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ETHS 326 Race and Work in American Life

This course examines the influence of race on ideas and ideals of work in American life. Specific topics include the development of models and types of work across American epochs; slavery and labor; work, worth, and racial citizenship; the "wages of whiteness"; opportunities v. outcomes; past and present social movements for racial workplace equity; affirmative action and public policy positions regarding race and work; Intersectional analyses of race, gender, and sexuality in the workplace, implicit bias and persistent patterns of racial discrimination in the workplace; and race as a social reality within the American workplace. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Special information

Prerequisite: 30 credits of lower-division coursework.

Learning outcomes


  • Categorize different periods and concepts of work and their relationship to race, racial politics, and racial citizenship
  • Explain and analyze key course concepts in race and work, such as slavery and its relationship to work and labor, affirmative action, implicit bias, the Protestant work ethic and the moral righteousness of work, the concept of racial citizenship, gendered intersectional analyses of work and the workplace, and social movements for racial equity in the workplace
  • Explain and interpret the ethical dimensions of work as it intersects with race, racism, and the pseudoscience of race
  • Evaluate the connections between rights and responsibilities of racial citizenship as they impact work, employment, and social moral standing
  • Assess and appraise labor and the workplace and how opportunity and outcomes are influenced by and perpetuated within the entrenched racial hierarchy and racialization of American life
  • Summarize the connections between the history of work and contemporary outcomes determined by race in working conditions, employment opportunities, and ranking hierarchies such as hiring, promotion, retention, and advancement
  • Develop complex approaches to race in the workplace that relate to the ethical and civic dimensions of the workplace and their broader relation to American social realities

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
  • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Spring 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
21 Race and Work in American Life DeSoto, Aureliano M Books for ETHS-326-21 Spring 2024 Course details for ETHS-326-21 Spring 2024

Summer 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
50 Race and Work in American Life DeSoto, Aureliano M Books for ETHS-326-50 Summer 2024 Course details for ETHS-326-50 Summer 2024

Fall 2024

Section Title Instructor books eservices
21 Race and Work in American Life DeSoto, Aureliano M Books for ETHS-326-21 Fall 2024 Course details for ETHS-326-21 Fall 2024