Liberal Studies Program > Students > LSP 200 Course Descriptions
Various, Modern Languages
This course reviews the historical and contemporary use of multiple languages in American society. It introduces key concepts of sociolinguistics and cultural theory that are relevant to understanding language use, and focuses especially on the diverse circumstances of age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion that have organized it in the last hundred years. Understanding this history and these concepts will allow students to better engage critically and reflectively with issues and questions that inform current national debates regarding "language politics."
Thomas Mockaitis, History
This course examines the diverse forms of religious expression in the United States in their historical, social, and cultural contexts. In addition to major world religions, it will explore non-traditional forms of religiosity and spiritual practice as well as American secularism. In addition to learning about beliefs and practices, students will consider how faith communities address contemporary issues and interact with one another.
Daniel Azzaro, Public Relations & Advertising
As a country made of different cultures and people from various backgrounds, can we have a common sense of humor. Are there common traits that tie us together, or are there similar tensions, characters or situations that make us laugh? Since we are a collection of cultures, what have various ethnic groups and genders contributed to our collective sense of humor? We will explore both the history of American humor as well as the influences of three distinct groups: Jewish Americans, African Americans, and Women in general to help determine whether there actually is an American sense of humor.
Curt Hansman, History of Art & Architecture
After attempting to define and locate the term Asian-American, we will read the history of Asian America through the works of painters, sculptors, architects, designers, film-makers and writers. We will also look at the analysis, interpretation, and positioning of these works through a series of basic analytical and critical responses to the works. The experiences and perspectives of several cultural groups—Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philippine, and Vietnamese—will be explored employing an interrogative approach. Among the questions we will engage are:
Yang Hwan Choi, Modern Languages
This course examines the experiences of Asian immigrant families in the United States. It covers the historical, political, economic, and social factors that have shaped the lives of Asian immigrants and their families in the US. Throughout the course, students can engage in discussions, group work, and research projects related to the experiences of diverse Asian immigrant families in the United States. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers, including Asian immigrant community leaders, researchers, and practitioners who work with Asian immigrant families. With practical approaches and diverse theoretical frameworks, participants will enhance cultural solidarity for the other cultural system. Moreover, this course will demonstrate how a multicultural society yields productive and progressive cultural competencies. In other words, although the initiative for the next generation of Asia is indispensable, the reality is that there still needs to be more understanding of modern Asia in the global discourse. The course also explores the challenges and strengths of Asian immigrant families and their adaptations to life in the US. The course will also highlight the diversity among Asian immigrants, including the different cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds of Asian immigrants.
Authens Oppong Wadie, History
Beginning in 1779 with Jean-Baptiste Point DuSable, the city’s first permanent resident, the Black experience in Chicago is as old as the city itself. Although segregation, poverty, and gang violence have become the foremost signifiers of what it means to be Black in Chicago, these designations do not capture the totality of the Black experience in the past or present. The seminar will explore Black Chicago through the lens of the Great Migration, shifting constructions of race and gender over time, cultural production, religion, entrepreneurship, housing, schools, political resistance, and criminalization.
Various, Women's & Gender Studies
Lydia Saravia, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse
Rachel Gregoire, School of Public Service
This course demonstrates how many of the same social justice issues of Chicago's urban landscape that have shaped history continue to shape your life today. In this course, we will explore dimensions of diversity such as economic status and race/ethnicity in varying sectors (e.g. government, education, healthcare) and examine critiques of multiculturalism from different parts of the political spectrum. We will also discuss the media's influence on our perspective of these issues. Students will think critically about their own relationships with multiculturalism and scrutinize how diversity is lived and negotiated.
Scott Paeth, Religious Studies
Michael Gallaway, Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse
This course examines how racial projects have been created through discourse throughout the history of the United States, looking at the shifting construction of whiteness, as people are included and excluded from categories of identity and the resultant material consequences of this construction of identity. Moving from racial categories, this course will also examine gender and sexuality as identities that are marginalized, resulting in representation dictated by oppressive ideologies and legislation that criminalizes these groups. This course will then examine ways in which Anti-racist, Feminist, Queer, and Decolonial activists have resisted the imposition of dominant ideologies by offering alternatives to normalized and systemic violence.
