The purpose of this course is to critically examine, from a social justice perspective, current writing and debates on the policy initiatives offered by and available to the administration of President Barack Obama. The topic areas include the economy/housing, education, health and international affairs/human rights as presented by a series of speakers through writings. In addition to a presentation of proposed administration policy positions, the course will introduce alternatives from sources outside of government. As well, the course will present examples of public opinion/popular thinking about the issues as part of the discussion. Each topic will have race and gender as part of the consideration integrated into the policies and not as separate, civil rights, discussions.
The objective of this course is to engage students in critical thinking, dialogue, and debate about policies and issues the new administration must address as well as to help you develop alternatives to the administration’s proposals. As an initial offering and given the array of issues confronting the administration, the topics are deliberately broad. In addition to understanding the basics of each topic area, discussion will focus on specific responses and whether or how the select communities in the United States and elsewhere are impacted by the problems as well as the interrelationship between the topics explored in the class. I have outlined below my ideas for the course, but all of the readings will likely not be set far in advance because policies are now being developed.