Sociology of Race and Ethnicity in the United States----------------------------------------------------------------

Course Information
Sociology 260W, Fall 2007
Hamilton College
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:45

Instructor Information
Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur
Office: 113 South Court (office hours TBA)
Email: marthur AT ric DOT edu

Syllabus (.pdf) * Links * Assignments * Shown In Class
(Enrolled students should also visit the course Blackboard site, accessible through MyHamilton.)

Why should we study race? Race does not "exist" in any physical or biological sense. The genes that dictate our skin color, our hair color, the shape of our eyes or our nose--these genes do not come in some neat little bundle that tells us who belongs to which group. Indeed, over history and still today there has not been a consensus on how to classify people into races or even how many races exist. However, race is extremely real in its effects on our lives as individuals and as members of society. By studying race, along with ethnicity (an idea which is often confused or conflated with race), we can unravel where race comes from, why it still matters, how it impacts us, and how it intersects with other sorts of inequality in society.

This course has three primary substantive goals. First, it will help develop an understanding of the historical dynamics of race and ethnicity and the ways in which they have shaped the contemporary United States. Second, it will explore the complex interactions between race and other forms of inequality (class, gender, sexuality, disability) as well as between race and significant social institutions (education, employment, family, media, the criminal justice system) that shape our daily lives. Finally, it will help students develop an understanding of both how the realities of race and ethnicity have shaped their own personal histories, their communities, and the policy debates that currently face our world. As a writing-intensive course, it additionally will give students the opportunity to develop and improve their writing skills, particularly their ability to write about controversial issues and about quantitative and geographical data.

Copyright 2007 Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur