Course Descriptions

Course Abstracts

ANTH:152  —  Public Culture

Public Culture is an anthropological introduction to key public cultural sites and practices in the US, including shopping malls, amusement parks, national and regional museums, gentrified neighborhoods, “retirement communities,” public protests, and metropolitan centers. Over the course of the semester students will be introduced to a number of dynamic cultural identities central to Diversity Studies, including concepts and practice of race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, class, sexuality, and belief systems. Public Culture problematizes theories of identity politics; pays critical attention to issues of nationalism, citizenship, and globalization; and investigates relationships of power and privilege, and questions of social justice.

ANTH: 162  —  Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

This introductory course contributes to Diversity Studies by examining the construction and concomitant impact of race, gender, class, sexuality, political-economy, colonialism, and globalization on human subjectivity and social organization. Students are encouraged to contextualize their experiences and beliefs about what it means to be human in order to gain a broader understanding of the diversity of their own culture and the cultures of others.

ACCT: 210 — Legal Environment

This course covers the legal environment as it relates primarily to business, and is required of all business majors. The course contributes importantly to the study of diversity by examining: (1) international law and how differences in laws have evolved in the context of common law, civil law, and Islamic (Sharia) law; (2) employment discrimination and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; (3) the difference between affirmative action and racial preferences; (4) Constitutional law issues, including due process, equal protection and privacy rights; (5) the difference between “law on the books” and law enforcement; and (6) how laws affect diversity initiatives.

ANTH:222  —  Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime explores key anthropological discourses about war and organized violence. It focuses on popular and scholarly literatures responding to current wars and violent conflicts in the world, to carefully critique how war is understood and mediated, and what roles it plays as cultural practice. The course integrates methods of diversity analysis—including social constructions of the “other”; rationale for industrialized war as an element of modernity; and the effects of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and ability on creating fighting forces, for example—while addressing the cultural practice of war and organized violence.

ANTH:227  —  Native America North of Mexico

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the histories and cultures of the indigenous peoples north of Mexico. Topics to be considered include cultural diversity, colonial history and post-colonial federal Indian policy, land use patterns, identity and ethnicity, myth and ritual, contemporary issues, representations of Native Americans in the dominant culture, and the role of cultural revitalization and innovation in the negotiation of contemporary community survival. As part of its contribution to Diversity Studies, course readings include historical, ethnographic, ecological, and literary perspectives. Native America is understood as a profound intersection of national, ethnic, racial, gendered, and political identities.

ANTH: 310  —  National, Transnational, and Diasporic Communities

National, Transnational, and Diasporic Communities introduces students to questions of belonging and dislocation in the modern world. Students become aware of the political, economic, racialized, gendered, classed, and sexualized ways fellow humans are rendered “one of us” or “outsider” in the context of the nation-state. The course considers historically diasporic peoples, more recent transnational communities, nationalist movements, and contemporary debates about migration, immigration, diversity, and “illegality.” 

ANTH:341  —  Family and Kinship

Family & Kinship explores classic and contemporary approaches to diverse understandings and anthropological discourses of kinship. The course pays particular attention to the cultural construction of kinship; the naturalization of identity and difference; the politics of reproduction; gender, sexuality, and identity politics; and new reproductive technologies. Family & Kinship integrates methods of diversity analysis—including social constructions of gender, sexuality, genetic identities; arguments for the construction of families and kinship in various cultural settings; the formation of intentional families and communities; and the effects of class, race, gender, ethnicity, and ability on the opportunities and practices of human reproduction.

ANTH:360  —  Religious Fundamentalisms in the Modern World

Religious Fundamentalisms in the Modern World focuses on the development and institutionalization of movements around the world that have broadly been identified as “fundamentalist.” The course examines the origins and expansion of secular society in the west and the concomitant emergence of the presumably discrete and singular category religion, and then questions the utility of reducing disparate developments in Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam to the label “fundamentalist.” Students become aware of the unique histories of these movements and apply their knowledge to assess popular representations in the media and political discourse of so-called fundamentalists.

ANTH:400  —  History of Anthropological Theory

This upper-level course examines the development of anthropological knowledge about and methods for investigating “the other”; in many ways, anthropological theory provides the foundations for thinking about cultural diversity. By taking a historical approach, the course enables students to recognize how diverse ideas about the other have, in the modern period, been integral to political and economic modes of governance and nation-building.

