HSS Courses that Address Race, Racism, Policing, and Structural Inequality

As the intellectual hub of Brooklyn College, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a wide range of courses and majors that address critical contemporary issues in historical, cultural, and social context. Below you will find a guide to HSS courses that address, in one way or another, issues of race, racism, policing, and structural inequality. These issues are at the very center of current struggles over the trajectory of our society. Please use this guide to facilitate your intellectual exploration of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to the social problems that shape our politics and our lives.

Africana Studies

AFST 1001 Introduction to Contemporary Africa

Professor Davies
Professor Peters

Introduction to Contemporary Africa exposes students to current issues in a variety of African nations. Topics covered include urban development, relations with China and the challenges of climate change. Another topic is the Atlantic slave trade, which moved millions of African people to the Americas, and the negative impact of the trade on African societies. Familiarizing American students with the vibrant cultures and modern urban skylines of actual African countries tends to undermine uninformed, anti-Black racial stereotypes.

AFST 1020 Introduction to African American Studies

Assistant Professor Zinga Fraser

This course examines both the history of African Americans and the ways in which the study of this group has been defined as a discipline. Using texts from a variety of fields, the goals of this course are twofold: first, to examine the ways in which African Americans have been and continue to be studied as a political, economic, cultural, social, and racial group, and second, to examine the growth and development of the field of Africana (Black) studies, its role in the past, and its place in the future.

AFST 3102/HIST 3561 Contact, Contest, and Independence: Africa Since 1800

Professor Lynda Day

This course presents basic facts and broad themes fundamental to the history of African peoples and countries. The course places African history in a global context and in conversation with other historical arguments, thus bringing the long view of Black history into focus. Among the topics covered are the spread of Islam in Africa, precolonial state-building, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization in Africa, and independence movements. These examinations force students to reconsider earlier Eurocentric presentations of world history, and thus challenge received notions of white supremacy.

AFST 3135 Black Political Identity in a Transnational Context

Professor Davies
Professor Peters

This course examines the foundational discourses of civil rights and anticolonial struggles in the United States, Africa and the Caribbean between 1900 and 1960. The course explores the intersections between the social, intellectual, and cultural transformations of African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, and Africans. Students interrogate the creation of a transnational dialogue on black consciousness.

AFST 3120/HIST 3413 African American History Through 1865

Associate Professor Prudence Cumberbatch

Beginning with the trans-Atlantic journey, this course explores various periods in African American history as it is intertwined with the history of the United States. This course will enable students to explore, in-depth, some of the major black led social movements the contributions of major figures and the economic, social, cultural and political contributions of African Americans (through secondary texts as well as primary documents) to the story of the United States. Another key element of this course is to address how the construction of race and the characterization of Black people as inferior, promoted an economic system which benefited the moneyed interests in the new colonies and European empires. This definition of Africans (and people of color) as “other” affected concepts of class, work, nationhood and citizenship. African American history is not only the tale a specific group but also central to the story of a nation.

AFST 3215/AMST 3709 Performing Blackness

Associate Professor Dale Byam

Moving from the early European traveling shows to minstrelsy to the carnivals of the Americas to a variety of forms located within popular culture and framed by performance theory, students will investigate how racial identity can be invented, constructed, and maintained through performance and how blackness became an integral part of that construct. Students explore the ways that race is appropriated and performed towards widely divergent ends within and outside of African American culture, the role of racial stereotypes in the reinforcement of core fantasies about European society and how the performance of race helps to define the subject in opposition to the other.

AFST 3247 Literatures of the African Diaspora

This course examines prose, poetry, drama, and film by Black writers in Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Students engage with Western literary traditions and traditional oral literatures, folklore, and music, while also exploring commonalities in style and theme and  major literary movements. Gender, nationality, and transnationalism as constructed and interrogated boundaries, identities, and affiliations are also considered in this course.

AFST 3265 (Re)presenting Black Men

Professor Peters

This course explores and excavates ideas from the American racial imagination where discussions center around the conflict of “the fact of blackness” versus the imagined expectations of gendered, sexualized, and racialized Black male bodies and the reproduction of this perpetual conflict.

