LEAD 215
Race and Inequality in the American City Spring 2025
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed PSCI 215

Class Details

In the past half-century, American cities have gotten both much richer and much poorer. The making of “luxury cities” has gone hand-in-hand with persistent, concentrated poverty, extreme racial segregation, mass incarceration, and failing public services-social problems borne primarily by people of color. This course will examine the political underpinnings of inequality in American cities, with particular attention to the racialization of inequality. Among the topics we will cover are: the structures of urban political power; housing and employment discrimination; the War on Crime and the War on Drugs (and their consequence, mass incarceration); education; and gentrification. We will ask: How have city leaders and social movements engaged with urban problems? How have they tried to make cities more decent, just, and sustainable? Under what circumstances has positive leadership produced beneficial outcomes, and in what circumstances has it produced perverse outcomes? We will engage primarily with political science, but also with scholarship in other disciplines, including sociology, history, geography, and legal studies, all of which share an interest in the questions we will be exploring. Students will leave this course with a deeper understanding of contemporary urban problems, a knowledge of the political structures within which those problems are embedded, and a better sense of the challenges and opportunities leaders face in contemporary urban America.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3681
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation; several short essays and a longer paper with presentation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors and Leadership Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
LEAD 215 Division II PSCI 215 Division II
DPE Notes: Deploying historical and social-scientific analysis, this course seeks to help students understand the historical roots and political underpinnings of unequal access to social goods in American cities, with particular attention to the racialization of inequality, compound deprivation, and unearned advantage.
Attributes: GBST Urbanizing World
LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership
POEC Depth
PSCI American Politics Courses

Class Grid

Updated 2:12 pm

Course Catalog Search

(searches Title and Course Description only)



Start Time
End Time