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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca A. Burnett
GEOG 439
Seattle Campus

Gender, Race, and the Geography of Employment

Focuses on the geography of employment for men and women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in American cities. Presents evidence on labor market inequality for different groups and explanations of these differences. Emphasizes the importance of a spatial perspective in understanding employment outcomes for women and minorities.

Class description

This course focuses on the intersections of employment, race, ethnicity and gender in American cities. Students will examine the theoretical debates around what is defined as work and labor and the ways in which labor, gender, and race come together to constitute different citizenship roles for groups in the US. We will also utilize case studies from the social sciences as well as policy debates to highlight the spatiality of labor. Students will engage in the material through readings, films, guest speakers and fieldwork.

Student learning goals

Major policies in the past 60 years that have influenced US employment patterns.

Theoretical debates around how labor is defined, how this definition is and historically has been racialized and gendered and what is excluded from this definition.

The importance of a spatial perspective in understanding employment outcomes for women and minorities.

The basic ideas around Care Ethics and how this may change definitions and attitudes toward labor.

How to use theories on work/labor to understand and analyze case studies from across the social sciences and policies at the local and national level.

The ways in which global economic restructuring and neoliberalism have created gendered and racialized effects in terms of employment.

General method of instruction

Seminar style, mainly using class discussion with some power points and guest speakers.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Assignments will include one major paper (10-15 pages), 4 short (2-3 page) reading response papers, class participation, and a fieldwork assignment.

From the course syllabus, "To succeed in this class you will need a good understanding of class materials, evidence of independent research and analysis, and writing befitting that of a student of a 400-level course. You will need to make arguments that make sense, and are based in academic research and analysis. I will expect you to be open to arguments made both by your peers and by me. When you make arguments in your papers, you will be expected to address the concerns of other writers who may not share your analysis of the issue. Some of the topics we address are emotional and controversial, that's OK, that's what makes them interesting. Arguments in papers, however, will need to be substantiated by research, and not simply opinions."


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rebecca A. Burnett
Date: 08/27/2012