Gloria Ayee Photo

Gloria Ayee

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

Zoe Marks Photo

Zoe Marks

Lecturer in Public Policy

Khalil Gibran Muhammad Photo

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy

The course is in response to longstanding efforts by HKS students, and most recently, the HKS Equity Coalition, to insist that understanding race and racism and their intersecting forms of power and oppression is essential to an excellent education at a policy school.

The United States’ global dominance has long been a source of envy, and consternation, of around the world. But the role of race to native-born and newcomer alike has often been treated as aberrational, an unfortunate artifact of the nation’s past. This course disrupts this vision by examining the nature of race at the heart of the American project (and its parallels around the world in Section B).

This course draws from theoretical and empirical research from the social sciences to highlight the institutions of racial domination that have helped to produce durable racial hierarchies, with specific attention to the modes through which hierarchies have been created and maintained. These perspectives are required for leadership in 21st century, multi-racial democracies, to help lead and transform institutions for a browner America and world.

Section A – Khalil Muhammad

Prof. Muhammad’s section draws from African American, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian American history, critical race theory, and whiteness studies to offer students historical knowledge about the role that race and racism have played in wealth creation, labor force participation, political culture, social institutions, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and civic life.

Sections B – Zoe Marks: International and Intersectional Perspectives

Prof. Marks’s section provides a comparative and intersectional approach to understanding power and oppression in diverse global contexts. Students will confront transnational dynamics of racism and examine how colonial and imperial legacies have shaped racial paradigms around the world. We will sharpen our skills in intersectional policy analysis - grappling with how racism interacts with sexism, classism, casteism, ethnocentrism, and other sources of inequality - to interrogate and (re)design solutions to systemic problems.

Sections C - Gloria Ayee

Prof. Ayee’s course begins with an in-depth examination of the definition of — and meanings attached to — the term race within the U.S. context. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the relationship between race and public policy by drawing on history, political science, sociology, and legal theory. By emphasizing the value of a global analysis and focusing on cross-national comparisons and historical perspectives to evaluate the political implications of racial and ethnic identities in different parts of the world, this course is designed to contextualize and offer insight into the history, dynamics, and salience of racial inequality and political cleavage within the United States in wealth creation, labor force participation, immigration, civic life, as well as within cultural, legal, political, and social institutions.

This course is required of all MPP1 students.