Diversity and Cultural Competence
This course provides an understanding of how a society over time constructs, perceives and ranks diverse groups-generating different social identities and inequalities between them. It explores how in different domains- race, gender, class, sexual orientation, age, and ability/disability - hierarchies prevail in which a dominant sub-set (i.e. Caucasians, men, upper class, heterosexual, etc.) are established as normative and worthy of significant power and privileges. The course examines the forces that influence cultural, social and political institutions so that they sustain and legitimate prevailing social hierarchies and inequalities. Those who are marginalized and stigmatized are not only victims of the dominant groups; they are also agents of change. Accordingly, the course will explore the strengths, resistance, and adaptive strategies of the disempowered. The course promotes more informed, skillful personal interactions across diverse social groups and examines the kind of social change needed to challenge social hierarchies in local and global communities.