This course will focus on understanding urban schools as a part of a broader system of social stratification and the process by which students in urban schools come to a sense of themselves as students, as members of cultural and racial groups, and as young people in America. Students will explore: 1) How does race take shape and play out in urban school settings?; 2) How do we think about schools as cultural institutions and human development as cultural in nature?; 3) What are racial/ethnic and academic identity and how do they take shape in cultural environments?: 4) What opportunities for particular formulations of racial and academic identities present themselves in urban schools?; and 5) How do racial/ethnic and academic identities interact for African American, Latino, & Asian students? These issues will be approached from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including sociology, psychology, anthropology, and education. As an example of the racial and social stratification in schools, students will also learn about alternative schools and juvenile hall schools, and students' trajectories between schools and the juvenile justice system. Students will also integrate these theories with their own first-hand experience working in and conducting a case study in one of two off-campus sites: an urban high school and a juvenile court school. The culminating assignment for the course will be a final paper in which students will either develop a literature review that analyzes a topic or theme from the course, conduct a case study on a student or a students' school and community context, or write an empirical paper based on an original research question. All papers, irrespective of type, should relate to the theories and ideas studied in the course. PLEASE NOTE: This course has a mandatory community engagement component. Students will spend two hours per week in one of two off-campus sites, for which students will earn 1 unit of field study (197) credit.