African American Studies W111

Access Course
Course Schedule

Student Orientation Guide
Who to Contact for Support Guide
Proctor Guidelines
Proctor Application

African American Studies W111 - Race, Class, and Gender (3 units): The goal of this course is to describe, interpret and explain the circumstances of African Americans, with regard to race, class and gender stratification in the contemporary USA. We begin with consideration of key concepts, including wealth, income, inequality and the feminization of poverty; racialization, racism and ethnicity; and the legacy of slavery; Black leadership and identity; sex, gender and the gender division of labor; intersectionality; feminism and Black feminism; and globalization and international migration. We explore the historical background to contemporary stratification by briefly considering the nature of slavery and Jim Crow segregation; and the move from plantation to ghetto, and then from ghetto to penitentiary as controlling institutions used against African Americans (as argued by Loic Wacquant). We consider the role of institutional obstacles and the cultural complexities confronting young Black people (as explained by Orlando Patterson). We examine the rise and consequences of mass incarceration of young Black men (as articulated by Michelle Alexander). We also consider how Black women and girls have been left out of the larger debates on these issues (as argued by Nikki Jones), and how consideration of them complicates the overall analysis. We move on to assess the role of social movements, radical policies, and Black leadership and cultural strategies in reducing inequality. We also consider the principles underlying federal policies for alleviating racial inequality and promoting equal opportunities, including those that are color-blind and those that are race conscious (such as Affirmative Action). Throughout the analysis we consider the impact of gender ideologies on these experiences, and we distinguish the experiences of men and women. We assess how globalization impacts African Americans. As the course unfolds we will also consider the unique experiences of African Americans in California, as compared with African Americans across the United States in general, to assess what are the common and what are the distinctive patterns. Most of the time we will focus on African Americans; but we will also consider how their experiences compare with those of other Blacks, especially West Indians and Africans born abroad, but whose children are born/raised in the USA.

Throughout the course we make theoretical, conceptual and empirical comparisons with Black people in Europe. This comparison will 1. highlight the national specifics of race, class and gender in the United States. 2 locate the Black experience in the United States in the context of the African Diaspora more generally. 3 Bring into the foreground Orlando Patterson’s evaluation of the paradox of African American severe economic disadvantage within the United States, as compared with their overwhelming cultural influence outside the United States.

Class Number: 13162
Final Exam: Thursday, August 9, 2018 from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m. (Final exam date is tentative; subject to change by professor)
Register/Add Deadline: June 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time (PST).