Sep 24, 2018  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

SYE 4009 - Structural Inequalities and Professional Life

Hours: 4
Various kinds of systemic inequality persist in contemporary American society. That is, some forms of inequality are not merely a matter of personal behavior, belief, or preference; rather, they are deeply ingrained in our institutions and/or belief system. Examples (or symptoms) of such inequities include income inequality between men and women, racism in the criminal justice system, racial and ethnic biases in hiring by private companies, cultural bias in standardized testing, unequal access to basic health care, radical differences in funding between public schools, and the practice of “redlining” by banks and insurance companies. In this course, students spend the first part of the semester studying racial inequality in twentieth-century America, focusing on historical, literary, and social scientific literature written by Americans of various ethnicities. This historical inquiry will focus on specific events, including the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924, the G. I. Bill, Brown v. Board of Education and the desegregation of schools, and the “War on Drugs.” This part of the course will culminate with small groups choosing a major event from twentieth-century American history and creating a study of how this event was impacted by beliefs about race and ethnicity, and/or how this event changed or affected understandings of race and ethnicity. Each such analysis must include at least three different disciplinary perspectives on the chosen event. Students will work with students from other disciplinary backgrounds. In the second part of the course, each student will identify a structural inequality that exists in contemporary society, and that she will encounter in her professional life. Each student will write a factual report in which she defines and explains this form of inequality. The student will then put together an action plan in which she will outline some form of action to redress the chosen issue, aimed at the reform of workplace or professional practices.