Ethnic and Racial Studies (ERS)

College of Liberal Studies
Program Director: Johnathan Majak
227 Graff Main Hall,

Associate Professor: Majak;
Assistant Professors:
Shillinger, Her.

Ethnic and Racial Studies Minor

(All colleges) - 24 credits - ERS 100, 251, 490; nine credits from at least three disciplines must be taken from the following: ANT 101, EFN 205, ENG 207, 380, ERS 300, 400, 410, HIS 306, PHL 230, POL 300, 342, 372, PSY 382, SOC 225, 311, WS 230. The remaining six credits from: ANT 343, ENG 210, 215, 381, ERS 110, 253, ERS/SOC 280, 343, 363, SPA 425, HIS 309, 310. At least 12 credits must be at the 300-400 level. Credit used for history or English majors may not be used for this minor.

Institute for Ethnic and Racial Studies

This program is designed to provide students with exposure to the field of ethnic studies. Courses offered relate to African, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Hispanic, and Native Americans. These courses focus on an examination of the experiences of these minorities in the United States. The primary objective of the Institute is to develop and foster knowledge and appreciation of the multiracial and multicultural reality of the American society.

+ next to a course number indicates a General Education course.

+ ERS 100 Cr. 3 Introduction to Minority Cultures in the United States

An examination of the persistence of minority and ethnic problems in the United States and consideration of the contributions, parallels, similarities, and differences between and among ethnic and minority groups.

+ ERS 110 Cr. 3 Myth and Reality: An Examination of Ethnic and Racial Stereotyping

This course will trace how popular entertainment mediums such as film, television, books, comics, "wild west shows," music and cartoons have impacted perceptions of ethnic and racial groups from the early seventeenth century to the present. Besides analyzing the persuasive power of these types of mediums, it will examine why such representations were created and why they still persist. The mythopoeic image that surrounds American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups will be juxtaposed against the historical reality that these groups have faced and the contemporary inequalities that we still must confront.

+ ERS/ENG 207 Cr. 3 Multicultural Literature of the United States

This course examines cultural themes in American literature in an effort to enhance student awareness of the multiethnic nature of American culture. Students engage in close reading, discussion, analysis, and interpretation of texts written by individuals from a variety of American ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Content varies with instructors. Prerequisite: ENG 110. (Cross-listed with ENG 207; may only earn credit in ERS or ENG.)

+ ERS/ENG 210 Cr. 3 The Literature of Black America

Survey and exploration of Black American prose and poetry from their eighteenth century beginnings to the end of the Harlem Renaissance and the depression years. Prerequisite: ENG 110. (Cross-listed with ENG; may only earn credit in ERS or ENG.)

+ ERS/ENG 215 Cr. 3 African American Authors

A study of the principal post-depression (1940present) African American authors, critics and scholars which clarifies the relationship between these writers and the general field of American literature and which illustrates their unique contributions as representatives of African American culture. Prerequisite: ENG 110. (Cross-listed with ENG; may only earn credit in ERS or ENG.)

ERS 251 Cr. 3 Theories of Racial and Ethnic Relations in the United States

An introductory course that examines leading theories of racial and ethnic relations in the United States and assesses their significance and relevance in explaining historic and contemporary relations between the white majority and the racial and ethnic minorities. It also analyzes and evaluates the impact of various laws, policies, and programs on racial and ethnic relations.

ERS 253 Cr. 3 Introduction to Wisconsin Indians

An introductory examination of Wisconsin Indians with specific reference to the Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Ojibwa, Oneida, Potawatomi, and the Stockbridge-Munsee communities. An interdisciplinary approach will be used to explore topics including sovereignty, land use and environmental issues, education, economic development, social issues and challenges, and tribal identity. The course also will explore each tribe's responses to both state and federal governments. Offered every third semester.

ERS/SOC 280 Cr. 3 Hmong Americans

This course provides an introductory overview of Hmong history, culture, and contemporary adaptation in the United States of America. Areas of exploration will include ancient and modern Hmong history, the Hmong oral tradition, the traditional clan and leadership structure, Hmong musical heritage, Hmong craft heritage, marriage and funeral practices, childrearing customs, traditional methods of conflict resolution, the tradition of ancestor worship, and herbal and spiritual healing practices. Contemporary developments and adjustment issues within the Hmong communities will be discussed. These will include current Hmong business initiatives, educational achievements, utilization of welfare institutions, the role of Hmong Mutual Assistance Associations, intergenerational conflicts, youth gangs, traditional vs. modern family structure, and Hmong exposure to public prejudices and discriminatory practices. Throughout the course Hmong achievements and triumphs over adversity also will be highlighted. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing recommended. (Cross-listed with SOC; may only earn credit in ERS or SOC.)

ERS 300 Cr. 1-3 Topics and Symposium in Ethnic and Racial Studies

Topics selected by the individual instructor or by the students and instructor together. Special interest of both the instructor and students such as Black drama or Native American art, or other areas of concern which are either not covered or briefly dealt with in formal course work may be the vehicles for this offering. Repeatable for credit - maximum 6.

ERS/SOC 343 Cr. 3 American Indian Contemporary Issues

This course is an interdisciplinary examination of American Indian contemporary experience in the United States. It will introduce students to some of the critical issues in American Indian studies by examining the place of American Indians within the American imagination, politics and society. The course concentrates on issues of tribal sovereignty, economics, social class and structure, and the difficulties of maintaining a tribal identity in the 21st century. Prerequisite: One of the following: ERS 100, ERS 253, SOC 225, EFN 205, HIS 310, WS 230. (Cross-listed with SOC; may only earn credit in ERS or SOC.)

ERS/SOC 363 Cr. 3 American Indians and the Environment

This course introduces students to American Indian environmental issues. Topics include treaty-based hunting, fishing and gathering rights, air and water quality regulatory authority, environmental racism, toxic and nuclear waste disposal on Indian lands, mining and hydroelectric dams, sacred sites, and Indian vs. Western perceptions of the environment. Special attention will be given to current environmental controversies in Wisconsin Indian country. Prerequisite: One of the following: ERS 100, ERS 253, ERS/SOC 343, SOC 225, 328, EFN 205. (Cross-listed with SOC; may only earn credit in ERS or SOC.)

ERS 400/500 Cr. 1-3 Individual Study in Ethnic and Racial Studies

Directed reading and research under the supervision of an instructor. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Repeatable for credit - maximum 6.

ERS 410/510 Cr. 3 Contemporary Issues in Ethnic and Racial Studies

An introduction to ethnic minority groups in the United States today emphasizing the historical antecedents of contemporary issues with particular attention to the problems of ethnic groups and educational institutions. Offered Sem. I.

ERS 490 Cr. 3 Ethnic and Racial Studies Seminar

This capstone course is designed as a culminating experience for students completing a minor in ethnic and racial studies. Students will complete their ERS portfolios containing samples of all courses taken for the minor. In addition, students will be required to write a reflective essay that reviews the course materials in the portfolios. Students will also write a seminar research paper which analyzes some aspect of ethnic and racial experience in the United States. Prerequisite: ERS 100, 251, and 12 credits from core and elective courses. Offered Sem. II.