ES 101 Introduction To Ethnic Studies

Fall 2020
IRES major
IRES minor

Multidisciplinary study focuses on Americans of African, Asian, Latino, and Native American descent. Topics include group identity, language in society and culture, forms of resistance, migration, and social oppression.

Race structures life for people of every racial group in the U.S., and yet many people find race difficult to talk about and even more difficult to understand. Considering the centrality of race to American life, it is essential that students learn to talk about race, to understand the ways race works to privilege some and disempower others, and to access the histories, literatures, and social movements of various individuals and communities that have challenged the status quo in a racist society.

ES 101 is designed to introduce students to important concepts, theories, and analytical frameworks that shape the field of Ethnic Studies and help us understand the ways race (among other intersecting determinants such as gender, class, and sexuality) structures American society. It explores concepts such as racialization, the development of race as a social category, the relationship between race and U.S. imperialism, and the deep history of contemporary racial formations. The course uses interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to study race from many angles, which means the classes draw on and integrate work in history, literature, sociology, gender studies, cultural studies, anthropology, and law, among other disciplines, in order to develop holistic understandings of the lives of people of Native American, white, black, Latino, Asian, and Arab heritage. There is also critical analytical tools necessary for engaging in public discourses around race and identity outside of the classroom.