fbpx Race and Racism in the Making of the United States as a Global Power | Harvard Kennedy School

Gloria Browne-Marshall

Visiting Professor of Public Policy

Khalil Muhammad Photo

Khalil Muhammad

Ford Foundation Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy

This course is a core requirement for all MPP students. No other students are allowed to enroll at this time. 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 the envy of 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. In the first half of the course, we draw 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. We then shift to the contemporary moment, drawing 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 a 21st century, multi-racial democracy, to help lead and transform institutions for a browner America and world. 

This course is required of all MPP1 students.