Contacts | Program of Study | Program Requirements | BA Thesis/Capstone Project | Summary of Requirements | Honors | Minor in Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity | Grading | Courses

Program of Study

Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity is a revision to the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES)
program. Students in the classes of 2024 and 2025 have the option to pursue either RDI or
CRES. The CRES program of study and course requirements can be found on the
catalog page

Coursework in our department enables students to rigorously study race, diaspora and
indigeneity categories that constitute human identity through claims of particularity, origins
and continuity, and mobility and dispersal, in order to enact power within the modern world.
These meanings can be seen in how unequal status, exploited and extracted condition, and
disproportionate violence and harm inform the histories of peoples comprising these
categories. Yet they are also evident in the ingenious, intersecting identities and affinities
enacted by those same peoples -- ones that imbue art, cultures, politics and collectives with
transformational and emancipating power. Through teaching, mentorship and collaborations
of various kinds, we explore with students how to think through these multifaceted and
contradictory experiences, equitably and empathically.

This study and practice will provide our students with a rigorous critical lens that will serve
them well in diverse fields. Whether our graduates are interested in media or policy, medicine
or social work, organizing or entrepreneurship, or graduate study in a variety of disciplines,
they will benefit from their ability to understand the social formations that shape our world
and navigate complex and sometimes contradictory concepts that others may find challenging
or uncomfortable, through historic and analytic lenses.

Ours is a broad curriculum generated within a thoroughly multidisciplinary department.
Students work with acclaimed experts in literature, creative writing, anthropology, political
science, sociology, social work, linguistics, visual arts, history, urban studies and cinema and
media studies, among other fields. Several core approaches tie together the range of interests
across our community. These sustain rigorous inquiry that incorporates knowledge created
beyond the boundaries of academia, while also cautioning that those who claim to advance
knowledge must account for the benefits and costs that result from ideas’ impact upon the
world. Among our core approaches are intersectionality and critical theory, and its recognition
of both identities and power structures originating through complex co-creation; dedication to
utilizing multiple methodologies within the humanities and social sciences; and a willingness to
take seriously and value ideas beyond the classroom and campus.

Program Requirements

The major will require 13 courses: three introductory critical concepts courses, four courses distributed across the foundational categories, four RDIN electives, and two courses related to the thesis/capstone project. Students opting to not complete a BA thesis or capstone project must replace the two courses related to the thesis/capstone project with two RDIN electives.

Students will have the option of combining RDI with any major or minor in any division or school of the University.

Critical Concepts

These introductory courses are meant to introduce students to the central texts and key debates that inform the study of the Department’s three core concepts. Courses on each term will be offered annually by a rotating group of faculty in the Department. After taking these courses, students will be able to identify the intellectual genealogies in which these concepts are situated and have a basic understanding of the central axes of debate.

  • RDIN 12100 Racial Formations: The course introduces students to the idea of race as a concept and racialization as a process. Students will be introduced to the diversity of meanings the concept of “race” has held, the uses to which it has been put, and how it has been both contested and mobilized by those who have been racialized. The “Racial Formations” course will, furthermore, include discussion of the history and relation of the terms race, caste, and ethnicity. The goal of the course is, in other words, to oblige students to question their everyday understandings of the term and acquire the tools needed to identify and analyze racial formations.
  • RDIN 12200 Diaspora(s): This course will introduce students to the concept of diaspora understood simultaneously as global processes of migration and dispersal, and as political and cultural practices of meaning-making. Students will think through the distinctive and overlapping experiences of various diasporic communities—organized around race (i.e. African diaspora), regions (i.e. Asian diaspora), religion (i.e. Jewish diaspora), etc. From an exploration of these histories, students will explore diasporas as an alternative deterritorialized and transnational frames of political imagination (in contradistinction to, say, the nation-state).
  • RDIN 12300 Formations of Indigeneity: In this course, students will consider Indigenous conceptions of peoplehood and the processes of settler colonialism as well as other forms of social formation. Taking a comparative and transnational approach, students will examine the triad of indigeneity, land, and sovereignty as they are refracted through specific political and cultural settings. Students will also consider contexts where the idea of indigeneity has been fraught and failed to translate, as well as its tense incorporation within the legal framework of multiculturalism or liberal democracy.

Foundational Courses

The Foundational courses are designed to expand students’ knowledge in the field of RDI and its diverse methodologies. Rather than set ones, these courses will be offered regularly by faculty, which will be designated to fulfill these requirements. Approved courses for each category can be found on the RDIN Foundational Courses List.

  • Theories: These courses will elaborate the training offered in the Critical Concepts course by highlighting specific intellectual traditions (such as Black Feminist Thought or Caribbean Studies) or taking up more specific conceptual anchors (such as intersectionality or decolonization).
  • Practices: These courses will cover European imperial expansions, including settler and exploitation colonies; slavery and its aftermath; intellectual histories of key terms and the social science disciplines that created or furthered them; diasporas and other migrations; postcolonial societies; Civil Rights & Black Power Movements; Abolition; Anti-imperialism; Intersectional movements.
  • Structures: These courses will focus on institutions and practices of domination. Topics to be covered include racial capitalism; race and space; comparative colonialisms; legal constructs and social dynamics of segregation; apartheid; science & technology; media.
  • Aesthetics & Expressive Cultures: This will include courses on literary, visual, sonic, and other modes of expressive cultures, and highlight how cultural productions reshape and resignify our central conceptual anchors. Students will also develop analyses attuned to form, genre, circulation, and reception of aesthetic materials.


