Why Equality is Controversial

Healthcare. Climate change. Immigration. Mass incarceration. Racial and gender disparities. Economic inequality and poverty. Democracy. Meritocracy. Educational inequalities. These and other topics have not only sparked conflict but have also highlighted profound inequities around the world. Understanding and addressing these issues demands not only an awareness of what it means to be human in our present moment, but what it has meant to be human in our collective past. By asking ourselves if intention or outcome matters more, we will interrogate from historical and contemporary perspectives some of the most vexing inequities our leaders face. What role do they play in instigating or resolving conflict? How does power impact inequality? How does controversy come into being in the first place?

Over the year, we will explore historical and present-day examples of complex social challenges, focusing on those that advantage certain groups of people over others. We will examine the psychological, social, and cultural reasons that we take sides, including those against our self-interest; and investigate the deep-rooted legacies of systemic policies and norms we take for granted.

It is our belief that studying these topics helps make us better citizens and leaders, better situated to make meaningful change whether at the level of the University, the city, the country, or the world.

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  • Coursework Overview

    The coursework for this Endeavor community involves taking a one-unit course in the fall and spring semester.

    Fall 2024 Semester

    Spring 2025 Semester

    LDST 102: Leadership and the Social Sciences (1 unit)

    LDST 101: Leadership and the Humanities (1 unit)

    Both courses are required for students majoring or minoring in Leadership Studies.

  • Specific Course Information

    LDST 101: Leadership and the Humanities

    Introduction to leadership as an object of study through examination of its historical foundations and intellectual development. Readings selected from history, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion, and social theory. Emphasis on assessing these texts in light of reasoned argument and on drawing out their implications for leadership studies.

    LDST 102:  Leadership and the Social Sciences

    Introduction to the study of leadership through theoretical and empirical explorations of social interaction. Readings selected from anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Emphasis on advancing the understanding of leadership through an increased appreciation of the rich complexities of human behavior. 

  • Faculty Information

    Dr. Lauren N. Henley
    Dr. Lauren Henley
    is an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies.

    Dr. Crystal L. Hoyt
    Dr. Crystal Hoyt
    is a Professor of Leadership Studies and Psychology.


  • Endeavor Short Course Information

    As part of the Endeavor program, you will participate in the popular Endeavor Pre-Orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Jepson faculty.

    Short Course Description:  Unpacking Poverty: From History to Action 

    Poverty in America is not a predetermined or inevitable outcome. Decades of social, economic, and business policies and decisions have, and continue to, advantage the wealthy over the impoverished. In this short course we will take historical and contemporary perspectives to understanding poverty. Along the way, you will engage in a poverty simulation and collaborate on crafting action plans aimed at eradicating poverty.