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The Daily Tar Heel

Three departments collaborate to create diversity 'supercourse' on intersectionality

The professors will attempt to bridge the gap between various issues within society such as racial stereotyping and social justice.

The course will be taught by three co-professors: political science professor Frank Baumgartner, English professor Jennifer Ho and American studies professor Sharon Holland. The course is cross-listed as POLI 248, AMST 248 AND ENGL 248.

Even though the professors span three departments, each will play an active role in instruction.

Baumgartner will focus on the implications of law within social justice.

“My particular parts of the course will deal with criminal justice and racial disparities,” he said. “I have research projects on capital punishment and also traffic stops, and will talk about some of that research, the associated literature on racial disparities and related matters.”

Ho’s portion will look at studies and literature that discuss intersectionality.

“My areas of expertise are critical race theory, contemporary American literature, Asian American studies and cultural studies, so those are the areas I’ll be focused on the most — as well as general theories of intersectionality,” Ho said.

Holland will discuss social issues that fall in line with her experiences in the American Studies department.

“I work in intersectional studies and teach across feminist, queer, sexuality and critical race studies,” Holland said. “So, really this is a course built for what it is that I do.”

Baumgartner said the course should successfully incorporate the departments in the discussion of the intersectionality of social issues.

“My two co-teachers will bring very important skills to the table and those, I think, will be quite different than my own more social-science orientation,” he said.

Baumgartner said the course will foster a safe environment for debating controversial issues.

“The engagement that I expect students will have with the variety of subject matter I expect to be very exciting,” he said. “And frankly I think it’s exciting to talk about uncomfortable things that make people angry and bewildered — that’s how we learn.”

Ho said the course will adequately prepare students to critically discuss important issues for the future.

“There are real human rights issues that are facing our nation and world — things happening in our state that we should be talking about through these lenses of race, gender and sexuality, so we can have students think critically about these topics and thus be able to speak confidently about these topics in the future,” she said.

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