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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mae C Henderson
GWSS 300
Seattle Campus

Gender, Race, and Class in Social Stratification

The intersection of race, class, and gender in the lives of women of color in the United States from historical and contemporary perspectives. Topics include racism, classism, sexism, activism, sexuality, and inter-racial dynamics between women of color groups. Prerequisite: GWSS 200. Offered: jointly with AES 322.

Class description

In this course we will explore both historical and contemporary dimensions of social justice and inequality centered in race, social class, gender, and sexuality. I have designed this course to give you a basic understanding of social and systematic inequalities, such as class, race, gender, and sexuality with emphasis placed on the socially constructed definitions of various groups in our society and how these definitions affect individual and group experiences. We will examine the concepts of privilege and oppression and how they work simultaneously to affect the lives of people of color in a U.S. context. While the course will focus on intersecting nature of power and privilege as related to social categories, it will also examine the way that systems of social inequality intersect with dominant social institutions and societal structures. We will explore groupsí experiences as they relate to power and domination and self-agency at individual, group and institutional levels. Specific attention will be given to the nature of institutional and ideological racism, sexism, classism, abelism, nationalism, heterosexism, etc. as well as the varying ways that oppression is experienced and can be resisted at multiple levels.

Student learning goals

To understand connections between personal troubles and public issues when studying society, social institutions, and issues concerning social categories

Engage critical thinking and discussion about contemporary issues that stem from systems of difference in American society.

Examine and conceptualize categories of race, class, gender and sexuality as intersecting and multi-level systems of oppression that affect the public and private lives of individuals.

Engage in self-reflection and promote respect and equality among and across identities, difference, and social positioning.

Gain an enhanced awareness of meanings placed on social identities as well as an understand how these identities impact experiences, life choices and chances, and accesses to resources.

General method of instruction

Lecture, Film, Course Readings, In-class exercises, etc.

Recommended preparation

GWSS 200

Class assignments and grading

Papers, Online Posts, In-class exams (mid-term & final), Class presentation, class participation


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 Mae C Henderson
Date: 02/22/2013