MWF | 9:10-10:00, 10:20-11:10, & 1:50-2:40
For lots of people (students, legislators, parents, professors) thinking about historically or currently minoritized groups in the United States is challenging. If we belong to a dominant cultural or social group, considering our own positions can be thorny, especially since these conversations might imply that we are ‘undeserving’ or should ‘feel bad’ about our advantages. On the other hand, if we belong to minoritized communities, we are often deeply aware that pursuing an education, a career path, economic stability, or a romantic relationship may be difficult in ways that outsiders cannot imagine. Black, Hispanic, Asian, rural Appalachian, disabled, and LGBTQ+ Americans, (as well as Irish, Italian, Muslim, and Jewish communities) face or have faced inaccurate and harmful representations. At the same time, many people in these same communities feel a great sense of pride in refusing to be defined by mainstream controlling ideas in dominant culture.
This course takes the resilience of America’s minoritized cultures as its inspiration. Admittedly, ‘resilience’ is a fraught term since it places the burden on the minoritized group rather than the structural exclusions a that group faces. In this course, we first discuss how we speak and write respectfully about groups to which we do not belong. We will research the ways in which different minoritized cultures have resisted the myths imposed upon them and the complexities that those controlling ideas obscure. For your secondary source project, you will investigate a specific stereotype of a group to which you do not belong and the ways it impacts the people it purportedly describes. In the archival research project, you will produce a virtual museum exhibit of artifacts documenting a single minoritized community of which you are not a member, the exclusion they faced, and how that same group valorized its existence. In the qualitative research project, you will interview your peers about questions of curricular inclusion, since student voices are often missing from larger conversations among academics.
If you are curious to learn about people who are different from yourself, you’re in the right place. If you would like to know what life is or was like for a community different from your own, you’re in the right place. If you are hungry for the challenge of learning something new or researching unfamiliar topics, you’re in the right place. If you would like to think about your own and your peers’ attitudes towards inclusion, diversity, and equity in education, you’re in the right place.