Students will examine film and literature as tools to understand how meanings about culture, race & ethnicity, and identity are constructed. In doing so, students will rely on sociological, historical, and social frameworks to understand, explain, and predict the powerful role of film and literature in the construction of racial formation in the United States. Several questions are explored: What do film and literature tell us about race and ethnic groups? How do representations in film and literature relate to political, economic, and ideological factors? Why do film and literature matter in how we come to understand our own identity or self and others? Students will develop skills to evaluate and critique film and literature and will examine a range of historical and contemporary films, images, and literature that help us to understand the story of race and ethnicity in the U.S.
Yuki Miyamoto, Religious Studies
This course explores various forms of discrimination observed in Japan, namely against ethnicity, occupation, and the irradiated body. Just a few years back in 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso made a remark that Japan has been unified under a single language and ethnic identity for the past 2.000 years. The myth of homogeneous ethnicity was particularly prevalent from the second half of the 1970s onwards even among progressive Japanese intellectuals, contributing to the erasure of Japan’s colonization and occupation in Asia. Given this intellectual history and demography of Japan, the course begins to challenge the myth of Japan as homogeneous ethnicity. In doing so, the course reveals the structural discrimination embedded in the empire, under which the contemporary narrative is still operating. For example, the atomic bomb victims were, reflecting the colonial history of Japan and the “West,” ethnically diverse. By having a theme of the atomic age, the course, while touching upon discursive topics of ethnicity, outcastes, and the sick body, will aim at obtaining comprehensive understanding of the patterns of discrimination observed in Japan. Examining ideologies that support such discrimination will enable us to see these problems as structural issues, and thereby call for action.
Various, College of Education
Lin Batsheva Kahn, The Theatre School
A paradigm is a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions and practices held by an individual or community forming a vision of reality. This one of a kind multicultural course will shift paradigms influenced by stereotyping, bias and prejudice to acquire a new view characterized by acceptance and appreciation for gender, age, ethnicity and ability through the lens of dance. Stimulating observation of dance performance, thought provoking discussion, an integrated process of inquiry and creative experiential learning will result in heightened cultural awareness in making paradigm shifts about diverse individuals and groups in the context of Dance in America. Students will be inspired by artists and companies such as Misty Copeland, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Marge Champion, Miriam Engel, Sergey Shamota, and Axis Dance Company. In addition, invited guests will share their engaging stories about overcoming sexism, ageism, racism, and ableism.
This course focuses on the everyday multiculturalism of contemporary urban life, and the ways in which "meaningful encounters" may be developed in diverse urban spaces. We will consider dimensions of multiculturalism such as race, ethnicity, and nationalism, and examine critiques of multiculturalism from different parts of the political spectrum. Students will think critically about their own relationships with multiculturalism in the city and scrutinize how diversity is lived and negotiated.
Brian Maj, Business
Kelly Tzoumis, Public Policy Studies
Note: When offered in Autumn and Spring Quarters, this is a Global Learning Experience course.
Marcia Good, Anthropology
David Chack, The Theatre School
This course will explore the concepts of identity and difference as they are cultivated among and emerge in social groups and movements. As we develop those concepts, we will discuss examples concerning race, gender, class, and ability. In the second half of the quarter, we will then turn to examinations of oppression and specific modes it takes to better understand the realities of injustice and potential ameliorative resources.
This course examines a wide range of issues related to immigrant experiences—including settlement, citizenship, the fate of the second generation, and identity development. Several questions are explored: Why do people migrate to the U.S.? Why are some immigrants wanted and others not? Can states control immigration? How does immigration shape the labor market of the origin and host country? What’s the cultural consequence of immigration? The course will use historical, sociological, and contemporary examples and concepts to address these questions including meaning of integration and assimilation, formal and informal citizenship, patterns of migration, and meanings of ethnicity and race.
Blackhawk Hancock, Sociology
James Rudyk, Public Policy Studies
This class explores the intersection of housing policy and race in the United States. Through the course, we will examine the social construction of race, racial bias in housing choice, and the election of Donald Trump and the rise of white supremacy. The class will focus on exploring two recent housing trends; the 2008 foreclosure crisis as a result of housing policy deregulation and increased subprime lending and the current surge of displacement and housing cost burden in America’s urban centers. Our understanding will be informed through academic scholarship, historical records, investigative journalism, and different viewpoints from community residents, politicians, and community organizations from across the city.
David Chack, Theatre
This course traces how Jewish culture contributes to performance-makers in the United States; and how these contributions have been integral to the creation of theatre and performance in the United States. A plethora of artistic contributions from playwrights, comedians, musical theatre artists, performers on television and in film, acting teachers, and producers with strong Jewish cultural backgrounds, have contributed immensely in shaping “The American Theatre and Performance.”
