Courses Offered Spring 2014
ENG 429: Reading and Writing Civil Rights Movement (Service Learning)
“Reading and Writing the Civil Rights Movement” considers how writing—speeches, poetry, fiction, and autobiography—addressed injustice and racial and class inequality during the Civil Rights Movement. By studying the writing of the Civil Rights Movement, we investigate how violence and non-violence worked as strategies for change and question how language can shape movements for social change. We will also consider how images from photographs and films shaped perceptions of the movement, and study the rhetorical strategies writers used to make their arguments.
By reading writers like Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Taylor Branch, John Steinbeck, Alice Walker, and Eudora Welty, we consider how the race and gender of the writer affected his or her message. By considering the writing of activists, fiction writers, journalists, and autobiographers, we will reflect on how writing can fulfill both activist and artistic functions. We will end with a consideration of the Civil Rights Movement at the present moment. What can we learn from the Civil Rights movement about current struggles for justice? How far have we come since Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? What are our current Civil Rights issues and how are they being fought?
ENG 482: Passing Narratives in Black Literature
This course will examine traditional passing narratives like James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man as well as Black British texts like Jackie Kay’s Trumpet which push the boundaries of passing beyond race and ethnicity to include gender. Collectively, these narratives speak—directly, indirectly, and very uneasily—to the authenticity, the ambiguity, and the performance of personal identity. GEP Diversity Major Diversity and Writing-Intensive.
HIS 343: African Ethnicities
This course is designed to inform students on not only general schools of ethnic construction, but also Africa’s unique contribution to the field. Knowledge of identity construction is essential in understanding the conflicts that occasionally arise due to them, the diversity of this ever shrinking world and how we define ourselves.
LTT 461: The Franco-Afro Caribbean Story (Honors)
The course focuses on the colonial and postcolonial history of this region, particularly Haiti, once the largest and richest French possession in the Caribbean, which later emerged as the first Black Republic, following an armed revolution against slavery and domination by colonial powers. Honors GEP Diversity and GEP Art/Literature, Ethics Intensive, and Writing-Intensive.
PHL 150: Race and Racism
PHL 302: Philosophy of Race
TR 8am and 9:30am
Race plays a prominent role in our social existence, even in what some have called a "post-racial society," and has for centuries. In this course, we will take a philosophical approach to understanding a set of related questions about race. What is the origin and basis of the race concept? Is race socially constructed, or does it have a biological basis? Does racial discourse serve to further entrench racial divisions? How does racial oppression relate to other forms of oppression such as class- and gender-based oppression? What is "privilege"? As time permits, we will also investigate issues such as affirmative action, racial solidarity, and the ways in which racial oppression differentially affects men and women.
POL 337: Contemporary Cuban Politics and Society (Study Tour)
This course provides students with an understanding of the forces that gave rise to the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and how "the revolution" has evolved over time, focusing on political, economic, social and cultural transformations. Course content studied and discussed in Philadelphia will be complemented by the study tour to give students a thorough understanding of contemporary Cuban reality.
REL 271: African and Caribbean Religions
TR 3:30pm and 5pm
An examination of selected indigenous African religious traditions in their native contexts and/or religious traditions of indigenous African origin that have developed in the Caribbean and related contexts outside of Africa. Samples may focus on individual systems or phenomena found in a number of systems.
REL 370: Religion and Race in the Philadelphia Region
“Religion and Race in the Philadelphia Region” is a religious studies course that examines the co-constitution of religious beliefs, racial identities, and regional cultures from an historical perspective primarily in the urban Northeast. We will examine how transatlantic and transnational African and European religious traditions (real, imagined, historical, invented) shaped that history. Because this is a religious studies course, we will think about religions as institutions that profoundly influence individual’s epistemologies and actions, as well as the communities, societies, and nations, in which they are located. We will understand race as a social construction that emerged in recent centuries in concert with religious (and scientific) ideas about human origins and anthropologies. Most importantly, we will see how these two constructs - “race” and “religion” - developed and evolved in one particular region of the US to make visible place-based distinctions and geo-cultural histories. A complicated, multi-scalar picture will emerge of the varied ways in which beliefs, identities, and places influence and are implicated by one other.
SOC 205: Ethnic and Minority Relations
This course provides an analysis of ethnic and racial stratification in the U.S. It also covers theories of relationships between dominant and minority groups. As part of this course, we focus on intersecting statuses that shape the outcomes individuals and groups experience and their interactions with each other and social institutions. We begin the course by addressing the issue of race as a social construction rather than a biological fact, but a construction that carries very real consequences. We then shift to a focus on prejudice, discrimination, and institutional racism in discussing how they serve to create, sustain, and reproduce oppression and inequalities. We conclude the course with a discussion of the the future of race and racism in the 21st century and the implications for coalition building across racial and ethnic lines.
SOC 355: Race, Crime and Criminal Justice
MWF 9:05am M. Logue
This course examines the topic of race and ethnicity in relation to crime and criminal justice processing. More specifically, we focus on several issues: 1) the role of privilege and marginalization in the context of race and ethnicity and the criminal justice system; 2) the impact of these factors on intergroup relationships generally and the responses of the criminal justice system to criminal behavior, victimization, and employment within the criminal justice field; 3) how the responses of the criminal justice system affect the lives of offenders, victims, and agents of the criminal justice system for various racial/ethnic groups; and 4) the current patterns of crime and victimization in relation to race/ethnicity.