Courses in Race and Public Policy

Courses are not offered every semester, or every year. Refer to the Office of the Registrar for each term's specific offerings.

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AAS 202 / SOC 202
Introductory Research Methods in African American Studies
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor H. Taylor

The purposes of this course are to assist the student in developing the ability to critically evaluate social science research on the black experience and to do research in African studies. To accomplish these goals, the course will acquaint students with the process of conceptualizing basic research techniques, and some of the unique issues in conducting research on the black experience. A variety of appropriate studies will be utilized.



AAS 221 / SOC 221 / WOM 221
Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor B. Thornton Dill

Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and life styles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today.



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AAS 235 / SOC 236
Race is Socially Constructed: Now, What?
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor Ruha Benjamin

The truism that "race is socially constructed" hides more than it reveals. Have Irish Americans always been white? Are people of African descent all black? Is calling Asian Americans a "model minority" a compliment? Does race impact who we date or marry? In this course, students develop a sophisticated conceptual toolkit to make sense of such contentious cases of racial vision and division as the uprising in Ferguson. We learn to connect contemporary events to historical processes, and individual experiences to institutional policies, exercising a sociological imagination with the potential to not only analyze, but transform the status quo.

Lecture L01: 1:30 pm – 3:20 pm T

AAS 247 / POL 382
The New Jim Crow: US Crime Policy from Constitutional Formation to Ferguson
RPP

Taught by Professor Naomi Murakawa

This course explores the political development of America's racially disparate punishment regime. We trace the history US crime policy, moving through US constitutional formation, Reconstruction and lynch law, and Jim Crow punishment in the south and urban north. We focus on punishment in post-civil rights America, and we devote special attention to policing, the death penalty, and the interconnected wars on crime, drugs, immigration, and terror. Our overarching goal is to understand the political construction of crime, colorblindness, and legitimate state violence.



AAS 301 / SOC 367
Black to the Future: Science, Fiction, and Society
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor Ruha Benjamin

Designer Babies. Ancestry Tests. Organ Regeneration. Biometric Surveillance. These and more comprise our 21st century landscape. This interdisciplinary course examines the values and politics that shape science, medicine, and technology, asking who bears the risk and who reaps the benefit of innovations? Social inequality is legitimized, in part, by myths about human difference. And while course participants grapple with past and present stories that shape science and technology, we also apply a sociological imagination to the future, exploring how contemporary hopes and fears may give rise to "real utopias" that are more equitable and just.

Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm T

AAS 302/SOC 303/ANT 378/GSS 340
Political Bodies: The Social Anatomy Of Power & Difference
RPP

Taught by Professor Ruha Benjamin

In this seminar students will learn about the human body in its social, cultural, and political contexts. The framing is sociological rather than biomedical, attentive to cultural meanings, institutional practices, politics, and social problems. The course explicitly discusses bodies in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, health, geography, and citizenship status, carefully examining how social differences come to appear natural. From clinics to prisons to borders to virtual realities, students develop a conceptual toolkit to analyze how society "gets under the skin", producing differential exposure to premature death.

Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm Th

AAS 317 / WWS 331 / SOC 312
Race and Public Policy
RPP

Taught by Professor Douglas Massey

Analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era.



AAS 330 / HIS 455
Black Metropolis: African American Urban History
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor J. Guild

In this seminar, we will examine historically the transformation of African Americans from a population rooted in the rural South to one overwhelmingly located in the cities of the North and West. Beginning in the period following the Civil War, and spanning the course of the twentieth century, we will explore critically the impact of urbanization on African American social relations, political expression, family life, and cultural production. Throughout the course we will be concerned not only with the "where" and "who" of the migration narrative, but the "how" and the "why" as well.



AAS 343 / POL 343
African American Politics
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor M. Harris-Perry

This course provides an introduction to the political experience of African Americans. The course is primarily contemporary in its focus although we will deal briefly with the Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century. Topics include African American political thought, voting and participation, urban politics, race and elected office, religion and politics, and issues of gender, class and sexual identity at the intersections of black politics. This course has a substantial reading load.



AAS 344 / POL 344
African American Politics in the Post-Civil Rights Era
RPP

Taught by Professor I. Stephens

This course focuses upon the evolution, nature, and role of black politics within the American Political System, in the post- civil rights era. The concern is with black people as actors and creators and initiators in the political process. Specifically, this course will examine various political controversies that surround the role of race in American society. These controversies or issues, affect public opinion, political institutions, political behavior, and salient public policy debates. Thus this course will assess and evaluate the contemporary influence of race in each of these domains while also exploring their historical antecedents.