In light of multiculturalism in America what does this mean? Do anti-Semitism, racism, and stereotypes play a role? What is Jewish performance about being the “outsider and a survivor"? And how do our own identities play into this process? This course will provide contextualization to understand Jewish performances in theatre and popular entertainment in the United States and their cultural and social contributions.
Ester Trujillo, Latin American & Latino Studies
Latinas/os in the U.S. are constructed as threats to the “American” way of life because they do not present the typical markers of immigrant assimilation; markers such as upward economic mobility, the adoption of English as a primary or sole language, and intermarriage with white Americans. The Latino Threat Narrative has long shaped the characterization of Latinas/os as a monolithic group. However, Latinas/os come from many different backgrounds and represent various origin nations. In this class we will examine how Latinas/os of Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan origin have become the focus of the Latino Threat Narrative and how various types of violence shape their lives. Our examination of the ways immigrants and their children respond to their depiction as threats to the social order will take us through a discussion of race, class, gender, sexuality, and migration. This course also investigates intra-ethnic tensions and points of solidarity across these populations in the U.S. Together, we will delve into a debate in the field of Latino Studies concerning representation: Can people of one Latino population write about another and be representative of that group’s struggles? We will use fiction and prose to supplement social science research in order to center the voices of the people studied.
Various, Latin American & Latino Studies
Susana Martinez, Modern Languages
This course provides the opportunity for students to learn about multiculturalism in the United States, as considered in the context of the global community. Multiculturalism includes questions of ethnicity, race, class, gender, language, religion, and sexual orientation. This particular LSP 200 course pays attention to multiculturalism through an examination of the experiences and perspectives of at least three distinct Latinx cultural groups. For example, did you know that the three largest groups are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Salvadorans? Their migration experiences, however, have been very different. Puerto Ricans on the island are U.S. citizens by birth but they have different voting rights. Since the Central American civil wars in the 1980s, Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans have risked their lives crossing through Mexico to try to reach the U.S. border to reunite with family. In this course, we will reflect on social justice issues such as immigration that are current news topics and critically examine the root causes causing people to leave home. Special attention will be payed to issues of colonialism, relationships to home countries, language politics, culture, and self-identity through youth literature. Additionally, we will discuss racial, ethnic, gender and class conflicts as they affect Latinx populations.
Erika Sánchez, Latin American & Latino Studies
This class will examine the important contributions of Latinx poets in the United States literary tradition. We will read collections by diverse authors such as Rigoberto González, Lorna D. Cervantes, and Elizabeth Acevedo in chronological order while examining the historical context of their poetry. Assignments will include critical analyses that encompass both the craft and the political relevance of the work. Students will explore how artists of marginalized communities have defied mainstream narratives and carved out a space in a predominantly homogenous American canon. Students will complete creative projects and learn to sharpen their critical thinking skills by analyzing disparate texts and making unexpected connections.
Francesca Royster, English
In this course we will explore the rich literary work by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer writers of color, including Cherrie Moraga, Kay Barrett, Essex Hemphill, James Baldwin, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Janet Mock, Audre Lorde, R. Riley Snorton, Juliet Rivera and Justin Torres. Using the framework of interlocking identities of race, sexuality, and gender, we will consider the ways that literature has become a powerful tool of critique, community building, survival, the expression of freedom and self-knowledge. We’ll look at novels, memoir, poems, essays and film.
Various, Women's & Gender Studies
Mazen Istanbouli, Political Science
Various, Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies
Daniel Kamin, International Studies
This course examines how the War on Terrorism has affected our multicultural society. We will first consider the meaning and significance of our pluralistic society in order to gain an understanding of American culture. Then we will confront the War on Terrorism that America has been waging since September 2001. We will explore the circumstances that led us into this War, the policies of our government, and the reaction of the American people on the whole as well as the reaction of distinct ethnic, racial, and religious communities in the U.S. toward the 9/11 disaster. We will follow these reactions as they have continued to develop over the past 18 years. The diverse perspectives of various communities within America’s pluralistic culture on the rationale for—and conduct of—the War on Terror will be considered in order to better understand and appreciate similarities and differences between distinct sub-groups in American society.
