Philosophy of Identity: Gender, Race, and Class

 General Education Learning Outcome: Develop an understanding of the nature, origins, and effects of social categories of identity.

 Aims and Objectives

This course examines the social component of identity. Our identities are not formed in a vacuum – we are influenced by the people around us. To understand who we are, therefore, we must consider the social understanding and perception of various kinds of identity. This course will focus on several important categories of identity (race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, and nationality), as well as on how those identities overlap, intersect, and influence each other.

 Grading Policy

Group work    25%
Essay 1           20%
Essay 2           25%
Quizzes          20%
Participation  10%

 Attendance/Quizzes

Every class begins with a short quiz based on the reading assignment. Quizzes function as attendance. You are allowed to miss up to 3 quizzes or 2 group work sessions without penalty.

Group work: Every Friday you will have a group assignment. You must read/watch the assigned material for the group work and submit answers to the pre-class comprehension questions. In class, you and your group will complete the in-class assignment based on the week’s readings and the discussion piece. In class, I will explain how we will conduct group work under social distancing conditions.

Essays: The writing assignments serve two purposes. First, to encourage deep reflection and engagement with a course theme and the course readings. Second, assignments allow you to develop your abilities as a writer. Improving your writing requires receiving feedback and revising in light of that feedback. For this reason, each student will review two other student papers using the peer editing sheets I will provide in class. These sheets present specific criteria by which you should evaluate your peers’ essays. This implies that your own essay will be reviewed by two peers. You will then be given 10 days to rework you essay in light of peer comments. 20% of your essay grade comes from how well you respond to peer comments; 20% comes from the quality of your peer editing sheets; and 60% comes from the overall quality of the essay.

Schedule

Week 1: Aug 10-14

  1. Introduction to identity.
  2. GWF Hegel. Independence and dependence of self-consciousness. p. 11-16
  3. Group work
    Listen to podcast before class: Francis Fukuyama on the politics of identity. 
    https://youtu.be/HBg9X4pTXso
    Play from the beginning and stop at 25:30.

 Week 2: Aug 17-21

  1. Ian Hacking: The looping effects of human kinds. P. 351-364
  2. Ian Hacking: The looping effects of human kinds. P. 365-382
  3. Group work
    Read before class: Three Generations of Imbeciles Is Enough (Excerpt from The Gene: An Intimate History)

Week 3: Aug 24-28

  1. Simon DeBeauvoir. Introduction from The Second Sex. P. 149-154 End of 2nd column.
  2. Simon DeBeauvoir. P. 154 (last paragraph, second column)-157;
    Conclusion from The Second Sex p. 754-756, 757-761, 764-766
  3. Group work
    Watch before class: What a Girl Wants (Available on Kanopy through the library)

Week 4 Aug 31-Sep. 4

  1. Brian Earp. What Is Gender For? P. 1-4 (use page numbers on the document, not PDF reader); Listen to podcast Emily Quinn
  2. Brian Earp. What Is Gender For? P. 4-9
    Also listen to:
    1. Molly Webster (~13min) Click the Play icon in the blue band above the video for the radio show.
    2. Lisa Mosconi  (~12 minutes)Click the Play icon in the blue band above the video for the radio show.
  3. Group work: Read before class: Nathan Mulch. Morals not Metaphysics
    1. Optional: Video on the brain science and gender: Socialization or Nature?

 Week 5: Sep 7-11

  1. Tom Digby. Male trouble: Are men victims of sexism? P. 247-P. 258 (PDF)
    1. Watch in class: The War on Boys Prager U
  2. Tom Digby. Male trouble: Are men victims of sexism?  P. 258-273 (PDF)
    1. Watch in class: The Factual Feminist
  3. Group Work:
    1. Before class: Watch Wrestling with Manhood. Documentary on Kanopy (access via ONU Library);

Essay 1 Assigned.
First version due on Friday Sept. 18. Bring 2 hard copies to class.

Week 6: Sep 14-18

  1. Ron Mallon. ‘Race:’ Normative, not metaphysical or semantic. PDF p. 525-537
  2. Ron Mallon. ‘Race:’ Normative, not metaphysical or semantic. PDF p. 538-551
  3. Peer Editing Session.
    First version due. Bring 2 hard copies to class.

