Before we can study the central issues of life today, we must destroy the prejudices and fallacies born of previous centuries.”  -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

prejudice (n.)  Medieval Latin prejudicium “injustice,” from Latin praeiudicium “prior judgment,” from prae- “before” + iudicium “judgment,” from iudex (genitive iudicis) “a judge”. Meaning “injury, physical harm” is mid-14c., as is legal sense “detriment or damage caused by the violation of a legal right.” Meaning “preconceived opinion” (especially but not necessarily unfavorable) is from late 14c. in English.

What is prejudice? How are our prejudices formed?  What similarities and differences are there between various forms of prejudice across race, gender, nationality, sexuality, religion, among others?  What is the relationship between prejudice and conflict? What is the role of prejudice in thinking about issues of peace and justice? How can we better understand the role that prejudice and discrimination have in a globalizing world?  What can we learn from a scientific basis of knowledge about the causes of prejudice?

This course will survey interdisciplinary scholarly research and popular cultural conversations about the root causes of prejudice and discrimination.  You are expected to examine empirical evidence toward formulating your own views about the impact that all forms of prejudice impose on the human condition and the role it has played in your own life.  Based on research evidence, the course encourages the search for solutions to the blight of prejudice.

In class discussions and small group activities you will explore, write about, and present an original effort to educate others about how different forms of prejudice and discrimination operate as impediments toward the possibility of a better, more peaceful world.