Critical Race Theory refers to a broad set of historical and contemporary theories that emerged in the late 1980s to more accurately describe the lived experiences and realities of racial and ethnic minorities and marginalized groups and individuals in society. As a theoretical framework, Critical Race Theory pays close attention to the ways in which power and privilege operate in society and takes seriously the impact of the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and other markers of difference on rights and access to resources in the public sphere.
At its core, critical race theory is an applied theory with an explicit goal of social justice and transformation. As an applied theory, critical race theory relies on various tools and interventions to bring about social change including policy making and advocacy, research, community organizing and within-system advocacy.
In this course, we will explore the challenges as well as opportunities critical race theory presents for the field of public administration and service. Specifically, we will examine critical race theory as a counter framework for understanding difference and inequalities in society and how the framework can be used to deepen our understanding of historic and present-day institutional and structural barriers. We will also consider they ways Critical Race Theory can be employed as a strategy to redress social inequities over the long-term.