Keith Mikos, English
In this course, we will study the works of marginalized writers who have helped shape American literature, but whose voices have been unheard, resisted, or demeaned. We will explore how portrayals of different groups have shaped dominant social attitudes and how artists have worked to undermine those attitudes. And we will trace the lasting effects of these portrayals into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by examining how issues of race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration, and religion appear in a wide-range of media, including: fiction, poetry, music, painting, graphic memoir, and film. Ultimately, this course will sharpen your ability to interpret, analyze, and write critically about literature and culture. It will give you a taste for assessing brilliant and complex works while broadening your understanding of key issues forming America’s multicultural artistic identities.
Sherri Replogle, Political Science
This course invites students to explore the politics of multiculturalism in the United States by examining the meanings, history, and debates surrounding the multicultural movement. The course is designed to first examine the historical roots of inequality of several distinct cultural groups, as well as their struggles to gain full democratic inclusion in the cultural and political life of the nation. The second section of the course focuses on extreme contemporary challenges to multiculturalism in the form of rising populism and the so-called “alt-right.” The goals of the course are to allow students to contemplate and explore how various dimensions of multiculturalism are relevant to the United States, to our communities, our families and ourselves; to provide the tools to evaluate various multicultural claims and policies; and to ultimately develop an understanding of how this matters in the context of an increasingly globalized world.
Steven Ramirez, English
This seminar addresses topics of identity through the lens of contemporary literary texts that explore the relationship between marginalized and dominant cultures. In addition to course readings, class discussions, and group collaboration, students will develop as writers by producing at least 20 pages of critical analysis. At the end of this course, students will submit a longer, thesis-driven analytical essay based on our texts and class discussions. Additionally, each class will include some discussion and attention to the process of writing, whether through revision, peer editing, modeling or other focused attention on the development of writing skills.
Sarah Holian, History of Art & Architecture
John French, Political Science
Mark Turcotte, English
Students will compare and contrast the ways in which a range of Native literary writers express themselves regarding personal and community identity, racial and cultural stereotypes, and social and cultural practices, obligations and duties. Students will encounter the ways in which Native writers use story-telling and self-expression as acts of survival, re-appropriation and redefinition, and to navigate and interact with the dominant “American culture.” The literature will be used as a means to encounter cultural ideas, issues and agendas from a diverse selection of Native nations/tribal groups. Finally, students will discover the ways in which Native Voices are Multicultural due to tribal, geo-graphical, spiritual, and urban/rural diversity and influences.
Stephanie Howell, Communication
Performing Culture is a class based on how human communication, culture, and our cultural performances are intricately linked. Within this class, we also highlight Performance as research method—a tension that foregrounds our desire(s), our learning(s), our understanding(s) in an evocative, self-reflexive scholarship that invites connection(s) with our audiences members—whether those audience members are reading our research on the page or sitting in a seat in front of the “stage."
Azar Kazemi, The Theatre School
This seminar examines multiculturalism specifically through the topic of race and ethnicity on the American stage. Through lecture, discussion, group projects, reading and attending plays, and written analysis students will cultivate critical thinking skills and an understanding of historical and contemporary inequality. This course seeks to foster an intercultural awareness through the study of theatre as both a mechanism for shaping and reflecting our cultural landscape.
Chi Jang Yin, Art, Media & Design
The course adopts media and cultural studies methods to examine how gun violence and gun culture intertwine with race and gender issues in the U.S. The course content uses documentaries, data/statistics, studies of social cognitive theory and modeling behaviors, anthropological thoughts on rituals, and the history of the gun manufacturing industry, as well as U.S. gun policies, to critically engage students on the topic about gun violence and gun culture. By examining and comparing multiple perspectives, such as various scientific resources and seminar-style discussions, students will then form their own original conclusions.
Guillemette Johnston, Modern Languages
Various, Political Science; Public Policy Studies
This course focuses on two main themes, the role of government in providing universal housing to its citizens and the exploration of the relationship between race and housing in the United States from the 20th century to present. Through these two themes the course aims to examine the construction and definition of race in the United States, 20th-century US housing policy, the impact of gentrification and neoliberalism on housing and race, and issues related to housing and race in Chicago. The course is designed to present students with theories, challenge their current conceptions, and facilitate mutual learning to better understand race and housing in the United States.
