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254A White Working Class and the Law (2)

Seminar - 2 hours. This seminar will draw heavily on critical race theory scholarship to consider the social, cultural, economic, and legal situation of low-income and/or low-education whites in contemporary U.S. society.  A principal aim will be to probe what is at the paradoxical intersection of white-skin privilege with socioeconomic disadvantage.  Legal issues discussed will include labor and employment, discrimination, affirmative action in education, the opioid epidemic, health care, disability, and public benefits.  We will also consider the voting patterns and electoral power of the white working class and poor whites, with particular attention to the 2016 Election. 

Critical whiteness studies is a robust thread within critical race theory scholarship, and the seminar will feature a wide array of readings from that subfield, exploring among other concepts “white privilege,” the psychological “wages” of whiteness, “whiteness as property,” “white trash,” and the race vs. class debate.  Issues of geography, e.g., rurality, will also be addressed.  The course will also draw on depictions of whiteness—and low-income whites in particular—in film and literature to probe complex questions of power and belonging. 

Students will have the option of writing a paper that satisfies the Advanced Writing Requirement or writing a series of short papers.  Class attendance and class participation will be a component of the course grade, and students may be required to lead or co-lead the class discussion on occasion. 

Please note: students who have already taken the Law and Rural Livelihoods Seminar are not eligible to take this course.
Graduation Requirements: May meet Advanced Writing Requirement with the instructor's permission.
Classroom Policies: This course has a no-laptop policy.

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