The best problem to have is too many good options. At Georgetown University, there is an abundance of undergraduate courses that engage labor, worker rights, or social justice more broadly. To help you identify and choose the ones that are right for you, we’ve compiled a list of such classes here and included their professor and time. Please contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions or suggestions.
African-American Studies Race & Racism in American Culture – 28688 – AFAM 206 – 01 Robert J Patterson | MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
The central concern of this course is to investigate how race and racism have shaped black people’s experiences living in the United States. We will examine how race and racism have been (re)presented in African American literature, film, music, political manifestos, historical texts, and other cultural media, exploring the various ways that African American cultural producers and critics have engaged with these ubiquitous phenomena. Our readings and discussions of primary and secondary texts will consider the production and mutation of race and racism across historical epochs—from slavery to the post-civil rights era. The course rejects the notion of post-racialism and considers how this discourse re-entrenches racism. Moreover, we will consider, how, if at all, conversations surrounding race might move forward, and whether racism is so intractable that efforts to eradicate it might prove futile. That is, while exploring structural, representational, and material aspects of race and racism, we will keep our eyes focused on developing solutions to these problems. Of course, our energetic examinations of race and racism will take into consideration how other identities (class and gender, for example) nuance our understandings of race and racism.
In this course, we examine some of the challenges of modernity in Africa, using an anthropological lens. This means that we focuses on how different African societies see themselves in relationship to their universe, how people construct complex cultural ideas, beliefs, and behaviors, and how these constructions have changed across time. Drawing examples from West, East, North, Central and Southern Africa, we focus on gender norms and transformations, dynamic religious traditions – new and old, manifestations of race and color shifts, modern reflections of political and economic pressures, and where African popular culture is headed. Despite some constancy in core ideas and beliefs, we explore changing behaviors that ideas, beliefs, and behaviors that help shape these processes of change as African societies search for a desirable “modernity.”
In this course we will not only read anthropology, but also do anthropology. Students will learn about field research design and methodology, as well as conduct their own semester-long field-research projects. In order to acquire the skills necessary for participant observation, we will learn how cultural anthropologists select a research topic, survey a field site, design the study, pose theoretical questions, carry out the research, keep field notes, analyze ethnographic data, and then finally, write an ethnography. We will also read examples of ethnography and other forms of anthropological writing such as testimonials and life histories.
This course will take an anthropological and cross-cultural look at topics related to youth culture, including: the invention of childhood; child soldiers, refugees, and homeless children; coming of age and puberty; cultural norms about gender, sexuality, and body image; political action and resistance by youth; youth and crime; cultural imperialism in the realm of education; global musical forms such as punk rock and hip hop; and cultural concepts of the transition to adulthood.
There is a growing scientific consensus that our planet is about to enter a new geological epoch, “the Anthropocene”, caused by unsustainable industrial production and carbon emissions. Climatologists and Urban Planners are designing floating cities in anticipation of massive West Antarctic ice melts in the next hundred years. In this course we will grapple with the implication of “planetary” crises by examining how different cultures have examined the relationship between humans and their environment to understand how we have come to this perilous present condition. This course seeks to familiarize students with a set of debates, founding concepts and methods in Environmental Anthropology. To generate an appreciation for Ecological Thought as a study of relations that connects human/ non-human lives to larger political, ethical and ecological processes in the world.
“Economic inequality” has become a familiar term adopted by media pundits, academics, politicians, and activists to encompass the devastating consequences of the most recent U.S. economic recession as well as unions’ loss of power, crumbling public school systems, and the proliferation of hungry, homeless families. We rarely hear directly from those with the least power; more typically, we encounter a kaleidoscope of images, voices, stories—and ideologies to match—circulated by a wide variety of popular cultural as well as ‘elite’ texts hoping to make that population visible. This interdisciplinary course provides critical/ theoretical tools for navigating such representations but also expands the terrain by featuring writers/musical artists/filmmakers who claim membership in “low” classes and cultures: working-class/poverty class/’underclass.’ It provides a recent historical context—from the 1990s to the present—to demonstrate how class differences and conflicts have helped shape our current U.S. economic, legal, and social structures as well as to emphasize that “class” itself is a complex and shifting identity category experienced in tandem with other identity markers and positionalities such as race, gender, and sexuality. We’ll focus on exploring how particular cultural forms and genres, such as fiction, cinema, popular music, and memoir, may limit or expand an audience’s grasp of, engagement with, and resistance to, class categories. We’ll also take up a broad spectrum of issues, including theories of working-class identity, social/cultural resistance, and the notion of representation itself.
