Race and Ethnicity

How to Reach Me:

Email is generally the fastest and best way to reach me outside of class. I check my email a couple of times a day during the day from Monday-Friday, but seldom on weekends. If you call me and I am not in the office, I may not get your message in a timely manner. You are also welcome to drop by my office hours. If you need to speak with me and cannot make my office hours, please email me. I am happy to try to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. Please note: if you arrange a meeting outside of office hours and a conflict arises, you should plan to notify me in advance.


About the Course:

 What are race and ethnicity? How have ideas about race and ethnicity developed in the United States and how have they shaped the United States? How are race, ethnicity and class interconnected? This course examines these questions through American history from Colonization through Civil Rights. It is primarily a course in United States history, but will incorporate some international history, which is necessary to understand outside influences on the United States as well as United States involvement in an increasingly global world. Topics include slavery, civil rights, immigration as well as the construction of whiteness.

This course also fulfills the UNH Gen Ed requirement for a Writing Intensive course. As such, you can expect to complete a higher number of written assignments than in a standard Gen Ed. Course. This course is also reading-intensive!! On average, you can expect about 100 pages of reading per week. Some weeks, it might be a bit more and other weeks will be lighter.   It is to your benefit to keep up with the reading as assigned. This course is arranged topically in rough chronological order. The class is a mix of lecture, discussion and some films. Because there is no text book, much of the background information you need for successful completion of assignments comes from lectures and discussion, so attendance is crucial.

Course Goals:

 There are 4 main goals for this course:

  • To offer you a glimpse into what it is a historian does and to give you a chance to be a historian.
  • To improve your understanding of how race and ethnicity have shaped the history of the United States.
  • To use history to help you develop critical thinking and analytical skills that will benefit you in many other disciplines and later on in your careers.
  • To help you to hone your written and oral communication skills so that you can present your ideas and arguments in a clear, concise and well-supported manner.


Class Expectations:

Attendance is required and it is the responsibility of each student to come prepared to each class, to keep track of deadlines and to know and to adhere to course and university policies. You should bring the books for the assigned reading, as well as any relevant handouts, to each class. At the beginning of class, I will pass around an attendance roster for students to sign in. Attendance is taken for record-keeping purposes only. It is not calculated into your final grade, but students who do not attend class regularly tend not to do well. If you are late, it is your responsibility to see me at the end of class to sign in. Laptops, pages, cell phones and iPods must be switched off and put away prior to the start of class. Please refrain from side conversations as it means that you are not engaged in class and may miss something important and it also disturbs those seated around you and me. Also, please remember that this course will, at times, deal with highly controversial and sensitive issues and we are approaching these topics in a spirit of academic detachment. Respecting one another’s perspective and opinions, even if they disagree with your own, is crucial for there to be an effective intellectual environment. To that end, we expect all students to conduct themselves in a dignified, respectable manner at all times.



Your books are available exclusively through The Durham Book Exchange (DBE), may be purchased online and are all also available on 1-day reserve at the Library with the exception of a writing guide that we are sharing with another course. You will need to purchase all of the required books or plan to use the reserve copies. DBE returns unsold books 3-4 weeks into the term, so it is inadvisable to wait too long to purchase your books. If you are planning to make use of reserve copies of books, it is not in your best interest to wait until the last possible minute, as they may be checked out. Failure to obtain the books, either by purchasing them or through the library, will not be grounds for any extensions. You will also need to purchase a notebook to serve as your reading journal for this course. It can be any kind of notebook, but it should be separate from your lecture notes.


Required Books:

David Brion Davis., Inhuman Bondage: the Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World [978-0-19-533944-4]

Colin G. Colloway, ed, First Peoples: a Documentary Survey of American Indian Studies. [ISBN: 0-312-39129-3]

John Gjerde, ed, Major Problems in American Immigration and Ethnic History [ISBN: 0-395-81532-0]

Eric Arnesen, Black Protest and the Great Migration [ISBN: 0-312-39129-3]

Martha T. Noyes., And Then there Were None. [ISBN: 0-312-44203-3]

Francisco Jimenez, The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child [ISBN: 0-8263-1797-9]

Art Spiegelman, The Complete Maus [ISBN: 978-0679406419]

