This course will discuss systems of oppression in the United States and their historical context. The way these systems impact today’s institutions of education, health and justice will be examined. Focus will be on the intersection of race, gender and class as we move through our readings and interactive discussion. In each class we will also discuss positive movement and changes that are occurring and how we can move forward to have collective impact across generations toward a more equitable and just society.

Suggested reading: A reading list will be distributed to those who enroll in the course. Students will select 2-3 things to read before the course begins and journal their reactions. 

Gwendolyn VanSant (pictured above) is a recognized leader in the areas of diversity and community organization for racial justice. She is the founding director of Multicultural BRIDGE. She was the co-chair of the five week celebration of the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois’ birth and co-curated OLLI’s course on Du Bois. She is the incoming Chair of the Berkshire County Commission on the Status of Women and was recognized as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.


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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 |

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