John M Kline | T 11:00 am – 1:30 pm or MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
International business helps drive globalization trends that are reshaping political, economic and socio-cultural values. Increasingly, many governments and civil society groups urge corporations to go beyond traditional business roles to help improve human rights, labor conditions, and environmental impacts in countries around the world. Such actions can pose serious policy dilemmas, involving difficult value choices. Should foreign companies try to influence a country’s domestic political process on issues such as democratic elections, religious freedoms, the treatment of indigenous peoples, or the domestic allocation of tax revenue? Should large international retailers seek to impose “living wage” standards on their foreign suppliers? Do the marketing practices of international companies impose inappropriate choices on vulnerable consumers in developing countries, or enhance their free choice of products? Should corporations decide how a developing country balances trade-offs between current economic growth and longer-term environmental goals? Who should decide, What should be done, When and Where? Why? This course studies the application of ethics to contemporary issues of international business operating in different economic, political and cultural settings. Drawing on established ethical theory, the course uses normative criteria to evaluate “best choice” options for real-world decisions. Consideration of global economic justice and corporate social responsibility are examined, along with mandatory and voluntary methods of influencing business behavior. Students will examine these issues from the perspective of corporate employees and managers, home and host government officials, and civil society activists.”
The evolving world of work is central to trade and foreign policy. Labor standards have become deeply integrated into trade agreements and preference programs, often triggering epic battles about whether they favor American workers and business, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). They have also served as pillars in foreign policy and foreign assistance aiming at promoting human rights, good governance and economic growth through the labor sector, sometimes effectively and sometimes with unintended consequences. In the private sector, labor rights principles are being more deeply integrated into supply chain management and applied for responsible business practices and impact investment in private equity. The class will also explore the growth of joint private and public sector initiatives, including the incorporation of corporate social responsibility (labor, OSH and conflict minerals) into environmental electronics procurement requirements. It will take an interdisciplinary approach, focusing primarily on developing countries but there will be latitude to address countries, regions and subtopics in the students’ interest. Guest speakers will be invited to address key topics.
This course is designed to acquaint students with the central issues in educational politics in the United States and the dynamics and effects of educational policies. We will be exploring the organization of elementary and secondary education, the nature of the interest groups and constituencies in education, the major current approaches to education reform and the effects of those reforms on students, teachers and other stakeholders. This course is a Community-Based Learning optional Course. In order to see both the nature of the challenges in public education and to witness the effects of current reforms first hand, you are encouraged to participate in the DC Reads tutoring program offered by the Center for Social Justice here at Georgetown, or another education related program offered by CSJ, such as the DC Schools Project or GUMSHOE. These tutoring experiences will take you to the schools where reforms are currently being implemented and acquaint you with the on-the-ground contexts that reformers must engage in public education today.
2.3 million Americans currently reside in jails and prisons, often under conditions of severe overcrowding, race-based segregation, and horrific physical and sexual violence. They are granted few (if any) educational opportunities or job training, in stark contrast to many European countries, which operate extensive rehabilitation programs that prepare inmates for their eventual release and reintegration into society. Yet even though prisoners and former prisoners (not to mention their family members) constitute a substantial portion of the American population, they are generally a powerless and forgotten group of people, with few rights or opportunities. Surprisingly, very little is known or taught about prisons and punishment—in the United States or elsewhere. This course will explore these issues in a comparative perspective. It will seek to answer the following questions: Why does the U.S. maintain an incarceration rate that is seven times higher than other democracies, even though Americans are no more likely to be the victims of crimes than are people in other societies? Why is the U.S. one of the few democratic countries to sanction the death penalty? In other words, why is the criminal justice system in this country so much more punitive than in comparable countries? This lecture course will also involve several different formats, including smaller group discussions of certain readings, the viewing of several excellent movies and documentaries that relate to prisons and punishment, and a class “field trip” to an actual prison.