AFST 3324 The Black Urban Experience

Associate Professor Haroon Kharem

This course examines examine the African American experience in United States cities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Where appropriate, comparisons will be made with non-United States cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, or London. Topics chosen from: urban slavery, free Blacks in Northern cities, race riots, “great migration,” Caribbean migration, urban economics, urban politics, the urban novel, the Black family in the city, the blues, and contemporary urban folklore.

AFST 3349 The Caribbeanization of North American

Assistant Professor Aleah Ranjitsingh
Assistant Professor Marie Lily Cerat

In this course we discuss the history of Caribbean migration to the United States, its selection process and settlement patterns, the transformation of immigrants as they encounter America and race in America, specifically understandings of Blackness, their transformation of American society and the creation of Caribbean diasporic spaces.

AFST 3362/WGST 3488 Race, Gender, and Inequality

Professor Fraser

This course examines the role race and gender play in how structural and institutional inequalities exist in the United States. Thematic issues covered will include: the prison-industrial complex; health disparities, voter suppression; educational inequality, housing discrimination, disaster relief; and the criminalization and demonization of Black women and girls. In the current state of a global pandemic and economic downturn, this class teaches students an inter-disciplinary approach to problem-solving which will include the progress of developing public policy and plans for political action through advocacy and technology.

CAST 1001 Major Themes in the Caribbean Studies

Assistant Professor Aleah Ranjitsingh

This course introduces students to the major factors which have shaped the Caribbean region and the study of Caribbean society and culture such as the histories of colonialism, the legacies of African slavery and indentureship. These have thus shaped understandings and experiences of, for example, Caribbean political thought; debt and debt politics; race and identity and; gender and sexuality in the Caribbean today.

American Studies

AMST 3108/History 3472 American Dreams and Realities

Professor Jocelyn Wills

Exploring the everyday experiences of ordinary Americans, this interdisciplinary course will address the “American Dream” and its relationship to historical change and the realities of American life, including the shifting boundaries of racial, class, ethnic, and gender opportunities, and the illusions of inclusion that have defined American history. Students will complete a semester-long collaborative research project focused on documenting family experiences and student struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and linking those experiences to the history and aftermath of George Floyd’s public lynching by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.

AMST 3709/AFST 3215 Performing Blackness

Associate Professor Dale Byam

What is the relationship between race and performance? Moving from the European traveling shows to minstrelsy to the carnivals of the Americas to a variety of forms located within popular culture and framed by performance theory, students will investigate how racial identity can be invented, constructed, and maintained through performance and how blackness became an integral part of that construct.

Children and Youth Studies

The Children and Youth Studies Program was created and maintains a focus on human rights and social justice. All of our courses focus on the work of justice in the lives of children especially Black children, is how we begin the major in our 2100 or Perspectives on Childhood course. Literally. So our entire curriculum is based on discussing race and racism in our lives as well as how racism shapes the fields of social work, education, mental health, housing, and environmental policy (including play grounds and parks) for children.

CHST 2100 Perspectives on Childhood

Childhood viewed from the perspectives of health science, history, literature, psychology, sociology, and the arts. The history of childhood; autobiography as inquiry into the child’s selfhood; the child’s imagination; child development and health; adolescence as life-stage and perceptions of adolescence; the child in relation to the family, school, and community; children’s experiences of personal, social, and political problems; social, economic, and educational policies affecting children; children’s rights and international policy.

CHST 3510 Children and Disability

A critical overview of children and disability using local, national, and international perspective. Historical to contemporary-based discussions on culture and policy demonstrated through education, media, and medical practices, specific to children and disability. Understanding of current policy, child-centered research, and practices specific to child and disability extending from the United States to China.

CHST 3310 Children and the Law

An introduction to the role law plays in the many aspects of the lives of children, age birth to legal majority, ranging from education to child welfare to juvenile justice.

CHST 3130 Children of New York

Examination of children’s lives in New York and the institutions that affect them. Exploration of children’s living conditions and lifestyles. Relevant demographic variables include age, gender, ethnicity, race, geography, and socioeconomic status. Conditions and dynamics of housing, education, religion, family structure, and public health. Children’s social organization in such activities as play, sports, music, video gaming, internet use, illegal music downloading, television, dance clubs, etc. Examination of demographic trends with focus on child welfare; including analysis of legal and social policies affecting children.


