Select four credits from one group-specific focus area below. Do not mix and match courses from different groups to fulfill this requirement. Not all courses are offered every term and some are less than four credits.
This course provides a context and a baseline for knowledge about Minnesota African American communities. This course includes an overview of the past and present experiences, struggles, and issues and the intersections of the past and the present in Minnesota African American communities. Students will have an opportunity to complete a community-based project as part of the requirements for this course.
Full course description for African Americans in Minnesota
This global, cross-cultural survey course introduces students to a range of texts produced by and about black subjects that link transnational black communities. Students will learn about the legacy of European expansion and empire-building, the impact of the transatlantic slave trade in the New World, and the contemporary diversity of black cultural identities, politics, and expressions born from these conditions. Students will also analyze the lived experiences of immigrants as they negotiate citizenship, belonging, conflict, and representation as new blacks in societies where systems of domination and oppression exist as part of everyday life.
Full course description for Global Blackness
Using contemporary research, first person narratives, and data, students will examine the state of Black America while addressing complex economic, social, political, and environmental issues that Black communities and Black people across the United States continue to face. Students can expect to engage with a range of interdisciplinary texts and sources in order to contextualize Black achievement and progress alongside ongoing resistance movements and demands for social justice. Materials focused on the legacy of enslavement, the impact of centuries of anti-black policies and practices, and the depth of state violence will be covered in order to illuminate contemporary issues related to housing, education, policing, health, work, and everyday life and their impact on Black communities. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Contemporary Issues in Black America
This course will explore the cultural, intellectual, and political knowledge produced by Black people in the United States and within the African Diaspora and how this knowledge continues to define, expand, and challenge the textured experiences of Black life in America and the world. Students will be exposed to a genealogy of Black thinkers, artists, activists, and critics who view the production, analysis, and dissemination of knowledge as necessary responses to structures of social, political, and economic domination and oppression. Students will also consider the extent to which knowledge has shifted meanings of blackness across time and space as well as in response to specific structures and events (slavery, colonialism, liberation, neoliberalism). Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Black Thought
This course will introduce students to the lived realities of social class through the lens of of black Americans whose social and economic ties to wealth and ownership have been obstructed via enslavement, job and housing discrimination, and other forms of institutional racism. Fraught with contention, students will analyze material related to racial authenticity and the expectation of communal obligation in instances when wealth and related privileges have been amassed as well as examine reasons why individuals in positions of economic privilege have distanced themselves from the black underclass. Through engaging with autobiographies, novels, music, documentaries, and cultural criticism, students will come to understand the relationship between the historic legacy of European and American wealth building and the shaping of contemporary black America: from objects of ownership to a community stratified in large numbers in the lower and middle classes to a strong social resistance…
Full course description for Black Life in Wealth and Poverty
This course examines the history of African Americans and race relations in the United States from slavery to freedom. Emphasis is on putting the experiences of African Americans in the context of U.S. social, cultural and political history. The course encourages examination of primary sources (such as slave narratives, newspapers and speeches) to illuminate an African-American cultural and intellectual tradition in U.S. arts and letters. Assignments include library and/or other research.
Full course description for African American History
The Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s represents the culmination of decades of effort, a change in civil rights legislation and a touchstone for subsequent "revolutions." It changed the then current laws and it relied upon law to demand those changes. Many of the debates started then, and continue today. Through reading, discussion, lectures and videos, students study the people, the events (as well as their antecedents and their progeny), and the ideas of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s
This course will study the Harlem Renaissance, a period of incredible productivity and creativity among black artists and intellectuals between 1920-1940, centered in Harlem, New York. The course considers how concepts -- such as race; the New Negro movement; Jim Crow, segregation, and racism; so-called racial uplift and the Talented Tenth; the Great Migration; the Roaring Twenties, and Modernism were manifested in the works of art, literature, philosophy, film, and music of Harlem's artists and thinkers. In addition to learning the specialized vocabulary and skills involved in the analysis of works from a variety of artistic genres, students will learn how Harlem's leading black intellectuals tied aesthetic theories to social and racialized principles of artistic production, inspiring some artists while prompting others to openly rebel. Given that the Harlem Renaissance is not characterized by any one style, technique, or manifesto, well pay special attention to connections among…
Full course description for The Harlem Renaissance
Through films, poetry, autobiography, novels, lyrics, and short essays, this intermediate-level survey course explores African-American literature from a historical perspective ranging from the works of enslaved authors to contemporary spoken-word poetry. The course celebrates the historical and aesthetic development of African-American literary arts in the face of (often legalized) racial oppression. Students learn techniques and theories for critical reading to explore literary issues related to culture, race, and social history. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism in this literature course.
