PubPol 750

PubPol 750.001 Topics: Race, Place, and Inequality

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Winter 2024
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Among advanced capitalist economies, the United States is a case of remarkable inequality - between individuals, between groups of people, and between places. This course examines the relationship between race, place, and inequality. In the first part of the course, we will draw on key concepts from sociology, political science, economic geography, and urban history to build a foundation for understanding place-based racial inequality. Themes will include neighborhood and municipal segregation, urban-suburban-rural politics, local economic development, municipal bonds and credit ratings, fiscal federalism, and U.S. federalism in comparative context. In the second part of the course, we will consider specific cases of place-based racial inequality with an eye towards understanding the policy causes of inequality alongside potential policy solutions. Examples will cut across urban, suburban, metropolitan (regional), and rural settings. A special focus of the course will be on inequality in nearby metropolitan Detroit, emphasizing not just the relative lack of economic resources in Detroit’s urban core, but also the relative affluence of Detroit’s suburbs, to evaluate the relationship between racial inequality and suburban municipal resource hoarding.

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