ANTH:413  —  Race, Ethnicity, and Minorities (REM)

This course explores different anthropological discourses on race, ethnicity, and “minorities.” An upper-level contribution to Diversity Studies, REM critiques these designations and locates them in foundational and current strategic and tactical deployments of power, privilege, and identity. Close attention is paid to hegemonic constructions of racial, ethnic, and minority “difference,” and their implications for understanding concepts of “self” and “other.” REM investigates historical constructions of race and racial difference primarily in, but not limited to, sites in the United States, including Native nations, Latin American post-colonial and diasporic populations, African American history and politics, and contemporary understandings of “whiteness.” 

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BIOL:157/WMST:250  —  The Biology of Women

This course examines the genetic and biological basis of sex difference, the unique biology of the female human body and women's health care issues. Topics include female reproductive anatomy and the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and birth, reproductive technology, and physiological differences in the sexes. Emphasis is placed on how sex affects the development and course of illnesses such as breast cancer, heart disease, premenstrual syndrome and osteoporosis. The class includes discussion of how other diversity markers such as sexual orientation, ethnic background, global residence, and socioeconomic status affect women’s health. Not for biology major or minor credit.

COMM: 471 — Critical Analysis of Emerging Media

This course introduces students to the art and practice of contemporary media criticism and key theoretical and critical approaches that guide the practice. Students will examine a variety of issues including representations of minorities in the media as well as political and economic issues that affect access to current and emerging technology. Students will also gain a deeper understanding of the movement and interconnection that exists between new media technologies and their social, economic, cultural, and political impacts and effects. The historical development, structure, organization, function, and effects of convergent and emergent media will also be incorporated into the analysis.

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DIVS:100  —  Introduction to Diversity Studies

This is the introductory course to the Diversity Studies Minor. It introduces students to the interdisciplinary nature of diversity studies, to the scholarly language that has been developed to discuss diversity, and to the historical, social, and personal contexts of diversity. It provides a survey of theory and research in several specific areas of diversity, such as class, race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, and nationality. Particular attention is paid to the dynamics of privilege and oppression, to the importance of intersections among various markers of diversity, and to the consequences of personal position within the matrix of privilege and oppression.

DIVS:400  —  Diversity Encounters for a Changing World: Models of Impact

The capstone for the minor, this course is a continued examination of diversity issues as they expand and cross disciplines and definitions; and their effects on personal, group and community discourses. Students work collaboratively with a project mentor or advisor to critically engage and apply knowledge of diversity issues and analysis to a major area of student interest. Students need to contact the director of diversity studies to sign up for this course, and to make arrangements for their particular project. 2 SH. For guidelines for DIVS:400, click here.

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EDUC:202   —  Introduction to Human Geography

Human Geography provides studies and experiences in developing classroom practices based on a global perspective that empowers future educators to discover the power of their own beliefs, experiences, and talents and to teach tolerance of and respect for people of other cultures. The course also prepares prospective teachers with the skills to integrate geography with other academic disciplines (e.g., mathematics, science, history, art) and to nourish a classroom climate of rights and freedoms, world consciousness, and social responsibility. Specifically, students develop and implement lessons targeting PA standards and universal themes including cross-cultural understandings, diversity, futures, equity, peace, and global justice.

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ENGL:255/JWST:255  —  Jewish Literature

This variable topic course examines the literatures of a civilization that evolved from a territory-based to an exilic culture, and has, in the twentieth century, reclaimed its territorial status, registered the cataclysms of genocide and reflected the challenges of a regenerating diasporic culture. Students consider questions related to the transnational character of, multiple diversities within, and canon reconstruction incited by Jewish literatures. Particular attention is paid to interrogating how Jewish men and women struggle with various markers of difference, and to recognizing that how those markers are socially weighted determine a dominant culture’s willingness to grant Jews diversity status.

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HIST:152  —  Modern East Asia

This course introduces the main themes of East Asian history since 1600, focusing primarily on the histories of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. It examines long-term changes, trends, and continuities in society, economy, politics, and culture, and it emphasizes both the diversity and commonality within East Asia. We will also ask how international diplomatic, commercial, military, religious, and cultural relationships joined with internal processes to direct the development of East Asian societies.