Full course description for African-American Literature
This course explores the literature by African-American women writers from the 18th century to the present, analyzing their depictions of racism, sexism, and classism as artistic, moral, and civic responses to inequality. Students learn techniques for critical reading and literary analysis at the upper-division humanities level to understand how these creative works explore issues related to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the influence these writers had on cultural events, such as anti-lynching journalism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and the Women's Liberation Movement.
Full course description for Black Women Writers
This course examines works produced by, and heavily influenced by, black philosophers, including historical and contemporary works by thinkers from Africa, the wider African Diaspora, the United States, and Europe.
These works will draw our attention to the social construction of race and blackness, and we will dig into how and why black voices have been excluded, and continue to be excluded, from the traditional "western" philosophical and academic canon.
Themes may include: philosophies of race and racism, identity, power and knowledge, colonialism, freedom and liberation, intersectionality, the disposability of black bodies, testimonial injustice, afro-pessimism, afro-futurism, and non-violence/whether or not violence can be justified.
Full course description for Philosophy and Blackness
This course investigates the African-American experience from a social psychological perspective. The course gives students insights on one of the largest racial cultural groups in the United States, and the impact of African Americans on the American social system.
Full course description for Psychology of African Americans
American Indian Studies
This course serves as an introduction to higher level offerings focusing on Native perspectives and experiences. Self-expression, self-definition, and self-determination, including and beyond the Native North American context, provide the basis of comparison in order to make visible Native experiences around the world. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Global Native and Indigenous Studies
This course provides a context and a baseline for knowledge about Minnesota American Indian urban, rural and reservation communities. The course includes an overview of both the past and present experiences, struggles, and issues and the intersections of the past and the present in Minnesota American Indian communities. Students will have an opportunity to complete a community-based project as part of the requirements for this course. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for American Indians in Minnesota
This course examines significant and current issues in Native America. Drawing across disciplines and tribal communities, the course interweaves the following topics: tribal self-determination; federal, tribal, and state relationships; economic development; language preservation; education; health disparities and health promotion; ethnic identity; urban experiences, and Native American media and art. This class presents Indigenous peoples as modern peoples, not as images from the past. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Topics in Contemporary Native North America
American Indians have a wonderfully rich tradition of wisdom and spirituality. This course looks at the spirituality of at least two nations of American Indians from a variety of perspectives including historical, sociological, anthropological and political. Students have the option to explore other American Indian nations if desired. Some community research is expected. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for American Indian Spirituality
This course focuses on tribal communities as nations set within unique political, linguistic, geographic, social, and cultural contexts. This course will cover a diversity of American Indian Nations' past and present governance and social systems. The course emphasizes the importance of land, treaties, and sovereignty. The background of Federal Indian policy (set through the executive, judicial, and congressional branches) and state influences on Native nations also serves as a component throughout the course.
Full course description for American Indian Nations: Law, Power, and Persistence
This course applies an immersion approach to learning Dakota, the Indigenous language of the Dakota people. The language offers key insights into the formation and transmission of Dakota cultural identities and worldviews. The course is part of larger community efforts to retain and use Dakota and contribute to world-wide efforts to preserve Indigenous languages. Students in the course will learn Dakota grammatical structures and build a working vocabulary sufficient for beginning-level conversations.
