Rahul K Gairola
Considers the notion of diversity from many scholarly perspectives and from personal engagements. Critically visits historical thinking about diversity and examines contemporary issues such as racism and other oppressions.
Our goal is to examine diversity, and how it is constituted by race, class, gender, and sexuality -- on their own and how and where they intersect. We will view "diversity" as a limiting discourse for thinking about these elements of identity, but we will consider "re-thinking diversity" as a philosophical thought process that posits race/ class/ gender/ sexuality in an interconnected network. The focus will be on learning as a collective process, but one that requires all students to complete the reading and contribute to class discussions and small group work. This section expects students to be active agents of their education, and engage in urgent dialogues inside the classroom that have monumental effects outside of it.
To jump start this process, I recommend students to familiarize themselves with the following concepts: race, gender, sexuality, class, colonialism, cultural imperialism, hegemony, capitalism, resistance, feminism, and agency. This vocabulary will ground the ideas we shall discuss, so students should become familiar with these concepts as early as possible. The course will also focus on a cumulative project that engages individual students' interests in any of the above topics and concepts. Students are also encouraged and rewarded for visiting any of the UW's writing centers. Attendance to the lectures and our section meetings will be viewed as critical to contributing to the class, as will be respectful interaction regardless of divergent viewpoints. I have high expectations, and hope you do too!
Student learning goals
Students will be able to gain a strong vocabulary to track the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and will be able to use this vocabulary to rigorously fine-tune their critical thinking skills.
General method of instruction
I recommend compiling a glossary before class begins of the above-stated terms. How do you define these ideas? What meaning do they have to you? Which ones have the most meaning to you in the way you think of your own identity and/ or identities? What are their greater stakes in cultural analysis and society on the whole? Why are these ideas and questions important for re-thinking the notion of diversity?
Class assignments and grading
Grading will focus on in-class small group work, some response papers, and a final project/ paper.