Various, Art, Media & Design
Various, Political Science
This class explores the historical and contemporary role of racial and ethnic minority groups in the American political system. We will focus on how race and ethnicity has been constructed both socially and historically and on the political realities of, and relationships between these groups. We will relate these groups to the institutions, political parties, voting coalitions, representatives, and public policies, which make up much of American politics. At the same time we will look at the impact of racial and ethnic politics on individuals and communities in order to root our discussions in real-world effects and an increasingly diverse American society. We will also be focusing on the impact of the Obama presidency and Trump Presidency on racial and ethnic politics in America. How did Obama’s election affect issues of race and ethnicity? What role did racial, religious, and immigration issues affect the Trump victory and what are have been some of the effects of Trump's first term in office? Finally, public policy issues will be discussed and debated including, but not limited to immigration, law enforcement, profiling, Black Lives Matter, and affirmative action.
Traci Schlesinger, Sociology
This online course introduces students to a critical study of the interstice between educational institutions, criminalization, and youth. The course examines school district and state and federal government policies that leave certain youth hyper-vulnerable to criminalization and punishment in and through schools, as well as movements, including the inclusion of social and emotional learning models and whole school restorative justice, to reclaim schools. The course also includes scaffolding-assignments related to research and writing to help students cultivate skills developing theses, finding academic journal sources, creating an outline, and writing social science research papers.
Erin MacKenna, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse
Feminism is back by popular demand and its splashy arrival in the political sphere, our social media feeds, and the American marketplace has been met with both ridicule and embrace. As record numbers of protesters are swiftly organized to participate in marches, the media reports that messages are muddled and direct action plans seem scattered. This class is designed to explore the rhetoric surrounding American conceptions of feminist identity and feminist action. We will begin with the assumption that woman and man as categories of identity are socially constructed and reinforced across institutions of power and through representations of gender roles in popular culture. As part of our exploration, we will identify key rhetorical strategies at work in texts generated during the first, second, and third wave of the feminist movement and map our current social arrangements and cultural perceptions of gender along these intellectual traditions and rhetorical events. Finally, after identifying regressions, backlashes, and victories, we will ask what work feminism should take up today and which rhetorical strategies will carry in the desired change.
Susana Martínez, Modern Languages
Latinx in the US: Identities Abroad offers students the opportunity to learn about U.S. multiculturalism in a transnational setting. Multiculturalism includes the study of ethnicity, race, class, gender, language, religion, and sexual orientation. This particular course pays particular attention to the history of multiculturalism through an examination of the root causes of migration from Central America and Mexico to the U.S. Students will consider the economic, environmental, and political roots influencing people’s decisions to leave home in search for a better life in the U.S. We will examine historical and current trends in migration patterns and consider the different ways economic and political changes often impact the most vulnerable members of society, namely women, youth, LGBTQ people, indigenous communities, lower income urbanites, and rural farmers.
As we reflect on relationships between life in the U.S. and home countries, we will discuss the diversity of language, culture, and self-identities through literature and film. Class readings, discussions and written reflections in conjunction with the Global Hour sessions will prepare us to travel to Mexico (Mexico City and Chiapas)!
Valerie Johnson, Political Science
South Africa is a study in contrast: affluence and poverty, and splendid beauty and squalor. This course examines the historical and contemporary socioeconomic factors governing the residential patterns of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and South Africa, and the impact of these residential patterns on life chances and opportunity in American and South African societies.
Part I of the course examines the historical experiences of minority groups; current socio-economic characteristics of the population; and some historical legal and economic antecedents that provide a context for understanding the seemingly intractable socio-economic disparities that exist between whites, and racial and ethnic minorities in both nations.
Part II examines the quest for a democratic society in the U.S. and South African context, and critiques the concept of cultural neutrality (the melting pot concept); the chief attributes of a multicultural society, and the dominant principles guiding American and South African society, i.e., democracy, equality, and justice.
The final part of the course, Part III, examines the impact of housing policies, mortgage lending practices, and resulting residential segregation on the life chances of racial and ethnic minorities. Of particular importance, will be an examination of the impediments that racial and ethnic minorities continue to face in their attempt to realize equal residential, employment, health care, and educational opportunities.
The South Africa portion of the program will include travel to Johannesburg, Soweto, and Cape Town, South Africa. Students will visit sites that are associated with South African apartheid and pre and post-apartheid periods; reflect on the current social justice challenges facing South Africans on a daily basis; and promote comparisons of social justice and reconciliation challenges and successes between South Africa and the U.S.
