Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies in the United States

Last updated: July 10, 2019 at 1:41 PM


As part of the global engagement requirement, students will study the important role that a commitment to social justice has played in the advancement of the United States, and address the role that inequality has played in the country's formation and continues to play in its development.

Requirement Beginning Fall 2019

For students entering Brandeis beginning fall 2019, students will complete one semester course that satisfies the diversity, equity and inclusion studies in the United States requirement. Courses that satisfy the requirement in a particular semester are designated "deis-us" in the Schedule of Classes for that semester.

There is no diversity, equity and inclusion studies in the United States requirement for students entering Brandeis prior to fall 2019.

Courses of Instruction

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Studies in the U.S.

AAAS 5a Introduction to African and African American Studies
[ deis-us dl ss ]
An interdisciplinary introduction to major topics in African and African American studies. Provides fundamental insights into Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas through approaches and techniques of social science and the humanities. Usually offered every year.
Chad Williams

AAAS 154b Race, Science, and Society
[ deis-us ss ]
Traces scientific concepts of race from the 18th century to today, interrogating their uses and transformations over time. It explores how science has defined race, how people have challenged such conceptions, and alternate ways for understanding human difference. Usually offered every second year.
Wangui Muigai

AAAS 157a African American Political Thought
[ deis-us ss wi ]
Examines the ideological and intellectual traditions that have influenced African American politics. Addresses the question of what are the best strategies for black Americans to pursue freedom and opportunity in the United States. Usually offered every second year.
Amber Spry

AAAS 159a Identity Politics in the United States
[ deis-us ss wi ]
Examines the politics of identity in the United States. It brings together several disciplines: history, political science, sociology, psychology, and others. It spans several groups and social movements in order to equip students with the skills to understand identity group politics through historical contexts, theoretical underpinnings, and current manifestations. The course is organized around a central question: what is the relationship between democracy and identity politics in the United States? In addressing this question, the course will explore the complexities of intergroup relations across race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and examine when, why, and how policy and politics respond to group interests. Usually offered every year.
Amber Spry

AAAS/ENG 80a Black Looks: The Promise and Perils of Photography
[ deis-us djw hum wi ]
Formerly offered as ENG 80a.
Explores photography and Africans, African-Americans and Caribbean people, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. This course will examine fiction that refers to the photograph; various photographic archives; and theorists on photography and looking. Usually offered every third year.
Faith Smith

AAAS/WGS 125a Intellectual History of Black Women
[ deis-us ss ]
Takes a historical approach to the development of black feminist thought in the United States. We will explore major themes and events in U.S. history from the perspectives of black women (e.g., forced black migration to the Western world, transatlantic slavery, black emancipation from slavery, Jim Crow, the great migration(s), the civil rights era, and the “post” civil rights era, etc.). We will contextualize the emergence of black feminist thought within and in relation to these events, as well as highlight black feminisms’ intersections with other black intellectual traditions and freedom struggles. By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate a robust familiarity with the above mentioned historical events as well as define black feminist conceptual/theoretical frameworks such as standpoint theory; oppositional consciousness; intersectionality; the culture of dissemblance; the politics of respectability; controlling images; pleasure, and the erotic, among others. Usually offered every year.
Shoniqua Roach

AAPI/HIS 163a Asian American History
[ deis-us dl ss ]
Explores the history of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States with a focus on their lived experiences and contributions to U.S. society. Course culminates in a final AAPI digital oral history project. Usually offered every second year.
Yuri Doolan

AMST/ANT 117a Decolonization: A Native American Studies Approach
[ deis-us oc ss ]
Examines "What is decolonization?" through the lens of Native American Studies. We will discuss issues ranging from settler colonialism, stereotypes, social movements, identity, cultural revitalization, landscape, and interventions into natural and social sciences. Usually offered every second year.
Lee Bloch