AAS 350 / SOC 362
Rats, Riots, and Revolution: Housing in the Metropolitan United States
RPP

Taught by Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

This class examines the history of urban and suburban housing in the twentieth century US. We will examine the relationship between postwar suburban development as a corollary to the "underdevelopment" of American cities contributing to what scholars have described as the "urban crisis" of the 1960s. Housing choice and location were largely shaped by discriminatory practices in the real estate market, thus, the course explores the consequences of the relationship between public policy and private institutions in shaping the metropolitan area including after the passage of federal anti-housing discrimination legislation in the late 1960s.

Seminar S01: 11:00 am – 12:20 pm MW

AAS 351 / GSS 351
Law, Social Policy, and African American Women
RPP, GRE and AACL

Taught by Professor Imani Perry

Journeying from enslavement and Jim Crow to the post-civil rights era, this course will learn how law and social policy have shaped, constrained, and been resisted by black women's experience and thought. Using a wide breadth of materials including legal scholarship, social science research, visual arts, and literature, we will also develop an understanding of how property, the body, and the structure and interpretation of domestic relations have been frameworks through which black female subjectivity in the United States was and is mediated.



AAS 362 / WWS 386 / POL 338
Race and the American Legal Process
RPP, GRE and AACL

Taught by Professor Imani Perry

This course examines the dynamic and often conflicted relationships between African American struggles for inclusion, and the legislative, administrative, and judicial decision-making responding to or rejecting those struggles, from Reconstruction to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. In tracing these relationships we will cover issues such as property, criminal law, suffrage, education, and immigration, with a focus on the following theoretical frameworks: equal protection, due process, civic participation and engagement, and political recognition.

11:00 am – 11:50 am MW

AAS 368 / REL 368 / POL 424
Topics in African American Religion: Black Religion and Black Political Thought
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor M. Harris-Perry

Assesses the value of religion and its impartations of the historical, ethical, and political in African American life. Courses will also critique African American religion from a broader contextual basis by establishing commonalities and differences across historical and cultural boundaries.



AAS 380 / AMS 382
Public Policy in the American Racial State
RPP

Taught by Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

This course explores how ideas and discourses about race shape how public policy is debated, adopted and, implemented. Black social movements and geopolitical considerations prompted multiple public policy responses to racial discrimination throughout the twentieth century. Despite these policy responses, discrimination persists, raising theoretical concerns about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, political representation, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policymaking and addressing group oppression.

Lecture L01: 2:30 pm – 3:20 pm MW

AAS 384 / PSY 384
Prejudice: Its Causes, Consequences & Cures
RPP

Taught by Professor Stacey Sinclair

Prejudice is one of the most contentious topics in modern American society. There is debate regarding its causes, pervasiveness, and impact. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the psychological research relevant to these questions. We will review theoretical perspectives on prejudice to develop an understanding of its cognitive, affective, and motivational underpinnings. We will also discuss how these psychological biases relate to evaluations of, and behavior toward, members of targeted groups. In addition, research-based strategies for reducing prejudice will be discussed.

1:30 pm - 2:20 pm TTh

AAS 386 / AMS 386
Race and the City
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor Imani Perry

Race and the City examines how the politics of race and racialization shaped the development of American cities over the course of the 20th century. The course cover a diverse array of topics including: ghettoization, urban renewal, the creation of public housing, popular music (Jazz, Motown, Hip Hop), public art and graffiti, literature of urbanity, the fair housing movement, deindustrialization and gentrification. We will have particular foci on the following cities: Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.



AAS 393 / AAS 364 / HIS 393 / WWS 389
Race, Drugs and Drug Policy in America
RPP

Taught by Professor Keith Wailoo

From "Chinese opium" to Oxycontin, and from cocaine and "crack" to BiDil, drug controversies reflect enduring debates about the role of medicine, the law, the policing of ethnic identity, and racial difference. This course explores the history of controversial substances (prescription medicines, over-the-counter products, black market substances, psychoactive drugs), and how, from cigarettes to alcohol and opium, they become vehicles for heated debates over immigration, identity, cultural and biological difference, criminal character, the line between legality and illegality, and the boundaries of the normal and the pathological.



AAS 403 / ANT 403
Race and Medicine
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor Carolyn Rouse

In 1998, then-President Clinton set a national goal that by the year 2010 race, ethnic, and gender disparities in six disease categories would be eliminated. While the agenda, called Healthy People 2010, was a noble effort, many of the goals were not met. This course examines what went wrong. For a final project, students will be asked to propose their own solutions for eliminating health disparities.



