Courses in Ethnic Studies

Course Offerings - Fall 2019


First Year Seminar

ETHN 0090A – The border/La Frontera: We will examine the historical formation, contemporary reality and popular representation of the U.S.-Mexico border from a bilingual (English-Spanish), multicultural (U.S., Mexican, and Latino), and transnational perspective within the framework of globalization. We will explore the construction of border communities, lives and identities on both sides of the international divide, and pay particular attention to the movement of peoples in both directions. We will read materials, watch films, and conduct class discussions in English and Spanish. Comfort and reasonable proficiency in Spanish is required, but native command is not necessary. Enrollment limited to 19 first year students. (Evelyn Hu-DeHart)

Introductory Lecture

ETHN 1000 - Introduction to American/Ethnic Studies: Considers the U.S. as a society whose unifying identity is rooted in ethnic and racial diversity. Explores the historical and contemporary experiences of racial and ethnic groups in this country and analyzes different forms of representation of those experiences, as well as representations of the racial and ethnic stratification in the U.S. imagination. DIAP (Kevin Escudero)

ETHN 1200B – Contemporary Indigenous Education in North America: In the past, formalized schooling in Indigenous communities was a tool of colonization and cultural genocide, forcing Native peoples to assimilate to western norms, values, and knowledge. However, contemporary Indigenous communities have managed to reclaim and reshape education for Native youth, utilizing innovative methods and technologies, as well as drawing upon generations of traditional and indigenous knowledges to create environments that promote academic achievement alongside culture. In this course we will focus on the ways Native communities are asserting their educational sovereignty, through culturally-relevant/responsive curriculums, language immersion schools, indigenous charter schools, traditional ecological and scientific knowledges, and more.  (Adrienne Keene)

ETHN 1200D – Latinx Literature: This course will introduce students to a broad array of Latina/o literature- fiction, poetry, drama, and graphic novels. While there is a long tradition of Latina/o literature in the United States, we will focus primarily on a period from 1985 to the present. Aimed to familiarize students with debates in the field, the readings will also include critical essays. Enrollment limited to 15. (Ralph Rodriguez)

ETHN 1200I – History and Resistance in Representations of Native Peoples: Throughout history, Native peoples have been portrayed through a stock set of stereotypes such as savage warriors, Indian princesses, or mystical shamans. These images surround us in advertising, news media, Hollywood, sports mascots, and Halloween costumes. This course will examine the foundations of these representations and their connections to colonization, with a focus on contemporary and ongoing examples, from Johnny Depp’s Tonto, Urban Outfitters’ “Navajo” products, to JK Rowlings’ “History of Magic in North America,” with a focus on the ways Native peoples are taking back and reshaping Native representations through activism, social media, art, design, film, and more.  (Adrienne Keene)

ETHN 1200J – Asian Americans and the Struggle for Social Justice: In 1868, in the largest strike that America had ever seen, ten thousand Chinese workers struck Central Pacific Railroad. One hundred and fifty years later, Asian Americans, now stereotyped as the “model minority,” are rendered invisible in current struggles for social justice. Yet as railroad workers, laundrymen, farmworkers, draft resistors, sewing women and nurses, Asian Americans have left us a rich legacy of legal, social and political activism. Particular attention will be paid to solidarities across racial, gender, and national boundaries. (Robert Lee)

ETHN 1200K – Introduction to American Indian Studies: Introduces students to both historical and contemporary issues in North America, examining issues of sovereignty, representation and self-representation, culture, politics, and history. Because this course is inter-disciplinary, we will use texts from Indigenous studies, anthropology, cultural studies, history, film and literature as tools to understand and appreciate the ways in which American Indian cultures survive, flourish and shape the United States. No special background is required. All students are welcome. Enrollment limited to 30.  (Elizabeth Hoover)

Advanced Topics in Ethnic Studies

ETHN 1750B – Treaty Rights and Food Fights: Eating Local in Indian Country: In many Native American communities the push to "eat local" is often based on reviving a traditional food culture as well as a way of promoting better health. This class explores the disparate health conditions faced by Native communities, and the efforts by many groups to address these health problems through increasing community access to traditional foods, whether by gardening projects or a revival of hunting and fishing traditions. We will examine the ways in which Native food movements have converged and diverged from general American local food movements, and the struggles they often face in reviving treaty-guaranteed food ways. DPLL (Elizabeth Hoover)

Course Offerings for Spring 2020

First Year Seminar

ETHN 0190B - Bad Capital: Race, Technology, and Asian/America:  How do representations of Asians and Asian Americans reinforce systems of Orientalism, capitalism, and colonialism in the U.S. and beyond? Through film, literature, and theory, this course aims to examine representations of Asian/American labor, capital, and consumption against the historical backdrop of the evolving U.S. political economy. Tracing historical representations of post-Emancipation Asian “coolie” laborers to contemporary anxieties surrounding Chinese surveillance, Indian tech outsourcing, and Japanese manufacturing, this course aims to unpack cultural representations of Asian/Americans at the intersections of Orientalism, capitalism, and technology. (Mark Tseng-Putterman)

Topics in Ethnic Studies

ETHN 1200L – Introduction to Latinx History:  The Latinx population in the United States continues to be mischaracterized in popular culture, political debates, and in the media. How can one discuss a group as diverse as Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans, Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, and, most recently, Americans from Central America? Students will explore key moments of racial formation and state policies, social phenomena, and social revolutions that influence the daily life of Latinx communities in the US and in US territories. Students will analyze cultural texts and social policies and will develop a facility with key concepts in the field. (Monica Martinez)

ETHN 1560E – Food Justice and Public Humanities:  What would food justice look like, and how can this vision best be brought to the general public? This course explores how activists and academics have defined food justice in various communities, the structural challenges that have led to a lack of access to sufficient, healthy, culturally appropriate food, and will culminate in exhibit work exploring how to communicate these issues to a broader public. (Elizabeth Hoover)

ETHN 1650F – Mapping Violence:  Mapping Violence is a research project that aims to expose interconnected histories of violence, the legacies of colonization, slavery, and genocide that intersect in Texas in the early twentieth century. Although often segregated in academic studies, these histories coalesced geographically and temporally. Students in this course will learn interdisciplinary methods combining ethnic studies, history, public humanities and the digital humanities to rethink the limits of archival research, historical narrative, and methods for presenting findings to public audiences. This research intensive seminar will allow students to develop historical research skills and to contribute original research to the Mapping Violence project. (Monica Martinez)

Advanced Topics in Ethnic Studies

ETHN 1750A – Immigrant Social Movements:  Bridging Theory and Practice:  What is the impact of legal status on the potential for undocumented individuals' participation in a social movement? Relatedly, how is the heterogeneity of movement participants represented in campaigns and political protest? In this course we will examine the undocumented immigrant movement in the United States today through readings, films and guest lectures from local immigrant rights activists. As part of the course students will be partnered with local community based organizations where they will complete a semester-long internship.

ETHN 1900E – Senior Seminar in Ethnic Studies (Adrienne Keene)