DEI in the Spring Semester

Dec 10 2020
By Cecilia Elena Rouse, Dean

As you prepare for fall exams and final projects, I wanted to wish all of you good luck. Before you know it, the winter break — and much-deserved rest! — will be upon us.

Looking ahead to the spring semester, I wanted to draw your attention to three new graduate course options related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These courses, as well as our additional DEI spring offerings (see full list below), will examine some of the most pressing issues for our society, including the psychology behind prejudice in the U.S., the forces shaping reproductive justice, and questions surrounding national borders and citizenship. Course options such as these will allow you to deepen your understanding of specific aspects of DEI-related issues, and I hope you’ll consider them as you finalize your spring course choices.

SPI 527b: Sexuality, Race, Gender: Identity and Political Representation

Taught by Andy Reynolds, this course will assess and analyze the impact of the descriptive representation of marginalized communities on public policy, legislation, legal reform, and social change. We focus on dimensions of sexual orientation, identity, gender, ethnicity, and race, and the intersectionality of these communities. We seek to understand the role that elected officials can have in driving change, affecting their colleagues and constituents. Further, the challenges they face, debates around what representation should, and can be, and who can appear for a given community. We will consider internal tensions and conflicts between marginalized groups, as well as coalitions and allied movements. Students will have the space to focus on the representation of a community that resonates with them personally.

Check out a recent piece co-authored by Reynolds in The Washington Post about the impact the LGBT community had on the 2020 presidential election.

SPI 528b: Prejudice: Its Causes, Consequences and Cures

Taught by Stacey Sinclair, this new grad precept runs concurrently with SPI 345. All graduate students attend the main SPI 345 lecture, and a graduate precept that will be limited to 10 students.

Prejudice is one of the most contentious topics in modern American society. There is debate regarding its causes, pervasiveness, and impact. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the psychological research relevant to these questions. We will review theoretical perspectives on prejudice to develop an understanding of its cognitive, affective, and motivational underpinnings. We will also discuss how these psychological biases relate to evaluations of, and behavior toward, members of targeted groups. In addition, research-based strategies for reducing prejudice will be discussed.

Check out a summer 2020 Brookings article co-authored by Sinclair that discusses the magnitude of racial bias among teachers.

SPI 572b: Citizenship, Borders and In/Exclusion

Taught by Deborah J. Yashar, this course asks: What are the political, ethical, and historical bases for making these decisions about citizenship, borders, and in/exclusion? These questions are particularly salient in the context of globalization, migration and refugee flows, war and ethnic conflict, poverty, and now climate change. This course strikes a balance between analyzing theory, empirics, and policy debates.

Check out the October 2020 edition of the World Politics journal, edited by Yashar.

The full list of SPIA DEI courses during spring 2021 includes:

SPI 527b: Sexuality, Race, Gender: Identity and Political Representation (Andy Reynolds)
SPI 528b: Prejudice: Its Causes, Consequences and Cures (Stacey Sinclair)
SPI 528c: Poverty and Public Policy (Martha Coven)
SPI 556b: Topics in IR: Imperialism and the Developing World (Atul Kohli)
SPI 572b: Citizenship, Borders and In/Exclusion (Deborah J. Yashar)
SPI 594b: Psychology and Inequality (Susan Fiske)
SPI 594c: Reproductive Justice and Public Policy (Betsy Armstrong)
SPI 594g: Poverty and Social Policy (Kathy Edin)
SPI 594i: Racial Democracy in America (Nyron Crawford)