Michael Patrick MacDonald, All Souls: a Family Story from Southie [0-345-44177-X]


Late Paper Policy:

All written work must be turned in, in order to pass the course.   All written assignments (except your journal) must be submitted either in .doc or .rtf format, to the Blackboard drop box before the beginning of class on the day it is due. Please note: I cannot accept .docx files. You are also responsible for making sure the files are free of computer viruses and for saving files periodically while you write to prevent lost work. In the event of a problem downloading a file, you may be asked to produce a hard copy.   I encourage you not to wait until the last minute to submit your papers, as neither technical issues with Blackboard or “acts of computer” are grounds for a waiver of the late paper policy. If a paper is not time-stamped as having been submitted before the deadline, it will count as late. Papers that are turned in late will be docked a full grade for each day late and will not be accepted after 3 days. Each student gets ONE 24-Hour extension to use at their discretion on a single paper. [Note: The extension cannot be use for in-class quizzes and assignments.] You are also required to contact me in advance if you are using your extension. Absence from class does not automatically grant you an excusal for late assignments. Assignments descriptions and deadlines are distributed well in advance. Missing class for a non-emergent and/or pre-planned absence such as a doctor’s appointment, athletic event or extracurricular activity are not grounds for an extension, aside from your use of your 24-hour pass. Waivers of the late policy require a note (or email) from your Dean informing me that you have a suitable reason for an extension. You have 2 weeks after the original deadline to produce this note or the late policies will apply.



Grades are assigned solely based on the quality of the final product. I always like to hear that students are working hard, but it is not possible to take “effort” into consideration. We all have our talents and excel in different areas – where one may sail through with an A another may struggle to earn a C.   If you have questions regarding your grades, you are expected to take 24 hours to read through your feedback before contacting me to set up an appointment. Grades are generally changed only when there has been an error in recording of the grade.   Due to federal privacy laws, I cannot discuss grades over email or phone. Grades will be posted under the electronic grade book on Blackboard, so you can track your progress as the semester goes along.



In addition to the reading outlined in the syllabus, there will be a cartoon analysis, a primary source analysis, a final paper, lecture questions, reading quizzes and a writing journal, which are described below. The total syllabus is worth 475 points and the point distribution is as follows:


Reading Quizzes 45
Minute Papers 65
Visual Source Analysis 25
Revised Cartoon Analysis 50
Primary Source Analysis 50
Revised Primary Source Analysis 80
Reading Journal 1 20
Reading Journal 2 20
Reading Journal 3 20
Final Paper 100


The paper assignments are all posted on Blackboard. Please note: failure to complete each of the major requirements will result in failure of the course. I very rarely grant incompletes.


Minute Papers:

 Periodically, we will have minute papers in class. At some point in the lecture, I will pose a question that is designed to tie the assigned reading into our class lecture or discussion. You will write a short paragraph in response. We will discuss the responses as a class and you will turn the minute paper in at the end of class. I will check it off as complete or incomplete, depending on whether your answer is reasonably accurate. These participation exercises will not be announced in advance, but they will occur no more than once a week. In the event of an absence or tardiness, this participation exercise cannot be made up, but I will drop 1 missed minute paper from your final grade.


Reading QuizzesAbout once a week, there will be a short 5-point reading quiz that covers the reading between it and the previous quiz. The questions will either be multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank and will ask about main points or key individuals and should be straight-forward. You have the opportunity to propose a question twenty-four hours in advance of the quiz. I cannot make any guarantee that the question will be used, but student questions that are selected for the quiz will garner the student who suggested it an extra point on that week’s quiz. Quizzes cannot be made up in the event of an absence or tardiness, but I will drop one missed quiz from your final grade.


Email/Blackboard PolicyYou should check your email and our course Blackboard site regularly, as you are responsible for all announcements. Also, I receive many emails a day. When emailing me, please make sure that all emails include a clear subject line that indicates the purpose of your email. As with any professional communication, emails should be clearly written and maintain a professional and courteous tone.

Extra Credit: Because paper revisions for the first two papers and the opportunity to propose quiz questions are already built into the course, no additional extra credit will be offered.