This course covers the tumultuous era of the Gilded Age and Progressivism, and the emergence of modernity in the United States. The course will be organized around alternating lecture and discussion, with a strong emphasis on reading primary sources. Topics will include (but not be limited to) Populism, the rise of Jim Crow, woman suffrage, industrialization and urbanization, Progressive politics and the transformation of the American West. The lives of ordinary life and the transformation of popular culture will be at the center of our inquiries. Texts will include fiction and non-fiction, primary and secondary sources.
The general aim of HIST 099 is to introduce students to various elements of historical work and thinking, within the context of looking at a particular historical period, event, or theme in some depth. Though lectures and discussion will focus on particular topics, there will also be class exercises, assignments, and readings that will allow instructors and students to explore how historians identify, define, and employ primary sources of all types, how historians analyze those sources, how they formulate questions, how they engage with the work of prior historians, and how they aim to reconstruct various elements of the human experience in particular times and places.
Conservative thinker Richard Weaver once wrote, “Ideas have consequences.” This colloquium examines the evolution of the American Right – as both an intellectual phenomenon and a political movement. It focuses on the period since 1945, when conservatism became a mass phenomenon. We will pursue such questions as: how have conservative ideas changed? What impact did the Right have on cultural change in the U.S. and vice versa? Were conservatives able to convert their electoral successes into major changes in policy? Readings include primary texts and recent scholarly works. This course emphasizes class discussion and is limited to 20 students.
The freedom of speech and the press occupies an ambiguous position in the firmament of U.S. culture, politics, and law. On the one hand, the right to express one’s thoughts and opinions is enshrined not just in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution but in the constitutions of all fifty states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Politicians, journalists, and other commentators of every political and ideological stripe write and speak routinely about the importance of the freedom of speech and the press to U.S. society and politics. On the other hand, Americans have frequently tolerated, sometimes demanded, the introduction and enforcement of restrictions on ideas, texts, or even entire categories of speech that they find offensive or dangerous. This seminar will afford you the opportunity to examine how people in the United States have understood the freedom of speech and the press at key points in their history, including the Colonial and Founding Eras, the Civil War, World War I, and the Civil Rights Movement.
This course provides a critical introduction to the topic of Literature, Media and Social Change. It is not a summary introduction, nor a focused seminar, but rather an exploration of how intellectuals, artists and writers engineer social change. We will focus on great books and cultural events that changed the world. We will examine how these books and events precipitated actual social movements beyond the sphere of private reading. We will adopt a critical methodology derived from Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation, as practiced by Lederach, Galtung, Sharp, Boulding and others, and place that tradition in perspective with complementary social and cultural descriptions drawn from Marxism, feminism, civil rights, sexual equality and national independence. What is the role of literature in social change? How can cultural representations influence real political struggles? Beginning with the Arab Spring and “Twitter revolutions or 2011” the Occupy Movement of 2012, special focus will be on contemporary media practices and the changing face of the current media environment today. We will consider historical examples of anti-slavery, the women’s movement, and revolutionary socialism.
This course explores the interplay of knowledge and power in the constitution of educational institutions and policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as in defining appropriate and desirable forms of knowing. In the course, we will examine a number of key questions related to education in MENA, namely: How are educational institutions and “legitimate” forms of knowledge shaped by competing and powerful projects – religious, economic, and political? How did colonial domination and encounters with the West affect education in MENA and what are its enduring effects? How has the expansion of state-funded public schooling contributed to the processes of state formation and power consolidation in the region? What have been the unintended impacts of these processes? How have contemporary religious movements in the region influenced education and educational institutions? How has the current preoccupation with reform in the region directed its lens on education? How does the region fair from the perspective of international development institutions with respect to educational access and quality? What are the primary debates, tensions and challenges related educational developments in the region today?
This course explores the rich and varied tradition of Christian responses, over the centuries, to the perennial challenge of poverty as both an evangelical virtue and a sinful social structure. Resources include sacred Scripture, patristic teaching, official pronouncements and spiritual works, as well as the activity of religious orders and Church-related groups seeking to eradicate the causes of poverty, as well as to alleviate its symptoms. Attention will also be paid to liberation theology and current Church involvement in the struggle for social justice and integral development at local, national, and international levels.
