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Academic Courses

The following is a sampling of undergraduate and graduate courses that address issues of racial inequality, diversity and social justice advocacy.

African History
This course examines some of the various peoples of Africa over the past 500 years, but with an emphasis on the modern era. While the focus is on cultures and cultural developments, economic conditions and political situations are also studied.

Civil Rights Clinic
During this two-semester, in-house clinic, students work with the EEOC, Pa. Human Relations Commission, Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, and Pittsburgh Chapter of the NAACP on matters involving employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination. They also provide client education and legal assistance on criminal record expungements, sealings and gubernatorial pardons, to remove barriers and better an individual's chances for employment, housing, and education.

Current Challenges for Liberal Democracies
This course introduces students to the major challenges facing liberal democracies in the international system today. Major topics include the global democratic recession and the challenge of strong authoritarians, as well as the challenges of immigration, global inequality, environmental degradation, and the new security challenges brought by the rise of religious based terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State.

Disparities In Healthcare
This course provides a broad introduction into cultural themes of health, illness and health care by critically reviewing existing social inequalities and cultural perceptions. Differences in the quality of healthcare delivered to racial/ethnic groups are explored in an attempt to explain why health disparities exist in the United States. Students are also be challenged to consider how they may be eliminated.

Ethnic Conflict
Ethnic conflict threatens political stability in countries around the world. Yet despite its ubiquity, ethnic politics remains poorly understood. This course asks: Why do people identify with ethnic groups? Why does ethnic identity sometimes lead to private ritual, sometimes to peaceful mobilization, and sometimes to violent conflict, pogroms and genocide? Most pressingly, are there solutions to ethnic conflict, particularly in deeply-divided, violence-ridden countries?

Exploring Intercultural Communication
This course studies the influence of cultural diversity on interpersonal interactions, fosters understanding and respect for disparate worldviews, and looks toward theory that grounds understanding of differences in belief, cultural practices, values, and ethics and their influence on intercultural engagement in interpersonal settings.

Flatlined: History and Politics of US Healthcare
This course examines the development of American health care policy and reforms over the course of the 20th century and explore problems and potential solutions to divergent health care access and divergent health outcomes for underserved communities and groups.

Global Literature Survey
This course acquaints students with the various conceptual questions that have shaped world literature in U.S. higher education: What and where is the "world" in world literature? What is the relationship between world literature and the culture wars? What is the impact of reading and teaching in translation on world literature? How have ethnic literatures and debates about "canons" influenced world literature? How do the world wars, colonization, imperialism, and globalization influence our understanding of the world's literatures and their value?

History of Human Trafficking
From the Trans-Atlantic slave trade to current day human trafficking, issues relating to the illegal transfer of men, women and children throughout the world are analyzed in this course. The material also offers an understanding of how race, class and gender are useful tools by which to understand human trafficking as a global phenomenon.

History of Urban America
This course examines the development of the American city with special focus upon changes in land-use patterns, social class arrangements, political organizations, mobility and migration, ecological patterns, industrial and commercial developments, transformation of the built environment, and the creation of a national urban policy.

Intro to Peace and Justice
This course introduces conceptual, practical, and spiritual dimensions of peace and justice. Peace and justice are treated as the by-products of intra psychic, interpersonal, situational, organizational, regional, national, and global conflict.

Issues of Social Justice in Visual Culture
This course examines how visual culture reflects and influences issues of social justice, whether as commentaries, historical records, or as visual rhetorical arguments. Visual culture resources from a variety of sources and cultures are used, and students engage in analyzing visual culture from an informed and critical perspective.

19-20th Century African American Literature and Music
Using frameworks of race, class, and gender to analyze slave narratives, fiction, autobiographies, and plays, the course examines the dialogue between black written and oral traditions, while considering overarching themes of national identity, gender, and social justice.

Race, Crime and Justice
The goal of this course is to think critically about the controversies surrounding race, ethnicity, crime, and criminal justice in American society and to analytically evaluate public policy solutions.

Religion and Global Conflict
The course examines the teachings of Christianity and Islam on the moral questions surrounding warfare, and it addresses major religions as well as indigenous traditional religious practices on post-conflict reconciliation, peacebuilding and conflict resolution.

Who Decides When I'm Ill
It is generally believed that people should be able to decide for themselves when and which medical treatment they will take. However, there are many instances in which other people make treatment decisions. Moreover, due to disparities in healthcare, people in the US do not have equal access to treatment. In this course, students study these issues, illustrate their relevance by exploring real-life cases, and learn to analyze them.

Women and Christianity
This course emphasizes multicultural perspectives in light of issues and themes that engage feminist theologians, womanist theologians, and scholars from the Circle of Concern African Women Theologians, such as sexual violence, racism, poverty and health, ways of imaging the divine and participating in religious rituals, interpretive and communal authority, and power structures.

United Pittsburgh
This new initiative aligns credit-bearing courses with a public speaker series, creating a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders who can identify the root causes of community challenges and faculty and students with an interest in understanding and addressing those issues.The course is team-taught by Duquesne faculty and community partners and the speaker series hosts leaders from governmental, faith-based and community organizations.