HIST 180  —  Latin America, 1492–1825

This course examines the Americas from pre-European, African, and Asian contact. Its focuses on conflict and adaptation, colonial political institutions, constructions of race, indigenous resistance and accommodation, honor and gender, the Catholic Church, and economic developments that shaped cultural, social, political realities of Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas. Course themes include the so-called conquest, transition from Indigenous empires to European colonial projects, slave trade impacts, modernization, and economic crises and independence movements of the early 1800s. Within these historical watersheds we explore cultural impacts, the constructions of diverse identities, and their influences on daily life.

HIST 181  —  Latin America, 1825–Present

This course examines political, social, and economic turning points in Latin American history since the Wars of Independence. We focus on the roles of US government policies and military aid and training, multi-national corporations, the transition from Empire to Nation, economic crises of the early and later twentieth century, different meanings of Revolutions, the rise of military dictatorships and state-sponsored terrorism, and the emergence of social movements. Broad concepts of power and privilege entrenched in understandings of social status, race and ethnicity, gender roles, and competing constructions of diverse national and cultural identities will also be examined.

HIST:217  —  Contemporary America

This course analyzes the United States during the Cold War, Civil Rights era, war in Vietnam, deindustrialization period of the 1970s and 1980s, and into the post-Cold War era. Readings focus on social/cultural history and the theories with which historians explain the past. Diversity Studies minors will benefit from the course’s strong concentration on class and race throughout the post-1945 period, as well as from in-depth examinations of cultural theories as expressed in the Civil Rights Movement and countercultural movements of the 1950s-1970s.

HIST:313  —  Social History of the U.S.

This course studies the changing group dynamics for individuals in the United States since the eighteenth century. Readings emphasize family, community, region, class, race/ethnicity, and gender groupings. Although specific course topics and eras of concentration change each semester, the overall objective of the course is to understand the intersections of these aspects of identity and affiliation. The course will help students consider the varieties of diversity that have informed past economic systems, cultural practices, and political contests. 

HIST:314 African-American History

This course surveys the experiences of African Americans from the colonial origins of slavery to the social and political aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. In the first half, students consider the catalysts and effects of enslavement, African-American efforts toward abolition, and theories of agency in the transition to freedom. The second half focuses on African-American economic, legal, and cultural strategies to face institutional discrimination. Diversity Studies minors will encounter multiple theories of racial composition and interaction, including paternalism, ascriptivism, and the common “race relations” model of the mid-twentieth century.

HIST:316 Making a Multicultural United States

This course examines United States history through the lens of ethnic and racial interplay. Students consider the experiences of a diverse set of historical actors, emphasizing shifting definitions of identity, citizenship, and opportunity. Course topics and readings change each semester, but they share two assumptions: that historians should use diversity as a tool of analysis and that the concept of diversity itself has a rich history that is central to the nation’s story. The course contributes to the Diversity Studies minor by approaching such concepts as ethnicity, race, and culture with a critical, eye.

HIST: 335  —  Muslims, Christians and Jews in Medieval Spain

This course will examine the lives of Muslims, Christians, and Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula, at times under Muslim rule and at times under Christian domination, during the 8th to the 15th centuries. The course will use the theories of diversity studies to provide a framework to examine the inter- and cross-cultural interactions of these three groups. Students will examine the changing constructions and valuations of religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and race within and between the three cultures and the consequences of this for individual access to power and privilege within these societies.

HIST:338/JWST:338  —  The Holocaust

This course situates the Holocaust’s effects within the larger framework of twentieth-century history and the function of memory. It is divided into three sections that study (1) the origins of prejudice and policies that carried out the murder of millions, (2) the events and experiences of the Holocaust itself, and (3) the ways people in the West have come to terms with this greatest example of genocide. We pay particular attention to the systemic origins of hatred, perpetrators’ motivations, victims’ experiences, the function of apathy, and the various roles the memory of the Holocaust has served since World War II. 

HIST:390  —  Globalizing China–Diasporas

This course examines historical and contemporary Chinese diasporas. It contributes to Diversity Studies by studying Chinese migrants in connection and in comparison with other ethnic groups in the global context. It focuses on the following topics: connections Chinese diasporas created between China and other societies and cultures; migrants’ cultural and ethnic identities and the transformation of the meanings of “Chinese-ness;” different types of Chinese diasporas and the evolvement of Chinatowns worldwide; migrants’ transnational networks past and present; and commonalities and differences between the Chinese diaspora and other diasporas such as Jewish, Italian and Indian diasporas.

