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#metoo and #BlackLivesMatter in the Light of Academic Debates over Cultural Recognition

General data

Course ID: 4219-SH170 Erasmus code / ISCED: (unknown) / (unknown)
Course title: #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter in the Light of Academic Debates over Cultural Recognition Name in Polish: #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter in the Light of Academic Debates over Cultural Recognition (#metoo and #BlackLivesMatter w świetle debat na temat kulturowego uznania)
Department: American Studies Center
Course groups: Elective courses - 2nd cluster - MA studies
Elective courses - 3rd cluster - MA studies
elective courses - weekday studies - second cycle
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

elective courses


(in Polish) w sali

Short description:

The course aims to confront ideas of cultural recognition developed within the academia with the social practice, based on the protests of #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter. Students will thus have an opportunity to study how academic political theory relates to these political conflicts. The course will introduce students to the concept of cultural recognition and research on sex/gender- and race-based violence. Moreover, it will provide them with basic tools for discourse analysis and an opportunity to practice the latter.

Full description:

Leftist academics who in the last decades advocated cultural recognition as an important area of political activity have been criticized for too much reliance on theory, and too little effort to turn their ideas into legal or institutional projects. Consequently, they have never properly acknowledged their own ineffectiveness, i.e. the fact that while the academia was turning left, societies shifted to the right. The 2017 victory of Donald Trump in the presidential elections seems to support this line of criticism. Does this mean, however, that cultural recognition claims are unrealistic?

The course aims to examine the discourses of the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter movements in this context, confronting ideas developed within the academia with those born in the protests, as well as with the statistical data on sex/gender- and race-based violence. The course allows moreover for an introduction of theoretical and empirical approaches resonating within the contemporary humanities and the social sciences. It is also envisioned to have a practical component in which students will be required to analyze social data on their own, interpret them in the light of the approaches discussed in class, and formulate their own arguments in the debate over the two movements.

The course is divided into three parts. Firstly, the students will be introduced to the concept of recognition. Secondly, they will be engaged in a workshop with the aim to put selected materials of the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter discourses under scrutiny. Finally, they will be asked to take sides in the debate over both movements and formulate informed arguments based on the study materials.


Selection of readings subject to change.

Charles Taylor, “The Politics of Recognition”, in: Amy Gutman (ed.) (1994), Multiculturalism and "The Politics of Recognition," Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Judith Butler (1997) “Merely Cultural”, Social Text, 52/53: 265-277.

Nancy Frazer (1997) “Heterosexism, Misrecognition, and Capitalism: A Response to Judith Butler”, Social Text, 52/53: 279-289.

Richard Rorty (2000) “Is Cultural Recognition a Useful Concept for Leftist Politics? A Response to Judith Butler and Nancy Frazer”, Critical Horizons, 1/1:7-20.

Martha C. Nussbaum (1999) “The Professor of Parody: The Hip Defeatism of Judith Butler”, The New Republic, 22: 37-45.

Richard Rorty (1998) Achieving our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, Harvard UP.

Michael Burawoy (2005) “For Public Sociology”, America Sociological Review, 70: 4-28.

Carol Gilligan (2016) In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, Harvard UP.

Rebeca Solnit (2015) Men Explain Things to Me, Haymarket Books.

Earl Babbie (2013) The Practice of Social Research, Wadsworth.

Aliya Saperstein Andrew M. Penner, “The Race of a Criminal Record: How Incarceration Colors Racial Perceptions,” Social Problems, Volume 57, Issue 1: 92–113.

Michelle Alexander (2010) The New Jim Crow, The New Press

Learning outcomes:


a) knows the concept of cultural recognition, is able to locate it in the current American debate over identity, inequality and discrimination; understands the meaning and importance of this concept to its proponents;

b) knows that #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter were preceded by many other emancipation movements in the US history, with similar goals;

c) knows terminology connected to gender, sexuality and race, as used in the contemporary cultural studies; realizes that the categories are defined in various ways in the public debate, and that those definitions often correspond to political goals and views;

d) knows what sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, ageism, classism and other forms of stigmatization and discrimination are, and understands their social consequences;

e) is familiar with the ways in which identity categories connected to gender, sexuality and race have been represented in American popular culture in the twentieth and twenty first century.


Upon completing this course a student:

a) is able to identify and deconstruct ableist, sizeist, sexist, racisist content and deployment of such discourses;

b) can employ selected theoretical perspectives and data sources when analyzing American society and culture;

c) can thoughtfully use academic terminology connected to gender, sexuality and race;

d) can plan critical academic texts and presentations related to the topic of the course.


Upon completing this course a student:

a) can select and evaluate key ideas and arguments from texts;

b) actively participates in class discussions on complicated topics;

c) has basic skills connected to the selection and interpretation of social data; can use them to draw conclusions, formulate informed questions and arguments;

d) is able to follow and reconstruct political debates, interpret them in the light of theories studied, formulate views and defend standpoints.

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Students need 60% to pass.

Response papers (3 per semester): 30 points

Independent research project: 30 points

Final test: 20 points

Participation: 20 points

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
Copyright by University of Warsaw.