Through travels to Warsaw, Lublin, Oświęcim and Krakow we will investigate how theatre and other kinds of performance can be a means to understand the Holocaust. As we engage with the narratives and issues of one of history’s worst atrocities, we will also learn about the wonderful culture that once was between Jews, Poles, Germans, Slovaks, Czech and more; and how it is going through a resurgence, even as there is still an absence of memory. We will visit museums, go on walking tours as well as to cathedrals and even a castle, go on a boat cruise, dine in excellent restaurants and be hosted at many Jewish centers, synagogues, and theatre/performance locations. Utilizing the resources in these cities we will visit the reconstructed Old Town of Warsaw and the POLIN: Polish-Jewish Museum which ranks second to the Louvre of must-see museums in Europe; see the beauty of out-of-the-way cities like Wrocław home of the Grotowski International Theatre Institute; and we will also attend Krakow’s Jewish Cultural Arts Festival, with over 30,000 attendees. So, questions that will guide us are both in aesthetic concerns, to understand how stories are told that give us knowledge, understanding, empathy, and hope. And what are the many multicultural lenses we need to wear in ‘seeing' the Holocaust? This course endeavors to gain understanding through a visceral, deep encounter that is both intellectually and emotionally life-changing. Also the nightlife in the large cities of Warsaw, Prague and Krakow is wonderful - with the Jewish quarters being some of the most “hip” in Europe. Theatre and performance provide a unique understanding of this cataclysmic event. History, identity, memory, social responsibility, faith, and diversity all become viscerally compelling through the representations of the Holocaust.
Celia DeBoer, Women's & Gender Studies
This course explores the relationships between sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class in the context of the U.S. political system. It will focus on the historical construction of gender, class, and race, paying particular attention to how these constructions have intersected and interacted with the state. Specific attention will be paid to movements that trace the systemic history of sex and power in U.S. politics to current political contexts. The movements are Woman’s Suffrage, Anti-Lynching, Civil Rights, LGBTQIA+ Civil Rights, Women’s Liberation, Equal Pay, #MeToo, and #BlackLivesMatter.
American culture has always been diverse, and composed of people of different races and cultures. This course looks back to the earliest days of the American Colonies to trace the historical roots of American multiculturalism. What were African, European, and Native American encounters like in the earliest days of arrival? How did those interactions change and grow to permeate all aspects of life as America matured as a colony and approached its independence? This course will give a multicultural perspective on this critical early period of American History to illustrate that issues of multiculturalism are, in fact, not new, but are long standing features of American life. Students who have taken this course regularly reflect that when starting the course they assumed they knew all about American History from high school, but in the end were rewarded by learning about the American past in ways that made space for African, African-American, and Native American histories as well.
Lori Pierce, African & Black Diaspora Studies
LSP 200-326 Lincoln Park F 12:00-2:30
NOTE: This is a hybrid class that meets in person and online. The three class meetings will take place in Lincoln Park on: April 3, May 1 and May 29.
In this course we will study the origin of race as an intellectual and scientific project designed to organize humanity into discrete and hierarchical groups, and the implications of racial thinking, i.e. racial discrimination perpetuated by rhetorical and pictorial stereotypes, discriminatory behavior and institutional practices.
Star Hall, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse
In our online course about immigration reform, we will look at specific policies such as asylum for caravans of new arrivals, catch-and-release, eminent domain for wall construction, Native American needs, rights of new arrivals, and the impact on our communities for schools, hospitals, and police. In 2020 we must also address human smuggling and the danger of drug cartels.
In America, competing special interest groups promote solutions for how to respond to an influx of illegal new arrivals that don’t approach consensus. Some favor a “social justice” solution for immigrant families who open businesses in the USA and have American-born children. Other citizen groups promote a “rule of law” approach that looks more to standards of citizen behavior and how specific resident illegal communities impact the benefits of residency in our cities and towns – from issuing a driver’s license for permanent ID, to hiring practices for temporary work, to overfilling schools and hospitals, to how local police may work with ICE for deportation enforcement.
We will explore demographics for some trends and how specific communities address the presence of temporary workers such as crop pickers, educated workers with expired H1B visas, unaccompanied minors fleeing gang violence in the country of origin, and refugees from more countries than Central America.
