Course Details

POSC 306: Identity Politics and Group Behavior in America*

In recent years we have heard a lot about “identity politics.” This course aims to answer the question, why do people form group-based identities and how do they impact mass political attitudes and behavior? Using examples from American politics, we will examine the psychological underpinnings of identity and group-based affiliations as well as their political consequences. In doing so, we will explore how bias, prejudice, and social hierarchy are formed, maintained, and changed. Such evaluations will be based on discussions of various dominant and minority group identities including partisanship, race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and place. Students will learn how and where the United States has progressed in promoting group equality and fairness and where it has not or has even moved backwards. Students end the course with a deeper understanding of the core American paradox of the persistence of group hierarchy in a country dedicated to democracy, equality, and liberty and what people can do to resolve that paradox.
6 credits; SI, IDS; Offered Winter 2022; B. Harrison