Office: Chilton Hall 330f telephone: 940/369-7663 email

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Introduction to Race and Ethnic Studies

Anthropology 2070/Sociology 2070

Spring 2010

Tuesday and Thursday 3:30pm-4:50pm

Chemistry 352
INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Mariela Nuñez-Janes (profe)

OFFICE: Chilton Hall 330F

TELEPHONE: 940/369-7663


OFFICE HOURS: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30pm-2pm, or by appointment


This class will provide a general introduction of the interdisciplinary field of Ethnic Studies. It is designed to help you engage with fundamental concepts that will allow you to understand the relevance of race and ethnicity in contemporary U.S. To achieve these objectives this class will:

  • Introduce you to the basic theories related to the study of race and ethnic relations.

  • Examine the various perspectives relevant to ethnic studies (i.e. anthropology, sociology, history) to analyze how race relations have evolved in the U.S.

  • Explain the tendencies that contribute to foster assimilation or cultural distinctiveness among various groups in the U.S

  • Raise questions about continuing prejudice and racism in our society, and look at applied attempts to rectify racial distrust and alienation.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS (400 points total)

1) Readings:

  • You are responsible for completing the readings for the day they are assigned and come to class prepared to discuss them.

2) Attendance:

  • To get the most out of this class your attendance is required.

  • An attendance sign in sheet will be circulated at the beginning of each class. Sign your name in the sheet to document your attendance. Failure to sign the sheet will be considered an absence.

  • More than 4 unexcused absences will lower your total semester grade by 20 points.

  • An unexcused absence during a scheduled “community discussion” (see below for explanation) will count as 2 absences.

  • If you have a documented excuse for your absence let me know as soon as possible and bring it to class. A valid documented excuse consists of a doctor’s note documenting your illness or death in the family

3) 2 Short Papers: (50 points each, 100 points total)

  • See the attached list for topics, guidelines, and deadlines.

  • Late papers will be deducted 5 points for every day they are late unless you have a documented excuse.

4) 2 Exams: (100 points each, 200 total)

  • The exams will consist of short answers.

  • See the course outline for dates.

5) 1 volunteer activity: (100 points total)

  • You will spend at least 2 hours outside of class as a volunteer for the Multicultural Center.

  • An explanation of the available volunteer activities along with a sign-up will be discussed in class and is available on Blackboard.

  • To get full-credit for the volunteer activity you must:

    • Sign up for an activity on Blackboard

    • Show up on the day you signed-up to volunteer and perform your volunteer duties accordingly

    • Post 1 short reflection (250 words) on Blackboard. Include:

      • A description of what you did

      • Your reflections (what you learned, any suggestions)

Post 1 short response (100 words) to another student’s posting on Blackboard

    • Complete no later than 4/28

6) Community Discussion:

  • We will engage in a class discussion of topics relevant to you.

  • A box will be circulated in class so that you can anonymously drop-off questions, issues related to current events, thoughts, concerns, personal experiences, etc. that you would like our class to discuss in small groups (more explanation of this will be provided in class).

  • See the course outline for dates.

  • Your attendance and participation in community discussions is required.

  • An unexcused absence during a scheduled “community discussion” will count as 2 absences.

7) 1 optional extra credit (10 points):

  • Write a short reaction paper to a film shown in class or a guest lecture.

  • The paper should be no longer than 2 type-written pages and must be double spaced. It must include:

    • a) name of the film or name of guest lecturer, b) a brief description of the film or lecture, c) your reaction to the film or lecture: if you liked it, disliked it and why, d) its contribution to your understanding of Ethnic Studies.

  • The optional extra credit is due on the class day immediately following the film or guest lecture that you selected. No exceptions!


  • All grades will be assigned based on the following grading scheme:

100-89% = A

88-79% = B

78-69% = C

68 -59% = D

58%- = F

  • You are responsible for tracking your own grade progress. If you have questions

about your grade or if you need documentation of your grade progress talk to me

during office hours or make an appointment.