CLAS 2109 The Self and Society

Professor Gail Smith

Critical examination of issues of the self in relationship to society both in ancient cultures and contemporary life. Included in the readings and discussion will be Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. and his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, and women suffrage in the United States.

CLAS 2113 The Monster Within

Associate Professor Philip Thibodeau

In this course we will explore the origin and appeal of fictional monsters. We will also use this as a starting point for examining larger questions about the social and psychological roots of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia.

CLAS 2109 The (Incarcerated) Self and Society

Associate Professor Brian Sowers

This course examines the theme of the self and society through various readings of ancient and modern authors, including Plato, Euripides, Perpetua, W.E.B. Du Bois, Huey Newton, Harriet Jacobs, and Angela Davis. The unifying theme for this course will be the interrelationship between bound, chained, enslaved, or imprisoned individuals and the comparably incarcerated societies in which they find themselves. Central to this is the topic of American racism and White supremacy, from slavery to police brutality and mass incarceration.

Communication Arts, Sciences and Disorders

CASD 2481 Audiology 1 (Introduction to Diagnostic Audiology)

Professor DiToro

Discusses cultural differences that may impact seeking clinical services The course also addresses the limited diversity in the professions which may reflect institutional racism despite the existence of an Office of Multicultural Concerns. DiToro also discusses how individuals with communication impairments and/or limited to no ability to speak English may have negative interactions and/or extreme challenges when interacting with law enforcement and other first responders. DiToro will and provide greater detail about these issues in CASD 2482 Audiology 2 (Introduction to Rehabilitative Audiology) this fall.

CASD 1619 Intercultural Communication

Professor Shuming Lu

Speaks directly to addressing issues of racism, prejudices, misperceptions, or misunderstandings due to cultural/ethnical differences, etc. Intercultural understanding and respect of diversity will lead to mutual respect and societal harmony across different spectrums of race, color, faiths, and cultures.

CASD 7337X Speech Sound Development and Disorders

Professor Klara Marton

In that course, students spend a two-hour session on nonstandard dialects and accents with a special focus on African American English and Spanish-influenced English. Following that session, they integrate the question of speech-language disorder versus cultural-linguistic difference with issues in diagnostics, intervention, and code switching in the classroom.


COMM 1000 Survey of Communication Studies

Introduction to the theory and practice of the discipline of communication. How people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts. How human communication influences and is influenced by the relationships we form, our institutions, society, organizations, and media.

COMM 2000 Communication Theory

Professor Golubow

A survey of the major models, theories, and methodologies of communication and how theories are used to describe, analyze and explain a variety of communication phenomena in real-world situations.


HIST 1101: The Shaping of the Modern World

Professor Steven Remy

This textbook-free open educational resources-based course explores major global developments from the 14th century to the present. We will deal extensively with the history of racism and its legacies in sections on modern imperialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the connections between slavery and capitalism, the origins of modern racism and “whiteness” as an ideology, colonialism and anti-colonialism, and contemporary debates around about memory, museum collections, monuments, and reparations taking place around the world.

HIST 1201 American Pluralism to 1877

Professor Kotick

U.S. history from pre-Columbian times to 1877 through the prisms of slavery, race, and empire in the Atlantic World.

HIST 3031 Medieval History

Associate Professor Lauren Mancia

Topics include the invention of race in the medieval era, and encounters between Africans, Christians, Jews, and Muslims from the 11th to the 15th century. The course will investigate how racial ideas (often married with religious ideas) played a role in the development of Europe in the premodern era, setting the stage for the way Europe later operated in the modern world.

HIST 3360 Currents in Contemporary World History

Professor Steven Remy

The focus of this course is how we can use history to understand and change our shared world. We confront the historical dimensions of some of the most important events, phenomena, and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world, including the relationship between slavery and capitalism, mass incarceration, and policing, global anti-imperialism, contemporary debates over museum collections and monuments in South Africa, England, and the United States, racialized structures of space, power, and privilege, “green imperialism” and indigenous populations, environmental “sacrifice zones” and the majority world, the emergence of the restorative justice movement, and debates over reparations in the United States, post–World War II Germany, and other places.

