Integrated Freshman Seminar Series on Bias, Prejudice, and Bigotry 2017-11-06T11:17:05+00:00

The focal point of this integrated freshmen seminar is bias, prejudice and bigotry in society. Led by a different faculty member each quarter, seminar participants will explore the varied sources of hostility to human and cultural diversity through interrogating the manifestations of contemporary homophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

In weekly moderated conversations, students will discuss the causes and consequences of implicit bias, the interaction between personal preferences and political discourses of difference, and the use of ideologies of hate to construct communities organized around fear of the other. The purpose of this seminar series is to provide students with a conceptual vocabulary about bias, prejudice and bigotry in society while equipping them with a greater awareness of campus resources for promoting a culture of inclusive excellence for all.

Topic: Homophobia

Instructor: Professor Valerie Jenness

Course Overview: This course is the first of three courses in the series. In weekly moderated conversations, students will discuss the causes and consequences of implicit bias, the interaction between personal preferences and political discourses of difference, and the use of ideologies of hate to construct communities organized around fear of the other. Our focus will be on anti-LGBT bias, prejudice, bigotry, and violence.  

Bias, prejudice, bigotry, and violence aimed at individuals who identify, or are perceived as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or otherwise gender variant has been a part of the fabric of most societies historically and in the present era. This course situates bias, prejudice, bigotry, and violence against sexual and gender minorities in an historical context; presents an overview of empirical data that reveals the contours of this type of violence in the modern era; and presents psychological, interactional, cultural, and structural perspectives on violence against LGBTQ people. We discuss empirical and theoretical literature that indicates that the patterned nature of bias, prejudice, bigotry and violence against sexual and gender minorities is an outgrowth of structures and processes intimately connected to a binary sex/gender system in which heterosexuality and heterosexism are defined as normative. The course concludes by examining how, late in the twentieth century, violence against LGBTQ people garnered the attention of activists and interest groups, educators, politicians, journalists, and other stakeholders in unprecedented ways, which in turn engendered significant legislative and other mitigatory responses at the local, state, and national levels in the U.S. and other countries.

Topic: Antisemitism

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey Kopstein

View Professor Kopstein’s January 2017 lecture as part of the Office of Inclusive Excellence Perspectives on Bias, Prejudice, and Bigotry Lecture Series: The Return of the Jewish Question: Antisemitism and Modern Politics

Check back soon for more information.

Topic: Islamophobia

Instructor: Professor Catherine Sameh

Check back soon for more information.

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