What are the roots of injustice? How do we heal a world that is more connected, yet more divided, than ever?
The global engagement component of the Brandeis Core explores social, political, cultural and linguistic diversity in the United States and the world by focusing on three thematic areas, listed below.
Contemporary U.S. society is marked by demographic and cultural changes that have both advanced and challenged the nation’s commitment to the realization of individuals unalienable rights as human beings.
Scientific, technological, legal, political and aesthetic developments have created significant opportunities throughout the U.S., even as they have also entrenched existing injustices. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies in the United States courses prepare students to engage with the dynamics, developments and divisions within U.S. society in the 21st century.
To be productive participants in a society undergoing significant ethnoracial, political, environmental and cultural change, students will need to understand the important role that a commitment to social justice has played in the advancement of the United States. They will also need to address the role that inequality has played in the country’s formation and continues to play in its development. Courses may draw on a variety of disciplinary approaches to address any of the following:
- The critical study of race, class, gender, sex, disability, ethnicity, sexuality, age, color, nationality and religion, with a specific emphasis on historically marginalized populations.
- The close assessment of laws, regulations, procedures, and policies that have enforced or opposed inequity and injustice.
- The analysis of theories that explain, analyze or critique inequality.
- The empirical examination of coalition and community-building, collaboration across difference and other practices aimed at increasing inclusion.
Today’s world has been shaped by forces that cannot be understood without taking a broad global perspective.
Human experience has been influenced by the expansion of democracy; technological, environmental, moral and aesthetic changes; greater attention to the protection of human rights; and the improvement of economic conditions for many. However, progress has not been equal, and for many, circumstances have worsened.
Our world and its peoples continue to be deeply challenged by new forms of age-old problems. Religious, ethnic, racial, gender and sexual differences are used as grounds for persecution, exclusion and other forms of unequal treatment. The effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate already growing global economic inequality, food insecurity and competition for natural resources. These phenomena are interrelated with the legacy or colonialism; world, civil and regional wars; diasporic migration; and terrorism.
Difference and Justice in the World courses will allow students to focus on the social, cultural, political, environmental and economic diversity of human experience within the global/transnational context. Looking beyond singular or dominant understandings of the world, students will engage in the study of peoples outside the U.S., their histories, arts, cultures, politics, economies, environments and religions.
They will address problems such as:
- The ways in which different cultures, societies and social groups define and express themselves and are defined by others.
- How categories of difference are constructed, and how they intersect with one another.
- The production and mediation of social and cultural power in different contexts.
- The unequal effects of globalization and climate change on different cultures and groups in all spheres of human experience, across histories and geographies.
The World Languages and Cultures requirement at Brandeis reflects a belief in the importance of understanding language — our own and the language of others — as central to society and culture.
The goal of this requirement, therefore, is to prepare students to understand better and to participate in a different culture by developing basic skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in another language.
Students satisfy the requirement by demonstrating an intermediate-level proficiency, which is usually achieved by successfully completing a third semester course (normally numbered in the 30s) or demonstrating equivalent proficiency.
- Analyze the historical and contemporary relationships between and within societies, institutions, regions and peoples in English-speaking North America and in the world at large.
- Understand dynamics of social difference, including power, privilege, prejudice, discrimination, inequality, injustice, identities and political and environmental changes.
- Understand the histories, cultures, expressions and experiences of historically marginalized peoples in the U.S. and in the world.
- Explore linguistic and cultural competence beyond one’s own culture.
2019-20 Faculty Committees
DEIS-US and DJW Committee
World Languages and Culture Committee
|Name||Language / Culture|
|Irina Dubinina, Chair||Russian|
|Elena Gonzalez Ros||Spanish|
|J. Scott Van Der Meid||Study Abroad|
|Cheryl Walker||Greek, Latin|