Sociology | Advanced Topics
S660 | 3921 | James

S660:     Advanced Topics  (3 CR)

Topic:  Race, Identity, and Race Inequality

3921      1:25P - 3:20P       M    BH 137

David James

Racial and ethnic identities continue to be important
deteminants of the life chances of individuals.  Many
social pundits and scholars report that racial
polarization in the U.S. is increasing, that
multiculturalism is a battleground rather than a
meeting ground, that assimilation is dead and racial
conflict endemic.  This course will examine the forces
that shape the creation and maintenance of racial
identities and racial inequalities in the United States
and the linkages between the two.  Special attention
will be focused on identifying and explaining the
macro-social mechanisms that maintain social boundaries
between racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.

I will assume that students are familiar with the most
important developments in sociological theories of race
and ethnic relations during the past 20 years.
Knowledge of a typical undergraduate sociology course
in Race and Ethnicity such as S335, Race and Ethnic
Relations is sufficient.  Students who haven't taken a
course like S335 should discuss this course with me and
consider reading a few introductory textbooks before
the course begins.  We will read and discuss sections
of most of the required texts as well as a number of
articles on specific topics.

Course requirements will be satisfied by participation
in class discussions and completion of a mid-term paper
and a final course paper.  The mid-term will be a
critical analysis of race relations theories.  The
final will be a longer research paper on a topic of
interest to the student that examines a question
suggested by the literature discussed during the

Syllabus:  An old version of the Syllabus for this
course can be found on my class homepage at  I will
modify the syllabus a bit to include current literature
of interest, but I expect to cover many of the readings
listed in the syllabus.  If you have any questions or
suggestions as to material that you would like to see
covered, please send me e-mail (