HIST 3472 American Dreams and Realities

Professor Jocelyn Wills

Exploring the everyday experiences of ordinary Americans, this interdisciplinary course will address the “American Dream” and its relationship to historical change and the realities of American life, including the shifting boundaries of racial, class, ethnic, and gender opportunities, and the illusions of inclusion that have defined American history. Students will complete a semester-long collaborative research project focused on documenting family experiences and student struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic, and linking those experiences to the history and aftermath of George Floyd’s public lynching by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.

HIST 3512 Modern Latin America

Associate Professor Christopher Ebert

This course takes as a central theme issues of race and racism in political, social and economic contexts. Like the United States, all of the Latin American nations at their inceptions contained large (and often majority) populations of indigenous people, enslaved and free people of African descent, and mixed-race groups. Their integration into post-imperial polities was a hotly contested issue both in theory and practice, continuing until the present day.

HIST 3534 Revolutionary China

Professor Andrew Meyer

This course deals both with the ways certain communities were marginalized within the Chinese empire and early Republic (women, ethnic minorities, the economically disenfranchised) and with the ways that racist ideology was used against the government and people of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Ideas such as the so-called “White Man’s Burden,” the “Yellow Peril,” and institutional impositions such as the Unequal Treaties and the Exclusion Act of 1882 underwrote forms of predation and exploitation that cost Chinese society dearly in lost lives and despoiled property. This course is fundamentally about the efforts of people in China to rebuild state and society in the face of such corrosive forces.

HIST 4003 Colloquium in Social History: France and the World

Professor David Troyansky

The course will examine various ways in which France has been connected to a wider world. It will explore the complicated nature of France itself as well as colonial enterprises in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, and it will trace several anticolonial struggles, processes of decolonization, population migrations, race, and multiculturalism throughout the postcolonial Francophone world.

HIST 4007 Colloquium in Women’s History: India, 1800-Present

Professor Swapna Banerjee

Among multitudes of discriminations that assail people on the margins, colorism is a persistent theme that afflicts the South Asian population irrespective of gender. The caste system based on a hierarchical division of labor and the British depiction of Indians as dark, primitive people incapable of self-rule left Indians with an internalized racism and a psychological trauma that strongly favor lighter skin. Combatting the bias against darker skin that affects more women than men, feminist activists have launched a campaign “Dark is Beautiful” and a leading actress and an advocate Nandita Das further “reinvented” the movement as “India’s Got Colour.” Taking into consideration the prejudices and differences based on caste, skin color, class, religion, and sexual orientation, this course, “Women in Modern India (1800–Present),” investigates the stories of pain, grief, anger, as well as that of triumph, joy, and glory that generations of women experienced in their everyday lives.

On the centenary year of women’s suffrage in the US when the world is seized by a global pandemic, an unprecedented economic crisis, and the worst form of racism and systemic violence against minority groups, this course will situate the history of Indian women in a global, comparative perspective. Unlike their Western counterparts, women in India played a key role in the drafting of the Indian Constitution and gained universal adult suffrage along with men when India, upon independence from Britain (1947), adopted its own machinery of governance (1950). Debunking the stereotypes of South Asian women as docile, oppressed, and subordinated, we will examine the diversities, challenges, and victories of women in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar and connect their life experiences with their global sisters.

HIST 4200 Oral History Theory and Practice

Associate Professor Philip Napoli

The lives of Brooklyn College students in 2020 have been rocked by two developments; the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of a major protest movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

The New York Times tells us, “In New York City, black and Latino people died at twice the rate of white people.” (Emma Goldberg, “George Floyd Protests Add New Front Line for Coronavirus Doctors,” June 7, 2020 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/health/doctors-george-floyd-coronavirus.html)

And at the same time, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have been motivated to join in the protests.

Acknowledging these realities, this course centers around the theme of “resistance.” It will provide instruction on the theory and technique of oral history and allow students to interview and work with the oral testimony of New Yorkers about the world around them.

Students will record seven hours of oral testimony about their chosen topic and produce a piece of digital scholarship that reflects on their work.

HIST 7110X Contemporary World History

Professor Steven Remy

The history of the main world regions and their interrelationship since 1945. Breakdown of the wartime alliance; confrontation between the West and the Soviet Union; the atomic age; the eras of the cold war and peaceful coexistence; wars of national liberation and the new states of Africa and Asia. Historical contexts of modern revolutions and wars. Breakup of the Soviet Union; Persian Gulf War and the primacy of oil; the new nationalism and ethnic conflicts; the global economy and the silicon age.

