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

Ethnic Studies 142
Ethnicity and Environment in California

This course introduces diverse historical, environmental, economic, political and social dimensions of the State of California. We give special consideration to the relationships among natural resources, economic development, ethnic/race relations, and environmental issues. Students will consider the geographical perspective of seeking to understand the relationship between humans and their environment; we will also discuss how differing definitions of regions and “dominant” assumptions may influence their study. The topical section of the course begins by considering the implications of California’s physical environment (including landforms, soils, vegetation, and climate) for human activity, followed by reviewing indigenous civilizations. We then focus upon understanding present conditions through studying various aspects of California’s nearly 500-year colonial legacy. A sample of topics covered includes: ecological and social impacts of the European invasions, from the Spanish Missions and the Mexican land grants to the Gold Rush; state policies toward native Californians; past and present struggles over land and resources; the intertwined evolution of immigration, water politics, agribusiness, and the “California Dream”; all-Black and other racially segregated towns; the political economy of the “browning” of California and anti-immigrant activism; the dream turned nightmare: urban sprawl and pollution, endangered environments and communities; environmental justice and other social movements

Meets the Multicultural and Historical Perspecitive "Gen Ed" Requirements
Ethnic Studies 42 is a lower-division course. Open to All Students.

Ethnic Studies 142 is an upper division section, Open only to Environmental Science and Enironmental Studies Majors.

Required Texts
1) Almaguer, T. 2008. Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California. (Second Edition) Berkeley: University of California Press.
2) Johnson, M. 1996. The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II. Berkeley: University of California Press.
3) Merchant, C. (ed). 1998. Green Versus Gold: Sources in California's Environmental History. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
4) Pulido, L. 2006. Black, Brown, Yellow, and Left: Radical Activism in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California Press.
PLUS: an Intranet Reader linked to the course Blackboard site (Library e-reserves)

Grading Criteria
1) Midterm exam (20%) and final exam (30%)
2) Term paper (25%)
3) Journal (15%) for ETHS 42; analytical review essay (15%) for ETHS 142
4) Attendance and participation (10%)

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P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 6/22/17