Academic HonestlyAcademic honesty is vital to any university community. Neither the University of New Hampshire, nor the instructor has any tolerance for dishonesty of any kind. Violations of the UNH honor code include, but are not limited to, disrupting class, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration on assignments with other students, signing the attendance sheet for another student (or asking someone to sign for you), signing in then leaving and cheating on quizzes. Please take the time to read the section on academic integrity in the UNH pamphlet, Student Rights, Rules and Responsibilities as not knowing is not grounds for an excusal from the policy. I will discuss proper citation near the beginning of the course, but if you miss this class meeting or have further questions, it is your responsibility to follow up. Violations of the honor code may result in receipt of a failing grade for the entire course and submission of your case submitted to the Dean, where there may be further repercussions, including expulsion from the University.

AccommodationsStudent with valid faculty letters from the Office for Students with Disabilities (formerly the Access Office) should bring me their letters in the first few weeks of the semester. University regulations limit accommodations to students with faculty letters, and the accommodations are not retroactive. The Office for Students with Disabilities is located in MUB 118 and their phone is 862-2648, if you have any questions about the University’s policies on accommodations.

Schedule of Course/Assignments


3 Sept: Welcome, Introduction to the Course, In-Class Exercise


Europeans, Africans, Native Americans and the Collision of Cultures

8 Sept:   Settlers, Missionaries and Indians: Race as a Religious Construct [Discussion of Visual Source Analysis]
Readings Due: Calloway, 80-84, 92-94, 98-103, 119-129; Gjerde, pp 34 (bottom) – 50 (top)

10 Sept: Slavery in Early America: the Origins of Skin-Based Race [Quiz] [Grading Exercise]
Readings Due: Davis, Chapter. 6; Gjerde, pp. 31-34, 50-55.

Deadlines: The grading exercise, which is on Blackboard under assignments, is due in class on 10 Sept. You will not turn it in, but you will need to have completed it for the discussion to be useful for you.


Imperial Crisis, Revolution and Race

15 Sept: The Seven Years War and Indian-Settler Relations [Peer Review]
Readings Due: Calloway, 162 (bottom) – 180.

17 Sept: Revolution, Republicanism and the Question of Liberty [Quiz] [Citation Tutorial]
Readings Due: Davis, Chapter 7; Calloway, 197 (bottom) -205; Gjerde, pp. 70-89.

22 Sept: The French and Haitian Revolutions: the Making of Louisiana and the First Wave of Expansion
Readings Due: Davis, Chapter 8; Calloway, 260-267 (top).

Deadlines: Bring a draft of the visual source analysis paper with you to class on the 17th for the peer review session. The first round of this paper is due on 22 Sept. Submit your paper through the digital drop box and bring your peer review sheets with you to turn in, in class.

Growing Pains: Expansion, Manifest Destiny and Abolitionism

 24 Sept: Growing Pains: Expansion, Manifest Destiny the Politics of Race [Quiz]
Readings Due: Gjerde, 152-160 (top), 170-174 (top), 182-183, 195-202; Calloway, 267 (bottom) – 275.

29 Sept: Discussion / Revolution and Expansion

1 Oct:   Amistad, Abolitionism and the American Colonization Society
Readings Due: Davis, Chapter 1 [Quiz]

 Deadlines: Bring your reading questions for the Revolution and Expansion segment to class with you on the 29th. You will have your first journal conference with me the week of 29 Sept/1 Oct. I will distribute a sign up sheet and you will sign up for a 10-minute time slot. Please note: failure to show up for your meeting without contacting me in advance about rescheduling will result in a zero for this portion of the course.


Civil War and Reconstruction

6 Oct: Race and the Civil War [Discussion of Primary Source Paper]
Readings Due: Davis Chapter 9; Gjerde, 160-168; Calloway, 301-304.

8 Oct:
   Jim Crow and the First KKK: Problems in Reconstructing a Nation [Quiz]
Readings Due: Amensen, pp. 3-4, 184-188

Deadlines: Your revised Visual Source Analysis paper is due before the beginning of class on 8 October.