HIST 7770X Themes in Non-Western History

Professor Swapna Banerjee

Readings, discussions, and analyses of significant themes in African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American, or Middle Eastern history.

Judaic Studies

JUST 4195 Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred Prof. Shapiro

For thousands of years, Jews were despised by Christians and Muslims who accused Jews of despicable behavior. In 1873, an unemployed racist German journalist coined a new pseudo-scientific term, Antisemitism, to argue that Jews were not a religious community, but a dangerous sub-human race seeking to dominate and destroy the white races. This course explores the benighted intellectual and emotional world of racists from antiquity to the 21st century.

JUST 3535/CMLT 3625 Holocaust Literature

Professor Robert Shapiro

Explore the annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi Germans through the mirror of literature. We discuss and interpret works of historical fiction and memoir by Jews who endured the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. The key work is the epic novel Tree of Life by Chava Rosenfarb, who was a teenager in the ghetto and at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, where Anne Frank died. Fiction from the ashes.

JUST 3405/HIST 3552 The Sephardic Heritage

The history of the Jewish experience in Muslim lands is one of surviving second class citizenship. The mass emigration of the Middle Eastern Jews in the 20th century—mainly to Israel—introduced them to Western style racial discrimination, which is only now disappearing.


LING 3024 African American English

Assistant Professor Simanique Moody

Introduction to the historical development and linguistic structure of African American English presented through the analysis of its underlying linguistic structure; social, cultural, and educational considerations of its use; comparison of the major theories of African American English development, including its relationship to other dialects of American English and Caribbean creole languages.

LING 3029 Sociolinguistics

Race and language, attitudes toward languages/dialects used by racial minority groups, and other related topics are an explicit focus of this course. The study of language as it is used by various social groups. Language and gender, language and culture, Creole languages, Black English, linguistic change.

LING 2001 Intro to linguistics

Race is not the central topic addressed but it is covered. Here are the descriptions of course activities that address two of the learning outcomes of the Scientific World General Educatino category:

Demonstrate how tools of science, mathematics, technology, or formal analysis can be used to analyze problems and develop solutions.

Students also examine language attitudes, e.g. toward “high-prestige” and “low-prestige” dialects, and are expected to show how linguistic analysis of these dialects can be used to inform debates about educational practices. For instance, in the unit on social and ethnic variation, students compare grammatical features (phonological, syntactic and morphological) of African American English (a dialect that is commonly mischaracterized as substandard or “defective”) with those of Standard American English (a high-prestige dialect). In one homework assignment, students take the linguistic analyses as descriptions of mental grammars used by speakers, and are asked to provide fact-based arguments about the merits of a decision by the Oakland School Board to use African American English as one of the languages of instruction in a public school system where half of the students are native speakers of that dialect. (This outcome is directly related to the one described in the final box.)

Understand the scientific principles underlying matters of policy or public concern in which science plays a role.

The course presents units on second language acquisition as well as on regional and social and ethnic language variation (e.g. African American English and dialects spoken by more recent U.S. immigrant populations). One direct application of these topics is education policy, including bilingual education programs. Both texts, as well as supplemental readings, cover these issues. In homework assignments and the final exam, students are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the rule-governed (i.e., grammatical) nature of “low-prestige” dialects (such as African American English) that are commonly subject to misconceptions about their being “defective” instances of higher prestige dialects (such as Standard English). In one short essay assignment they are then asked to provide fact-based arguments for or against a controversial 1996 decision by the Oakland school board to implement what amounted to a bi-lingual education program (using African American English as one of the languages of instruction) in a district where half of the students were native speakers of the lower-prestige dialect.


PHIL 3306 Ethics and Society

Associate Professor Christine Vitrano

This course focuses on important social issues that concern and affect us all, such as abortion, terrorism, torture, capital punishment, pornography, affirmative action, euthanasia, and animal rights. One aim of this course is to help you sharpen your critical skills by looking at these issues from all different angles.

We begin with a brief review of three classic moral theories (Aristotle’s virtue theory, Kantian deontology and Mill’s utilitarianism) and the rest of the course is focused on examining the morality of these social issues. This course will involve a lot of class discussion and some group work, and students will be encouraged to debate these issues with each other.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about this course, e-mail Professor Vitrano.

