Difference, Justice, and the Common Good

New Cultural Diversity Core Courses

These new and updated courses, drawn from different departments across the university, offer new ways for students to fulfill the Cultural Diversity Core requirement. All of these classes focus on themes of difference, justice, and the common good. Faculty teaching these courses are currently participating in a series of preparatory workshops to discuss and debate the meanings of difference, justice, and the common good, to collaborate on their syllabi, and to develop strategies for engaging students in the classroom. Taking our differences seriously and striving for common ground embody the spirit of a liberal arts university in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. The world’s diversity is real, and the pursuit of fairness and shared fulfillment is more urgent than ever. Students are encouraged to take these classes.

Spring 2018 courses

Sustainable Agriculture (ENVS3315)

Tara Pisani Gareau, Earth and Environmental Sciences
TTh 10:30 a.m. (75-minute class)

Over the past 50 years, the industrial agriculture complex has led to amazing increases in grain yields which has met the basic calorie needs of much of the world’s population. However intensive production practices have come at a high environmental and social cost and climate
change now presents many new challenges to farmers. A new approach to food production is needed, one that not only restores the ecosystem services on farmland and reduces fossil fuel inputs, but also one that supports farm families, builds communities of cooperation, and promotes human health. This course explores the historical basis of agriculture, the concept of sustainability, the agricultural practices that lead to improved ecosystem services, and alternative marketing approaches and cultural relationships. Students will come away from this course with an in-depth understanding of what sustainable agriculture is and how it can be applied to various situations in the world.

Asian American Experience (ENGL3346)

Min Song, English
TTh 9:00 a.m. (75-minute class)

This course is a multidisciplinary introduction to the experiences of Asians in the United States. We will draw on history, literature, psychology, sociology, film, fine arts, and popular culture to understand how Asian Americans make, and remake, identities and cultures for themselves. We will explore the diversity and heterogeneity of a racial group that has long had a major, if frequently under-appreciated, impact on American society as a whole. Asian American studies faculty will give guest lectures to the class to share their expertise.

The Poetics of Rap (ENGL4447)

Allison Adair, English
MWF 11:00 a.m.

This course investigates the relationships between rap and traditional poetry, not only in terms of their historical and cultural significance but also for their aesthetic value, as art forms involved in storytelling, music, and performance. Close analysis of poetry from oral and written traditions will offer new insight into rap’s dominant and divisive issues: free speech, consumerism, criminality, urban identity, regionalism, intellectual property, and the politics of race, gender, and sexuality. Readings include Tricia Rose’s Black Noise and The Hip Hop Wars, Jeff
Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes, among others. No experience necessary.

American Hate (HIST4551)

Lynn Lyerly, History
MWF 1:00 p.m.

Racism is, unfortunately, as American as apple pie and baseball. This course explores the roots of racial hatred and the changes in American racism over time. In addition to studying the ideas that buttress racism, this course will examine case studies of racism in practice, such as the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, convict leasing, segregated recreation, the Trail of Tears and Japanese internment.

Social Action in America (HIST4476)

Marilynn Johnson, History
TTh 12:00 p.m. (75-minute class)

This service-learning course examines the history of social action in twentieth-century America. In an effort to understand how systems of power have shaped race, class, and gender relations, fostered inequality, and spurred activism, we will conduct case studies of several liberal and radical social movements including settlement houses, the labor movement, Alinsky-style community organizing, southern civil rights, and the War on Poverty. Students in the class must also participate in a local community service/action project for at least 3 hours per week, the
functions and history of which will be the subject of classroom discussion, service reflection, and research.

African American History II (AADS1105)

Karen Miller, History
MWF 1:00 p.m. (75-minute class)

The two-semester survey examines the history and culture of African-Americans from the pre-colonial period to the present. The first semester treats the period before the middle passage, the evolution of slave and free society, development of Black institutions, and emergence of the protest movements through the Civil War's end. During the second semester, the emphases are placed on issues of freedom and equality from Reconstruction, urban migration, civil rights struggles through current consideration of race, class, and gender conflicts.

Introduction to African-American Society (SOCY1043/AADS1155)

Shawn McGuffey, Sociology and African and African Diaspora Studies
TTH 1:30 p.m. (75-minute class)

In 1896, distinguished scholar W.E.B. DuBois became convinced that the experience of Africans in the Americas was so distinctive that it was imperative to study Black people in order to understand power dynamics at all levels of society. This course will study those power dynamics.
While paying particular attention to the many ways that racial power dynamics have impacted all people of African descent in the United States, this course does not assume a uniform Black experience. We shall see that gender, class, and sexuality greatly shape the differing experiences of African-Americans.