Sample Courses

Courses for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies will be listed in the Course Catalog for the 2024-2025 Academic Year and on STAR.  Students may also wish to examine this pdf of approved courses (as of March 2024). Below are some sample courses that may be offered to fulfill different requirements for the major/minor.

Course Categories

Gateways courses are typically offered at the 100- and 200-levels. They provide a broad introduction to core concepts of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies in order to demonstrate the relevance of race and ethnicity in academic inquiry. 

  • SOCL 203: Race and Power
    An examination of 1) the emergence of race in modern societies, with special emphasis on the North American context; 2) the role of race in shaping power dynamics in the US historically; 3) contemporary consequences of racial power dynamics in the US today.

    Course Unit: 1
  • HIST 196: African Colonial Lives 
    This course analyzes the colonial experience of African people in sub-Saharan Africa, from the late 19th century and throughout the twentieth century. European colonialism in Africa transformed customs, traditions, and social organizations, introduced new boundaries between peoples and erased others through the institutionalization of racism and the creation of new ethnicities. The history, theory, and practice of colonialism (and neocolonialism) are presented in this course through historical documents, scholarly writing, literature, and film. We will explore the long-term economic, psychological, and cultural effects and legacies of colonialism on the colonized. Finally, we will examine the episodes and events invoked by anti-colonialism and nationalism as colonized peoples resisted colonial domination. Fundamental to all these debates are concerns with the gendered and racist ideology of colonization—themes that also echo in the anti-colonial rebellions and liberation movements in Africa. 

    Course Unit: 1
  • ANTH 277: Coming of Age at the Border
    Nearly a century ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead’s "Coming of Age in Samoa" introduced a broad public to the issues facing youth in modern society and proposed various approaches to understanding these problems. Paying homage to Mead’s seminal work, this course examines the subjectivities and daily life experiences of youth navigating the conceptual, territorial and affective borders created by nationalism, war, displacement, occupation, colonialism and other social and political contexts in a variety of global situations. At a time when we are bearing (painful) witness to the suffering of those forced to navigate the unwieldy terrains of a reinstating and strengthening of borders and border walls, we will examine how youth in Israel/Palestine, Kashmir, the U.S./Mexico border, and our nation's own internal "others" 'come of age' by negotiating the construction of identities, movement across (often militarized) spaces, and political violence as they push up against carceral and colonial state formations. At the same time, we will attend to the politics of such witnessing, and the potentials (and impossibilities) of ethnographic engagement with youth struggling to define themselves, their communities and their futures at the border.

    Course Unit: 1

Frameworks courses range from the 100-, 200-, and 300-levels and are centered on one or more theoretical traditions or methodologies applicable to multiple tracks. 

  • ENGL 391: Abolition Rhetoric 
    This course focuses on the rhetoric and practice of abolition. We explore tactics in speech, writing, and direct action taken up by nineteenth-century abolitionists. Then, we explore contemporary activists’ use of abolitionist frameworks to advance the cause of racial justice. Readings include texts by John Brown, Sarah and Angelina Grimké, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Michelle Alexander, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and Angela Davis.

    Course Unit: 1
  • ANTH 264: Race, Racism, and Anthropology
    This course will critically examine the social construction of race and racism in different cultural contexts. The course will question the biological basis of racial difference, and take anthropology to task for participating in a long history of scientific racism. After this quick historical background, we will tackle contemporary forms of racism across the world, and read about the struggles against racism and white supremacy, from the fight against settler colonialism and segregation, to Black Lives Matter and immigration rights. Racist ideologies are deeply entrenched in institutions and have ongoing effects on the health, wellbeing and livelihood of millions of people, so it is crucial we become aware of the way racism operates to begin the work of undoing it.

    Course Unit: 1

Intermediate courses are at the 200-level and above, and they focus on a particular topic relevant to the study of race, racialization, and ethnicity from any disciplinary perspective.

  • ENGL 375 : Asian American Literature
    A survey of representative Asian American literature from early twentieth-century immigrant narratives to contemporary writings. Examines Asian American literary production and its main literary themes.

    Course Unit: 1
  • CRES 372: African American Drama
    This course will examine contemporary African American drama and highlight long-running traditions in the genre as well as revisions and sequels to some of its most canonical plays. Through the plays, additional readings, and performances, we will explore questions of slang, dialect, and accent; how history is presented and challenged on stage; the relationship between social justice and drama; debates about colorblind versus color-conscious casting; and audience reception.

    Course Unit: 1
  • HIST 203: Slavery, Industry, Empire, U.S. History
    This course analyzes developments in economy, polity, and society in the United States from 1815 to 1860. In the early republic and antebellum periods, the United States formed part and parcel of the Age of Revolutions across the Atlantic world the Haitian Revolution and French Revolution, slave revolts and gradual emancipation in the British Caribbean colonies, and the Revolutions of 1848 throughout continental Europe. We will address crucial junctures and core themes such as the expansion of slavery westward into the Deep South, struggles over the Second Bank of the United States, the removal of Cherokee and other Indigenous peoples across the Mississippi, transport and communication revolutions, industrialization and the advent of wage labor, the U.S.-Mexican War, realignments in party politics, Irish and German immigration, and the coming of the Civil War.

    Course Unit: 1

Advanced Seminar and Capstone courses are at the 300- and 400-level, and foster student’s ability to facilitate critical discussions informed by leading research in the field. 

  • Honors 299: Racial Justice and the Graphic Novel
    Once a marginalized and discredited artform, comics and graphic novels has enjoyed a cultural resurgence and aesthetic renaissance in the 21stcentury. Concomitantly, questions of racial justice and equity have resurfaced in both U.S. and global culture and have begun to be addressed in long overdue ways. Perhaps unsurprisingly, contemporary comics and graphic novels have become a favorite medium (among others) for intervening in racial justice discourse. Therefore, this class will balance a literary perspective on the artistic contents of this exciting body of literature while simultaneously embracing a social science approach to its contexts. We will explore a growing canon of key authors and texts growing increasingly visible on college syllabi and popular best-seller lists. At the core of this class, we will ask what the graphic narrative form offers seekers of social justice and how social science can enrich our understanding of the relationship between art and equity.

    Course Units: 1
  • POLS 360: Women, War, and Violence
    This seminar examines key themes related to women's experiences of political violence. Moving beyond narratives of victimization, the course provides students with an opportunity to interrogate the ways in which women can exert agency during periods of conflict. We study women's agency during these periods in several forms, including their efforts to resist dictatorship, participate in rebel groups, and contribute to processes of post-conflict reconstruction. The scope of the course is global and comparative in nature and draws on cases such as Argentina, India, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, and the United States.

    Course Unit: 1
  • PSYC 337: Substance Use and Recovery
    An advanced seminar in the field of clinical psychology that closely examines the substance (ab)use field, with a particular emphasis on alcohol. Students explore topics such as the following: definitions of harmful/hazardous drinking, familial transmission of alcohol use problems; alcohol, sex, and sports on college campuses; legal debates in the substance use field; philosophies regarding and clinical approaches to abuse recovery.

    Course Unit: 1