AAS 404/GSS 419 /POL 429
Intersectional Activisms and Movements For Social Justice
RPP

Taught by Professor Dara Strolovitch

Examines the role of intersectionality roots as a political intervention growing out of and based in movement politics. Begins with early articulations of intersectional perspectives on the part of Black feminists and feminists of colour, emphasizing its movement roots. Examines empirical research about social movements and political activism, focusing on scholarship that considers both the potential of and the challenges to movements that try to address the imbrication of racial inequalities with other forms of marginalization and domination, including (though not limited to) heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, and the carceral state

Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm W

AFS 427*
Conflict in Africa
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor A. Seegers

Examines selected aspects on conflict in Africa. The concept "conflict" is used to mean organized and/or collective political violence that causes the death of about 1,000 people per year. The course will focus on the following issues: analytical debates about conflicts in Africa; actors/participants such as guerrillas, warlords, and child soldiers; continental politics about conflict; the politics of humanitarian intervention; wars in the Great Lakes Region; the war and warlords of West Africa; the genocide in Rwanda, and the aftermath of wars, especially those of Southern Africa.



ANT 210*
Cross-Cultural Explorations of Gender in Film and Ethnographic Texts
RPP, GRE and AACL

Taught by Professor C. Rouse

Through visual and written ethnographies, this course will explore cross-cultural conceptions of gender. Specifically, this course will address the relationship between religion, sexuality, and social reproduction; and the salience of gender to issues of oppression, empowerment, and social change.



ANT 322*
Cross-Cultural Texts
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor J. Boon

This seminar closely reads descriptive and fictive works replete with cross-cultural representations and juxtaposed histories. What makes a given comparative account--whether colonialist or postcolonialist--compelling? Various genres--ethnographic essays, intense travel narratives, translated tales and myths, and novels--receive concerted attention.



ECO 351*
Economics of Development
GRE

Taught by Professor T. Fujiwara

Surveys development economics including current issues, historical background, growth theories, trade and development, markets and planning, strategies for poverty alleviation, agriculture, technology, employment, industry, population, education, health, and internal and external finance. Selective attention to particular countries and regimes.



GHP 409/AAS 410
Mortality at the Margins: Race, Inequality and Health Policy in the United States
RPP

Taught by Professor Alecia McGregor

This course will critically examine the unequal distribution of disease and mortality in the United States along the axes of race, ethnicity, class and place. Through in-depth engagement with case studies, critical historical texts and public health literature we will explore why individuals from some race/ethnicities, class backgrounds, and geographies are more vulnerable to premature death and adverse outcomes than others. Student work will culminate in a policy memo and a presentation, allowing them to hone valuable skillsets for future participation in the research and policy processes.

1:30 pm – 4:20 pm W

GSS 345 / AAS 355 / ENG 399 / AMS 373 (EM)
Pleasure, Power and Profit: Race and Sexualities in a Global Era
RPP and GRE

Taught by Professor Anne McClintock

Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial, compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence.

1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T

POL 316*
Civil Liberties
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor K. Whittington

A study of selected problems concerning civil liberties in contemporary America, with specific focus on privacy and on problems derived from living in a pluralistic society.



POL 317*
Discrimination and the Law
RPP

Taught by Professor B. Jamieson

How can law change (or reinforce) the ways in which race, gender, and sexual orientation affect status? This course examines the purposes of antidiscrimination law and asks if it is appropriate to extend antidiscrimination protection from race to other categories. Conflicts with tradition, autonomy of community, and liberty are also considered.



POL 319 / AAS 316 / AMS 391 (EM)
History of African American Political Thought
RPP

Taught by Professor Desmond D. Jagmohan

This course explores central themes and ideas in the history of African American political thought: slavery and freedom, solidarity and sovereignty, exclusion and citizenship, domination and democracy, inequality and equality, rights and respect. Readings will be drawn, primarily, from canonical authors, including Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ralph Ellison, Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an introductory course, which emphasizes both thematic and historical approaches to political theory.

9:00 am - 9:50 am TTh

PSY 307*
Educational Psychology
RPP

Taught by Professor M. Glat

Principles of psychology relevant to the theory and practice of education. Through selected readings, discussion, and classroom observations, students study theories of development, learning, cognition (including literacy), and motivation, as well as individual and group differences in these areas; assessment; and the social psychology of the classroom. The course focuses on how learning by children and adolescents at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels is influenced by their own characteristics and experiences and the various contexts in which they learn: family, school, community, and culture.



SOC 201*
American Society and Politics
RPP and AACL

Taught by Professor P. Starr

An introduction to changing patterns of family structure, community life, economic relations, voluntary associations, moral beliefs and values, social and political movements, and other aspects of civil society and politics in the United States.



SOC 361* / GSS
Culture, Power, and Inequality
RPP

Taught by Professor A. Ghaziani

An introduction to theories of symbolism, ideology, and belief. Approaches to the analysis and comparison of cultural patterns. Emphasis on the social sources of new idea systems, the role of ideology in social movements, and the social effects of cultural change. Comparisons of competing idea systems in contemporary culture.