Reading list for “Social Justice and Equity: STEM and Beyond”

This past spring, I had the pure joy of co-teaching a course with Sumi Pendakur at Harvey Mudd College entitled “Social Justice and Equity: STEM and Beyond”. Even though we create the course one week before the start of the semester, we got over 50 students to sign up to take it! It was so uplifting to see students grappling deeply with these issues.

In case others are interested, here are the topics for each of the class meetings, and the readings that we assigned. There are some that we would definitely switch up the next time we do this, but I hope this is a helpful list for anyone thinking about teaching a similar course.

Link to our course description:


Class 1 (Jan 25, 2016): Patterns of Underrepresentation and Bias in STEM


Class 2 (Feb 1): The Importance of Diversity in Higher Education

  • HMC’s “Why Diversity” and “What is Diversity” documents
  • Chapters 1 and 2 of “Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work” by Daryl Smith
  • 1-page article “Diversity Challenge” in Nature, Sep 2014 (optional: read the other articles included in that first article)

Class 3 (Feb 8): Meritocracy in STEM and Affirmative Action


Class 4 (Feb 15): Racism, Prejudice, Bias, Stereotypes


Class 5 (Feb 22): Slavery, Jim Crow, and Racism Post-Jim-Crow


Class 6 (Feb 29): Immigration, Segregation, Desegregation, Resegregation


We cancelled our Mar 7 class to hear Keith Knight‘s talk.


Class 7 (Mar 21): Critical Race Theory and the “Others” Claim to Higher Education

  1. Just What is Critical Race Theory and What’s It Doing in a Nice Field Like Education” Gloria Ladson-Billings
  2. Toward a Critical Race Theory of Chicana and Chicano Education” Solorzano and Yosso
  3. Camouflaging Power and Privilege: A Critical Race Analysis of University Diversity Policies” Iverson
  4. From Jim Crow to Affirmative Action and Back Again: A Critical Race Discussion of Racialized Rationales and Access to Higher Education” Yosso, Parker, Solorzano, Lynn

Note: We did a jig-saw activity with these four readings that turned out well. These two were additional optional readings.


Class 8 (Mar 28): Marxism and Higher Education



Class 9 (Apr 4): Social Capital Theory and the Hidden Curriculum


Class 10 (Apr 11): Feminism


Class 11 (Apr 18): Queer Theory & Disability Justice


Class 12 (Apr 25): Campus Climate

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