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The Politics of Public Space: Race, Gender, Sexuality, Ethnicity, and Ability

Are public spaces inclusive? To explore this question, this course will combine theoretical and fictional readings and films, as well as examinations of particular physical spaces and NU archives. We will query the ways in which different members of the Northwestern university student body experience access to public spaces. By focusing on a particular student building on campus and examining the specificities of access (either the Northwestern Library or the Norris Student Center, tba), the course will cover such deeply-entrenched topics as gender, sexuality, sexual identification, race, class, religion, ethnicity, and ability. The goal of this course is to query how public spaces are politically experienced in non-uniform ways as well as recognize the constructed nature of the concept of "public space." Our localized focus of a campus building will suggest broader ideas, rendering visible the vicissitudes of what constitutes publics and space that might be extended to multiple environments and settings.