Fall 2013

Ethnicity, Race and Racialization in the United States


Benigno R. Sanchez-Eppler (Section 01)


This first-year seminar explores the social construction of race and ethnicity in the United States, the national dependence on early and contemporary immigration, the emergence of U.S.-based ethnic and/or racial identities, the different patterns of racialization practiced throughout the history of the nation, and the tension between the realities of racial inequality and the national projections of democratic equality and equal protection under the law. We look at the evolution of race and ethnicity theories, at the relationship between overt and covert expressions of racism, and discuss at length the difference and relationship between racism as a personal attitude and racism as a system of privilege and disadvantage based on race.

The course will provide a safe space for inquiry into the racial, ethnic and economic data of the students' own census tract, public school catchment, and congressional district. It will discuss affirmative action with specific attention to Amherst College and the two Amicus Briefs it sent to the Supreme Court in less than a decade. We will make room—in weekly writing and daily conversations—for honest and civil discussions at the intersections of race, and religion,  gender and class, real estate and intermarriage. We will discuss what kind of education or penal system we want to finance for other people's children and why, and what kind of medical care should be made accessible or inaccessible and to whom. One of the main purposes of the course is to recognize that the harder it is to talk about the issues that divide the nation, the more important it is to develop forms of inquiry and communication that allow us to describe and analyze social problems and social opportunities, hoping to maximize our participation in the search for political, economic and cultural responses to those problems and opportunities.

Fall semester. Visiting Lecturer B. Sánchez-Eppler.

If Overenrolled: Dean handles this


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013