Migration, Immigration and Imperialism

 13 Oct: Who is Hawaiian?: the Annexation of Hawaii and the Conflict between State and Ethnic Identity
Readings Due: Martha T. Noyes, Then There Were None. (Entire)

15 Oct:
Migrations: Black and Latino, Urban and Rural [Quiz]
Readings Due: Francisco Jimenez, The Circuit, pp. 1-8, 14-26, 73-83, 113-134; Arnesen, pp. 45-64. Begin reading Spiegelman.
22 Oct: D.W. Griffiths, the New Klan and the Immigrant Threat [Peer Review]
Readings Due: Gjerde, Chapter 9, pp. 310-316; Amesen, pp. 98-117. Continue reading Spiegelman.
24 Oct: New Blacks, the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance, The Post-War Experience [Quiz]
Readings Due: Arnesen, pp. 87-96, 166-169, 190-198. Continue reading Spiegelman.

Deadlines: You will need to select a possible topic for your final paper by 22 Oct. You may propose a topic other than those listed, but you should make an appointment to have it approved by me before you begin to work on it. You should also bring a draft of your Primary Source Analysis to class on the 22nd. We will have a peer review session in the end of class.


World War

 27 Oct: Issei, Nissei and Germans: the Relocation of Japanese-Americans and the “Internal Enemy”
Readings Due: Gjerde, pp. 385-387, 395-404 (top) Continue reading Spiegelman.

29 Oct:
Discussion / World War I. vs. World War II [Maus Quiz]
Readings Due: Read WWII/Holocaust handout in your course packet.

Deadlines: First round of Primary Source Analysis due in the digital drop box before the beginning of class on the 29th. Submit your paper through the digital drop box and bring your peer review sheets with you to turn in, in class. Be prepared to discuss reading questions. Bring your answers to your Maus questions to class for discussion.


Cold War, Suburbia and the Second Red Scare.

3 Nov: The Cold War and Containment
Readings Due: None – Begin to work on your final paper

5 Nov: The Cold War: the Makings of a White Suburban Middle Class [Discussion of Final Paper]
Readings Due: Gjerde, 391 (bottom) – 394 (top half)

10/12 Nov: Thunderball [Movie/James Bond]
Readings Due: None – Work on your final paper.

17 Nov: Cold War Discussion [Quiz]
Readings Due: None

Deadlines: Your revised primary source analysis is due in the digital drop box before the beginning of class on 12 November. Bring your list of Thunderball questions with you to class on 5, 10 and 12 November and be prepared to discuss the Thunderball questions as well as your reading questions on the Cold War on the 12th. Your second journal conference will be the week of 3/5 November. I will distribute a sign up sheet and you will sign up for a 10-minute time slot. Please note: failure to show up for the meeting without contacting me in advance to reschedule will result in a zero for this portion of the course.


Civil Rights

 19 Nov: Civil Rights and Power Movements
Readings Due: Calloway, 490-506.


Arabs in America: The Iranian Revolution and the Politics of Oil

24 Nov: The Politics of Oil: Revolution, GI Joe and Arab-American Relations [Peer Review]
Readings Due: Begin reading McDonald, All Souls.

26 Nov: No Class [UNH operates on a Friday schedule.] Happy Thanksgiving!!

Deadlines: Please bring your draft of your final paper to class with you on the 24th. We will have a peer review session for the final paper in the last part of class.

Urban Landscapes

3/5 Dec: Lost Boys of Sudan [Movie]
Readings Due: Handout on Lost Boys/Sudan background in your course packet. Work on reading McDonald, All Souls

10 Dec:
Hip Hop Nation: Music, Urban Culture and the Alchemy of Race
Readings Due: Work on reading McDonald, All Souls.

12 Dec:
Discussion/Civil Rights and Urbanization

Readings Due: McDonald, All Souls (Entire) [Quiz]

Deadlines: Please bring your questions for Lost Boys to class with you on 3 and 5 December. Your third and final journal conference will also occur the week of 3/5 December. I will distribute a sign up sheet and you will sign up for a 10-minute time slot. Please note: failure to show up to the meeting without contacting me in advance to reschedule will result in a zero for this portion of the course. Your final paper is due in the Blackboard drop box no later than noon on 14 December. If you want your final paper back with feedback, please leave a hard copy with self-addressed, stamped envelope and sufficient postage in my campus mailbox, or bring it to the final class meeting. You will be able to view your grade online, but due to a short turn-around time before final grades are due, feedback will only be provided to those who submit a hard copy with an SASE. I cannot offer feedback over email or phone. There is no final exam.