Racism and Sexism in Global Perspective

Racism and Sexism in Global Perspective , WS 250

This course examines the various forms that racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression have taken both in the US and around the globe, with particular emphasis on the legacy of colonialism, the endurance and diverse forms of partiarchy, and the connections between various forms of oppression.

COURSE PREREQUITIES: ENG 110, Writing Effective Prose

Over all, the course will broaden students’ perspectives and develop students’ critical thinking about racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, both globally and in the United States.

In particular, in this course students will:

--comprehend the nature of historical and contemporary racist, sexist, heterosexist, and other oppressive attitudes and practices globally and in the U.S.
--analyze the experience of people of color in the US and globally in the current context of globalization and neo-colonialism
-- study the historical impact -- politically, economically, and ideologically -- of colonialism and how relations between the global north and the global south have changed over time
--understand the impact of militarism and war on women and on people of color around the world .
--distinguish between social and biological elements of difference in a variety of cultures and the history of the social construction of views of the “other.”
--gain a sense of the role and status of lesbians, gays, and other “sexual minorities” in a variety of cultures.
-- improve skills in deconstructing and analyzing the impact of Western media images of women and men, and of people of different cultures.
-- advance their understanding and appreciation of movements for social justice around the world.


Students should be able to:

 --demonstrate knowledge of past and present racist, sexist, heterosexist, and other oppressive systems, institutions, practices and attitudes around the world.
-- explain the difference between individual prejudices and systems of oppression and discuss a variety of theoretical explanations of the causes of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other systems of oppression.
-- articulate connections between various systems of oppression, domestically and globally.
-- research and analyze current events in the context of the history of racism and sexism around the globe.
-- demonstrate knowledge of the history of liberation struggles and of possible means for addressing the social problems caused by systems of oppression.
-- critically write about and discuss the issues addressed in this course in essays and/or exams
-- work cooperatively with others in small class discussions groups and/or on a collaborative project.
-- demonstrate the ability to use technology for research and learning.


-- Introduction; course overview
-- Definitions and theories of racism
-- Definitions and theories of sexism
-- Social construction of difference: race, gender, sexuality
-- Historical development of colonialism and racism
-- Global inequality today
-- Cultural and historical varieties of patriarchy
-- Heterosexism
-- Movements for equality and justice

Small group discussions
Plenary discussions
Experiential activities such as role plays
Guest speakers
Reading logs
Research papers
Group projects
Service Learning Projects
On line research on contemporary issues
Virtual field trips
Multi-media presentations


Student learning will be assessed through a range of techniques that include exams, quizzes, long and short papers, in-class writing, individual and group presentations, journals, research projects, and e-portfolios, as well as other means.


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Brettell, Caroline B., and Carolyn F. Sargent, Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, 4th edition, Prentice Hall, 2004.

Burn, Shawn Meghan, Women Across Cultures: A Global Perspective, 2 nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Reilly, Kevin, Stephen Kaufman, and Angela Bodino, eds., Racism: A Global Reader, M.E. Sharpe, 2003.

Rothenberg, Paula S. Beyond Borders: Thinking Critically About Global Issues, Worth Publishers, 2006.


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Aguilar, Delia D., and Anne E. Lacsamana, eds., Women and Globalization , Humanity Books, 2004.

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Moute, Gwen, The Global Color Line: Racial And Ethnic Inequality and Struggle From a Global Perspective, Elsevier Limited 2001.

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Nanda, Serena, Gender Diversity: Crosscultural Variations, Waveland Press, 1999.

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