Mind the Gap: Leadership in an Unequal World
One Section Available to Choose From:
|Course Dates||Weeks||Meeting Times||Status||Instructor(s)||CRN|
|July 07, 2014 - July 18, 2014||2||M-F 9A-4P||Open||Peter Klein||10676|
By nearly all measures, income inequality in the United States has been rising dramatically since the 1970s, and it is now among the highest of all developed countries. In recent years, inequality has occasionally emerged in the public discourse: Occupy Wall Street, with its "We are the 99%" slogan, and other protests, such as those by fast food workers demanding higher paid, have attracted thousands of participants around the country and have called attention to the rising inequality and poverty in the country. Yet, despite these headline-grabbing moments, inequality remains a difficult topic to discuss and even harder to address. The protests subside, the public conversation on inequality falls out of focus, and inequality continues to rise.
This course explores the debates on the causes and consequences of high inequality in the United States and examines the challenges in addressing it. It also examines how engaged citizens and leaders make sense of and attempt to reduce inequality. Using a series of locally-based and contemporary case studies, students will come to understand some of the realities of poverty and inequality in the United States, such as the challenges of living on minimum wage, spatial segregation based on race and class, and the connections between inequality and violence, among other social and environmental problems. Students will have opportunities to talk with engaged citizens, leaders from civic organizations, and elected leaders in Rhode Island to learn first-hand about these issues. Through these experiences with the local community, role playing, interactive group work, and nightly reading, students will learn to think critically about inequality, how well-intentioned efforts to create positive social change may actually reinforce existing inequalities, and how they can responsibly address social problems in their home communities.
Students will learn about poverty and income inequality in the United States and how people engage in this context to work towards positive social change.
There are no prerequisites to the course but students are expected to come to the course ready and willing to claim a stake in what we teach and learn together. At times this might mean moving beyond your comfort zone, sharing experiences, opinions, and thoughts that may challenge others or yourself. This also means creating a classroom space that respects the diverse ideas that students and facilitators bring to the group.