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1 Proposal: number 164

164. SOC 211: Ethnic and Race Relations

Contact:Suzanne Strickland
Abstract:This course is an introduction to the study of race and ethnicity. In the
first part of the course we focus mainly upon the U.S. experience of
blacks/whites because this experience has been so central to U.S. development
and because the black/white social structure has been a model for how racism
was applied to other non-white and inferior white races in the U.S.
Our focus on race develops a sociological and historical analysis of race as a
social structural relationship that entails social practices and ideology. We
begin by an analysis of the 19th century pseudo-scientific biology of race, and
contrast those ideas with the current biological and anthropological criticism
of the 19th conceptualization in order to emphasize the race relation as a
social construction, i.e., a product of political, social and economic history.
Then we examine and theorize the origins of slavery, the origins of racism,
the development of caste, and the civil rights movement. We analyze how the
social structure of race-as-status forms and how it sheds and acquires meanings
in response to: the developing economy, the needs of dominant classes, the
actions of the state, the status hungers of subordinate white classes, and the
social struggles of subordinate groups, mainly blacks.
We compare the experience of African Americans with the experience of Jews and
Italians who were perceived as inferior white races at the turn of the 20th
century, but who, in the post-WWII period, become ТwhiteУ ethic groups.
Finally, we examine both the persistence and moderation of race and racism
since the Civil Rights movement with a special focus on the labor market, the
housing market and residential segregation, the wealth gap, and whiteness,
including white race projects and white privilege.

Our goal is to teach students how the relationship and practice of race is
socially constructed over time, and to teach the differences between race and
biology, race and ethnicity, and race and class.

The second part of the course focuses upon and theorizes ethnicity as a
changing process affected by the interaction of sub-cultural groups with
surrounding social institutions. Assimilation/ resistance to assimilation is
our central problematic. We examine aspects of the immigration and ethnic
development of the late 19th and early 20th century and the sociological theory
used to account for ethnicity and assimilation. We examine a new sociological
theory of assimilation that incorporates and revises the older sociological
theory and is primarily a response to the ТnewУ immigrations that begin
around 1970. We compare the social conditions faced by the
early and new immigrants as well as how their ideas and values changed and are
changing. We compare the experience of the second generation of three
different ТnewУ ethnic groups and how their assimilation rates are
affected by the diverse social, human and financial capital of their immigrant
parents, U.S. laws and political institutions, and U.S. capitalism in the light
of a globalized economy, the ease of international transportation and
communication, and their non-whiteness.

Our goal is to enable students to reflect upon the changing nature of ethnicity
and why groups assimilate at different rates, the changing nature of theory in
relation to new experience, and, given the ethnic diversity of QC, we want to
provide students with some tools to reflect upon their own experience.

Submissions and Approvals

Course Date Requirement Action By Whom Notes
SOC 211 2010-04-05 SS Submitted Dept
SOC 211 2010-04-05 US Submitted Dept
SOC 211 2010-05-12 SS Approved GEAC
SOC 211 2010-05-12 US Approved GEAC
SOC 211 2010-09-16 SS Approved UCC
SOC 211 2010-09-16 US Approved UCC
SOC 211 2010-10-14 SS Approved Senate
SOC 211 2010-10-14 US Approved Senate