Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality in the U.S.
Summer, 2006
Course Syllabus

Isbel Ingham
Office Hours: By appointment only

Race, class, and gender in the United States: an integrated study, edited by Paula S. Rothenberg.
Worth Publishers Inc, 2004.
Privilege, power, and difference, by Allan G. Johnson
A few articles that are linked to the syllabus.

DESCRIPTION: This class will discuss the socially constructed nature of gender, race, sexual identity, and class in the United States. It is argued by some that these constructions are at best interesting and normal, and at worst benign and neutral, etc. However in most places, the U.S. in this case, the categories that arise as a result are used to disadvantage some, to the advantage of others. We will look at some of the ways this plays out, as well as some of the ramifications. We will also look at the fact that the resulting inequities impact all of our lives, regardless of who we are and which group[s] we belong to/identify with.

PEDAGOGY: This class is completely online, which means that all of the discussion we would otherwise be able to have in the classroom will occur online, via WebCT.
However, as much as we can, online, this
class will endeavor to practice what bell hooks calls engaged pedagogy [1]. Pedagogy is the "work or occupation of teaching", "engaged" hopefully speaks for itself [2]. What this means is that students will be expected to actively engage with the information offered by the instructor and the materials, both in the discussions online, and in the assignments. As much as is possible, the class will consist of a dialogue between students and students, and students and instructor [3]. Dialogue here is defined as "a kind of speech that is humble, open, and focused on collaborative learning. It is communication that can awaken consciousness...[4] ". This requires that both the instructor and the students think of them/our selves as knowledgeable learners who can both teach and learn in this class.
In every class I teach I learn new things--and you are the people who teach me those new things.

That students will learn about race, class, gender, and sexuality as it is constructed in the U.S.
That students will learn what happens when these categories intersect, as they do for all of us at least some of the time.
That students will have a chance to think critically about their world in terms of these topics.
That students will place themselves in the world--definitively, thoughtfully, consciously, and critically.
That students will come out of the class thinking through a different lens, about the ways in which their own identities have been constructed.
That students will get a chance to practice academic writing, and move to the next level of academic expertise with their writing.

REQUIREMENTS: Students are asked to write six reflection papers, as noted and described in the syllabus.
You are also asked to do several online exercises, also described in the syllabus.
As stated above, communication and participation are very, very important to this class. Please read the evaluation section carefully.
There will be no final exam. Instead, you are to write a 5-7 page final paper, described below.

WRITING REQUIREMENTS: Please be sure to check this link out, so that you understand clearly what the writing requirements are for your reflection papers and midterm interview paper.

EVALUATION: Grades will be based on your participation online, the reflection papers (RP's), and the final paper. The reflection papers are worth 60 points (6 papers @ 10 points each = 60), the final paper is worth 90 points, and participation online is worth 100 points (10 classes @ 10 points each = 100).
Each week there will be at least one online exercise. In addition to doing this, I expect that you will also post at least twice to WebCT. If you want an A in the class, you should post three times.

IMPORTANT!!!!! All attachments are to be sent to my PSU email address: ingham@pdx.edu
It is very time-consuming for me to download your papers through WebCT, so please send them to this alternative address.

ONLINE PARTICIPATION: For the purposes of this class we will be using WebCT. All course information should be available on WebCT by the week before classes start. If you have any problems accessing WebCT, please contact the front desk.
There are various ways you will be expected to participated online.

GRADES: A=250-225, B=224-200, C=199-175, D=174-150, F=below 150

Course Schedule

6/20 - The nature of human beings.
The social construction of gender, race, class, and sexuality. And where does anti-Semitism fit?

Readings: Race, pp. 1-21, 31-93
Privilege, forward and chapters one and two.

RP#1 - Due by June 24th.
This first paper is an autobiographical essay, and should be sent to me as an attachment--to the following email address: ingham@pdx.edu.
Please write three pages about you and why you are taking this class. I want to know something about your life so as to enhance your and my experience in the class, and I also want to understand your interest in the topic[s] of this class. Please spend a little time exploring the themes of the class as they relate to your own life.
What experience, scholastically, have you had with this topic? What do you hope to get out of the class? How can I help you achieve your learning goals?

6/27 - Systems of oppression - and how they are different from discrimination, prejudice, and/or mistreatment.

Readings: Race, pp. 22-30, 110-116, 165-178, 273-276, 444-456, 465-504
History of anti-Semitism - Please read the entire exhibit guide.
Privilege, chapter eight.