1. Since discussion is an essential part of this course please come to class prepared and on

2. Please turn off your cell phones. Laptops are only allowed for note taking.
3. Do not come into class late or leave early.
4. You are responsible for tracking your own grade progress (see course requirements and

grading scheme to help you keep track of available points). If you have questions about

your grade come to office hours, make an appointment, or contact me via email. Do not

make specific inquiries about your grade in class.

5. No late work will be accepted unless you have a valid documented excuse

(documented illness or death in the family). If you miss an assignment or exam and

you have a valid documented excuse notify me as soon as possible via phone or email

so we can arrange a reasonable time for you to make up the missed assignment.
6. All work must be turned in at the beginning of class. I will not accept emailed work

unless you have a valid documented excuse.

7. Plagiarism and Cheating. The department of anthropology does not tolerate

plagiarism, cheating, or helping others to cheat. Students suspected of any of these will

be provided the opportunity for a hearing; a guilty finding will merit an automatic “F” in

the course. In addition, I reserve the right to pursue further disciplinary action within the

UNT legal system, which may result in dismissal from the university. Plagiarism is

defined as misrepresenting the work of others (whether published or not) as your own. It

may be inadvertent or intentional. Any facts, statistics, quotations, or paraphrasing of

any information that is not common knowledge, should be cited. For more information

on paper writing, including how to avoid plagiarism, and how to use citations, see For information on the University’s

policies regarding academic integrity and dishonesty, see the UNT Center for Student

Rights and Responsibilities,

8. The Anthropology Department does not discriminate on the basis of an individual’s

disability as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Our program provides

academic adjustments or help to individuals with disabilities in its program and activities.

Attempts will be made to meet all certified requirements.

SETE (Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness):   The Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness (SETE) is a requirement for all organized classes at UNT. This short survey will be made available to you at the end of the semester, providing you a chance to comment on how this class is taught.  I am very interested in the feedback I get from students, as I work to continually engage students in my teaching. I consider the SETE to be an important part of your participation in this class.

Available at the UNT bookstore:

Kendall, Diane

1997 Race, Class, and Gender in a Diverse Society. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. [referred to as RCG in the course outline]



1/19 Introduction
1/21 Ethnic Studies: history, methods, objectives

Assignment: RCG pp. 1-8 and

*Access this web link and become familiar with its contents
1/26 From biological race to social race

Assignment: RCG Article 1
1/28 Social Race (continued)

Assignment: RCG Article 2
2/2 Community Discussion

Assignment: RCG Article 3
2/4 Film-Race the power of an illusion: The Story We Tell

Assignment: Review RCG Articles 1-3
2/9 Explanation of volunteer activity and sign-up

Assignment:*Access this web link for the Multicultural Center and become familiar with its contents. We will meet in the Student Union room 413

2/11 Ethnicity and culture

Assignment: RCG pp 8-10, Article 4
2/16 Racism

Assignment: RCG pp. 299-300, Article 23

2/18 Guest-Cafe Diversity

Assignment: Review RCG pp 8-10, 299-300, Article 4, 23

2/23 Community Discussion

Assignment: RCG Article 20

2/25 Capitalism and class

Assignment: RCG pp. 10-17, Article 5

3/2 Working class struggles

Assignment: RCG pp. 302-306, Article 22
3/4 Film-Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class

Assignment: RCG Article 6

3/9 Exam Review

Assignment: Review all notes and readings from 1/20-3/5

3/11 Exam 1


3/23 Film-Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Assignment: RCG pp. 17-23


3/25 Film-Miss Navajo

Assignment: RCG Article 14

3/30 Gender and sexuality

Assignment: RCG Article 7

4/1 Gender, sexism

Assignment: RCG Article 13


4/6 Intersections of privilege and oppression

Assignment: RCG Article 10

4/8 Community Discussion

4/13 Education and schools

Assignment: RCG Article 18

4/15 Education and schools continued

Assignment: RCG pp. 139-149, Article 15
4/20 Community Discussion
4/22 Film-Unequal Education

4/27 Social justice

Assignment: RCG pp. 299-309, Article 27

4/29 Film-What’s Race Got to Do with It?

