Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) is a social justice education class that takes seriously the presence of inequality and unfairness in the way our society is organized. The class offers students tools to recognize and critique systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, and heterosexism. By teaching intergroup dialogue skills, IGD aims to develop students’ personal capacity to intervene in and help to overturn these systems.
IGD requires people to engage in active listening, share their own lived experiences, learn facts and complex theories on societal structures and development, and - perhaps most importantly - use conflict productively. Rather than avoiding conflict or disagreement, IGD teaches students how to use conflicts as important entry ways into deeper understandings of people and social issues. During an IGD course, students are asked to read, watch, or listen to a variety of materials (e.g., chapters from history, psychology, or sociology books, essays by noted public intellectuals, artistic pieces expressing a lived experience). They are asked to write responses to prompts designed to encourage critical thinking and reflection about their own opinions or lived experience through the lens of the assigned material. During class, they engage in structured exercises and discussion designed to deepen their understanding of the material and each other. And, of course, they are asked to employ their new knowledge and interpersonal skills to practice intergroup dialogue.
Typically, an IGD class focuses on one social identity category such as race, gender, sexuality, or socio-economic status. The course examines how people with different social identities experience and think about the consequences of their membership in that category. Though an IGD course may focus primarily on one social category, there is always acknowledgment that other identities work in tandem with the primary category to shape a person’s perspective.
The class is taught by two facilitators. It is graded, worth half a credit, and meets once per week for a total of 9 weeks. Enrollment in the IGD 150 course is “by permission of instructor.” To obtain instructor approval, click on the registration link provided in the Course Description on Capstone. You will be asked to provide some information about yourself and your social identities. Filling out the form does not guarantee a seat in the class, but it is a required first step to enroll. During the regular registration period, requests are processed in the order in which they are received within class years.