ANTH 156a Power and Violence: The Anthropology of Political Systems
[ deis-us nw ss ]
Political orders are established and maintained by varying combinations of overt violence and the more subtle workings of ideas. The course examines the relationship of coercion and consensus, and forms of resistance, in historical and contemporary settings. Usually offered every second year.
Elizabeth Ferry

ECON 69a The Economics of Race and Gender
[ deis-us ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
The role of race and gender in economic decision making. Mainstream and alternative economic explanations for discrimination, and analysis of the economic status of women and minorities. Discussion of specific public policies related to race, class, and gender. Usually offered every second year.
Elizabeth Brainerd

ENG 138a Race, Region, and Religion in the Twentieth-Century South
[ deis-us hum wi ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took ENG 38b in prior years.
Twentieth century fiction of the American South. Racial conflict, regional identity, religion, and modernization in fiction from both sides of the racial divide and from both sides of the gender line. Texts by Chestnutt, Faulkner, Warren, O'Connor, Gaines, McCarthy, and Ellison. Usually offered every third year.
John Burt

ENG 143a The History of Mediascapes and Critical Maker Culture
[ deis-us dl hum oc ]
To decolonize book history and "maker culture," the class examines colonial erasure, colonial knowledge production, race, gender, disability, neurodiversity, sexuality in making an alternative book history that includes khipu, the girdle book, the wampum, pamphlets, zines, and wearable media technology. Usually offered every year.
Dorothy Kim

ENG 167b Writing the Nation: James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison
[ deis-us hum ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took ENG 57b in prior years.
An in-depth study of three major American authors of the twentieth century. Highlights the contributions of each author to the American literary canon and to its diversity. Explores how these novelists narrate cross-racial, cross-gendered, cross-regional, and cross-cultural contact and conflict in the United States. Usually offered every third year.

FA 181a Housing and Social Justice
[ ca deis-us dl ss ]
Employs housing as a lens to interrogate space and society, state and market, power and change, in relation with urban inequality and social justice. It trains students to become participants in the global debates about housing. In doing so, it teaches students about dominant paradigms of urban development and welfare and situates such paradigms in the 20th century history of capitalism. It will explicitly adopt a comparative and transnational urban approach to housing and social justice, showing how a globalized perspective provides important insights into local shelter struggles and debates. Usually offered every second year.
Muna Guvenc

HIS/HSSP 142a Health Activism
[ deis-us oc ss ]
Formerly offered as HSSP 142a.
Examines the history of health activism in the U.S. over the past 125 years, from late 19th century debates over compulsory vaccination to contemporary public health campaigns around gang violence and incarceration. Usually offered every third year.
Wangui Muigai

HIST 153b Slavery and the American Civil War
[ deis-us dl ss ]
A survey of the history of slavery, the American South, the antislavery movement, the coming of the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Usually offered every second year.
Abigail Cooper

HIST 157b The Secret Lives of the Enslaved: Marginalized Voices and the Writing of History
[ deis-us dl ss wi ]
Seeks to understand not only the system but the inner lives and cultures of slaves within that system. This course is a reading-intensive seminar examining both primary and secondary sources on American slaves. Focuses on the American South but includes sources on the larger African diaspora. Usually offered every second year.
Abigail Cooper

HIST 158b Social History of the Confederate States of America
[ deis-us dl ss ]
An examination of the brief life of the southern Confederacy, emphasizing regional, racial, class, and gender conflicts within the would-be new nation. Usually offered every third year.
Abigail Cooper

HIST 160a American Legal History I
[ deis-us ss ]
Surveys American legal development from colonial settlement to the Civil War. Major issues include law as an instrument of revolution, capitalism and contract, invention of the police, family law, slavery law, and the Civil War as a constitutional crisis. Usually offered every third year.
Michael Willrich

HIST 160b American Legal History II
[ deis-us ss ]
Survey of American legal development from 1865 to the present. Major topics include constitutionalism and racial inequality, the legal response to industrialization, progressivism and the transformation of liberalism, the rise of the administrative state, and rights-based movements for social justice. Usually offered every year.
Michael Willrich