Electives may be any RDIN or CRES course. In exceptional circumstances, students can petition the Director of Undergraduate Studies to count no more than two non-CRES/RDIN courses towards the major electives. If students did not take the Colonizations sequence to fulfill their Civilizations requirement, they will be allowed to count it among their electives. Students may petition to count other potentially relevant Civilizations sequences (i.e., African, Latin American, Asian) for major credit (again, only if they did not take those sequences to fulfill their Civilizations requirement).

BA Thesis/Capstone Project

Students majoring in RDI may, if they wish, write a BA thesis or complete a capstone project. Students who choose to do so are eligible for departmental honors, though completing a thesis or project does not guarantee honors.  A recommendation of the faculty advisor is required for honors, and students should have a discussion in advance with their advisor to ensure a mutual understanding of expectations for what would constitute an honors-level project.

The BA thesis enables students to apply theoretical or empirical concepts gleaned from their coursework and conduct independent inquiry toward the development of original, critical research on a topic of their choice.

The capstone project offers a chance to apply ideas and skills developed in the major to a variety of settings and media, such as a conference or symposium, an internship, a performance, art installation, a podcast or film, among many options. This project can be carried out individually or in collaboration with other graduating students.

Students pursuing a thesis or capstone project must identify an RDI faculty member who can supervise their project or paper, with the option of securing a second reader outside of the Department. Students then submit a short proposal, which should reflect feedback from the faculty advisor, to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of Winter quarter of their third year. 

Students completing a thesis/project must enroll in RDIN 29800 BA Colloquium: Theory and Methods in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, a course led by the department’s preceptor(s) designed to introduce students to a range of research methods and to help determine which method(s) would fit a research thesis or capstone project focusing on topics related to race, diaspora, and/or indigeneity.

Class of 2024: Students will attend this seminar both in Autumn and Winter quarters of their fourth-year. In Autumn quarter the seminar meets weekly. In Winter quarter the seminar meets every other week.

Class of 2025 and beyond: Students will attend this seminar in Spring of their third-year and Autumn of their fourth-year. In Spring quarter, the seminar meets weekly. In Autumn quarter the seminar meets every other week.

Students completing a BA thesis/project must also register for RDIN 29900, a reading and research course under the supervision of their faculty advisor. The final grade on the thesis/project will be assigned to the RDIN 29900 registration.

The BA theses and capstone projects are due by Friday of the fifth week of the student's quarter of graduation. Students will present their work at a departmental symposium.

Summary of Requirements

Critical Concepts Courses300
Racial Formations
Formations of Indigeneity
Foundational Courses - One course from each list400
Aesthetics & Expressive Cultures
RDIN Electives400
RDIN 29800BA Colloquium: Theory and Methods in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies100
or RDIN elective
RDIN 29900: BA Essay/Capstone Project100
or RDIN elective
Total Units1300


To be eligible for honors, students must earn a 3.25 major GPA, complete a BA thesis or capstone project, and receive recommendation for honors from their faculty advisor.

Minor in Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity

The RDI minor will consist of five courses: 3 courses on Critical Concepts (Indigeneity, Diaspora, and Racial Formations); and 2 additional RDIN courses. These courses may not be (1) double-counted with the student’s major(s) or with other minors and (2) may not be counted toward general education requirements.

Critical Concepts Courses300
Racial Formations
Formations of Indigeneity
RDIN Electives200
Total Units500


Students may take up to two courses in the major on a P/F basis. All courses in the minor must be taken for a quality grade.

Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity Courses

RDIN 12100. Racial Formations. 100 Units.

Race is arguably the most significant social category shaping the fabric and trajectory of American life-and yet, it is also one of the most poorly understood and eagerly avoided topics in our public consciousness. In this course, we will examine paradigms for understanding race in both academic and popular contexts. Using theoretical constructs, historical case studies, contemporary topics in politics and culture, and empirical research on racial attitudes and disparities, this course explores questions such as: what are the racial boundaries that shape our lives? Where did they come from, how have they changed over time, and how are they continuing to evolve? Whose interests do they serve? We will also draw on news and current events to observe and analyze the ways that racial boundaries and the social meaning of race impact public policy and public debate.

Instructor(s): Eve L. Ewing     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): None
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 12600

RDIN 12200. Diaspora(s) 100 Units.

This class will orient students to the practices, frameworks, and geographies of diasporic communities from the early modern period to the present. The term's initial origins in Jewish experiences of forced dispersal and migration underscores how its meaning is shaped by histories of collective displacement and loss, as well as invention and heritage. The discourse of diaspora remains foundational for several interdisciplinary fields, including Black studies, Asian American studies, Indigenous studies, Latinx studies, and more. Within these intellectual orientations, diasporic identities are notably expansive and unfixed. As observed by the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall, "diaspora identities are those which are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference," bridging old and new traditions of worldmaking, resistance, and solidarities within and across distinct diasporic sensibilities." Students in this class will work with scholarly, literary, sonic, and visual materials demonstrating how use of diaspora alternately mobilizes and roots people, in ways that claim pasts and futures at once.

Instructor(s): Adam Green     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 22700, HIST 12706, CRES 12700

RDIN 12300. Formations of Indigeneity. 100 Units.

