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Department of

Ethnic Studies

Course Descriptions



ETHN 100D Introduction to Ethnic Studies

ETHN 220D Introduction to African-American Studies
ETHN 230D Introduction to American Indian Studies
ETHN 240D Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies
ETHN 250D Introduction to Asian American Studies
ETHN 294 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies
ETHN 321C African American Panethnicity
ETHN 322 African American Civil Rights
ETHN 323 African American Music and Culture
ETHN 331 Gender in Native America



ETHN 332 American Indian Health and Spirituality
ETHN 343 Chicano/Latino Studies
ETHN 355 Asian American Social Movements
ETHN 360 Race, Religion and Social Justice
ETHN 361 Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Ethnicity, Race and Gender
ETHN 362 Ethnicity and Cinema
ETHN 363 Race and U.S. Social Movements
ETHN 364 Race, Class, and Gender
ETHN 365 U.S. Women of Color Theory and Activism
ETHN 366 Race and Performance
ETHN 494 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies
ETHN 497WC Senior Thesis
ETHN 499 Independent Study

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100D Introduction to Ethnic Studies / 3 UNITS
An interdisciplinary course that uses a comparative and historical perspective to examine the languages, family structures, spiritual traditions, economic and social issues, political aspirations, and values of diverse groups within the United States. Emphasis will be on African-Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans, but other groups are also discussed.

220D Introduction to African-American Studies / 3 UNITS
A survey course on the interdisciplinary field of African-American Studies. Students will learn basics of African-American history and culture in order to understand contemporary problems and conditions facing African-Americans

230D Introduction to American Indian Studies / 3 UNITS
This course introduces students to the field of American Indian Studies. Students engage scholarly work, film, popular press texts, and attend community events to learn about American Indian people and the current and historical forces that shape modern-day realities for American Indians.

240D Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies / 3 UNITS
This course is an introductory survey of the field of Chicano/Latino Studies. Emphasis is placed on the historical development of the Chicano/Latino people including their Mesoamerican roots, cultural identification, political activities, and their contemporary roles and influence in United States culture, society and economy

250D Introduction to Asian American Studies / 3 UNITS
A survey course on the interdisciplinary field of Asian American Studies. Students will learn basics of Asian American history, racial formation, and cultural production.

294 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies / 3 UNITS
An in-depth analysis of selected contemporary and special topics in ethnic studies at the lower division with specific course content to be determined by particular interest and expertise of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content. (Offered on demand)

321C African American Panethnicity / 3 UNITS
Panethnicity in the United States is the process in which people from varying cultural backgrounds and diverse ethnicities come to occupy larger-scale group identities based on racial classification. African-American communities and identities have historically been panethnic, comprised of individuals from various ethnic groups and migration histories complete with different languages, traditions, religions, and cultures. This course examines the intra-racial dynamics of African-American panethnic communities and identities in theoretical, historical, and community-based terms. Special emphasis will be given to engagement with community members around USD through guest speakers and involvement in community events.

322 African American Civil Rights / 3 UNITS
This course examines African-American perspectives on civil rights in the United States foregrounding local, national, and international American cultural politics, race dynamics, and power. Utilizing interdisciplinary approaches of literature, political science, sociology, and history, we will survey the twentieth century Golden Age of civil rights and examine the state of African-American social justice activism today.

323 African American Music and Culture / 3 UNITS
This course provides a historically grounded investigation of African-American music and culture with specific emphasis on the United States and African Diaspora in the Americas. Topics of study may include an overview of the study of African-American music; problems in defining, theorizing, and talking about black music; black music and the cultural politics of race, class, and gender; and exploration of the various musical genres and styles (i.e. spirituals, gospel, blues, “art” music, jazz, and hip hop) that impact other aspects of African-American expressive culture — art, religion/spirituality, aesthetics, and worldview.

331 Gender in Native America / 3 UNITS
This course examines gender as a social institution and its implications at both the micro (personal) and macro (societal) levels. Social, political, and historical implications for the intersections of racialized, classed, and gendered identities will be critiqued. Special attention will be paid to gender and traditional indigenous cultures and how gender relations and formations change within a colonial (historic and contemporary) U.S. context.

332 American Indian Health and Spirituality / 3 UNITS
This class examines indigenous conceptions of health and spirituality. The theory of historical trauma and the concept of soul wound are especially important analytical tools. Students in this course will ask and answer the following question: how do culture, history, and social problems influence one’s health and spirituality? Students will study the influence of the social institutions of education, religion, and the economy as indigenous peoples continue to shape the meaning of wellness in their lives. Varying traditions of healing will be examined, including the role of sacred foods in healing processes.

343 Chicano/Latino Studies / 3 UNITS
This is a survey course of the Chicano/Latino experience(s) in the United States. It examines how racial and ethnic identity is shaped by historical, political, economic, cultural, sacred, and linguistic dimensions that inform cultures and communities.

355 Asian American Social Movements / 3 UNITS
This course examines Asian American social movements from the 19th century to the present. Students will learn about the theories and practices that shaped Asian American activism and community organizing.

360 Race, Religion and Social Justice / 3 UNITS
This course examines the relationship between issues of social justice, race, and the role of religion (the sacred) in guiding us toward a more just and humane society.

361 Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border: Ethnicity, Race and Gender / 3 UNITS
In this course we will look at the United States-Mexico border as a scenario for emerging and contested ethnic, racial and gender identities. Drawing on the experiences of the distinct ethnic and racial groups that came to inhabit the area -- namely Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans, Anglo Americans, African-Americans and Asians.

362 Ethnicity and Cinema / 3 UNITS
This course uses a comparative, analytical, and critical approach to the study of ethnicity and to the relationship between cinematic representations and the experiences of racialized communities. The course includes examination of multiple dimensions of media stereotypes, film history and theory, and the ways filmmakers of various ethnic and national backgrounds respond to and through mainstream cinemas. Students to engage in film analysis that is informed by an understanding of the politics of representation and the historically situated conditions of cinematic production.

363 Race and U.S. Social Movements / 3 UNITS
This course examines the relationship between race and social movements in the United States. Students will learn about how communities of color have organized grassroots movements for social, economic, and political equity.

364 Race, Class, and Gender / 3 UNITS
This course examines the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will learn how communities of color are structured by these categories of difference and how they have generated expansive identities, cultures, and epistemologies from them.

365 U.S. Women of Color Theory and Activism (3)
This interdisciplinary course traces the development of US Women of Color feminist theory and its impact on contemporary grassroots activism and social movements.

366 Race and Performance (3)
This course provides grounding in performance theory and comparative ethnic studies. Performance analysis offers a powerful interpretive framework for engaging the social construction, fluidity, and hybridity of identities, and the tactics and strategies of social change. Students will develop skills in decoding meanings produced by racialized bodies and acts in staged contexts, as well as the construction of race and identity through “performances” in everyday life.

494 Special Topics in Ethnic Studies / 3 UNITS
An in-depth analysis of selected contemporary and special topics in ethnic studies, with specific course content to be determined by particular interest and expertise of instructor and students. May be repeated for credit with different course content. (Offered on demand)

497WC Senior Thesis / 3 UNITS
A seminar devoted to advanced study in the field. Students will conduct community-based research, applying theoretical perspectives to experiences with various local groups, organizations, collectives, or neighborhoods. The course is equivalent to a senior thesis project.

499 Independent Study / 1-3 UNITS
Individual study and written research. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and program director.