PSCI 335
Racial Equity, Liberal Democracy, and Democratic Theory Fall 2018
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling book Between the World and Me, he says that in the wake of the non-indictment of former police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown “I did not tell [my son] that it would be okay, because I have never believed it would be okay.” With admissions like this, Coates stoked a long-standing debate about the prospects for racial equity in liberal democracies like the United States. In this course, we look at this debate, examining what black thinkers in particular have said about whether racial equity can be achieved in a liberal democracy founded on racial domination and why they come to the conclusions they do. Then, we examine what contemporary democratic theorists have had to say about how racial equity might be achieved and how they have sought to advance this goal through their writing. Can the strategies theorists propose and employ really aid in the advancement of racial equity? Which are more and less promising? We end by asking: Do anti-democratic means have to be employed to fully realize democracy? What anti-democratic means? Authors we will engage include Coates, bell hooks, Charles Mills, Melvin Rogers, Chris Lebron, Lawrie Balfour, and Danielle Allen.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: none
Expected: 20
Class#: 1541
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class facilitation, group reflections (three 4-page responses), book review (6-8 pages), final essay (12-14 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This class centers sociological and political theoretical questions about race inequity and equity in a liberal democratic society. It features black writers' perspectives on inequity and equity. The course nurtures the skill of speaking across difference by requiring students to write responses as groups and encouraging deep student participation by making students class facilitators.
Attributes: PSCI Political Theory Courses

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