Skip to main content

Legacy of Gender, Race, and Class

Dr. Sheri Karmiol,
Core: Humanities 

Consider the ways in which we are the same but different.  This class deals with “isms,” those words that help to define difference—race, ethnicity, class, gender.  Our construction of difference is longstanding.  The Greeks defined themselves as different from the Spartans.  Christians were different from the Jews or pagans.  In our own world, women are different from men and black is different from white and both are different from brown.  This legacy class will examine the ways in which difference—whether gender, ethnicity, class, or race—is depicted in literature and film.  We will consider a variety of topics, but be prepared to discuss how ethnicity, race, gender and social class define our lives and how these differences reflect the past and inform the future. 


Charlotte Brontë, (Jane Eyre)

Toni Morrison, (The Bluest Eye)

A Reading Packet that includes: Pericles, fairy tales, John Stuart Mill, plus a selection of short stories and poetry by Langston Hughes, Alice Childress, Alice Walker, Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, Paula Gunn Allen, and Grace Paley.


Excerpts from (The Magdalene Sisters), (Jane Eyre), (Suffragette), (A Class Divided), (Smoke Signals), (Crash).


One 3.5 page location paper or a 3.5 page analytical/major concepts paper, three informal 2-page papers, 2 oral presentations, a final research project on how race, ethnicity, gender, and class impact economic, educational, and social outcomes.


Sheri Karmiol has a Ph.D. in British literature. Much of Dr. Karmiol’s academic research had focused on behavioral and social anthropology and the ethical and philosophical decisions that people make to adapt to changes in their lives.  Most of the classes that she teaches have centered on issues of social inequity, prejudice, and how society marginalizes difference.  Dr. Karmiol has been honored with an award for her teaching and has received two fellowships, including one for study at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  She also teaches classes on the Holocaust and on intolerance.