Race & Society

Interdisciplinary Themes

Bass Connections projects, courses and summer programs are aligned with the following themes:

Led by the Social Science Research Institute

Nearly every facet of society and our lives — including how and where we live, learn, work and play — is shaped by race. While extensive research has revealed that race is a biological fiction, the social construct of race has very real consequences. Growing evidence shows that deep and broad racial inequities in our society are the results of historical and contemporary racism embedded in ideologies, norms, spaces, structures, and institutional policies and practices.

Bass Connections in Race & Society supports interdisciplinary teams of faculty, students and external partners in their exploration of race-related issues, ultimately contributing to solutions that bring about more racially equitable societies. We encourage projects that investigate how race intersects with various aspects of society and lived experience (e.g., environment, human development, immigration, health and healthcare, music, art, literature, history, education, economy, gender and sexuality, work, religion, STEM, policy, community life).

Race & Society Project Teams

Historical map of Durham, North Carolina.

This project seeks to work with Durham communities where racial covenants exist to wrestle with the question of what ought to be done with these defunct artifacts of living oppression.  Read more about Bad Deeds: Racial Covenants in Durham County (2023-2024) »


Exterior of a bookstore with sign: Libros.

This project team will continue the ¡Celebra mi herencia! program, which pairs Latino/a families with undergraduate students at Duke to read children’s books in Spanish by Latino/a and Latin American authors. Read more about Celebra mi herencia: A Spanish Reading Program (2023-2024) »


Three men stand together in front of a wall with graffiti

This project team will investigate a community-based pedagogical practice that reaches Black and poor youth in urban Brazil by building a democratic culture of rights and citizenship in a profoundly authoritarian, racist and classist society. Read more about Hip Hop Pedagogies: Education for Citizenship in Brazil and the United States (2023-2024) »


Male doctor examining ankle and foot of a female patient.

The aim of this project is to characterize clinical details for return to the Emergency Department within 30 and 90 days after orthopaedic surgery, and to adjust clinical practice and discharge counseling in order to help combat this underlying racial disparity.  Read more about Racial Disparities in Emergency Department Return After Orthopaedic Surgery (2023-2024) »


The State of the South graphic and MDC logo on gray background.

Background The United States has a long history of race-based and economic inequity, particularly in the South. Although some progress has been made toward a more equitable society, the recent pandemic and protests against police brutality and extreme economic distress have revealed the depth of... Read more about State of the South: Advancing Equity through Participatory Data (2023-2024) »


Three exterior views of school buildings.

Background Durham Public Schools and its stakeholders address many challenges surrounding equitable school experiences and outcomes. In response, the Bull City Community Schools Partnership was formed as a grassroots effort to transform public schools.  Read more about Strengthening Partnerships Between Durham Schools and Local Universities (2023-2024) »


Box of leafy green vegetables.

This project team will support ongoing community-derived goals for the coordination of Durham’s food security organizations. Read more about Tracing the Roots of Nutrition Access, Implementation and Policy (2023-2024) »


Race & Society Courses

Gateway Courses

EDUC 101: Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

Fall 2022
Instructor: Amy Anderson, Aaron Colston

This course is an interdisciplinary examination of issues confronting American education, incorporating historical, political, economical, philosophical, and social perspectives. Read more about Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education »


PSY 104: Social Psychology

Fall 2022
Instructor: Sarah Gaither, Cristina Salvador

This course examines the effects of social interaction and social processes on a wide range of individual attitudes and behaviors (for example, conformity, leadership, prejudice, aggression and altruism). Read more about Social Psychology »


PSY 104: Social Psychology

Spring 2023
Instructor: Sarah Gaither

This course examines the effects of social interaction and social processes on a wide range of individual attitudes and behaviors (e.g., conformity, leadership, prejudice, aggression, altruism). Students examine the logic, reasoning, research designs and methods by which knowledge is generated and... Read more about Social Psychology »


Other Undergraduate Courses

SOCIOL 230: Just Laws: Inequalities in the U.S. Legal System

Spring 2023
Instructor: Jenifer Hamil-Luker

This course serves as an introduction to the study of law as a social institution. Students will investigate how legal rules reflect and shape historical contexts, ethical values, social interactions, economic conditions and political conflicts. Read more about Just Laws: Inequalities in the U.S. Legal System »


SPANISH 316S: Global Humanities in Spanish

Fall 2022
Instructor: Joseph Mulligan

This course examines key humanistic contributions in peninsular, Latin American and Latinx contexts, as organized around comparative themes, regions and eras. Topics range from colonial/indigenous encounter to border studies, Cervantes to José Martí and Rosario Castellanos to Sandra Cisneros,... Read more about Global Humanities in Spanish »


SPANISH 316S: Global Humanities in Spanish

Spring 2023
Instructor: Elvira Vilches

This course examines key humanistic contributions in peninsular, Latin American and Latinx contexts, as organized around comparative themes, regions and eras. Topics range from colonial/indigenous encounter to border studies, Cervantes to José Martí and Rosario Castellanos to Sandra Cisneros,... Read more about Global Humanities in Spanish »


Graduate Courses

BCS 806: Segregated Sundays: Church, Race, Class and Caste

Fall 2022
Instructor: Valerie Cooper

In this course, students undertake an interdisciplinary exploration of the racial dynamics of Protestant Christian worship in the United States. Read more about Segregated Sundays: Church, Race, Class and Caste »