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

Ethnic Studies 166
Women of Color in Social Movements


This course will examine the roles of women of color as grassroots activists, leaders and thinkers in movements for social justice. Starting with the Civil Rights movement, we will discuss the involvement of American Indian, African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Arab American women and Latinas in U.S. social movements from the 1950s to the present. We will discuss the emergence and effectiveness of social movements for racial and gender justice, and examine the experiences of women of color in anti-violence, prison abolition, LGBTQ, labor, reproductive justice and anti-imperialist/ anti-war movements. We will examine the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality and seek to understand how issues of nationality, immigrant status and (neo)colonialism reinforce and cut across these dimensions of dominance.

During the course, we will have the opportunity to interrogate complex, “sticky” issues in organizing by women of color. What is the “non-profit industrial complex” and how has this impacted the effectiveness of organizing by women of color? Have women of color activists relied too heavily on the state to solve deep-rooted problems such as violence against women or hate crimes? Is turning away from the mainstream to build alternative structures an effective alternative? Are U.S. women of color complicit with U.S. Empire, and how might transnational connections with women in the global South transform unequal global dynamics?

The class also has a Service Learning Component that enables the class to bring theory into conversation with hands-on experience. This involves a total of 30 hours service (3 hours per week for 10 weeks) in an organization run by or involving women of color and provides an additional 0.25 credit. In exceptional circumstances, students may receive an exemption from Service Learning, please see the instructor.

Meets the following General Education requirements: Human Institutions and Behaviour, Multicultural Perspectives, Women and Gender.

Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, eds. 2006. Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology. Boston: South End Press.

In addition to the set text, we will use a wide range of articles available on intranet.

Grading Criteria
Class attendance and participation: 10%
Midterm written examination: 25%
Paper proposal: 10%
10-12pg Final Paper: 25%
6-8pg Review of service learning review: 25%
Service learning presentation: 5%
Service learning placement with hourly log: 0.25 credit, P/NP

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P: 510.430.2080
F: 510.430.2067

Last Updated: 6/22/17