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Syllabus in 60: Race, Power, and Justice in Business

Friday, April 21, 2023

Courses at the Carlson School cover a wide range of topics. Here’s a 60-second breakdown of one of the many classes leaving an impact on students.


BA 3001: Race, Power, and Justice in Business

The United States is a diverse nation founded on the principle of equality, and yet has roots in slavery, Indigenous genocide, colonialism, and dispossession. These roots shaped economic relations and business practices that continue today. Rather than seeing business as a historical organization, this course considers the socially embedded nature of business in which racial and other structural inequalities are inherent in the development and contemporary practice of business.

“It’s important to me that the course presents key alternative perspectives on power and justice, including those that are critical of how business exerts its power in society.”—Professor John Budd

5 Takeaways

  • The course is a new, required course for undergraduate students. The course was developed as part of the Undergraduate Program’s redesign, which launched in Fall 2022.
  • This deeper understanding is intended to provide students with a rich lens to critically examine business practices while considering ways to address power hierarchies and promote social justice in the context of business.
  • One of first things students do is take two Implicit Association Tests (IAT) from Project Implicit, including the race IAT.
  • The course is also focused on personal development. Students write weekly journal entries, considering differences in social identities, personal biases, and how to advance justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion. This culminates with personal development plans for being a stronger ally.
  • “Personally, I have learned so much about my privileges and biases, and I think that every student will benefit from learning more about themselves.”— Zach Soule, ’25 BSB.
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