Race and Ethnicity


Does race exist? And what is race exactly? This class explores the ways in which the term has been used and evolved historically. The course will take a comparative approach, investigating the ways in which the use and practice of this concept in America compares to other societies (Brazil, France, and Israel). We will also explore the relationship between race, social hierarchies, and inequality, as well as the effects of beliefs about race on American and international politics. Some of the questions we will answer are: what was the role of race in the 2016 US election? Why are our beliefs about race so hard to change? What factors explain the disproportionate rate of incarceration of African-Americans? Why have the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis been different across race?

What is 'race' exactly? Defining the concept presents a real challenge. This class explores what race and ethnicity mean, beginning with historical ideas about human difference. Comparing American beliefs and practices to those found in other societies, we will pay special attention to the particular notions and hierarchies of race that emerge in different times and places. The course also investigates the roles that institutions like the media, the arts, the state, and the sciences play in shaping our understandings of race and ethnicity. We will conclude by considering the predictions that scholars have made about the future of racial stratification in the United States.






Summer 2021

Ann J Morning
MTR: 11:10 AM - 1:15 PM ONLI
Jacob Boersema
MTR: 11:10 AM - 1:15 PM; MTR: 11:10 AM - 1:15 PM ONLI