For those of you seeking interesting courses to round out your schedule for the Spring Semester, you’re in luck. The following is a sampling of undergraduate courses that touch on labor and economic justice issues in line with the Kalmanovitz Initiative’s mission. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or suggestions.
Reading Motherhood – 29805 – ENGL 271 – 01
Prof. Pamela Fox and Prof. Elizabeth Velez | TR 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
Motherhood is deemed one of the most ‘natural’ experiences binding women together across time and space. But as feminist poet and essayist Adrienne Rich famously argued in her landmark work Of Woman Born, it is also a social institution with its own history and ideology.
Our course examines this institution as a shifting, historically and culturally specific phenomenon given particularly potent life in cultural representations: that is, the literature, film, television, advertising, video, comics, etc. that surround us in everyday life. Analyzing foundational criticism and theory about motherhood alongside a variety of predominantly U.S. cultural texts — from I Love Lucy, Imitation of Life, and varieties of poetry to Roseanne, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and the recent documentary Google Baby — we explore how differing notions of motherhood are constructed, contested, negotiated.
One premise of the course is that motherhood cannot be universalized as an experience or as a right (not all women are urged or even permitted to mother); it is not innate or necessarily a biological relation. And while the syllabus focuses largely on the U.S., its structure will address how western and non-western political relations are increasingly embedded in global circuits of motherhood via transnational adoption, surrogacy, and reproductive technologies.
Methods of Lit / Cultural Studies – 24229 – ENGL 090 – 03
Prof. Pamela Fox | TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
This course aims to give students a coherent understanding of various theoretical and critical tools used to interpret texts by introducing them to strategies of close reading and to larger discussions regarding textual analysis. Although the course will not encompass the entire history of literary and cultural criticism, it will examine a range of schools and methods. These schools and methods will be grounded historically and will be situated and contextualized within larger critical conversations that have developed over time. Specifically, we will explore a range of theoretical approaches to literature and culture in concert with reading several of the works of Shakespeare. While critical theory tends to draw ideas and perspectives from “non-literary” fields such as history, linguistics, psychology, and economics, many of theory’s innovators have developed their ideas through reading the plays and poetry of Shakespeare. We will not only consider the ways in which Shakespeare’s texts have influenced the formation of various theoretical perspectives, but we will also read from his work across different literary genres, and study literary criticism from different theoretical schools on these plays and poems.
Labor Economics – 29694 – ECON 481 – 01
Prof. Susan B Vroman | TR 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm
This course will examine the main theoretical and empirical issues regarding how labor markets work. The material will cover standard topics such as labor demand, the decision to work, human capital, discrimination, migration, unions, wage setting practices within a firm, and unemployment. The course will also examine how human capital and labor market outcomes interact with marriage, divorce, fertility, and crime. An emphasis will be placed on the dramatic changes in the wage and employment structure of the labor market over the last four decades. Empirical techniques will be covered to enable students to evaluate and conduct an empirical analysis.
Prof. Rosemary Sokas | W 12:30 – 3:00 PM
The world we inhabit, including cities, transportation systems, food supply, energy production, and other aspects of modern life are the product of the work of human hands, as are the wastes and hazards produced. Disparate exposures to the hazards and unequal distribution of the benefits of modern life cause injustice that leads to health disparities. This course will explore how to critically explore hazards, develop collaborative solutions using community-based participatory research principles, and evaluate those solutions to promote environmental justice and reduce environmental and occupational health disparities.
This course has three complementary parts. Students begin with an overview of the U.S. justice system. We pay special attention to the last 35 years and the impact of the War on Drugs on society, especially mass incarceration. This is followed by a section focusing on “Hot Topics” in the law. Students will read and brief landmark Supreme Court cases on such topics as, same sex marriage, gun ownership, climate change, campaign finance, and the criminalization of poverty. Students, in small groups, choose one topic they will be an expert in and create an informative website and accompanying short video informing fellow Millennials why they need to know about it and what they can do about it. Finally, students have the opportunity to make it real through mock trials. Playing the roles of attorneys and witnesses, students learn the mechanics of a trial and create legal strategies to best represent their clients. It all comes together when students enact the trials in courtrooms at Georgetown Law with legal professionals serving as judges.