Most Americans have some understanding of how the categories of race and gender influence our personal and social identities. Yet many Americans also assume that race and gender are "natural," i.e., that we are born into a certain race and naturally embody a certain sex. In this course, we will examine these assumptions by reading, discussing, and critically assessing the arguments for and against the "naturalness" of race and gender. We will consider how categories of race and gender position us, historically and philosophically, as a person of a certain "type" from whom certain behaviors are expected. We will look at socio-economic conditions and philosophic positions that support or challenge racism, sexism, classism, segregation, and violence.
(Normally offered alternate years.)