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College of Liberal Studies
Department Chair: Carol Oyster
224C Wimberly Hall, 608.785.8222
Email: coyster@uwlax.edu


Professors: Oyster, Associate Professors: Shillinger, Assistant Professors: Breaux, Senior Lecturers: Elegbede

Ethnic and Racial Studies Minor

(All colleges) 18 credits – ERS 100, 220, 351, 490; six credits from ANT 343; CHE 453; CST 332, 337; EDS 406; EFN 486; ENG/ERS 207, 210, 215; ENG 380, 381, 382, 477, 478; ERS 253, 300, 400, 410; ERS/HIS 409, 411; ERS/SOC 343; HIS 306, 310, 336; HIS/WGS 370; PHL/ERS 321, 329; POL 342; PSY 282, 285, 360; SOC 225; SOC/ERS 280, 343; THA 130; WGS 230. At least nine credits must be at the 300-400 level. Students may not apply courses used on their major to the ERS minor.

Department 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 department is to develop and foster knowledge and appreciation of the multiracial and multicultural reality of the American society.


+ next to a course number indicate a GENERAL EDUCATION course

+ERS  100  Cr.3

Introduction to Ethnic and Racial Studies (ES)

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.   Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

+ERS/ENG  207  Cr.3

Multicultural Literature of the United States (ES)

This course examines cultural themes in American literature in an effort to enhance student awareness of the multi-ethnic 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 or ENG 112 or concurrent enrollment in ENG 112. (Cross-listed with ERS/ENG; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall, Spring.

+ERS/ENG  210  Cr.3

Literature of Black America (ES)

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 or ENG 112 or concurrent enrollment in ENG 112. (Cross-listed with ERS/ENG; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall, Spring.

+ERS/ENG  215  Cr.3

African American Authors (ES)

A study of the principal post-depression (1940 to present) 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 or ENG 112 or concurrent enrollment in ENG 112. (Cross-listed with ERS/ENG; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall, Spring.

+ERS  220  Cr.3

Ethnic and Racial Stereotyping in the Media

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. Prerequisite: ERS 100.  Offered Fall, Spring.

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 Fall, Spring.

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, child-rearing 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. (Cross-listed with ERS/SOC; may only earn credit in one department.) Prerequisite: sophomore standing.  Offered Spring.

ERS  300  Cr.1 - 3

Topics and Symposium in Minority 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.   Offered Occasionally.

ERS/PHL  321  Cr.3

American Indian Thought

Reflection on the Native American ways of thinking as manifest in the literature of various select tribes, on the essential characteristics of thinking commonly shared by Native Americans, and on the fundamental difference between the Native American ways of thinking and those of the dominant (white) culture.  The 'primal world' of Native American thought will be studied as an alternative to the western way of thinking. Prerequisite: ERS 100. (Cross-listed with ERS/PHL 321; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Occasionally.

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: EFN 205, ERS 100, ERS 253, HIS 310, SOC 225, WGS 230. (Cross-listed with ERS/SOC; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall.

ERS  351  Cr.3

Ethnic and Racial Relations

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. Prerequisite: ERS 100.  Offered Spring.

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: EFN 205, ERS 100, ERS 253, ERS/SOC 343, SOC 225, SOC 328. (Cross-listed with ERS/SOC; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Occasionally.

ERS 400/500  Cr.1 - 3

Individual Study in Ethnic and Racial Studies

Directed reading and research under the supervision of an instructor. Repeatable for credit - maximum 6. Prerequisite: junior standing.  Offered Fall, Spring.

ERS/HIS  409  Cr.3

20th Century Civil Rights Movement

This course explores the modern civil rights movement in the US and the struggle for African Americans and other marginalized groups to gain equal rights in voting, education, employment, housing, and other facets of life in the US. It begins with the MOWM and examines the seemingly completing philosophies of civil rights organizations such as CORE, SNCC, SCLC, BPP, AIM, SDS and other civil rights leaders, and local people in shaping their own destinies. It highlights and interrogates major national and local political struggles and their reciprocal relationships with international political and anti-colonial movements from 1941 to the present. It concludes with exploring the link between convict leasing, prison reform movements, political prisoners, and the prison industrial complex as the New Jim Crow. Prerequisite: ERS 100. (Cross-listed with ERS/HIS 409; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall.

ERS 410/510  Cr.3

Contemporary Issues in Minority Cultures

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. Prerequisite: junior standing.  Offered Occasionally.

ERS/HIS  411  Cr.3

20th Century African American Urban History

This course will explore the interrelationships between race, class, and gender among blacks in the twentieth century American city. Throughout the semester we will interrogate the confluence and the divergence of the myths and the realities of the black urban political, social, and cultural experience in the United States. The course begins in the American South in 1900, where the majority of blacks continued to live, and follows the migration of over two million African Americans to the northern and western United States in the years between World War I and World War II. The course continues with the black community-building process and the black urban struggle for political, economic, and cultural self-determination. While blacks in the South played an enormous role in the Civil Rights Movement, this course will include focus on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement in the Urban North and West, and conclude with examinations of the rise of the so-called second ghettos. Prerequisite: ERS 100. (Cross-listed with ERS/HIS 411; may only earn credit in one department.)  Offered Fall.

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 and 12 credits from core and elective courses.  Offered Fall.