This course looks at how inequalities pertaining to class, race, and gender manifest themselves and are perpetuated within American society. Our emphasis will be on people’s lived experience within these hierarchies. We will explore a variety of explanations for the persistence of social inequalities.
This course will enable you to:
• Critically examine the deeply rooted and widely held belief that any person in our society can achieve mobility by putting forth sufficient effort and hard work.
• Gain awareness of your own place within the American stratification system.
• Become comfortable with expressing your ideas orally in front of your peers.
• Write with focus, clarity, and brevity.
The success of this course hinges on the productive exchange of ideas through discussions. While I will at times give short lectures, your active participation is essential. I am convinced that the more you each bring to class, the better it will go and the more that you will take from it. I may call on you to voice your ideas in the event that discussions begin to drag or if it becomes clear that only a handful of people are participating. My reason for taking the liberty to do this is to convince you that what you have to say matters. In a liberal arts course, there are often not “right” or “wrong” answers. Therefore, just contributing something to the discussion can be very constructive in productively moving it along.
You must be here, period. We only meet 12 times so each class is critical.
There is one book to purchase from the College Bookstore:
All other readings are posted below as indicated.
*Please bring readings to class. For those that are online, I recommend that you print them; otherwise, bring your laptop to class so you can access them electronically.
GRADING AND EVALUATION:
Your final grade will be based on a take-home midterm, a take-home final, and class attendance & participation. I will compute your final grade as follows:
30% Take-home midterm
30% Take-home final
40% Class attendance and participation
THE OPPORTUNITY DIVIDE: CLASS INEQUALITY IN THE U.S.
Mon, June 3rd
*Watch: ”Poor Kids”
Tues, June 4th
*Read: Annette Lareau, chapters 2-5 in Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary Education. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000. THIS IS THE BOOK REQUIRED FOR PURCHASE.
Wed, June 5th
*Read: Lareau, chapters 6-7 in Home Advantage.
*Read: Annette Lareau and Amanda Cox, “Social Class and the Transition to Adulthood: Differences in Parents’ Interactions with Institutions.” Pp. 134-64 in Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America. Edited by Marcia J. Carlson and Paula England. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. (NOTE: This reading may appear sideways on your screen. The only way I know to fix this is if you first save the reading to your laptop and then open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Once you have opened it, click “View”, then scroll down to “Rotate View” and then click “Counterclockwise.”)
Mon, June 10th
*Read: Lareau, chapter 8 in Home Advantage.
*In class, we will watch the film Born Rich.
RACIAL INEQUALITY IN THE POST-CIVIL RIGHTS ERA
Tues, June 11th - MORNING
Tues, June 11th - AFTERNOON
Wed, June 12th
*Read: John E. Farley and Gregory D. Squires, “Fences and Neighbors: Segregation in Twenty-first Century America” Pp. 456-64 in The Contexts Reader. Edited by Jeff Goodwin and James M. Jasper. New York: WW Norton, 2008.
Fri, June 14th
*Take-home midterm due by 11pm via email.
Mon, June 17th
THE STALLED GENDER REVOLUTION
Tues, June 18th
*Watch in class: “Miss Representation”
Wed, June 19th
Mon, June 24th
Tues, June 25th - MORNING
Tues, June 25th - AFTERNOON
Wed, June 26th
Mon, July 1st
*Take-home final due by noon via email.