The course focuses on issues involving the aftermath of immigration, race and ethnic relations, and multiculturalism in the United States. Several theoretical perspectives are used for analysis, including anthropological, historical, and sociological, but a unifying theme brings all these together; an urban perspective: the impact of urban life on social interaction—urbanism. Therefore, recognizing the complexities underlying urban ethnicity (how different cultural groups distinguish themselves in the urban context and interact) in American society is our goal. Toward this end, we will consider: what defines the urban; meanings of ethnicity and multiculturalism; the impact of class, race, and caste on the American social structure, and processes of acculturation and assimilation. The issues we will discuss are relevant to how we go about our daily lives. Consequently, information and ideas considered should evoke some reaction. Since we are in an academic, learning environment, it is to be hoped that the reaction revolves around intellectual curiosity, stimulation, and insight, rather than pure emotion.
Barbara Willard, Communication
This course examines the variety of United States environmental worldviews. The primary emphasis is an examination of how environmental worldviews are often shaped by race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. We will also explore the manifestations of environmental inequality among various groups (e.g. exposure to toxic waste, greater impacts from climate change, and poor water quality). This investigation will expose some of the historical and contemporary roots of environmental inequalities relating to race, class, and gender. Finally, we investigate how various cultures in our country influence the ways in which people relate to and live in the surrounding natural world.
Salli Berg Seeley, Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse
Traditionally, the standard bearers of Western and much of American literature have been middle-to-upper class, white, male, Protestant, and openly straight. However, as Toni Morrison points out in Playing in the Dark, it would be hard to imagine that the outlook and, therefore, writing of these men has not been affected by the history of inhumanity and injustice visited upon non-dominant groups on this land. We will read literature written by people of color, women, openly LBGTQ+, and other marginalized American writers through the unifying theme of the working class. The American working class, in and of itself, is a marginalized group in the U.S. and certainly in college literary studies. We will read these authors and contemplate their perspectives as they contemplate identity, work, labor, and social class through stories, poems, essays, and plays.
Jonathan Gross, English
This course examines the lives of Waters, Horne, Simone, and Holiday through their biographies and autobiographies or bio-pics. We will consider the difference in telling the story of one’s own life vs. second-hand accounts. We will also examine the contribution of Jewish writers and thinkers to African-American schools, by reading a chapter on Julius Rosenthal, by Stephanie Deutsch. Saul Bellow’s short story “Looking for Mr. Green” and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” along with Larsen’s “Sanctuary” provide context for the Jewish and African-American experience in the United States, with a focus on the South Side of Chicago and the cultivation of blues singers such as Otis Spann, Chuck Berry, Etta James by Leonard Chess. Since this is an online course, you will be expected to watch the films on your own and respond to posts about them.
Stan Chu Ilo, Catholic Studies
This course explores the issues of social justice in the context of the globalization of Catholic Christianity in the United States. With two-thirds of Catholics worldwide now living in the so-called ‘global South,’ the Catholic Church is witnessing significant changes in its priorities, practices and social/political and public roles in a variety of social justice contexts. Within the United States, shifting patterns of immigration and intercultural engagement are changing the composition and social location of Catholic communities and institutions – a greater presence of Latino, African and Asian Catholics, as well as new challenges and opportunities for African-American and Euro-American Catholic congregations – in ways that affect the Church as a religious, social and political force in American life. This course will explore historical and contemporary questions, matters of politics, equity and diversity, economics, and religious education, and the ways in which these inform contemporary discussions on race, migration, faith-based education and charities, poverty eradication and the role of the Catholic Church in the fight for social justice in the United States.
Chris Green, English
The class explores issues related to race, ethnicity, and gender in contemporary America, issues around poverty, violence, inequality, cultural stereotypes and oppression. In particular, students will transform their reading about diversity into their own writing on diversity. Identity and inclusion are at the heart of the class and in our online discussions, we will entertain the full range of student perspectives.
The spirit of the course is reflected in the following quote from Pablo Neruda’s Memoirs: I want to live in a world where beings are only human, with no other title but that, without worrying their heads about a rule, a word, a label. I want people to be able to go into all the churches, to all the printing presses. I don’t want anyone ever again to wait at the Mayor’s office door to arrest and deport someone else. I want everyone to go in and come out of City Hall smiling. I want the great majority, the only majority, everyone, to be able to speak out, read, listen, thrive. I have never understood the struggle except as something to end all struggle. I have never understood hard measures except as something to end hard measures… I still have absolute faith in human destiny, a clearer and clearer conviction that we are approaching a great common tenderness.
LSP 200-201/301 ONLINE
Ann Russo, Women's & Gender Studies
Summer Session I
LSP 200-202/302 Lincoln Park TTh 1:00-4:15