Glennon, Ph.D. (Courses)
Professor  (RH 342JóContinuing Education Suite)
Department of Religious Studies
Le Moyne College
Syracuse, New York 13214

REL 405

Ethics from the Perspective of the Oppressed

Fall 2008:MW 2:30-3:45pm    Location:  Grewen Hall 113    Email:

Mission Statement:  Le Moyne College is a diverse learning community that strives for academic excellence in the Catholic and Jesuit tradition through its comprehensive programs rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. Its emphasis is on education of the whole person and on the search for meaning and value as integral parts of the intellectual life. Le Moyne College seeks to prepare its members for leadership and service in their personal and professional lives to promote a more just society.












Course Description and Objectives:  This senior seminar will study ethics from the perspective of social groups in American society whose voices have too often been muted because of oppression and marginalization.Those groups include the poor, women, people of color (African-American, Native American, and Latino), and gays/lesbians.The focus will be to allow these groups to voice the nature of their oppression (its causes and extent), to challenge the inadequacies of traditional morality, and to identify the moral resources needed to promote social change.The seminar will incorporate the voices of representatives of these groups who speak primarily, though not exclusively, from a religious viewpoint.By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand the complex nature of oppression in the American context and their role (s) in it;
  • discuss clearly alternatives to traditional moral categories offered by oppressed groups;
  • develop a more sophisticated understanding of social justice;
  • develop a stronger sense of themselves as moral agents; and
  • take an active role in and responsibility for their learning.

Methods of Instruction: The content of the course will be covered by lectures, group discussions and presentations, audio-visual presentations, structured reading and writing assignments, and other media depending upon student interest and involvement.

Texts and Other Readings: The following required texts are available in the bookstore or online:

  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Karen Lebacqz, Justice in an Unjust World
  • Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed

In addition to the above, I will also distribute in class and place on electronic reserve through Blackboard other required readings for the course. Reference is made to them in the course schedule.

Office Hours: My office hours this semester are:Mon., Tue., Wed. 10-11:30am; Wed. 4:00-5:00pm. Come by if you have any questions related to the course.  If this time is not convenient and you need me at other times, I can arrange to meet you either in the office or on campus.  The best way to set this is up is by sending an email.   

Student Responsibilities and Rights: Students have the responsibility for sharing in and contributing to the learning process. This responsibility includes developing a learning covenant (see attached), reading assigned material prior to class, participating actively in group process, class presentations and discussions, completing written assignments on time, evaluating and suggesting positive directions for the class, and assessing their learning. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the student has certain rights. These include a right to voice an opinion that is based on a self-chosen value system, a right to dissent or differ from the professor or from others in the class, a right to graded activities returned at a reasonable time, access to the Professor at hours other than class time, and a right to know the grading system.

Evaluation:  Student evaluations will be based on successful completion of assigned and self-chosen activities.The assigned activities include group participation (15-25%) and a social justice action project (see separate project description) (50-75%).The remaining 0-35% of the student's grade will be determined on the basis of the student's objectives and activities (see attached learning covenant).

For College grading policies, including grievance policies for grades, please refer to the College Catalog, pp. 26-27, or online.

Course Grading Scale













































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Blackboard: The bulk of the materials for this course will be distributed through the use of Blackboard at Le Moyne. To access these materials, just point your Internet browser to The course will be listed under Fall 2008, Ethics from the Perspective of the Oppressed, REL 405-01. Students who are enrolled in the course already have access to the course and just need to register their password for the course. I will use the email given to you by the school (your Le Moyne account) as the official means to communicate with you.

Tentative Course and Reading Schedule: The daily class schedule can be found in an html document on the Blackboard course site under the "Course Materials" button (or accessed directly through the link above). Students should consult the file frequently in order to be apprised of any changes in the schedule. All changes made by the instructor in this file will be considered official. 

Learning Covenant and Activity Options: Also under the "Course Materials" button, you will find two files related to the Learning Covenant and Activity Options. These files describe the teaching philosophy and approach to this class and the various ways student can be evaluated.

Special Needs: In coordination with the Academic Support Center (ASC), located on the first floor of the Noreen Reale Falcone Library, reasonable accommodations are provided for qualified students with disabilities. Qualified students should register with Mr. Roger Purdy, Director of the ASC (445-4118 [voice] or 445-4104 [TDD]), for disability verification and determination of reasonable accommodations. After receiving the appropriate form from the ASC, students should meet with the instructor to review the form and discuss their needs. Students should make every attempt to meet with the instructor during the first week of class so that accommodations can be implemented in a timely manner.

Students with Personal Problems: Students who encounter personal problems of any kind, especially problems that might affect their academic performance, are encouraged to contact the Center for Personal Growth and Counseling. The Center is located in Romero Hall; appointments may be arranged by phone at 445-4195. The Center provides both individual and group counseling on a strictly confidential basis. The professional staff is also available on an emergency basis.

Policy on Academic Honesty:  Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating) undermines the trust between instructors and students and among students themselves.Such dishonesty is the attempt to fulfill a course requirement by representing as your own the intellectual property (ideas, words, or work) of another person (living or dead; professional writer or student) found in print or electronic sources, even with the personís permission. Please note that this definition includes paraphrasing anotherís work: if you read it somewhere, cite it. As a member of an intellectual and academic community, you are obliged to acknowledge the source of phrases and ideas that are original to someone else.The minimum penalty is failure of the assignment but could lead to failure of the course.In addition, I will report the incident to the Dean of Arts and Sciences who may decide to take further disciplinary action.A second act of academic dishonesty during your career at Le Moyne often results in expulsion from the college (College Catalog, p. 41). You may access the LeMoyne site on plagiarism at: Landmark Citation Machine is an excellent resource for students.This website will format any type of citation into MLA or APA style.