This course takes a varied and multidisciplinary approach to understanding and analyzing historical and contemporary American politics and public policy and how they relate to social justice topics. As such, we will be utilizing a variety of resources to better understand American politics, including academic journals, articles, videos, podcasts, tweets and more, looking at the topic from multiple perspectives (politicians, scholars, journalists, etc.) and from various disciplines (history sociology, economics, etc.). Further, the course will be grounded in social justice theory from esteemed scholars and practitioners such as bell hooks, Howard Zinn, Ronald Takaki, Beverly Tatum, Gloria Anzaldúa and more. In our analysis of American politics, a large focus will also be on various social justice issues, including LGBTQ rights, educational inequity, immigrant rights and criminal justice reform.
In addition to having a better understanding of American politics, public policy and social justice theory, a big emphasis of this course will be on applying that knowledge. To complement the reading, viewing, or listening of course materials, you will also be expected to engage in virtual discussions, write short response papers, and complete an independent research project on a specific social justice topic of their choosing. They will analyze this topic from multiple lenses, make connections between course content and their own research, and consider the ways that they can use the knowledge to push for social change. For example, you might choose to focus on the rights of transgender people in a certain part of the United States and research the work that organizations are doing to support them, as well as policy alternatives (local, state and/or national) that might make the lives of transgender Americans better. The project will consist of a short research paper, with various check-ins throughout the duration of the course where the instructor will provide feedback, as well as a culminating presentation on the research.
As a result of taking this course, you will be able to:
There are no required prerequisites for this course.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.