WGS 345-26 • American Dilemmas
This course examines critical American social problems that threaten the very fabric of our collective life as a nation. These include problems in the economy and political system, social class and income inequality, racial/ethnic inequality, gender inequality and heterosexism, problems in education, and problems of illness and health care. Special emphasis will be placed on showing how these problems have a disproportionately negative impact on men of color and women. The course has three main objectives. One involves providing students with the theoretical and methodological tools needed to critically analyze these problems from a sociological perspective. A second involves providing students with current data and other information documenting the seriousness of these problems, especially for men of color and women. The final objective focuses on evaluating social policies addressing these problems (e.g., affirmative action, welfare-to-work programs, pay equity legislation), with special reference to questions of social justice, the common good, as well as public and individual responsibility. Class format will be a mixture of lecture and discussion, with an emphasis upon the latter. Guest speakers from the community will be invited where applicable.