Whose land are we on? What does it mean to be Indigenous, for generations past and in the twenty-first century? From debates over claims of Indigenous ancestry by political actors to the struggles of sacred lands protection against natural resource extraction, understanding the stakes of these concerns for Indigenous peoples and nations is more relevant than ever. This seminar-part of the sequence for majors in the Department of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity-introduces students to core texts and concepts in the field of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). Topics will include sovereignty and governance, settler colonialism, citizenship and nationhood, blood quantum and racialization, diasporas and urban indigeneity, and relationships to land and environment. Course activities may include engagement with Indigenous films, dialogues with visiting Indigenous scholars, and field trips to Chicago-area cultural institutions.

Instructor(s): Teresa Montoya and Matthew Kruer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 12800, HIST 17800, ANTH 12800

RDIN 13580. Introduction to Asian American Literatures. 100 Units.

This is a survey course that introduces students to the complex and uneven history of Asians in American from within a transnational context. As a class, we will look at Asian American texts and films while working together to create a lexicon of multilingual, immigrant realities. Through theoretical works that will help us define keywords in the field and a wide range of genres (novels, films, plays, and graphic novels), we will examine how Asia and Asians have been represented in the literatures and popular medias of America. Some of the assigned authors include, but are not limited to, Carlos Bulosan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Joy Kogawa, Fae Myenne Ng, Nora Okja Keller, Cathy Park Hong, Ted Chiang, and Yoko Tawada.

Instructor(s): Mee-Ju Ro     Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 13580, ENGL 13580

RDIN 16100. Introduction to Latin American Civilization I. 100 Units.

Autumn Quarter examines the origins of civilizations in Latin America with a focus on the political, social, and cultural features of the major pre-Columbian civilizations of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec. The quarter concludes with an analysis of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest, and the construction of colonial societies in Latin America. The courses in this sequence may be taken in any order.

Instructor(s): Emilio Kourí     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 34600, HIST 16101, HIST 36101, CRES 16101, LACS 16100, ANTH 23101, SOSC 26100

RDIN 17908. African-American History to 1865. 100 Units.

This introductory undergraduate lecture course examines histories of people of African descent in continental North America from the colonial period to the US Civil War. relationship between slavery and republicanism in the early United States. With an interdisciplinary approach and transnational perspective, it considers the contested role of chattel slavery in the creation of US political systems, market relations, social hierarchies, and cultural productions. We will use primary sources and secondary literature to consider the possibilities and limits of archival research; contingent histories of race-making; the relationship between slavery and capitalism; the workings of domination, agency, and resistance; and black "freedom dreams" in the antebellum United States.

Instructor(s): R. Johnson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 17908

RDIN 20007. Africa in the Middle East and the Middle East in Africa. 100 Units.

From Mansa Musa's Hajj in 1324 to the contemporary Afrobeats scene in Dubai, African and Middle Eastern societies share long histories of interconnection. This course examines these interconnections from the early modern to the contemporary era through a series of case studies ranging from traditions of exchange on the Swahili Coast, to the Ottoman Scramble for Africa, to the creation of a long-standing Lebanese diaspora in West Africa and a more recent Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel. Students will examine debates that animate this field of scholarship including conversations about race; histories of slavery and its legacies; conceptions of indigeneity, nativism, and settler colonialism; religious encounters; gender and society; shared and divergent experiences of European colonialism and struggles for independence; and transnational collective-building projects such as Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism. In addition to scholarship based on textual analysis, students will develop skills to investigate cultural sources such as music, photography, film, fashion, literature, and sports. No prior coursework in Middle Eastern or African studies is required. However, a background in African Civ, Islamic History and Society Civ, or Islamic Thought and Literature Civ is recommended.

Instructor(s): K. Hickerson     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Assignments: Short papers; long paper; in-class presentation
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 20007, GNSE 20007

RDIN 20100. Afrofuturism(s) 100 Units.

Despite its explosion in popularity as a term of art in the last ten years, "Afrofuturism" remains a contested term and set of concepts-from debates about its engagement with Black diasporic identities, to the question of how essential notions of the "future" are to Afrofuturism. This course will explore Afrofuturism as a set of ideas still in flux, with repercussions across politics, aesthetics, theory, and artistic interventions, using texts from a wide array of disciplines and media, including sociology, cinema, visual art, critical theory, and literature.

Instructor(s): Eve L. Ewing     Terms Offered: Winter

RDIN 20140. Qualitative Field Methods. 100 Units.

This course introduces techniques of, and approaches to, ethnographic field research. We emphasize quality of attention and awareness of perspective as foundational aspects of the craft. Students conduct research at a site, compose and share field notes, and produce a final paper distilling sociological insight from the fieldwork.

Instructor(s): O. McRoberts     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 20140, CHDV 20140

RDIN 20233. Race in Contemporary American Society. 100 Units.

This survey course in the sociology of race offers a socio-historical investigation of race in American society. We will examine issues of race, ethnic and immigrant settlement in the United States. Also, we shall explore the classic and contemporary literature on race and inter-group dynamics. Our investigative tools will include an analysis of primary and secondary sources, multimedia materials, photographic images, and journaling. While our survey will be broad, we will treat Chicago and its environs as a case study to comprehend the racial, ethnic, and political challenges in the growth and development of a city.

Instructor(s): S. Hicks-Bartlett     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring. Autumn quarter offered at the Undergraduate level only and Spring offered at the Graduate level only
Equivalent Course(s): SOCI 30233, MAPS 30233, SOCI 20233

RDIN 20300. Living in Our Last Days: Blackness and Apocalypse. 100 Units.

