Sociology | Topics in Social Psychology
S431 | 3698 | Donna Eder


This course will examine the influence of gender, race, and class from
a perspective of power and culture.  We will question the way in which
power dynamics influence these social statuses by focusing on their

The course will be divided into two sections.  The first half will
begin with an examination of the social and historically situated
constructions of race, gender, and class in cross-cultural settings.
Our primary focus will be on specific cultural domains in which
domination and oppression have been most acute such as education,
conceptions of knowledge, constructions of identity, and creative
expression.  We will discuss cultural beliefs that foster exclusionary
practices and the perjorative labeling of people of color, women, and
working-class people.  We will also investigate the numerous ways in
which certain groups have been denied access to education, the
development of belief systems, and creativity as well as exploring the
use of creative expression as a means to resist mainstream cultural
knowledge and beliefs.

In the second section of the course we will analyze the way in which
mainstream concepts regarding bodies and sexuality have affected the
lives of women and people of color.  Here we will also look at the way
in which power and class issues are interrelated with issues of
sexuality.  This will be followed by a examination of the ways in
which feminists are redefining sexuality and relationships through
music, fiction, and cultural practices.  The last part of this section
will focus on resistance and social change.  It will include the use
of fiction and poetry to create new meanings as well as on the
transformation of basic social concepts such as leadership, community
and social difference.

Required course readings include the following-
Multicultural Experiences, Multicultural Theories by Mary Rodgers
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
Reader for Race, Gender, and Class

Students are expected to do all the readings before coming to class
and to participate actively in discussions.  Three papers will be
required for the course-two reflections papers and one group research
project.  In the reflection papers students will be asked to expand on
their ideas and thoughts regarding the discussion and readings on a
topic (questions for these papers will be distributed later.)  These
papers should be 2-3 typed pages in length.   The group research
project will involve original data collection in the form of
interviewing, field research, or content analysis of media.  One
option is to interview people about their experiences with regard to
education, beauty messages, and/or mainstream sexual perspectives.
Another option would be to do participant observation in a mainstream
subculture such as girls' clubs or beauty salons or in a culture of
resistance such as gay alliance groups or the Black Cultural Center.
The third option would be to examine gender, race, and/or class
messages in some type of media (TV, movies, magazines, cartoons,
music, graffiti, etc.).  The groups will consist of 2-3 students and
short presentations will be made during the last two weeks of class.
Papers will be given a collective grade unless separate grades are
requested.  Finally, there will be two in-class exams, each consisting
of 2-3 essay questions.  Review questions will be distributed prior to
each exam.