Assignment: RCG pp.309-312, RCG Article 26

5/4 Exam Review

Assignment: Review all notes and readings from 3/23-4/29
5/6 Exam Review

Assignment: Review all notes and readings from 3/23-4/29
5/13 Exam 2, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Note: This syllabus may be subject to changes and/or revisions.
Paper guidelines and topics:

  • Papers must be no longer than 2 double-spaced typewritten pages. Use 12 point font.

  • Include your name in the upper right hand corner of your paper and staple both pages.

  • Address the questions in an organized fashion. Be sure to cite appropriately if quoting or paraphrasing the readings or lectures. Follow this format: (Author Year: page number).

  • Write a description that addresses all the questions.

  • Recount some of your observations and use some of your reflections and the readings to interpret what you saw, experienced, and/or heard. Explain how you came to your conclusions in a way that is convincing. Back up your points with specific examples and use the readings to support your conclusions.

  • It is best to write about one aspect in detail than to describe as much as you can in your paper.

  • All papers will be graded on the following:

    • Description (15 points): Must provide relevant details to support your explanation.

    • Explanation (25 points): Must include a reference to the readings. This reference has to indicate your clear understanding of the readings (explain how the reading is significant to the points you are making) and must relate to your description.

    • Organization (10 points): Must include a well-developed thesis statement and supporting paragraphs including complete sentences and correct spelling.

Paper 1, due 3/23 (Choose A or B)

A) Conduct a short interview with a friend or relative about his/her experiences with race. Use the following questions during the interview (you are not limited to these): Do you identify with a particular racial category? What does race mean to you? How are your views about race different and/or similar to the views held by your relatives and friends? Write down the questions and the answers on a piece of paper and attach them to your essay. Using Howard Winant’s Racial Formation Theory (RCG Article 1) write a short paper in which you discuss the following: What are your friend’s/relative’s view of race? What events, circumstances, and/or ideas influence your friend or relative’s view of race? How are they pertinent to his/her current views? Make sure your discussion references the class readings and draws a clear connection to the ideas discussed in Article 1 and class lectures.

B) Maintain a journal in which you record your recollections about your childhood and adult socialization pertaining to race, class, or gender (select one). Use your own recollections of family members, peers, teachers, and other agents of socialization. Using W.E.B. DuBois’ (Article 3) critical question “How does it feel to be a problem?” and his notion of double consciousness, discuss the following in your paper: Do you ever feel like you or your family are assumed to represent society’s problems? Why or why not? Were you primarily taught to be tolerant of people different (in terms of race, class or gender) from you? To be fearful? Attach your journal to your paper and make sure your discussion references the class readings and draws a clear connection to the ideas from Article 3 and class lectures.
Paper 2, due 4/27 (Choose A or B)

A) Write a description of the neighborhood where you were raised. Include organizations and institutions such as churches or other religious groups, schools, political associations, retail stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and other neighborhood groups that may make it “a world within itself.” Use Ruth Frankenberg’s “social geography” (Article 10) method to analyze the physical and social landscape of your neighborhood: What kind of people lived in your neighborhood? What were their attitudes and beliefs? What did outsiders think of your neighborhood? What effect did your neighborhood have on your attitudes and beliefs about race, class, or gender? Make sure your discussion references the class readings and draws a clear connection to the ideas from Article 10 and class lectures.

B) Using your experiences as a volunteer for the Multicultural Center discuss how you think the Multicultural Center can further promote bell hook’s idea of a “beloved community” (Article 27). What is the current mission of the Multicultural Center? What kinds of programs does it sponsor? What program did you volunteer for and what did you think of it? What programs would you change and/or add? How are your proposed program changes and/or additions designed to promote social justice and foster a “beloved community”? Make sure your discussion references the class readings and draws a clear connection to the ideas from Article 27 and class lectures.

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