Critically examine marginalization based on intersections of age, ability, class, gender, race, religion and sexuality. Meet the challenge of these complex societal issues and learn how to work locally and globally toward a more just world.
In this course, students will engage with the following questions regarding the climate crisis, using social justice as the primary lens:
What is the scientific, political and economic landscape that underpins the crisis and continuing lack of action?
Which populations are facing the worst effects of rising seas, extreme weather and changing climate?
Who benefits from supposed climate mitigations and adaptations and who doesn't?
How can we build fair and just solutions, mitigations and adaptations to the climate crisis?
The United States has been embroiled in spirited, often bitter struggles over confederate flags and monuments, sports mascots, Critical Race Theory and more. Underlying these disputes are deep divisions over national and group identity, as well as the truth and meaning of the past. Whose story is history? Do we own our own past? How do we understand where we came from and tell stories about our origins? Are some stories more true than others? Who gets to decide? How do our histories (and stories) define who we are? How can they shape our future?
This foundation seminar will examine such controversies and explore the possibilities for consensus and reconciliation. Because we are located in the Social Justice Residential College, discussions will highlight issues of social justice and how to create social change. Students will study several models of activism, try to figure out which strategies work best and why, and design two social change projects related to campus or social problems discussed in class.
Students who have chosen this seminar will be housed together and collaborate with other members of the college. They will participate in weekly common hours, the Residential College Symposium and special co-curricular activities such as an off-campus field trip.
Queer studies in the academy often focus on urban areas, writing off rural spaces as backward, homophobic or empty. In turn, social justice surrounding rural communities can sometimes discount or ignore the experience of sexual minorities. Queer Country examines these two words and worlds, so rarely read together.
What material conditions does the assumed separation between queerness and rurality create? What has existence, art and resistance at the intersection of "queer" and "country" looked like in the past? What's queer about the country and what’s country about queer? To answer these questions, students will examine social justice issues through the lens of cultural studies, exploring a wide range of media including pop music, film, memoir, podcasts, political action, literary fiction and the visual arts.
Arming ourselves with historical and cultural knowledge, we will also pay close attention to those intersections of LGBTQ+ life and rural space that are particularly salient to our current space and place: central Pennsylvania farmland. What does it mean to “queer” country, or to “countrify” queer, when pursuing social justice in our immediate surroundings?
From the arrival of European colonists to the Civil War, the United States was a slave-owning society with a fiercely defined and enforced racial hierarchy. Although slavery was formally abolished by the conclusion of the war and with the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, the economic imperatives and racial hierarchy upon which slavery was built were never dismantled. Rather, beginning in the post-Reconstruction period, structural racism was written into public policy, law, the housing and job markets, and cultural representations in such profound and compounding ways as to produce the radically racially unequal society the United States is today.
American Apartheid introduces students to the history of structural racism in the post-Civil War period. It equips students to understand that racism in the United States — far from going away — has been deliberately expanded and entrenched within the fabric of society, economy and politics.