bringing lenses of gender, race, class, and other important aspects of identity to our analyses, and strategies for real-world change.

The class will also be participating in a multi-class project on transformative justice being organized by Claremont Colleges students.

Infrastructure of Justice - Nancy Neiman, Professor of Politics, Taught at Scripps College.

Course Objectives: This research seminar focuses on the question "Do markets result in just outcomes?". Markets are conceptualized as either inherently good or bad for society. Under what conditions do markets result in just or unjust outcomes? The course will seek out examples of how markets can reinforce social justice through community based development projects, local markets, and market socialism. 

Effective Learning Across the Lifespan - Sharda Umanath, Associate Professor of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College Taught at Claremont McKenna College.

Course Objectives: Our lives are spent learning formally and informally. the course is an in-depth look at what psychological science has discovered in how we learn best, how memory works, and how both change as we age. 

For Spring 2023

Political Economy of Food (Politics 135) - Professor Nancy Neiman,

To be offered Spring Semester, 2023, Scripps College. 

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 available: For a copy of the syllabus, please email the instructor.

Feminism and Science (Philosophy 46). To be offered Spring 2023, Pomona College

Instructor: Susan Castagnetto

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

Course Objectives: This course provides an overview of topics about gender and science and feminist perspectives on science.  Topics include the current and historical participation of women in science and structural barriers to that participation; feminist analyses of traditional scientific worldviews; how social cultural and political values and interests shape the practice and application of science; scientific theories about and research on sex and gender and women as subjects of scientific study.   The course explores the boundaries of science, the value of interdisciplinary work, and the larger question of what constitutes ‘good’ science.  

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


For Spring 2024

Gender, Crime and Punishment (Philosophy 39) - Sue Castagnetto, Director of Intercollegiate Feminist Center, Taught at Pomona College.

Community Educator: Chris Blackburn -

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.

Other Napier Courses.. Future offerings to be determined.

Religion, Ethics, and Social Practice:  An Intergenerational Learning Partnership on Vocations for Social Change


HIV/AIDS: Science Society and Service Professor Karl Haushalter, Harvey Mudd College 

The Napier Initiative courses are open to students at all five Claremont Colleges.  

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