PHIL 3702 Philosophy of Culture

Professor Serene Khader

We will examine three sets of moral and political questions related to culture: What is cultural identity, and what is cultural appropriation? Can we have freedom when our selves are socially and culturally constructed? Do members of cultural minority or historically oppressed groups have rights to cultural preservation, and what should be done when “cultural practices” appear harmful or oppressive?

PHIL 3703 Political Philosophy

Assistant Professor Matthew Lindauer

What does it mean to say that a policy, a law, or a state is unjust? Who is responsible for addressing political injustice? This course will examine the most influential contemporary and historical answers to these questions. In introducing students to political philosophy, the course will also discuss important real-world injustices, including racial and gender injustice. And in addition to seeking a better understanding of philosophical concepts and theories, we will examine what our conclusions should amount to in practice, in terms of what reforms and actions democratic citizens should be advancing.

Political Science

POLS 3122 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Relation of current trends and conflicts in the Supreme Court to the clash of fundamental ideas and values in American society. Cases involving civil liberties including such issues as freedom of speech, press, religion, and criminal justice and race relations.

POLS 3157 Women in Black Freedom Struggle

Analysis of the role of women in the Black freedom struggle. Focus on women activists, theorists, and women-led organizing efforts that helped to define and orient the Black freedom struggle. Examine interlocking issues of gender, sexuality, class, and race in postwar America, and the development of the modern civil rights movement.

POLS 3393W Writings on African Women and Feminism

Critical examination of major issues on African women and feminism. Commonalities of experiences through the exercise of patriarchy and injustices privileging and oppressing some people based on their gender. Critiques of feminism that have emerged from African women scholars, as a hierarchical structure that privileged Western thought and experiences. Consequences of debate to gender relations on the African continent. Focus on developing students writing skills. Writing-intensive course.

Puerto Rican and Latino Studies

PRLS 3203 Latino/a Diasporas in the U.S.

Professor Arroyo

Formation of Latinx diasporas in the United States. Legacy of indigenous societies, colonization. African diasporas in Latin America. Racial formation. Issues of citizenship, racism, and discrimination.

PRLS 1001 Introduction to Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies

Professor Robles-Mejias
Professor Ortíz-Minaya
Professor Maria Pérez y González

Pertinent themes (racial formations, justice, identity, demographics) in Puerto Rican/Latinx history, culture, literature, contemporary society, and politics. Afro-Latinidades. Impact of the U.S. economic policies on Puerto Rico; causes of Puerto Rican and Latinx (im)migration. Part of General Education.

PRLS 2105 NY Latin@ Culture and the Arts

Professor Llompart

Contemporary Puerto Rican/Latinx arts, performance, theater, drama and expressive culture, including resistance and justice arts. Students will attend performances. Part of General Education.

PRLS 2505 Latin@s in the Criminal Justice Complex

Professor Alan Aja

Penal systems; mass incarceration and reform, racial profiling, juvenile justice, drug criminalization. Immigration policy, human and civil rights struggles and organized movements. Political activism and repression, including Puerto Rican nationalists, “gang” formation, school-to-prison pipeline, urban displacement.

PRLS 3105 Puerto Rican/Latin@ Cultural Formations

Professor Aramburu

Taín@ and indigenous, European, and African origins. Folklore and cultural persistence. Colonialism, economics, race, gender, and transnational identities. Part of General Education.

PRLS 3203 Latino/a Diasporas in the United States

Professor Morales
Professor Robles-Mejías

Formation of Latinx diasporas in the United States. Legacy of indigenous societies, colonization. African diasporas in Latin America. Racial formation. Issues of citizenship, racism, and discrimination. Part of General Education.

PRLS 3325 Institutions of Urban Life and the Latino/a Experience

Professor Maria Pérez y González

Cross-cultural understanding of the diversity among Latinxs within the urban context. Brown, Black and Blue interactions. Conflicts between assimilation and cultural preservation, (im)migration, settlement, and institutionalized racism.

PRLS 4640 Puerto Rican, Chican@, Latin@ Literature

Professor Robles-Mejías

Study of Puerto Rican, Chican@, and Latin@ texts such as chronicles, essays, diaries, autobiographies, testimonials, novels, short stories, drama, and poetry. Focusing on Black Latinx authors.