HIST 168b America in the Progressive Era: 1890-1920
[ deis-us ss ]
Surveys social and political history during the pivotal decades when America became a "modern" society and nation-state. Topics include populism, racial segregation, social science and public policy, the Roosevelt and Wilson administrations, environmental conservation, and the domestic impact of World War I. Usually offered every fourth year.
Michael Willrich

HIST 179a Labor, Gender, and Exchange in the Atlantic World, 1600-1850
[ deis-us ss ]
An examination of the interaction of cultures in the Atlantic World against a backdrop of violence, conquest, and empire-building. Particular attention is paid to the structure and function of power relations, gender orders, labor systems, and exchange networks. Usually offered every second year.
Govind Sreenivasan

NEJS 160a Jewish Feminisms
[ deis-us hum ]
Examines the role of Jewish women in the broader feminist movement and the impact and the impact of feminist theory and activism on Jewish thought, law, ritual practice and communal norms in the 20th and 21st century. We will explore classic feminist critiques and transformations of traditional Judaism and examine contemporary controversies involving issues such as equality under Jewish ritual and family law, sex segregation in public life, inclusion of Jewish People of Color and of LGBTQ Jews and antisemitism in the women's movement. Usually offered every year.
Lisa Fishbayn-Joffe

PHIL 128b Philosophy of Race and Gender
[ deis-us hum ]
Explores the nature of racism and gender oppression, as well as various remedies to them, including reparations, affirmative action, and policies of group representation at the state level. Usually offered every second year.
Marion Smiley

POL 108a Seminar: The Police and Social Movements in American Politics
[ deis-us ss wi ]
Analyses American mass political movements, their interaction with police, and their influences on American politics. Topics include the relationship between social movements and various political institutions. Explore various theories with case studies of specific political movements. Usually offered every third year.
Daniel Kryder

POL 125a Seminar: Women in American Politics
[ deis-us ss ]
Addresses three major dimensions of women's political participation: social reform and women-identified issues; women's organizations and institutions; and women politicians, electoral politics, and party identification. Covers historical context and contemporary developments in women's political activity. Usually offered every second year.
Jill Greenlee

SOC 129a Sociology of Religion
[ deis-us ss ]
An introduction to the sociological study of religion. Investigates what religion is, how it is influential in contemporary American life, and how the boundaries of public and private religion are constructed and contested. Usually offered every year.
Wendy Cadge

SOC 155b Protest, Politics, and Change: Social Movements
[ deis-us ss ]
Introduces major sociological theories about leadership, political context, culture, and identities in social movements in transnational perspective. Examines historical and contemporary cases of social movements through the lenses of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Usually offered every second year.
Gowri Vijayakumar

SOC 165a Living and Dying in America: The Sociology of Birth and Death
[ deis-us ss ]
Not open to first year students. Not open to students who had a death in their immediate family in the past year.
This course introduces the tools and concepts central to the sociological study of birth and death in the United States. It is discussion-based and includes guest speakers, field trips, and interactive assignments. Usually offered every year.
Wendy Cadge

SOC 189a Sociology of Body and Health
[ deis-us ss ]
Explores theoretical considerations of the body as a cultural phenomenon intersecting with health, healing, illness, disease, and medicine. Focuses on how gender, race, class, religion, and other dimensions of social organization shape individual experiences and opportunities for agency and resistance. Usually offered every year.
Sara Shostak

THA 142b Women Playwrights: Writing for the Stage by and about Women
[ ca deis-us wi ]
Introduces the world of female playwrights. This course will engage the texts through common themes explored by female playwrights: motherhood (and daughterhood), reproduction, sexuality, family relationships, etc. Students will participate in writing or performance exercises based on these themes. Usually offered every second year.
Adrianne Krstansky

