Identities and Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality


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This course syllabus explores sociological theories, research, and experiences of privileged and oppressed identities, including race-ethnicity, social class, gender, sexuality, and ability. Sociologists have many ways of conceptualizing identity-based inequality, and this couse will explore these various frames, focusing specifically on theories of intersectionality and the importance of centering personal experiences often silenced. On a personal level, we will attempt to use sociological theory to explore various identities presented via narratives or memoirs, and we also will use these lived experiences as evidence to support or challenge theories. Thus, throughout the semester, we will work to synthesize theory, research, and experiences into a unifying conceptualization of the dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression in U.S. society.


Resource Type(s):
Susan J. Ferguson 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Race, Class and Gender 
Class Level:
College 300 
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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This syllabus is taught as an upper-level seminar at a liberal arts college. The seminars tend to be small with about 15 students enrolled. The course syllabus can be adapted to larger classes and the reading load reduced to fit a 200-level course. The course is semester long. The original...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Students will be able to identify essential concepts, theories, and research used in sociology to analyze privileged and oppressed identities and social inequality.
Assessment 1:
To assess Goal 1 of student understanding of essential concepts and theories, the students will write an essay that examines a current research article and applies concepts and theories learned in class.
Goal 2:
Students will be able to draw critical connections between the personal, lived experiences and sociological scholarship.
Assessment 2:
To assess Goal 2, of drawing connections between lived experiences and sociological scholarship, students will read one of five assigned memoirs and write a research paper on the connections between the individual's life and the sociological scholarship.
Goal 3:
Students will explore how unequal identities are located in social institutions, including the family, education, employment, the media, health care, and the government.
Assessment 3:
To assess Goal 3, of examining inequality in different social institutions, students will each lead discussion on the readings assigned to one institution over the course of the semester.

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R,C,G syllabus_F12.doc