What does it look like to survive the end of the world? Maxine Lavon Montgomery describes apocalypse as a "cataclysmic upheaval that portends the end of an old era and the beginning of an altogether new reality". This course explores what it would mean to consider slavery as an apocalyptic event that both shapes the world we currently inhabit and impacts present and future moments of disaster. What does an apocalypse look like in the afterlife of slavery? How do conditions of antiblackness shape the ways people experience both natural and manmade events of catastrophe such as hurricane, disease, and genocide? In addition to reading and discussing texts including Parable of the Sower, Salvage the Bones, and The Deep, this course will address these questions by engaging with the works of scholars such as Saidiya Hartman and Christina Sharpe.

Instructor(s): Danielle Jones     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 20300, RDIN 30300, ENGL 30300

RDIN 20400. Black Girlhood. 100 Units.

First popularized on social media in 2013, the phrase "Black Girl Magic" has expanded far beyond its initial use as a twitter hashtag. It can be seen on (a bunch of different objects and the cover of many children's books and poetry anthologies). However, the visibility of the phrase did not come without controversy. Some critics argued that rather than being an uplifting rallying cry for positive depictions of black girlhood, it instead reinforced dehumanizing stereotypes of the "strong black woman". This debate leads us to question: How do black girls tend to be depicted both popular media and in literature? How might these depictions differ depending on author, type of media, or social context? What do they say about the ways that black girls experience childhood, gender, and friendship? To engage with these questions, this course will explore literary works including The Bluest Eye, Betsey Brown, and Abeng, along with television shows such as Lovecraft Country to examine 20th and 21st century depictions of black girlhood. We will also think with theoretical works of black feminism and black girlhood studies.

Instructor(s): Danielle Jones     Terms Offered: Spring

RDIN 20500. Race, Freedom, and the State. 100 Units.

The rise of popular abolitionist movements over the past two decades has brought renewed attention to the complicity of the state (broadly understood) in maintaining structures of racial domination. Since the early modern period, however, democratic, liberal, and republican political theorists have sought to reconcile state power with the idea of freedom-sometimes positing the formation of the state as freedom's precondition. While scholars and activists have advanced a wide array of arguments about the proper role of the state in dismantling racial domination, the discourse of abolition at times encourages suspicion toward using state power for the purpose of realizing racial justice. In this course we will engage contemporary dissatisfaction with the state by turning back to the development of the idea of the modern state and its relationship to racialized regimes of domination. We will ask, why did early modern and modern thinkers tie the ideal of freedom to the establishment of the state? In what ways were these theories of the state bound up with the practice of racial domination and hierarchy? Can we reimagine the state so that its institutions promulgate racial justice and equality? Or would movements for freedom and equality find more useful theoretical resources in anti-statist traditions? Authors that we will cover include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Georg Hegel, W.E.B. Du Bois, Lucy Parsons, Cedric Robinson, Charles Mills, Angela Davis, and Saidiya Hartman

Instructor(s): Larry Svabek     Terms Offered: Winter

RDIN 20600. The Global Color Line and the New International Order. 100 Units.

In 1900, W. E. B. Du Bois prophesied that the "problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line," concomitantly laying the foundation of a new language of solidarity by enlisting, not only the "millions of black men in Africa [and] America" but also "the brown and yellow myriads" in Asia, as victims of White oppression. The color line, seen as a collaborative imperial instrument to keep European states atop a global hierarchy, thus represented both problem and solution for Du Bois. This course explores the provocative thesis of color line by examining two sites where its structural logic was most evident: the continent of Africa and the emerging international law, in the early 20th century. The first part of the course focuses on Africa as a crucible for various White imperialists and a diverse group of settlers belonging to "darker races"-drawn to the continent by its riches. We will explore the multiple forms of solidarity forged among people of color, while acknowledging how real-world animosities attenuated this aspiration. The second half examines the burgeoning int'l order by pivoting on the evolution of int'l law reliant on an "exclusion-inclusion model" that perpetuated the color line, along with a concomitant process of global solidarity that culminated in the Bandung Conference. Students will utilize archival and primary sources, complemented by cutting-edge contemporary scholarship.

Instructor(s): Taimur Reza     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RDIN 30600

RDIN 21100. Transatlantic Crossings: Everyday Race and Racism in the 20th Century. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore the "work" race does on both sides of the Atlantic, focusing mainly on the period from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Topics covered will include: national variations in how "race" and racial identity have been defined and invoked, including policies on the naming, gathering and use of racial statistics; the fundamental rupture in ideas about race and transatlantic relations during and following the Great War and its impact on popular culture during the interwar period; the transatlantic resurgence and challenges to "scientific racism," focusing especially on how it was manifested in the politics and practices of biological reproduction and adoption; the social reproduction of racial ideas and identities manifested in children's books, toys, films, and sports; and how sports and the media shape and are shaped by racial ideologies. We will explore these topics as relatively autonomous developments within the nation-states composing the Atlantic world, while noting the transatlantic transfers, connections, and influences that both strengthened and challenged them. Our readings and discussions will focus heavily on the U.S. and France, but where pertinent comparative references will be made to Great Britain, Germany, and Brazil.

Instructor(s): Leora Auslander     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 27408, HIST 37408, RDIN 31100

RDIN 21315. Narratives of American Religious History. 100 Units.

