AFR 383
Theorizing Pluralisms Fall 2009
Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed AFR 383 / ENGL 383 / AMST 383
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The U.S. has never been a racially, culturally or ethnically homogeneous society, nor is it particularly unusual in this regard. Why, then, is diversity typically invoked as if it were novel or unprecedented? Why is pluralism presumed to be an exceptionally American ideal, as if no other society, past or present, has sought to build order upon difference? Why are contemporary debates over multiculturalism so often disconnected from the existence and reproduction of patterns of social inequality? This course seeks to provide some of the historical context and intellectual depth too often lacking in these debates. Rather than presuming a simple, singular “multiculturalism” one may be either “for” or “against,” we’ll examine a variety of 20th-century theoretical formulations of pluralism emerging in and across U.S. domains, and consider how present-day multiculturalisms bear the legacies of both imperialist and anti-imperialist aspirations. Readings may be drawn from liberal social science, Marxist internationalism, Third World radicalism, women of color feminism, and recent cultural studies. This EDI course follows a “Critical Theorization” focus, aiming to provide resources to students with experience or interest in practical engagement with questions of diversity, both on and beyond the campus.
The Class: Format: discussion/seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1711
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, frequent short writing assignments, a midterm take-home exam, and a final project
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: English and American Studies majors and Africana Studies concentrators
Unit Notes: meets Criticism requirement in English major only if registration is under ENGL
Distributions: Division II Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or AFR
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 383 Division II ENGL 383 Division I AMST 383 Division II
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives

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