Religious Studies

RELG 3003 Questions of Text and Truth, Intro to Judaism/Christianity/Islam

While this course is a survey of the three Abrahamic religions, race and social movements come up as illustrations of features from the Abrahamic religions in antiquity. For example, the instructor will read Hebrew Bible next to readings written by modern-day activists. While not directly addressing issues of race within the subject matter itself, discussion of these religions in their non-European context is the focus of this course.

RELG 3005: Religions of India, China, and Japan

While this course is about the development of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, it is also very much a class about colonialism and its effects on the historiography of these religions (and on the history of their practice). Discussion of these religions in their non-European and post-colonial contexts is also a focus of this course.

Note: Many of the courses above and below on this HSS list are offered by other departments and programs but also count towards (and, in some cases, are cross-listed with) the Studies in Religion program. Check the Studies in Religion courses page for that full list.


SOCY 1101 Introduction to Sociology

Introductory sociology gives students the tools to think critically about contemporary society. Using social theory and social data, we seek to understand how contemporary societies structure inequality by race, class, and gender, among other dimensions. The sociological imagination, connecting aspects of our individual experience to larger institutions and forces, can be applied in many disciplines and occupations.

SOCY 1200 Sociology of Sport

Sport is about more than athletes, teams, and games. It is an institution that allows us to see how contemporary society is organized around dimensions of power such as race, class, and gender. Sociology of sport is an introduction to sociology that applies social theory and social data from the institution of sport to broader questions about inequality and social change.

SOCY 1201 Sociology of Hip Hop

Sociology of hip-hop is an introduction to urban sociology through a focus on the social, political, and performative aspects of hip-hop. The course connects urban institutions and the organization of urban communities to cultural production including music, art, and dance. Drawing on social theory and social data, students learn how race, class, gender, and sexuality structure contemporary societies.

SOCY 2101 Classical Social Theory

Classical social theory tells the story of the founding of the discipline of sociology, but more importantly, how examination of historical patterns of inequality and forms of solidarity generates insight into inequality and solidarity in contemporary societies. The founding theories of sociology still apply to contemporary communities, and understanding how race, class, and gender organize social forces and institutions is as relevant today as it was in the 19th century.

SOCY 2102 Contemporary Social Theory

Contemporary social theory traces the development of sociological ideas from the twentieth century to the present. Part of this development is about sociology as a discipline becoming more diverse, including theories by women and people of color, and of theories focused on societies outside of the Western world. Insight from these theories have never been more relevant to our increasingly globalized world.

SOCY 2111 Research Methods I

Qualitative research methods gives students tools to examine aspects of contemporary communities, including social issues that define our moment in history, including inequalities in systems of health care, the criminal justice system, work, and politics. The rapid mobilization of groups, organizations, and communities on the issues of racism and police violence, the public health crisis, and economic disruption can be understood through qualitative research. These skills apply widely in academic and employment settings.

SOCY 2112 Research Methods II

Quantitative research methods has arrived on the front page of newspapers and media websites across the globe as coverage of the pandemic and protests against racism dominate the news cycles. Everyone is talking about data analytics and data visualization. This class teaches students how to use those tools in order to understand the organization of contemporary societies and to participate in our public discussions of key social issues based on social data and analytical expertise.

SOCY 2201 Sociology of the Environment

We are in a pivotal moment in history. We must understand how current forms of social organization and resource usage are threatening our continued existence. Some people and groups deny this existential crisis. Sociology of the environment examines the relationship between major environmental stresses and the political conflicts associated with them, as well as how communities organize to effect social change.

SOCY 2400 The Family

Sociology of the family looks at the intersection of social institutions beginning in our households and moving outward. Family is connected to other institutions such as the economy, religion, education, and politics. Understanding these connections, and how they are determined by patterns of inequality by race, class, expands the sociological imagination and contributes to current discussions of public policy.

SOCY 2401 Sociology of Children

At a moment when generational conflict seems intense and as young people take on more public roles in creating social change, sociology of children has never been more relevant. This class uses historical and cross-cultural views of childhood and youth culture across the intersections of family, education, the economy, and health to understand contemporary communities.