How do we tell the story of religion in America? Is it a story of Protestant dominance? Of religious diversity? Of transnational connections? Of secularization? This course examines how historians have grappled with such questions. We will read the work of scholars who have offered narratives explaining American religious history, including figures like Sydney Ahlstrom, Albert Raboteau, Mark Noll, Ann Braude, Catherine Albanese, and Thomas Tweed. This course will introduce students to key historiographical questions in the study of American religion, as well as to classic texts which have shaped the field's development.

Instructor(s): William Schultz and Curtis Evans     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the HS or SCSR Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 41315, RAME 41315, HCHR 41315, AMER 21315, RDIN 41315, CRES 22315, KNOW 41315, RLST 21315, HIST 47304, HIST 27304

RDIN 22112. African American Political Thought: Democracy's Reconstruction. 100 Units.

This course investigates the major themes, debates, and tensions that animate African American thought from the American war for independence through the present day. We will explore how enslaved Africans and free African Americans confronted the changing racial regimes in American history, resisted forms of racial domination, and reimagined the values at the heart of American democracy. Such a survey of African American thought raises critical questions about the possibility of articulating a unifying African American experience, the costs of forming political attachments to states and national identities as well as the prospects for establishing a multiracial democratic society in the U.S. We will approach these debates with an historical-comparative method, seeking to understand how the terms of political debate have shifted over the course of the past two centuries. Authors that we will cover include Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Martin Delaney, Ida B. Wells, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, and Clarence Thomas.

Instructor(s): Larry Svabek     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22112, PLSC 22212

RDIN 22150. Contemporary Black Politics. 100 Units.

This course explores the communities, issues, actions, and arguments that comprise the contemporary field of Black politics. Our specific task is to explore the question of how have Black people engaged in politics and political struggles in the United States since the Civil Rights Movement. Each week we will take up a contemporary issue/movement/action that has shaped Black politics as we know it, including mass incarceration, the election of the country's first Black president, Barack Obama, the emergence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and intersectionality and the role of black feminism in shaping the radical freedom tradition in Black politics. Throughout the course we will attempt to situate Black politics in conversation with the literature that defines the area of study we label American politics. Is there such a thing as black politics?

Instructor(s): Cathy Cohen     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22150, LLSO 25902, PLSC 22150

RDIN 22311. Aspirations of Justice. 100 Units.

This class thinks through questions of what justice means, what justice promises, what justice betrays, and what possibilities for politics are opened by aspirations of justice at moments of radical rupture. It does so through a focus on critical conceptual terms that also become the frameworks for praxis and institutionalization after war/violence/trauma/revolution/colonialism/slavery/casteism: terms such as transition, transformation, restoration, reconstruction, and repair. The readings will be comparative but grounded out of South Africa's experience of transition from apartheid, a process that remains frictioned, fractured and far from finished. At the core of the class are two concerns. First: how does one think about non-retributive forms of justice, and what aporias of forgiveness lie at their core? Second, how do these imaginaries and forms of justice get constituted and instituted, out of different histories of foundational violence, different transitional processes, at different moments in time? How, in the process, do histories themselves get rewritten through a process of rewriting wrongs?

Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan
Equivalent Course(s): CCCT 36311, HIPS 26311, AASR 36311, CHSS 36311, ANTH 36311, CRES 22311

RDIN 22500. Staging Islam: Traps and Trappings of Representation. 100 Units.

From terrorists to "good Muslims," standards in the racial, cultural, and religious representations surrounding Islam have fluctuated across U.S. media. How do we conceptualize the nature of visual perception and reception? The history of colonialism, secular modernity, gender, patriarchy, and the blurred distinctions between religion and racialization have all contributed to a milieu of visual cultures that stage visions of and arguments about Islam. Hostility towards Muslims has not abated as we venture well into the 21st century, and many remain quick to blame an amorphous media for fomenting animosity towards the "real" Islam. We take these essentialist terms of engagement as the start of our inquiry: what is the promise of a meaningful image? What processes of secular translation are at work in its creation and consumption? Is there room for resistance, legibility, and representation in U.S. popular culture, and what does representation buy you in this age? We will pair theoretical methods for thinking about imagery, optics, perception, and perspective alongside case studies from film, stage, comedy, streaming content, and television shows, among others. Students will critically engage and analyze these theories in the contexts from which these works emerge and meld into a mobile and diasporic U.S.context. Together, we will reflect on the moral, political, and categorical commitments vested in different forms of media against historical trends of the 20th & 21st century.

Instructor(s): Samah Choudhury     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 22505, RLST 27555, RDIN 32500, ENGL 32505, CRES 22500

RDIN 22561. Justice at the Margins: Religion, Race, and Resistance Ethics. 100 Units.

How does race shape what we think about what is right and wrong, just and unjust? How about religion? Is "justice" a universal idea that stretches across social groups, or do our experiences as members of a religious and/or racial group have fundamentally affect our understanding(s) of justice? We'll begin by examining works by Aristotle, King, Rawls, and Nussbaum, asking what each theorist thinks justice entails and why. Along the way, we'll ask how stated and suppressed understandings of both "race" and "religion" inform their theories, as well as complicate and challenge them. Then we'll set these theories of justice in conversation with works by Francisco de Vitoria, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Cornel West, Traci C. West, and the Movement for Black Lives, each of which offers a protest against injustice in which "race" and "religion" play a prominent role. No previous knowledge required.

