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AES 151 A: Identities, Cultures, And Power Across American Ethnic Groups

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
SAV 260
Rick Bonus

Syllabus Description:


Mon-Wed Lecture  1:30-3:20  SAV 260  Prof. Rick Bonus             

Fri Section AA  12:30-1:20  MGH 254  Elizabeth Ramirez Arreola 

Fri Section AB  12:30-1:20  JHN 206   María Blancas                   

Fri Section AC  1:30-2:20  MGH 287    Jacqueline Wu                  

Fri Section AD  1:30-2:20  SAV 138     María Blancas                   

Fri Section AE   2:30-3:20  EEB 025    Elizabeth Ramirez Arreola 

Fri Section AF   2:30-3:20  CMU 228   Jacqueline Wu                   


Writing Link (English 198A):

Mon-Wed          3:30-4:50 PAB B109   Caitlin Palo                        


Instructor: Prof. RICK BONUS

Teaching Assistants: María Blancas, Elizabeth Ramirez Arreola, and Jacqueline Wu

Writing Instructor: Caitlin Palo

Class E-mail List:

Class Web Site:


Office Hours (Prof. Bonus): Tuesdays 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.; or by appointment

Office (Prof. Bonus): Padelford Hall B527; (206) 543-3929

Dept. Office: Padelford Hall B510; (206) 543-5401



This course provides an introduction to the major theories, debates, and issues concerning the study of identities and cultures of American ethnic groups. Utilizing social science/cultural studies frameworks, we will examine concepts of identity, culture, group formation, and social/political structure to deepen the ways in which we understand patterns of relationships of power between dominant and “non-dominant” groups as well as within various dominant and “non-dominant” groups in the U.S.

In Section 1, class readings, lectures, and discussions will center on fundamental theoretical issues: the meanings of culture in the personal, political, and social sense; power relations over processes of social construction of identities; the emergence and persistence of racial and other group stratification; intersections and transformations of social categories; and the various forms of resistance to structures of inequality.

Section 2 covers specific contemporary issues set against the prisms of group experiences and analyzed in terms of the structural and cultural understandings covered in Section 1. Topics include: immigration, access to education, popular culture and its alternatives, language debates, employment, and the politics of culture in a moment of crisis.


This course counts as a foundations class for the Diversity Minor. It means that students who pursue the Diversity Minor would have to earn only 20 more credits to satisfy its requirements. For more information about this opportunity, contact Jamie Barnhorst, academic advisor of the Diversity Minor Program <> or visit:

A service learning opportunity is also available through the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center; see the last page of this syllabus for more detailed information about this grade option.



The primary objective of this course is to enable its participants to succeed in engaging with questions regarding the production of knowledge about U.S. ethnic groups and the ways in which such knowledge may be connected to unequal relationships of power. By the end of the class, students should be able to articulate a solid understanding of American ethnic studies theories and concepts, and apply this understanding to contemporary social issues in American society.

This course also aims to enable its participants to succeed in developing competency in critical thinking by analyzing the connections across identities and collectives, social and structural forces, and differential treatment and resistance. Students should be able to adequately comprehend key terms and issues in American ethnic studies and their significance within large contexts of history and power relations.

Finally, this course will aim to enable its participants to be open-minded, imaginative, and transformative with everything they learn in class. They will be required to participate in activities and assignments that will help them develop these skills and attitudes. They will, hopefully, come out of this class more knowledgeable, understanding, and critical of issues of difference and power. 

Catalog Description: 
Provides an introduction to the major theories, debates, and issues concerning the study of identities and cultures of American ethnic groups as they are constituted through relationships of power.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
December 7, 2017 - 4:00pm