Fall 2023 Sociology BC3939 section 001

Housing Equity and the American Dream


Call Number 00172
Day & Time
R 12:10pm-2:00pm
Points 4
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Deborah Becher
Course Description

The American Dream of owning a home has long represented an ideal of American equity. The ideal screams of opportunity and meritocracy: no matter how poor one begins life, as long as they work and save, they can enjoy the security and safety of home. To many, this ideal gives them hope, for they can see possibility for their achievement. To others, the ideal feels like a farce, for they rightly anticipate facing countless barriers to achieving that dream.

This course examines challenges, contradictions, and ironies of American housing equity. We study ways in which the ideal of single-family home ownership has directly led to excluding large portions of the population from secure housing. We examine why and how many Americans can be deeply committed to equality and freedom and still perpetuate inequalities in their housing choices. We examine how people at the bottom who understand well the barriers they face still manage to survive, invent, and struggle to achieve dignity and equity in their housing.

The course examines core issues of housing equity in America historically and in the present. The course primarily offers a sociological perspective on housing. But we will also read work and bring in perspectives from geography, history, urban planners, and others. In addition, we will also engage with work by journalists, which represents one way that the multi-disciplinary issues of housing are connected in narratives intended for a wider audience than more scholarly products. While we draw on work from various perspectives, we will focus on developing a sociological lens to understand housing.

Web Site Vergil
Department Sociology @Barnard
Enrollment 13 students (15 max) as of 6:06PM Thursday, June 13, 2024
Subject Sociology
Number BC3939
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Campus Barnard College
Section key 20233SOCI3939X001