Gina Philogene

Undergraduate Discipline

Psychology

PhD, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Interests in social and cultural psychology, history of psychology, race, and social identity, as well as social representations. Author of From Black to African American: A New Representation, The Representations of the Social: Bridging Theoretical Traditions (with Kay Deaux), Racial Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth B. Clark, and the forthcoming How the Right Made It Wrong: Names in the Shadow of the Political Correctness. Recipient of several grants, including the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association. Published several articles in professional journals and currently an associate editor of the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. SLC, 1998–

Current undergraduate courses

First-Year Studies: Crossing Borders and Boundaries: The Social Psychology of Immigration

FYS

“Remember, remember always, that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”Franklin D. Roosevelt

Immigration is a worldwide phenomenon, where people move into another nation with the intention of making a better life for themselves and/or residing there temporarily or permanently. While anchored in a multidisciplinary perspective, this class explores the crucial role of social psychology in understanding the processes associated with our conceptualizations of immigrants and immigration. The course begins with some theoretical perspectives on immigration, as well as a brief historical overview of sociological and social-psychological research on immigrants and immigration. We then examine the identity of the immigrant, stressing the profound distinctions between forced and voluntary immigrants. We will analyze the processes by which “illegality” is constructed by reflecting the lives of undocumented immigrants. We will look at how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and culture shape the psychological experience of immigrants. Seeking to extend our analysis to immigration’s impact on the host population, we conclude the course by discussing several social-psychological issues such as the intergroup relations, discrimination, and modes of adaptation.

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

The Human Legacy

Year

Our "human legacy" is the result of a long journey. Considering our physiological, psychological, and social changes over time, these evolutionary transformations point to the fundamentally social nature of our human history. We have always had an incessant need to articulate common systems and points of reference in order to make sense of our world. Such common understanding of social reality requires the elaboration of representations around which groups form. These representations are social and serve the purpose of structuring our relations with one another and validating our common reality. In so doing, our social reality is constructed and social identities are created. Against this background, we will explore in this course how we, as humans, have been driven to develop into what we are today. To help us understand the constructive, dynamic, and social nature of our evolution, we will revisit one of the more obscure books in social psychology, The Human Legacy, written by Leon Festinger—one of the most famous social psychologists of the 20th century. This book analyzes some of the crucial elements of our evolution that have permitted the steady and continuous progress in our history. Key questions addressed in this book are more than relevant for our time, including the development of technology and its relation to religion, the implications of sedentary living, the production of food, and the human race's self-destructive propensity for warfare.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Previous courses

Crossing Borders and Boundaries: The Social Psychology of Immigration

Year

“Remember, remember always, that all of us…are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Immigration is a worldwide phenomenon, where people move into another nation with the intention of residing there (either temporarily or permanently) to make a better life for themselves. Anchored in a multidisciplinary perspective, this seminar explores the crucial role of psychology in understanding the processes associated with our conceptualizations of immigration and immigrants. The course begins with a brief historical overview of sociological, as well as social-psychological, research on immigrants, complemented by the highlighting of some theoretical perspectives on immigration. We then examine the identity of the immigrant, stressing here the profound distinctions between forced and voluntary immigrants. Reflecting on the lives of undocumented immigrants, we analyze the processes by which “illegality” is constructed. Here we look at how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and culture shape the psychological experience of immigrants. Extending our analysis in the final part of the seminar to immigration’s impact on the host population enables us to conclude the course with a discussion of several social-psychological issues such as intergroup relations, discrimination, and modes of adaptation.

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Introduction to Social Psychology

Year

This yearlong lecture course introduces students to the key ideas of social psychology. We will examine the social dimensions underlying the cognitive existence of individuals by examining some theories, methodologies, and key findings of social psychology. We will look at human relations at various levels, with a primary focus on the tension between the individual and society. For this purpose, we will compare different theoretical (cognitive, interpersonal, and cultural) perspectives. During the first semester, the course will investigate the role of unconscious processes in our interpretations and explanations of the social world, emphasizing in particular our mistakes in judgment and our misperceptions of causation. The individual as a social cognizer will be explored further to see how we derive interpretations for our own behavior in comparison to those attributed to others’ behavior. In the second semester, we will focus on the contextualization of these different processes in order to analyze the defining characteristics of groups and the extent to which we are indeed shaped by our groups.

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Introduction to the Theory of Social Representations

Spring

Humans are social animals who live through interaction with each other. Individuals, therefore, do not think in isolation. Instead, they construct a framework of shared references that define how to think about the world around them. Such shared references can be viewed as social representations. This seminar aims to familiarize students with social representations theory, an original approach to social psychology. The interdisciplinary orientation of this approach provides us with new insights into many key aspects of modern life. With the help of social representations theory, we are able to re-examine and shed new light on engaging societal phenomena such as health and illness, madness, AIDS, biogenetics, intelligence, food, money, or race.

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Social Thinking

Fall

Focusing on how individuals create their social reality and use this construction to provide a normative context for their engagement with each other, this seminar explores the major theories, methodologies, and content areas of social cognition. We look at classic studies in social psychology to apply the knowledge thus gained to contemporary issues of general interest, gaining in the process both a historical and a theoretical perspective. We want to examine, in particular, three areas of interest. The first concerns the role of unconscious processes in our interpretations and explanations of the social world, especially emphasizing here our mistakes in judgment and our misperceptions of causation. Then, we take a closer look at the individual as a social “cognizer” to see how we derive interpretations for our own behavior in comparison to those attributed to the behavior of others. Finally, we analyze the issue of attitude as the first epistemological inquiry of social psychology to understand better how it has given impetus to the cognitive revolution.

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The Historical Evolution of Psychological Thought

Year

This seminar aims to present the historical evolution of psychology as a distinct discipline, starting with Wundt in 1879 at Leipzig. Its short history notwithstanding, psychology has benefited from a long and rich past, tracing its roots, for the most part, in philosophy. As early as the fifth century BC, Aristotle and other Greek scholars grappled with some of the same problems that concern psychologists today; namely, memory, learning, motivation, perception, dreams, and abnormal behavior. A discipline such as psychology does not develop in a vacuum but, rather, is shaped by human personalities, institutions, and the societal context. Therefore, our critical and historical analyses will focus on comprehending the cultural context from which ideas, concepts, and theories have emerged and evolved. This approach will provide a unifying framework for a thorough reexamination of the different systems of psychology in the United States.

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