FYS-190 Way Down in the Hole: Race, Class

Instructor: Assistant Professor Cassie M. Hays
Department: Sociology

Course Description:
What can the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire tell us about modern America? Why are young black men more likely to go to prison than to college? In what ways do those in power — the police, the politicians, the state —attempt to monitor and control the underprivileged? What has the shift away from a manufacturing industry meant for the urban working class? Why do politicians begin with soaring oratories and end in accusations of corruption? How do the deep-seated inequalities embedded in our public school system contribute to the marginalization of so many young people? Why are media representations of urban culture riddled with images of violence and stories of crime and racial enmity? Race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class and inequality underlie each of these questions. Through the lens of The Wire, this class will grapple with the interconnected issues of the street economy, postindustrial work, urban politics, disadvantaged schools, and a sensationalist media in the 21st-century city. [The Wire contains adult content.]