Affirmative Action: International, Comparative and Empirical DimensionsAffirmative action in the United States has been both legally and politically controversial for many years. But equivalent policies operate in several other countries in ways that have sometimes borrowed from the United States but mostly taken diverging paths. In this seminar, we consider to what extent debates in the United States on affirmative action may be illuminated by examining how other societies have treated the issue. This interdisciplinary seminar examines affirmative action from international, comparative and empirical perspectives. We consider affirmative action in Canada, Malaysia, India, Northern Ireland, South Africa, and the European Community. Case studies of these countries provide extensive legal and empirical experience of affirmative action in several different dimensions (race, gender, caste, religion), and in many different legal and political contexts. We shall consider various theoretical and practical issues posed by the approaches these jurisdictions adopt, and their potential comparative relevance. The seminar will meet intensively for the first five weeks of the semester, after which participants will be expected to produce a paper, and comment on draft papers produced by other participants. Participants will be encouraged to take an international, comparative, and/or empirical approaches in their papers. There are no preconditions to taking this seminar.
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