THA 144b Black Theater and Performance
[ ca deis-us ]
Explores aesthetic innovations and transformations in African American theater and performance and examines the crucial role the stage has played in shaping perceptions and understandings of blackness. Usually offered every second year.
Isaiah Wooden

THA 145a Queer Theater
[ ca deis-us ]
Explores significant plays that have shaped and defined gay identity during the past 100 years. Playwrights span Wilde to Taylor Mac. Examining texts as literature, history, and performance, we will explore cultural change, politics, gender, the AIDS epidemic, camp, and coming out. Usually offered every third year.
Dmitry Troyanovsky

WMGS 5a Women, Genders, and Sexualities
[ deis-us oc ss ]
This interdisciplinary course introduces central concepts and topics in the field of women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Explores the position of women and other genders in diverse settings and the impact of gender as a social, cultural, and intellectual category in the United States and around the globe. Asks how gendered institutions, behaviors, and representations have been configured in the past and function in the present, and also examines the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with many other vectors of identity and circumstance in forming human affairs. Usually offered every fall.
ChaeRan Freeze, Sarah Lamb, or Harleen Singh

WMGS 105b Feminisms: History, Theory, and Practice
[ deis-us oc ss wi ]
Prerequisite: Students are encouraged, though not required, to take WMGS 5a prior to enrolling in this course.
Examines diverse theories of sex and gender within a multicultural framework, considering historical changes in feminist thought, the theoretical underpinnings of various feminist practices, and the implications of diverse and often conflicting theories for both academic inquiry and social change. Usually offered every year.
ChaeRan Freeze, Keridwen Luis, or Faith Smith

WMGS 151a The Social Politics of Sexual Education
[ deis-us ss ]
Covers the history and sociocultural politics of sexual education in the Global North with a strong focus on the U.S. Using queer, feminist, disability, and race theory, it examines what shapes "sex" and "education." Usually offered every third year.
Keridwen Luis

WMGS 155a Gender and Fandom
[ deis-us ss ]
Examines "fans" through the lens of anthropology, sociology, and gender studies to consider community, identity, cultural production, race, and gender. Students will study online fandoms, sports fandoms, sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, and read works by sociologists, anthropologists, and fans. Usually offered every second year.
Keridwen Luis

WMGS 156b Sexuality and Healthcare
[ deis-us ss ]
Considers how ideas about gender and sexuality affect healthcare, with a particular focus on queer and trans communities. Examines the creation of "the homosexual" and "the transsexual" as medicalized categories; the recent expansion of access to healthcare; and medicine's role in constructing certain kinds of bodies. Usually offered every second year.
Keridwen Luis

WMGS 166a Gender, Sexuality, and Social Media
[ deis-us ss ]
Asks how gender, sexuality, race, dis/ability, class, and other intersections of identity impact how we use and appear on social media. Early internet theorists imagined the World Wide Web as a "free" society, where "bodily" issues such as race, gender, and disability would somehow disappear. However, these identities have not vanished; in fact, we might argue that they remain even more potent in today's age of constant media connection. We will explore feminist theories of media, gender, sexuality, and race, as well as applying these theories to current events online. Students will explore the boundaries of digital activism, question the ways we continue to be embodied online, and consider power relations, discipline, and surveillance. Usually offered every third year.
Keridwen Luis

WMGS 171a Transgender Studies
[ deis-us ss ]
Introduces students to key terms and debate in the field of transgender studies, while critically interrogating how ideologies of race, class, gender, and sexuality have informed the category's rapid institutionalization. Usually offered every year.
V Varun Chaudhry

WMGS 182b Feminist Bioethics: Social Justice and Equity in Health Care
[ deis-us ss ]
Examines emergence of feminist bioethics, current issues of ethical debate related to human health, and the historical context of the field. Real-world applications of feminist ethical analysis are explored through problem-based learning, discussion, reading, research, and written, oral, and visual communication. Usually offered every year.
Beth Clark