Center on Race and Social Problems

Courses on Race and Social Problems

Gender, Race, Class, And Crime ADMJ 1242 (3 cr)
Gender, race and class are overlapping categories of experience that affect all aspects of life. There is perhaps no other context in which the effects of gender, race and class are as acutely evident as in the criminal justice system. That is, the people who are processed through the criminal justice system are disproportionately male, nonwhite, and from the lower classes. This class is designed to examine the cumulative and interlocking effects of gender, race, and class on crime.


Sex, Race, & Popular Culture GSWS 0200 (3 cr)
Popular culture is often defined as a collection of ideas, images, beliefs and practices that have become an essential component of peoples' daily lives. While popular culture is dismissed by some as merely a mass consumer culture, others acknowledge that contemporary popular cultural forms may, in keeping with a history of once contemporary popular art, culture, and literature (e.g. Dickens, Warhol, etc.) Come to be understood as essential, canonical and elite. Ultimately, these materials may be read as a texts that inform our understanding of culture and social life and prompt such questions as: how does popular culture (re)construct our sense of "ordinary" life as something extraordinary? Why are some cultural forms dismissed and others more readily accepted? What social processes bring cultural forms into the public domain? This course will examine popular culture in a variety of forms such as: music, art, television, collectibles, internet, and social media. Students will consider examples from Western, non-Western, and "global" culture, but will use sex and sexuality, gender, and ideas of race to understand the relationship between popular culture, material culture, representation, and consumerism, and power and resistance. It will also address these phenomenon over time. This course will make especially strong use of contemporary and popular media such as video clips, internet media and images, and music.


Race: History, Biology, Psychology, Philosophy HPS 1602 (3 cr)
Thompson, Morgan
 The goal of this course is to help students gain a thorough understanding of the issues raised by races and racism. Such understanding can only be gained by bringing together several disciplines in an interdisciplinary manner. Thus, we will examine issues about race and racism that arise from biology, history, philosophy, and psychology. In particular, we will examine the following questions: Does genetics show that races are real? Why are racial categories used in medicine? Where does the concept of race come from? Is it a recent historical invention? How has it influenced the sciences? What are races? What is racism? Should we be color-blind? How does race contribute to one’s identity? Why do we think about races? Are there differences in intelligence between races? What are racial prejudices? The course will involve reading original articles and book extracts from a range of disciplines, including history, philosophy, and several sciences. These articles will be explained and discussed in class.


Race and The City SOC 1286 (3 cr)
This course offers a historical and contemporary look at racial inequality in the United States through the lens of the city. As large-scale, concentrated spaces of wealth accumulation, poverty, habitation, education, social control, and, periodically, counter-hegemonic social mobilization, cities are and have been major sites of inequality generation and amelioration. With its abiding focus on how “the state” and “the market” combine to determine “who gets what, how, and why,” this course takes a political economy approach to race-making in urban America. More specifically, we will explore the racial, political, and economic dimensions of a number of topics, including the policies and processes related to urban redevelopment, housing, education, and policing. This course will give considerably more attention to the city of Pittsburgh than is reflected in the general literature on urban sociology and race relations.


Race And Social Problems SWGEN 2080 (3 cr)
Huguley, James P.  
Students will learn about race-related social problems, explanations for the problems, and possible solutions.  Readings and class discussions will cover race as an issue in relation to economic and education disparities, intergroup relations, mental health, families, and criminal justice.