Full course description for Dakota Language and Culture
History 310 is a general survey of the history of Native North American nations from pre-contact to the contemporary era. The course makes use of readings, lectures, films, group projects, community investigation, and class discussion to introduce students to the rich diversity of Native North American societies and cultures. American Indian tribes are soveregn nations. Students will explore how Euro-Americans used the construct of race as a tool during the process of settler colonialism to diminish and erase tribal sovereignty and avoid recognizing tribes¿ inherit power as politically sovereign entities. Throughout this relationship the legalistic erosion of tribal sovereignty was paired with genocidal policies including wars of removal, forced assimilation through the use of boarding schools, and other acts of ethnocide that continue to contribute to contemporary issues in Native Americans communities. Despite these settler colonial actions, tribal governments and Native American…
Full course description for American Indian History
The course surveys Native American written, oral, musical, and filmic traditions, spanning voices from the pre-contact era to the contemporary moment. Readings develop themes and concepts central to Native narrative arts, such as cultural survival, migration, language and orality, landscape, folklore, spirituality, memory, colonization and decolonization, racism, violence, trauma, oppression, and sovereignty. Emphasizing an analytical approach, the course considers how marginalized indigenous arts participate in, react against, challenge, and redefine constructions of American literature. Significant focus is given to race and racism in this course.
Full course description for American Indian Literature
This course applies an immersion approach to learning ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe language. The language offers key insights into the formation and transmission of Ojibwe cultural identities and worldviews. The course is part of larger community efforts to retain and use ojibwemowin and contribute to world-wide efforts to preserve Indigenous languages. Students in the course will learn ojibwemowin grammatical structures and build a working vocabulary sufficient for beginning-level conversations.
Full course description for Ojibwe Culture and Language
Asian American Studies
This course provides the historical and contemporary perspectives of Asian Americans in Minnesota from the late 1800s to the present. The historical overview includes immigration and refugee experiences. The contemporary component includes demographics, struggles, conflicts and opportunities of Asian Americans in the state. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Asian Americans in Minnesota
A majority of U.S. immigrants today come from Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. This immigration pattern represents a significant departure from the past, when immigrants came from very different regions of the world. This course traces the unique story of Asian Americans following them from their early days to modern times and analyzing issues with which the group is faced. Short videos and movies are shown followed by discussion. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for History of Asian Americans
This course examines myths and ideological teachings concerning Asian American women, and how these shape their experiences in the United States. Analyses of myths about Asian American women as obedient, submissive, and as sexual objects will be explored. Scholarly writings that present knowledge and critical understanding of these women's experiences and their issues will be part of course readings and discussions.
Full course description for Asian American Women: Myths and Realities
This course will explore the ways Asian American novels, short stories, poetry and film represent, elaborate and challenge how we understand Asian American experience as is it informed by race, gender, sexuality and age. Focusing on major texts of Asian American literature from the early 20th century to the present, we will discuss how and why the study of Asian American literature emerged from its historical exclusion from the U.S literary canon, and how this exclusion is tied to structural racism in the academy, a major institution in U.S. cultural gatekeeping. We will also discuss how the study of Asian American literature benefits from understanding broader historical and political issues relevant to the Asian American experience. To this end, we will read and discuss relevant primary texts and secondary criticism on topics such as (but not limited to), law, citizenship, labor, imperialism, war, anti-Asian racism, comparative racialization, queer identities and activism to deepen…
Full course description for Asian American Literature
This class introduces students to the primary social, historical, cultural, and political dimensions, issues and debates of Latinos/Hispanics in the United States, including race, ethnicity, immigration, assimilation, language politics, education, varied aspects of public policy, and popular culture. This introductory concepts course is relevant to students thinking of careers in the helping professions, law enforcement, business, finance, marketing, and the humanities and social sciences, in developing Latino/Hispanic cultural competency. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Latino/Hispanic Cultural Competency: Introductory Concepts
This course studies the history and experience of Chicanos and Latinos in Minnesota, including the origins of the Chicano/Latino community, social and political histories, and contemporary issues affecting Chicanos and Latinos in Minnesota. Focuses include immigration to the state; agricultural and urban labor history and settlement patterns; contemporary immigrations streams; race, racism, and xenophobia; and the development of community organizations focused on Latino issues. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Latinas/os in Minnesota
This course studies the cultural politics of US Latino identity formation through an examination of the English-language literary, filmic, and artistic production of Latinos in the United States, with variable topical focuses on coming of age narratives, migration, education, gender, sexuality, the family, cultural identities, and assimilation. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.
Full course description for Latina/o Cultural Politics
This course studies and compares concepts of gender and sexuality in US Latinx communities and Latin America. Particular foci of the course are concepts of gender, the family, feminist critical analyses, and historic and contemporary Latin American and Latinx LGBTQ expressions of identity. This course has a significant focus on race and racism.
Full course description for Comparative Latinx and Latin American Gender and Sexuality