HIST:390  —  Sino–US Relations

Unlike conventional narratives of Sino-U.S. relations focusing on politics and diplomatic relations, this course covers more broadly social, cultural, and economic interactions, such as mutual perceptions, educational exchanges, migration and foreign policies, and international trade. We will look at a wide array of individuals and institutions such as missionaries, educators, merchants, migrants, non-government organizations, corporations and mass media rather than nation-states as the sole actors on the stage. This course contributes to Diversity Studies by closely examining the interactions between two different cultures and societies and showing how their relations shaped their own histories as well as the global history.

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HONS:301  —  Philosophy After the Holocaust

The Nazi genocide provoked a crisis in Western philosophical consciousness, leading to a radical re-evaluation of many traditional moral and political categories. The genocide’s systematic, administrative, and technological nature led many to abandon Enlightenment faith in the capacity of reason to secure our social progression. This course explores a diversity of scholarly texts that throw doubt on the moral value of rational thought, the teleological worldview, the western conception of ‘human nature’ and the legacy of the Enlightenment through an analysis of the Holocaust and other genocides in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

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MUSC:102  —  A Study of Jazz

This course explores classic and modern jazz recordings and the musicians who made them, from 1917 to the present. Extra-musical topics include: race as it relates to the development and dissemination of jazz, art music as an expression of black culture, popular vs. art music, jazz traditions that defied legal segregation, and, the economics and social structure of the music business. Special attention will be given to issues of cultural diversity that arise from the study of jazz musicians from diverse racial, economic, and social backgrounds.

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OFFP: BRITLAW — British Law and Culture

This GO Program course is based in London, one of the most diverse cities in the world. It focuses on the UK’s legal systems and law enforcement practices. The students visit and study British Parliament in London, as well as the parliaments in Wales, Scotland, and N. Ireland. It contributes to understanding diversity by having the students experience, understand, and process culture through the lens of British Law. This reflection-based course provides a framework in which students examine legal and cultural implications of the UK to ultimately produce a deeper understanding of themselves in a culture different from their own.

OFFR-GRKCLT—Greek Culture: Ancient and Modern

This course is a three-week expedition and reflection upon Greek culture. Students immerse in and negotiate a culture with different customs, cuisine, alphabet, history, and lifeways while participating in lectures, discussions, and activities to illuminate the early chapters in Western heritage and contemporary culture. There are several orientation sessions before departure; while in Greece, students engage in various activities focused on contemporary Greek issues. In the fall, we reflect on our own cultural values and identity, the ethnocentric assumptions we make, and how experiencing a different culture promotes personal growth and social responsibility.

OFFS-NIREPCE – Peace, Youth, and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

This interdisciplinary, service-learning course will accompany the two-week GO Northern Ireland program. Students in this course will work with organizations in Northern Ireland to combine a service component with a cross-cultural experience in a reflection intensive course. Topics covered will include human equality, politics, religion, socioeconomics, and global citizenship as they pertain to the long history of strife in Ireland and the resulting peace and reconciliation process. By exploring issues of systematic and institutionalized oppression, students will develop language to dissect issues related to the conflict, many of which are rooted in the colonization of Ireland by England.

OFFS:SUCASA  —  Images of Jesus in Central America

This GO Program course combines service at congregations, clinics and an orphanage in Costa Rica and Nicaragua with a critical examination of the diverse ways in which the person and work of Jesus are conceptualized in Central America. Students will consider icons, paintings, hymns, communal life, liturgies, devotional practices, and theological statements as expressions of the diverse christologies that are operative in that region today. Special attention is paid to context as a profoundly influential factor in the development and articulation of theological statements and devotional practices.

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POLI:131  —  World Affairs

This course examines how countries interact with one another.  It explores the various theories surrounding why countries threaten each other, go to war, trade with one another, or cooperate to tackle transnational issues including human rights, terrorism, international crime, and climate change.  The effects of differing political systems, technologies, and cultures on state behavior are discussed.  Students are encouraged to consider why states behave as they do from the point of view of very different actors, including the United States, Iran, China, the United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and the Palestinians.

