American Studies | U.S. Movements & Institutions / Topic: Democracy on the Homefront: Exploring Race and Labor in Wartime America
A201 | 14128 | Karen Inouye


(3 cr. hrs.) A & H
This course examines the dynamics of race and labor through the
rural and urban comparative lived experiences of a variety of
different groups, including Mexican braceros, Latino “Zoot Suiters”
African American industrial workers, Victory Farm Volunteers, the
Women’s Land Army, Japanese internees, and Jamaican and Filipino
farm workers. Critical questions will shape our exploration of race
and labor over the course of the semester: How is race defined
during wartime? Is there a relationship between race and labor, and
if so, what is it? How could we characterize the lived experiences
of these different groups? How were they similar? How were they
different? Designed to reflect the complexity of human experience
and thought, this course allows students to grapple with issues
associated with race and labor within the context of a global war in
a variety of urban and rural settings. Through an interdisciplinary
theoretical framework which fuses American Studies, History,
Journalism, Literature and Anthropology with a distinctively
ethnohistorical methodology, this course utilizes written texts,
novels, visual arts, music, and other performing arts, wartime
propaganda, and governmental reports to foster the growth of
interpretive and critical skills. An understanding of the dynamics
of race and labor must be grounded in an examination of the world of
individuals going about their business and in the communities in and
out of which they move. The assignments in the class reflect this
goal, both in the readings and through the development of
ethnohistorical skills of analysis.