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Home > Academics > Undergraduate > Ethnic Studies >
Ethnic Studies
Course Description

ETHS 041
Inventing the Other, Policing Difference

How do systems, discourses, institutional practices, and controlling images produce such a concept and reality as the “Other”? Using tools from literary criticism, postcolonial theory, sociology, philosophy, cultural criticism, visual culture, and film studies, and with attention to historical contexts, this course dissects literature, film, and popular culture in order to better understand how these genres invoke, invent, illustrate, and control the “Other.” From examples drawn from the US and around the world, from sources produced by and about people of color and people who have been historically marginalized, we will examine a variety of material from a perspective that considers the intersections of race, class, gender, nation, sexuality, and ability. Throughout the semester, we will consider how both dominant and subversive discourses work to produce, transform, and maintain categories of center and periphery. One of our primary questions will be: How does a text use difference to establish hierarchies of “us” and “them”, normative and non-normative, human and sub-human?

Reading List
Elaine Brown, The Condemnation of Little B
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (Haymarket Books, ed. Phil Gasper)
Shakespeare, The Tempest (Norton Critical Edition)
Richard Wright, The Outsider

Course reader
Selected films

Please consider this reading list a starting point. Try to augment your reading as much as possible by conducting research and/or by following up on suggested texts.

Course Requirements
Reading notes
Written assignments (15%)
Three five page analytical essays (20%, 20%, 25%)
Final examination (20%) 

Please note that more than three absences will lower your grade.
Your complete physical and intellectual presence is required during class times.
This means:
be prepared: do the reading and the assignments on time.
participate in discussions: ask questions! speak! stay focused on the texts we are discussing!
It is your responsibility to demonstrate that you are intellectually present during each class session.

Course offered Fall 2014

Program Information

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Research Justice at the Intersections

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P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 6/22/17