2013-2014 Public Policy Courses
Policy and Social Change
What are the ways we can interpret, understand, and analyze policy? How have social justice movements understood and engaged policy as a tool for social change? What can we consider to be policy? Who is involved in crafting policy? And to what ends? What are the consequences of policy? In this seminar course, students will develop a set of tools to analyze policy in relationship to social justice principles and movements. In particular, we will develop our ability to assess the politics, histories, and potential impacts embedded in policies.
Immigration and Transnationalism
Global migration flows have reached unprecedented levels. Immigrants now account for one out of every eight people living in the United States, the largest share in almost a century. Many rural communities in countries like Mexico, on the other hand, have been all but deserted by young adults, with those who remain behind supported by the increasingly massive sums of money that migrants send home. What is driving trends like these, and what are their political and economic implications? Why do people migrate? What is the relationship between emigration, transnationalism, and human development in poor countries? How do migrants’ remittances affect “who gets what, when, and how” in impoverished communities? To what extent can the United States control immigration? How do U.S. immigration policy and anti-immigrant sentiment affect immigrant integration and inclusion in American society? This seminar provides an introduction to the political economy of global migration, exploring the topic from the perspective of both migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries.
Education Policy and the Structuring of Citizenship
This seminar invites students to examine how we can think about policy in relationship to citizenship. Specifically, we will focus on education policy in the United States post-Brown v. Board of Education. Historically, public education has been a key site through which citizenship, rights, and freedom have been imagined and fought for. We will use education policy to critically examine how citizenship and inequality have been structured materially and ideologically in the post-Brown period. For example, one primary way that inequality in education is understood focuses on the role of personal responsibility, hard work, and perseverance. More generally, this narrative references the aspirations, values, and practices of poor and working-class young people of color and their families, the postracial power of bootstraps, and the promise of a particular type of freedom but with no guarantees. As such, public education in the United States is a contradictory site that is at once equal and yet not equal, the guarantor of the freedom to make one’s own future as well as the institution through which futures are differentially prescribed. Together, we will examine these contradictions. We will also use education as a way to think through citizenship more generally and specifically in relationship to contemporary claims that are made to postracialism, democracy, and equality in the United States.