The course is designed as a research seminar for senior anthropology and sociology majors. We read some good books about the culture of the social classes to spur and shape their own study of a class culture question of their choosing. A representative recent syllabus is here. As that syllabus says, " The aim of this particular advanced seminar, on class culture, is to understand how and why society is stratified into classes and status groups. We will explore how different classes have distinctive cultures, and consider the larger question of the social function and meaning of a class system." I do not presume at the outset that social stratification is bad or good. Indeed, considering the vices and virtues of particular classes, and particular stratification systems, is one of the main things we talk about. We discuss the full range of classes, but recently we have spent more time on the knowledge class, in keeping with the research that I have been presenting to you lately.
I have been asked by a local graduate student, not someone I know personally, to study this class. This is how she describes her purpose:
My research is focusing on the effects diversity related courses have on students awareness of privilege and oppression, openness to diversity, and ethnocultural empathy. Further, I am investigating what role the classroom environment plays in changing attitudes and awareness of students related to diversity topics.So, the Class Culture seminar is a diversity-related course, I suppose, and privilege is, in a way, one of our topics. Still, I sense a disjuncture between her understanding of the aim of a "diversity course" and mine. This is an instance of how the classification scheme classifies the classifier: the very structure of her question, and my syllabus, assumes a different understanding of what "diversity" and, perhaps, education about diversity, means.
So what should be done with this disjuncture?