Course Description

Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people - including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others - she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

Learner Outcomes

By the end of the course participants will have:

  • Examined the history of American racism to understand how centuries of history have contributed to the current social and cultural climate.
  • Identified the origins, the sustained existence, and the effects of a 'caste' system in American history.
  • Examined how contemporary oppression, marginalization, and violence are legally maintained through systems of law and order.
  • Considered personal accountability within the caste system and how to apply solutions and responses to racial inequity


The online book studies are offered to anyone who has a sincere interest to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the systemic issues that plague the USA around race, class and marginalized groups and who care deeply about social justice. Each book study addresses current issues in society and allow opportunities for participants to reflect, discuss and hear multiple perspectives that can lead to greater understanding and empathy.

Online course only. Web access Required. This course is hosted on Thinkific, students will be
automatically enrolled once payment is processed. Students must have access to a computer with highspeed
Internet access. Not recommended for iPad-only access. Some videos require Adobe Flash

Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Book Study: Caste, The Origins of Our Discontent
Start Now, you have 90 days to complete this course once enrolled.
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition credit (2 units) $320.00
Available for Credit
2 Quarter Credits
Section Notes

This course is offered in collaboration with Epoch Education.

Course is self-paced. Completion time: Up to 90 days from date of enrollment.

Refund Policy: Withdrawals submitted online through SPU within 7 days of enrollment will receive a 95% refund. Withdrawals received after that point will not receive a refund and no withdrawals will be accepted after the completion deadline for the course. Instructions on how to withdraw are located on our website under Students/Withdrawal and Refund Policies.


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