SOC 380
Who Cares? Spring 2025
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

What does it mean to care–about a person, a situation, or a cause? We often assume that care arises spontaneously and organically. Yet both feelings of care and acts of care always take shape in social contexts. In this course, we will uncover and critically interrogate the norms surrounding caring, caregiving, and care-receiving in our own communities. What social factors influence our willingness to offer care, and to accept it from others? Why is caregiving so heavily gendered and racialized? Is care inevitably corrupted by capitalism? Specific topics will include domestic work and reproductive labor; parenthood; therapy and mental health care; the discourse of self-care; and social movements that center around enacting care. The course will culminate in a significant experiential learning component: as a class, we will work collaboratively to design and implement a project that pushes or challenges the “care norms” in the northern Berkshires.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3277
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: thoughtful and consistent participation, including in-class discussions and shared resources created outside of class time; four journal entries (2-3 pages each); collaboratively designed experiential learning project; annotated bibliography; op-ed style essay (4-5 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: if overenrolled, students will be asked to submit a short statement of interest
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course centers the relationship between structural inequality and the cultural norms surrounding caregiving and care-receiving. Throughout the semester, we will reflect on how care norms both reflect and perpetuate larger systems of inequality, especially race and gender. Through a student-designed experiential learning project, we will strive to create social change in the local community.

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