Instructor(s): Derek Buyan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course counts as an elective course for the "Inequality, Social Problems, and Change" minor.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 22561, HMRT 25561, RLST 25561

RDIN 22900. Intro to Critical Race Theory. 100 Units.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has recently filled headlines as it has become a hotly debated topic in U.S. political, educational, and media discourse. However, the tenets and thinkers that shape CRT tend to be left out of the conversations that dominate the media. What is this theoretical framework? Who are the thinkers who shape and contribute to these theories of the construction of race? What does CRT say about the relationship between race and institutions, such as the United States' legal system or education? To address these questions, students in this course will read and engage with foundational texts of CRT by scholars including Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Cheryl Harris. In addition to learning the key tenets of this theoretical framework, students will also use it to think across disciplines, institutional structures, and forms of media.

Instructor(s): Danielle Jones     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 12900

RDIN 23001. Censorship in East Asia: The Case of Colonial Korea. 100 Units.

This course examines the operation and consequences of censorship in the Japanese Empire, with focus on its effects in colonial Korea. It begins with two basic premises: first, both the Japanese colonial authorities' measures of repression, and the Korean responses to them, can be understood as noticeably more staunch and sophisticated when compared to any other region of the Empire; and second, the censorship practices in Korea offers itself as a case that is in itself an effective point of comparison to better understand other censorship operations in general and the impact of these operations across different regions. With a view to probing an inter- and intra-relationship between censorship practices among a variety of imperial/colonial regions, this course studies the institutions related to censorship, the human agents involved in censorship-both external and internal-and texts and translations that were produced in and outside of Korea, and were subject to censorship. Overall, the course stresses the importance of establishing a comparative understanding of the functions of censorship, and on the basis of this comparative thinking we will strive to conceptualize the characteristics of Japanese colonial censorship in Korea.

Instructor(s): K. Choi     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 16001, CRES 23001, EALC 23001, EALC 43000

RDIN 23202. Black Religious Protest in the U.S. 100 Units.

This course examines African American religious protest against the American nation for its actual history and its ideals in view of black oppression. The course begins with David Walker's Appeal (1829) and ends with debates around Jeremiah Wright's "God damn America" sermon. The course situates black religious protest amidst discussions of the American Jeremiad, a particular critique of the nation in relation to the divine, American exceptionalism, and racial injustice. We attempt to trace continuity and discontinuity, hope versus pessimism, and visions of a more perfect union in these public critiques of the nation.

Instructor(s): Curtis Evans     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course meets the HS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 42202, RLST 22202, HCHR 42202, HIST 47416, RAME 42202, HIST 27416, AMER 22202

RDIN 24001. Colonizations I: Colonialism, Enslavement and Resistance in the Atlantic World. 100 Units.

This quarter examines the making of the Atlantic world in the aftermath of European colonial expansion. Focusing on the Caribbean, North and South America, and western Africa, we cover the dynamics of invasion, representation of otherness, enslavement, colonial economies and societies, as well as resistance and revolution.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This course is offered every year. These courses can be taken in any sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 24001, SOSC 24001, ANTH 24001, HIST 18301

RDIN 24002. Colonizations II: Imperial Expansion, Anti-Imperialism, and Nation in Asia. 100 Units.

This quarter covers the histories of modern European and Japanese colonialism in South and East Asia and the Pacific. Themes examined include the logics and dynamics of imperial expansion and rule; Orientalist discourses; uprisings and anti-imperial movements; the rise of nationalisms; and paths to decolonization in the region.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses can be taken in any sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): SALC 24002, SOSC 24002, CRES 24002, ANTH 24002, HIST 18302

RDIN 24003. Colonizations III: Decolonization, Revolution, Freedom. 100 Units.

The third quarter considers the processes and consequences of decolonization both in newly independent nations and former colonial powers. Through an engagement with postcolonial studies, we explore the problematics of freedom and sovereignty; anti-colonial movements, thinking and struggles; nation-making and nationalism; and the enduring legacies of colonialism.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Note(s): This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses can be taken in any sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24003, CRES 24003, HIST 18303, SOSC 24003, SALC 20702

RDIN 24205. Narrating Social Change. 100 Units.

This course is a mixed enrollment class which brings UChicago students and incarcerated students together for a quarter of learning, dialogue and knowledge-building across the prison wall. We will examine how individuals, groups, and oppressed communities produce, reproduce and reimagine what equality, justice, agency and freedom mean as they engage in activism for social change. Throughout the quarter, we will explore contemporary and historical examples of people engaging in resistance to oppression. In some cases, people act alone or in small groups to provide themselves with limited agency. In other examples, people work collectively to build organizations and social movements that transform countries. To explore these topics, we will use materials from multiple mediums including film, poetry, memoir, and cultural works. This is the first time UChicago students will have the opportunity to participate in a mixed enrollment course with incarcerated students at Stateville. (In Spring 2020, we were scheduled to begin a mixed enrollment course when the pandemic shut down classes at Stateville Prison and UChicago pivoted to remote learning). Eight to ten UChicago students will be selected for enrollment in the course. If all goes according to plan, the class will be held on Fridays, 10:30-1:15pm at Stateville Correction Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. For UChicago students, classes may alternate between Stateville and UChicago's Hyde Park Campus.

Instructor(s): Alice Kim, Pozen Center for Human Rights Director of Human Rights Practice, Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate students who have taken at least two classes in Human Rights and/or Critical Race and Ethnic Studies are eligible to apply. A special application will be required in advance of Fall 2022 quarter. If you are interested in applying for this course, please email Alice Kim and you will receive the application when it becomes available in August 2022.
Note(s): Only students who receive notice of acceptance are eligible to enroll in this course with instructor consent.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 24205, CHST 24205, CRES 24205

RDIN 24400. After Camp: Re-Imagining a Japanese American Chicago. 100 Units.

