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ETHS 311 Understanding Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States

This course examines historical experiences of at least three racial groups. Groups explored include African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Chicanos/Latinos and European immigrants. The course considers the different experiences of these groups as impacted by gender, class and other factors. It aims to deepen and broaden students' understanding of racial and ethnic groups in the United States by studying the similarities and differences of their experiences. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Learning outcomes


  • Assess individual and societal role in creating social change and in affecting racial equality.
  • Compare similarities and differences of the U.S. experience of groups under the study.
  • Know histories of at least four major racial/ethnic groups in the United States, i.e. African American, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latino Americans and White Americans.
  • Recognize the intersection of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and other differences in shaping life chances of communities of color in the United States.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 7: Human Diversity

  • Understand the development of and the changing meanings of group identities in the United States' history and culture.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the individual and institutional dynamics of unequal power relations between groups in contemporary society.
  • Analyze their own attitudes, behaviors, concepts and beliefs regarding diversity, racism, and bigotry.
  • Describe and discuss the experience and contributions (political, social, economic, etc.) of the many groups that shape American society and culture, in particular those groups that have suffered discrimination and exclusion.
  • Demonstrate communication skills necessary for living and working effectively in a society with great population diversity.