RP #2 - Due by July 5th. This paper must be at least three pages long, and should cover the articles you read for this week's class, on the systems of oppression. It is very, very important that, in your paper, you distinguish between oppression and mistreatment (which can come in the guise of prejudice, discrimination, or simple bad manners). If you are still unclear about the difference, plug "systems of oppression" into a good search engine (teoma.com, alltheweb.com, dogpile.com) and sort through the results. You can also download the following pdf article: "Law and the Cultural Production of Race and Racialized Systems of Oppression: Early American Court Cases," by Rodney D. Coates
You will not receive points for this paper unless you do the above.

7/4 - Understanding racism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and class privilege. Where do we all fit?

Readings: Race, pp. 119-132, 160-165, 178-192.
Privilege, chapter three.

RP #3 - Due by July 10th. This paper should answer the above question: Where do you fit into all of this? I invite you to be as personal with this paper as you like, with two caveats: 1) Refer to the readings as you talk about yourself--which readings could you relate to? Which readings made no sense to you? Which readings seem to be written expressly with you in mind? And 2) Write about how you fit into both oppressor and oppressed group. This paper must be at least three pages long, and cover all of the above. You need not write about your own personal experiences unless you want to.

7/11 - The economics of oppression.

Readings: Race, pp. 193-207, 226-232, 254-268, 273-330 (I know this is a lot--so you pick about 40 pages of this to read--your choice.)
Privilege, chapters four and five.

RP #4 - Due by July 17th. Pick any three of the articles and then write to me about them: three pages, minimum.

7/18 -Many voices, many lives

Readings: Race, 333-432 (again, pick about 40 pages of this--your choice)
Privilege, chapters six and seven.

RP #5 - Due July 24th. This paper should be about Privilege (one of your texts). Tell me what you think of it so far. What's good? What works for you? What doesn't? Three pages, minimum.

7/25 - Creating and maintaining hierarchy: stereotypes, language, ideology, violence, and social control

Readings: Race, pp. 511-594 (pick 40 pages)
Privilege, chapter eight.

RP #6 - By now, you have a sense of what boxes you have been shoved into. Detail some of the ways this is obvious to you, especially as regards stereotypes, language, ideology, violence, and social control. Three pages, minimum.

8/1 - Resistance...and then healing

Readings: Race, pp. 435-508 (pick 50 pages--try to spread them out so you read a little about a variety of different groups.
Privilege, chapter nine

No paper due...to give you some space to work on your final papers. But notice, as you read, the way the various laws that were enacted over the history of the U.S. have acted as resistance against true diversity and equality.

8/8 - Revisioning the future.

Readings: Race, pp. 595-637 (pick 40 pages)
Privilege, chapter ten.|

Final Paper due no later than August 8th!

There will be no final exam

Reflection Papers (RP's):
Each week there are several readings assigned. Your RP's should reflect on those readings, and also answer whatever question[s] I might have asked for the week's paper.
Each RP must be three pages long for you to receive full points. They must also be cited and referenced correctly. See WRITING REQUIREMENTS for help with this.
Papers that are not cited and/or referenced correctly will be returned to you for corrections.

WebCT: Most weeks there is an assignment for you to complete on WebCT. Please check there for more information.

Final Paper: Your final paper can be written about any of the topics we have covered over the course of this class. It must meet the following criteria:
1. It must be between 7-10 pages long, and academically written.
2. You must use at least five of the readings from class to explicate and defend the thesis of your paper.
3. Your paper must contain in text citations and references.
4. You are welcome to use this paper to argue with anything we have covered in the class. HOWEVER! To do this you must not simply be argumentative. You must first give some credence to whatever it is you disagree with, and then present a cogent, organized, and well-defended argument.

Extra Credit:
There are several ways for you to get extra credit points in this class:
1) You can write extra papers on any of the articles we read for the class. You may also write about something you have found on your own--as long as it is academic in nature.
2) You can go to events that relate to the class. These events are worth 10 points each. You must write a paragraph or two that synopsizes the event for me. For an extra 10 points you can write a 2-page paper that describes the event in more detail.

[1] hooks, bell (1994). Engaged pedagogy. In Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. NY: Routledge.

[2] The compact edition of the Oxford English dictionary (1971).  Oxford University Press, p. 2110.

[3] This is also sometimes referred to as, and is certainly akin to, critical pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, literacy of power, education for critical consciousness, etc.  The concept will be thoroughly discussed in class.

[4] Boyce, Mary E. (2002).  Teaching critically as an act of praxis and resistance.  Electronic journal of radical organization theory [Online], 2 (2).  Available: http://www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/ejrot/.