A study of and a reflection on major influences – cultural, socio-economic, racial, spiritual, theological – which shape the Latino Church in the United States today and which will affect its future identities and roles in this country. Analysis of personal stories combined with related readings and written student reflections will be our approach. There will be one written mid-term exam and a final oral exam. A weekend visit to Camden, New Jersey, one of “America’s most dangerous cities,” will be available to interested students. Cath Ritual, Spirituality, Justice – 13431 – THEO 121 – 01
Anne Koester | MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
This course will introduce students to the history, theology, and pastoral considerations of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. We will explore various aspects of worship, including symbol and ritual, the mystery of time, the sacramental rites of the Church, sacred space and architecture, various symbolic languages of worship, the liturgical assembly, the relationship between beauty and worship, and the impact of our social media/technological culture on people’s ability to engage in communal prayer. We will also look at the relationship between liturgy and the following: daily living, justice, culture, personal prayer, and Catholic identity and spirituality. Attention will be given to the attitudes toward Church and the liturgy among the various generations.
This course will examine the rich tradition of peacemaking in the Catholic Tradition. Beginning with the New Testament, it will examine classic texts, figures and movements. It will look more closely at late twentieth-century developments, the Catholic Left, the Mennonite-Catholic Dialogue; contemporary movements, such as the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and peacemaking through interreligious dialogue. It will look at exemplars like Franz Jagerstatter, Dorothy Day, the Berrigans, Charles de Foucauld and the monks of Tibherine. Emphasis will be placed on peacemaking as a way of life linking ethics, virtues, spirituality and social praxis. Among the special issues to be debated will be: Response to Religious Militants, Holy War, Selective Conscientious Objection, and the Morality of Protest. Sociology Public Housing: Theory and Practice – 32614 – SOCI 223 – 01 Brian James McCabe | M 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Visual sociology focuses on the visual representations of social life. This course will explore society, how we represent ourselves and our social world visually and furthermore investigate how innovative 21st century technology is transforming contemporary social life. We don’t just use technology, “we live with it” and it greatly influences society, lifestyles, global business relationships, culture, and social progress. Our scholarly journey will explore methodologies and theories applicable to the analysis of all kinds of visual content from films, advertisements, and television to new media forms. We will examine new and emerging debates on the sociological consequences of technology, and explore how meaning is both made and transmitted in an increasingly visual world and the complex relationship embedded in the social construction of technology. Environmental and Food Justice Movements – 30506 – SOCI 274 – 01 Yuki Kato | R 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
This seminar draws on a range of interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives in examining the similarities and differences between the environmental justice movement (EJM) and the food justice movement (FJM). Both movements are primarily centered around the issue of racial and class injustice surrounding the access to resources, such as clean air, water and soil or fresh and healthy food. EJM has a slightly longer history in the United States than FJM, and the two movements share notable similarities but with some key differences in terms of in terms of how they define and aim to resolve the problems of environmental injustice or food injustice. We begin by situating the emergence of EJM in the context of broader environmental movements, both domestically and globally, and explore how various theoretical frameworks of EJM analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality, specifically on categories of race, class, and more recently, gender. Building on the understanding of the emergence and the changes in EJM, we will then examine the more recent rise of FJM, as a critical counterpoint to the general alternative food movement that had expanded rapidly since around 1990s in the US. Over the course of the semester we will examine various real cases of environmental and food justice activism, including both successful and failed attempts, and discuss each case in relation to the theoretical frameworks introduced in the seminar through the assigned readings and the lecture. Some of these cases may be presented in the form of documentary films or having a guest speaker from an activism organization to present their experiences.
This course will examine a variety of feminist theories–from eighteenth and nineteenth century writers such as Wollstonecraft and Mill through the radical feminist discourse of Ti-Grace Atkinson and Shulamith Firestone to contemporary writers and activists. The class will focus on central and recurring debates within feminist theory and practice: debates between essentialism and social constructionism; between liberal reformism and radical transformation; between the politics of sameness and the politics of difference. We will also examine how feminist theories have attempted to reckon with the challenges of poststructuralism and the critiques offered by women of color. The intersections of race/ethnicity and class with the category of gender will also offer a central analytic strand throughout the course.
Laura J Kovach and Jennifer L Schweer | MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
This course will examine intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking. We will examine theories about intimate partner violence, frequency and prevalence of rape, and social and cultural contributors to domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault on college campuses. We will also evaluate current systems and policies that exist to support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. We will then discuss what we can do individually and collectively as a community to end gender violence.