Week 7: Sep 21-25

  1. Michelle Alexander. The New Jim Crow, Ch. 3. P. 95-109 (PDF) Follow the page numbers in the PDF, not from your PDF viewer.
    Peer Editing Sheets Due in Class
  2. Michelle Alexander. P. 109-125 (PDF)
  3. Group work:
    1. Listen before class: https://hiphination.org/season-4-episodes/s4-episode-2-police-discretion-may-9th-2020/
    2. In class: https://www.ted.com/talks/dr_phillip_atiba_goff_how_we_can_make_racism_a_solvable_problem_and_improve_policing

Week 8: Sep 28-Oct 2

  1. Michelle Alexander. P. 125-136 (PDF) [No Quiz]
    ESSAY 1 DUE TUESDAY AT NOON
  2. Michelle Alexander. P. 148-172 (PDF) (Skim “Boxed In,” “The Black Box,” and “Debtor’s Prison”) Focus on “The Pariahs” to the end.
  3. Group work: Defund the police?
    1. Listen before class: From 43:00 to 1:33:30 https://samharris.org/podcasts/207-can-pull-back-brink/
    2. Links for stats on race, police violence, and officer involved shootings
      1. https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/fryer/files/fryer_police_aer.pdf
      2. https://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/empirical-analysis-racial-differences-police-use-force
      3. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/police-are-killing-fewer-people-in-big-cities-but-more-in-suburban-and-rural-america/

Week 9: Oct 5-9

  1. Thomas M. Shapiro. The Hidden Cost of Being African American Ch. 5 (PDF)
    1. Supplementary reading: Thomas M. Shapiro. Race, Homeownership, and Wealth (PDF).
  2. Rothstein. The color of law. Ch. 5 (PDF)
    1. Read p. 70-75 and ALL of Ch. 5
    2. Supplemental reading Ch. 6 (not required but included in PDF)
  3. Group work: Questions on reparations.
    1. Listen before class: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/512/house-rules

Week 10: Oct 12-16

  1. Thomas M. Shapiro. The hidden cost of being African American. Ch. 6 & 7 (PDF) and Brown v Board of Education.
    1. READ pp. 143-146 and pp. 155-169
    2. If you don’t have the book, the scan didn’t catch the page numbers. Here are the sections to read:
      1. Education Segregation and Weak Schools
      2. Skip: Why People Move (of course, read it if you would like)
      3. Read every section of Ch. 7 up to and including School Choice in the Real World
  2. Thomas M. Shapiro. The hidden cost of being African American. Ch. 7 (PDF)
    1. Read: Last section of Ch. 7: What Is a Quality School
    2. Listen: This American Life: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-one
  3. Group work
    Listen before class: Nice White Parents Episode 1
    Supplementary podcasts: The Problem We All Live With Part 2
    Nice White Parents Episode 2
    Essay 2 Assigned. First draft due Friday Oct. 30

Week 11: Oct 19-23

  1. Cheryl I. Harris. Whiteness as property. p. 75-81
  2. Cheryl I. Harris. Whiteness as property. p. 82-90
  3. Group work:
    1. Listen: Sam Harris: (start at 3:28) The new religion of anti-racism
    2. Supplementary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDZUBX_nY_0

Week 12: Oct 26-30

  1. Kimberle Crenshaw, Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex. pp. 139-152(PDF)
  2. Kimberle Crenshaw. Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex. pp. 152-167 (PDF)
  3. Peer Editing Session. Bring 2 hard copies to class.

Week 13: Nov 2-6

  1. Michael Sandel. The Tyranny of Merit Ch.4 (PDF) pp. 81-110.
    Peer Editing Sheets Due in Class.
  2. Listen: https://slate.com/podcasts/trumpcast/2020/10/democrats-wrong-trump-voters 13:20-end
  3. Group Work. Listen before class: Liliana Mason https://www.econtalk.org/lilliana-mason-on-uncivil-agreement/
    1. Skim: How to Get Angry Online…Properly

Week 14: Nov 9-13

  1. Michael Sandel. The Tyranny of Merit Ch. 6 (PDF) (I’ve deliberately removed pp. 186-187)
  2. Presentations
  3. Presentations

Week 15: Nov 16-20

  1. Essay 2 Due Monday Nov 16 before Midnight