PHIL150—Everyday Ethics:

This course is focused on two central questions: (1) Is it unethical to eat meat? Why or why not? and (2) Do people who live luxuriously have an obligation to aid those who live in extreme poverty around the world? Why or not? We will investigate these questions through the lens of the following ethical theories: Ancient Greek Virtue-Ethics, Deontology, Utilitarianism, and Deep Ecology. We will also examine the roles that species, gender, social class, nationality, and sustainability play in ethical decision-making concerning these two questions. We shall also investigate the interrelatedness of the course’s two main questions.

PHIL212/WMST200—Feminist Philosophy:

This course contributes to Diversity Studies as it distinguishes different kinds of feminist thought: Liberal Feminism; Radical-Libertarian Feminism; Radical-Cultural Feminism; Marxist and Socialist Feminism; Psychoanalytic Feminism; Care-Focused Feminism; Multicultural, Global and Postcolonial Feminism; Ecofeminism; and Postmodern Feminism. We will compare and contrast them in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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PSYC:334/WMST:334  —  Psychology of Gender

This course explores current theory and research on the development of gender and the consequences of gender roles for both men and women. It covers evolutionary, biological, psychoanalytic, cognitive, social learning and cross-cultural perspectives on gender, as well as approaches that seek to understand interactions among these influences. Particular attention is paid to the dynamics of privilege and oppression in the area of gender, to the intersections of gender with other markers of diversity, including social class, race, and culture, and to the application of course materials to student’s own lives and experience.

PSYC:350  —  Psychology, Culture, and Ethnicity

This course explores current theory and research on the role of race, culture, and ethnicity in human development and behavior. The course explores: (a) the universality and diversity of human biological, cognitive, social and emotional development and behavior within and across racial, ethnic and cultural groups; and (b) the dynamics of privilege and oppression that emerge when multiple cultures intersect or interact with one another. Particular attention is paid to the intersections of race and ethnicity with other markers of diversity, including gender and social class, and to the consequences of personal position within the matrix of privilege and oppression.

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RELI/JWST 201 – The Hebrew Bible

This course examines the Hebrew Bible (known to Jews as the Tanakh or Torah, to Christians as the Old Testament), through the lenses of identity and power. Identity factors such as gender, class, ethnicity, and the body are deployed to analyze the text’s depiction of various characters, always attending to what works to privilege certain characters and disadvantage others. Under power biblical social groups such as priests, monarchs, sages, and prophets are interrogated for the sometimes competing claims they make about how the people should understand and relate to God, the world, and one another.

RELI/JWST— 207 Women in the Biblical Tradition

Investigates women’s stories and images in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and related literature from the biblical period. Explores the range of roles played by women within biblical narratives, the variety of metaphorical and symbolic uses of femininity in biblical traditions, and legal and ethical precepts related to the status of women in the biblical period. While one primary focus for the course is gender, issues of class also come to the fore (i.e., elites, the small landholding class, the poor), as well as ethnicity (i.e., Israelite or non-Israelite; Jewish or Gentile).

SOCI:101  —  Principles of Sociology

In this broad survey course, students are introduced to core concepts, methods, and theoretical perspectives employed in the sociological analysis of diverse cultures and societies. Focusing on the structures of the social world and their consequences, the actions and interactions of diverse individuals and groups within and on the social structure, and the dynamics of social change, the course helps students develop the skills necessary to critically interrogate diversity, their own social worlds and everyday life.

SOCI:200  —  White Privilege

This course is an examination and analysis of definitions, history and instantiations of white privilege. The focus is contemporary U.S. and the primary framework draws on the social sciences although other times, locations and perspectives are considered. Throughout, the construct of race, including whiteness, is considered as not only an aspect of individual identity but also as a social construction embedded within an intricate and dynamic system of power and privilege. Particular attention is devoted to providing a broader context within which to understand the current rhetoric of “post-racial” and “color-blind.”

SPAN: 447—Narratives on Andean Identity

This course focuses on the various discourses of what it means to be Andean in today’s globalized context through the analysis of contemporary prose fiction and film produced by and about Andean culture primarily in Peru, but also with selections from Bolivia and Ecuador. Specifically, we look at the spaces of enunciation in these narratives in order to draw critical conclusions on marginality, race and identity in the Andes that can be applied to other global contexts through the analysis of the primary sources of narrative and film and secondary critical, theoretical and historical texts.

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