Following FDR's Executive Order 9066 and the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans, Chicago's Japanese American population exploded beginning in 1943 when the wartime internment camps began to release internees deemed sufficiently 'loyal' on the condition that they not reside on the West Coast. More than 20,000 former internees settled in Chicago, creating new communities that persisted for decades with their own institutions and cultural practices-often in the face of racial discrimination, economic hardship, and continuing Cold War suspicions of 'disloyalty.' This course traces the history of this local community in terms of questions of collective and individual memory and cultural imagination. With a focus on visual culture (photography, painting, and motion pictures), musical practice, fiction and poetry, and oral history, we will explore the complex legacies of both the prewar and postwar Chicago Japanese American communities, including their alliances and conflicts with other marginalized groups and with more recent immigrants from Japan and elsewhere.

Instructor(s): Michael Bourdaghs     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RDIN 34400, EALC 34400, EALC 24400

RDIN 24599. Historical and Contemporary Issues in U.S. Racial Health Inequality. 100 Units.

This course explores persistent health inequality in the U.S. from the 1900s to the present day. The focus will be on racial gaps in urban health inequality with some discussion of rural communities. Readings will largely cover the research on Black and White gaps in health inequality, with the understanding that most of the issues discussed extend to health inequalities across many racial and ethnic groups. Readings cover the broad range of social determinants of health (socioeconomic status, education, access to health care, homelessness) and how these social determinants are rooted in longstanding legacies of American inequality. A major component of class assignments will be identifying emerging research and innovative policies and programs that point to promising pathways to eliminating health disparities.

Instructor(s): M. Keels     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Only students with 2nd year standing or above.
Note(s): Fulfills grad requirement: 2,4 and undergrad major requirement B.
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 44599, CHDV 24599, PBPL 24599, CHST 24599, HLTH 24599, CRES 24599

RDIN 24601. Martin and Malcolm: Life and Belief. 100 Units.

This course examines the religious, social, cultural, political, and personal factors that went into the making of the two most prominent public leaders and public intellectuals emerging from the African American community in the 1950s and 1960s: Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. We will review their autobiographies, the domestic trends within the USA, and the larger international forces operating during their times. Their life stories provide the contexts for the sharp differences and surprising commonalities in their political thought and religious beliefs. At the end of their lives, were they still radical contrasts, sharing the same views, or had their beliefs shifted - did Malcolm become Martin and Martin become Malcolm?

Instructor(s): Dwight Hopkins     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 24601, AMER 24601, HIST 27209, FNDL 24601

RDIN 25119. Architecture and Colonialism in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. 100 Units.

This seminar invites students to examine the intersections of colonialism with architecture in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. Throughout the semester, we will discuss the designs of architects working in the region (Le Corbusier, Fernand Pouillon, Shadrach Woods, etc.) and concepts defining colonialism as a design project (segregation, repression, primitivism, etc.). We will also pay particular attention to modes of opposition pursued by residents and their historical impact toward the region's decolonization. Moments of heightened historical consequence, such as the strategic use of selected architectural spaces by independentist guerrillas, will be thoroughly discussed. The class will progress through a chronological scope, from Orientalism as a 19th century phenomenon to the enmeshment of modernism with colonialism in the 20th century. We will conclude with the emergence of postcolonial modernities.

Instructor(s): Jacobé Huet      Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 25119, RDIN 35119, ARCH 25119, ARTH 35119

RDIN 26050. Race, Ethnicity, Language, and Citizenship in the United States. 100 Units.

This course is intended to help students make sense of the current discourse on diversity and inclusion/exclusion from a historical perspective. They will be trained to read critically the evolution of political discourse on citizenship in the United States since the American Revolution. They will learn to detect the role of shifting interpretations of race and ethnicity, after that of European nationality, in determining who is (not) a (full) citizen. For instance, who counted as "American" in the early stages of the Republic? Why were Native Americans and (descendants of) forced immigrants from Africa excluded at the outset? How did English become the unofficial language of American citizenship and inclusion? What factors favored its rise and drove to extinction the competing European national languages?

Instructor(s): Salikoko Mufwene     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 26050, CHDV 36055, LING 36050, LING 26050

RDIN 26674. The Global Black Panther Party. 100 Units.

In America, the Black Panther Party and its leaders, like Fred Hampton in Chicago, are famous for their revolutionary fight against white supremacy and their violent suppression by US government forces. But what does a Global Studies approach teach us about the Black Panthers? This seminar explores how the Black Panther Party's worldwide networks impacted global understandings of politics, race, and religion. Our readings examine a series of comparative case studies, including the Dalit Panther Party in India, the Mizrahi Black Panther Party in Israel, and the Polynesian Panthers in New Zealand. We analyze primary sources, such as the various Panther Parties' publications, their mainstream press coverage, and their pop cultural representations, like Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther graphic novel and the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In this course, students learn the global Black Panther Parties' roles in reshaping worldwide conceptions of race, caste, and religion through their encounters with the Nation of Islam, Hindu Nationalism, Zionism, and Indigenous rights. No prior knowledge or coursework is required.

Instructor(s): Andrew Kunze     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 26674, GLST 26674, ANTH 20537

RDIN 26922. Structuring Refuge: U.S. Refugee Policy and Resettlement Practice. 100 Units.

