Race and Ethnic Relations
The election of Barack Obama as the United States’ first Black president has raised questions about whether we have entered a post-racial society. This course examines the idea of racial progress that is at the heart of such a question, paying close attention to how social scientists have defined and measured racial inequality and progress in the last century. We will consider how dramatic demographic shifts, the growing number of interracial families and individuals who identify as mixed-race, trans-racial adoptions, and the increased visibility of people of color in media, positions of influence, and as celebrities inform scholarly and popular debates about racial progress. Along with some classic works, we will also read literature regarding the class-versus-race debate and color-blind racism. In the process, students will become familiar with sociological data often drawn from in debates about racial progress and will also develop analytical and critical thinking skills.