SOCY 2600 Gender and Society

Gender and society is one of the foundational courses in sociology. We cannot understand contemporary society without examination of gender as a system of inequality across institutions including family, the economy, education, and politics, as well as how gender intersects with race, class, and sexuality in producing distributions of resources and privileges.

SOCY 2601 Race and Ethnicity

Sociology of race and ethnicity is one of the foundational courses in sociology. Contemporary societies across the globe are witnessing mobilizations of collective action on the issue of racism and racial justice that have not been seen in generations. This course provides students will the tools needed to understand and participate in those mobilizations.

SOCY 2701 Sociology of Science and Technology

During the COVID pandemic, data visualizations have captured public attention as they demonstrate how health resources and outcomes are unequally distributed. The way that we relate to these visualizations reveals some of the ways that science and technology operate in contemporary societies. In this class, students will have the opportunity to examine some of the processes that connect the production and distribution of scientific knowledge with public policy and politics.

SOCY 3202 Race, Class, and Environmental Justice

The pandemic has revealed striking forms of social inequality. But lurking behind this crisis is another, bigger one: the climate crisis. Race, class, and environmental justice is a course that examines the intersection of these dimensions and how groups and communities mobilize to face these crises.

SOCY 3206 Sociology of Immigration

Global movements of people are part of the story of our contemporary moment: not only the pandemic, but also how structural factors such as politics and the economy create pushes and pulls of population flows. In this context, it is important to understand the sociology of immigration, how race, class, and gender organize the immigrant experience and nativist backlashes.

SOCY 3504 Criminology

The mass mobilization against racism and police violence has made sociological analysis of the law and our criminal justice system even more urgent. In order to understand why communities are calling for an abolition of policing, you need to know the history and social theories of crime, its treatment, and prevention.

SOCY 3505 Sociology of Public Health

Why are African American and Latinx communities so much more affected by COVID-19 than White communities? How might we address the organization and distribution of health resources and health risks that produces this inequality? Sociology of public health will provide students with the tools to answer these questions.

SOCY 3605 Social Movements

We are in the midst of one of the largest and most significant mass mobilizations in recent history. How have people come together to demand justice and social change in the face of our long history of racism and police violence? The study of social movements provides students with the tools to investigate our contemporary moment and to participate in the discussion of public policy regarding policing.

SOCY 3607 Working 9-5? The Sociology of Work in the United States

For many, but not for all, the pandemic has dramatically changed our working lives. Why do we characterize some occupations as heroic during this pandemic? Sociology of work in the United States will investigate the intersection of race, gender, immigration, and labor.

Women’s and Gender Studies

WGST 3550 Special Topics in Social Science—Prison Abolition: History, Theory, and Practice

Professor Eisenberg-Guyot

We will consider the case for abolishing prisons from historical, theoretical, and practical perspectives, especially Black feminist perspectives, and will challenge ourselves to envision accountability and justice outside of the criminal punishment system.

WGST 3436 Global Perspectives on LGBTIQ Sexualities

Professor Paisley Currah

We will learn about global perspectives on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) sexualities and genders and study the the LGBTIQ global movement for human rights with consideration of global sexualities and genders in relation to the Western sex/gender system and, changing theoretical frameworks.

WGST 3350/AFST 3127/POLS 3157 Women in the Black Freedom Struggle

Distinguished Professor Jeanne Theoharis

Analysis of the role of women in the black freedom struggle concentrating on the period from 1940 to 1980 with a focus on women activists, theorists, and women-led organizing efforts that helped to define and orient the Black freedom struggle.

WGST 3349W/AFST 3364/POLS 3393W Writing on African Women and Feminism

Professor Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome

Critical examination of major issues on African women and feminism. We will study the commonalities of experiences through the exercise of patriarchy and injustices privileging and oppressing some people based on their gender and will study critiques of feminism that have emerged from African women scholars, as a hierarchical structure that privileged western thought and experiences.

WGST 3488/AFST 3362 Race, Gender and Inequality

Professor Fraser

This course examines how race and gender shape structural and institutional inequalities in the United States (e.g. in voter suppression; the criminalization and demonization of Black women and girls; and in the prison-industrial complex) and teaches students an inter-disciplinary approach to problem solving which will include the process of developing public policy and plans for political action through advocacy and technology.

Brooklyn. All in.