The UN estimates that there are 100 million forcibly displaced people around the world (UNHCR, 2022), with over 27 million refugees among them, but in 2022 only 57,500 refugees were resettled to third countries. Historically the U.S. has been the largest resettlement country, and in the U.S. refugees are entitled to federal, state, and local supports that other immigrants do without. At the same time, refugees in the U.S. are arguably subject to greater scrutiny and social control than most other un-incarcerated domestic populations. This course asks the central questions: How is refugee status politically constructed and experienced by individuals; what are the interrelationships between institutional actors and refugee policies, with what implications for service delivery; what does research tell us about the resettlement outcomes. and what drives these outcomes; and finally, what are the points of intervention for social workers in the resettlement process? We will address these questions by: 1. detangling the web of international and domestic policies that relate to the refugees' political identity, 2. focusing on U.S. resettlement, 3. analyzing resettlement policies and exploring the implications for social work practice targeted at integration, employment, and mental health, and 4. holding the inherent tension that can result from a dual focus on macro issues of scale and policy and micro issues related to the lived experience of human beings.

Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 46922, SSAD 46922, CHST 26922, CRES 26922, SSAD 26922

RDIN 27379. Reparations. 100 Units.

This course focuses on reparations for racialized slavery in the United States. As we'll see, the debate over reparations raises a number of complex philosophical questions: what does it mean today to atone for hundreds of years of slavery, given that those who were enslaved, and those who enslaved other human beings, are now dead? Who today has an obligation to atone for it? What are they obligated to do? And, perhaps most importantly, who should have the authority to decide what successful atonement or reparation would look like? These questions arguably cannot be answered decisively without a precise accounting for the wrongs intrinsic to the institution of slavery, on the one hand, and an analysis of post-slavery racial oppression, on the other. Some of the authors we'll read include: Bernard Boxill, Angela Davis, Fredrick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, Charles Mills, Robert Nozick and Jeremy Waldron. (A)

Instructor(s): Tyler Zimmer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 27379, PHIL 37379, PHIL 27379

RDIN 29117. Theater and Performance in Latin America. 100 Units.

What is performance? How has it been used in Latin America and the Caribbean? This course is an introduction to theatre and performance in Latin America and the Caribbean that will examine the intersection of performance and social life. While we will place particular emphasis on performance art, we will examine some theatrical works. We ask: how have embodied practice, theatre and visual art been used to negotiate ideologies of race, gender and sexuality? What is the role of performance in relation to systems of power? How has it negotiated dictatorship, military rule, and social memory? Ultimately, the aim of this course is to give students an overview of Latin American performance including blackface performance, indigenous performance, as well as performance and activism.

Instructor(s): Danielle Roper     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates must be in their third or fourth year.
Note(s): Taught in English.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28479, GNSE 39117, TAPS 38479, LACS 29117, LACS 39117, SPAN 39117, SPAN 29117, RDIN 39117, GNSE 29117

RDIN 29700. Readings in Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity. 100 Units.

This is a general reading and research course for independent study not related to the BA thesis/capstone project. To register, students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. May be taken for P/F grading with consent of instructor. With prior approval, students who are majoring/minoring in RDI may use this course to satisfy program requirements.

Instructor(s): staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter

RDIN 29800. BA Colloquium: Theory and Methods in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. 100 Units.

This course is designed to introduce students to a range of research methods and to help determine which method(s) would fit a research thesis or capstone project focusing on topics related to race, diaspora, and/or indigeneity. The seminar functions as a research workshop in which students identify a research topic, develop a research question and explore a range of methods for their research thesis or capstone project. Class of 2024: Students will attend this seminar both in Autumn and Winter quarters of their fourth-year. In Autumn quarter the seminar meets weekly. In Winter quarter the seminar meets every other week. Class of 2025 and beyond: Students will attend this seminar in Spring of their third-year and Autumn of their fourth-year. In Spring quarter, the seminar meets weekly. In Autumn quarter the seminar meets every other week. In both cases, the seminar spans two quarters, and students may enroll in the course the quarter of their choosing.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 29800

RDIN 29900. BA Essay / Capstone Project. 100 Units.

Students may register for RDIN 29900 during any quarter of their fourth year. Use the College Reading and Research Course Form to register. Must be taken for a quality grade.

Instructor(s): staff     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter

RDIN 29913. Ancient Greek Philosophy of Race and Ethnicity. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to race and ethnicity as topics of interest to ancient Greek philosophers, primarily Plato and Aristotle. We will look at the ways that Plato and Aristotle ask and address philosophical questions about human difference that approximate the modern concepts of race and ethnicity, such as the notion of a "barbarian", mythologies of ancestry, the role of shared language, culture, and political forms versus genealogy, and the association of character traits and political capacities with groups of people. We will also consider relevant connections to other perceived forms of difference, such as gender, sexuality, and political status (e.g. slave, resident non-citizen). Since they are often relevant to how Plato and Aristotle address these issues, we will also consider relevant texts from the broader Greek intellectual world: medicine, drama, ethnography, and oratory. Finally, we will consider methodological issues, such as whether it is meaningful to talk about "race" in Greek antiquity, how it might differ from "ethnicity", and how classicists, historians, and philosophers interested in this study can be misled by their own prejudices. (A) (III)

Instructor(s): John Proios     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Some familiarity with ancient Greek philosophy is expected.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 29913, PHIL 39913, RDIN 39913, CRES 22913


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Student Affairs Administrator
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Director of Undergraduate Studies
Eve L. Ewing