Course Subject
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Race, Class & Gender in American Cities

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course examines the social construction of race, ethnicity, class, and gender in the American city. We will analyze through an intersectional lens the strategies, tools and public policies that impact marginalized groups. Our study will include the analysis of the role of both electoral and institutional politics.


Further, through the analysis of precarity -- the condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting the material and psychological welfare of  marginalized groups in our society -- we will examine the social class which has been defined by the term "the precariat". Specifically, the condition of those experiencing a lack of quality education, access to mainstream opportunities, intermittent or underemployment and the resultant precarious existence.


This course has been designed to underscore the necessity of intersectionality as an essential tool for deciphering the characteristics of oppressive institutional power and existing ill conceived public policy. We will analyze intersectionality as a multidimensional justice orientation and counter-hegemonic tool to be utilized in developing coherent transformative public policy.


This course is focused on three key dimensions of intersectional work as presented in our required reading and by our roster of guests:  1) Dismantling structural inequalities: how does intersectionality help to identify and address the root causes of discrimination; 2) Expanding by transforming (disrupt) the scope: how can intersectionality be used to impact analytical and political frames to make visible distinct forms of oppression at the “intersections” of lived identities and matrixes -- rather than absented, ignored, or erased; and, 3) Exacting accountability for "all lives mattering": how intersectionality may be engaged to develop and enact meaningful comprehensive justice oriented public policy.