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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Race and Ethnicity (PGSP11357)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEthnic and racial diversity is a feature of all societies, past and present. This course explores how racial and ethnic categories are articulated, formed, and inhabited in comparative and international contexts. We reflect on the visibility and invisibility of 'whiteness' and 'blackness', and on social hierarchies, colour lines, boundaries around 'the other', and on what it means to 'assimilate'. The course examines poverty and aid bureaucracies - including those serving displaced populations in conflict zones - as places where identities are constructed, negotiated and reproduced. As we examine the ways in which race and ethnicity are connected to employment, poverty, and social mobility, we also reflect on the intersectionality of social inequalities and cultural differences, especially in terms of immigration and global migration. And finally, we consider ethnic cleansing and genocide, and the underlying livelihoods and fragile environments that create mass ethnic displacement, refugees and IDPs.
Course description I Conceptualizing 'race' and ethnicity

Week 1: Theoretical baselines
We are all constructivists now, except when we aren't. Examine complicated relationship between beliefs and social structures. Is ethnicity a choice and 'race' a destiny?

Week 2: Critical race theory and whiteness
Explores visibility/invisibility; DuBois' "psychological wages of whiteness"; culturally saturated hierarchies; and whiteness as an instrument of social control. How useful is the study of whiteness sociologically?

II 'Race' and ethnicity in contexts

Week 3: Hierarchies and colour lines
Explore how racial and ethnic categories are articulated, (re)formed, and inhabited. Compare various censuses, and we consider 'racial orders' in the US, Brazil, and South Africa. "The problem of the 20th century", W.E.B. DuBois wrote, "is the problem of the color line".

Week 4: Thinking about the sociology of assimilation
Think reflexively about acculturation/assimilation as matters of social interpretation, as social intentions, as ethical issues, as moral choices, and as social needs.

Week 5: Poverty and aid bureaucracies: sites of knowledge production
Explore social provisions in 'poverty bureaucracies' as places where identities are constructed, negotiated and reproduced, especially in conditions of inequality. Also look at NGOs and UN refugee agencies' techniques for 'grasping' displaced populations through identity documents and aid provision in conflict zones.

III Issues

Week 6: Immigration I: cultural diversity (immigration as a civil rights issue?)
Are there cultural solutions to structural problems? Structural solutions to cultural problems? Begins with Chicago School's sociology of assimilation and consider the new assimilation, boundary theorists. Examine their ideas in connection with second and third generation children of immigrants and their social and cultural identities.

Week 7: Immigration II: labour markets
Consider how sociologists assess labour market impacts of immigration. We begin with different ethnic labour markets (dual, split, occupational concentrations etc.). Critically think about four approaches in the study of labour market effects on immigration (e.g. case studies, spatial correlations, factors proportions, and factor proportions assuming non-substitutability).

Week 8: 'Race', neighborhoods, and poverty
Explore some of the consequences of ethnic stratifications: exclusion, mobility, residential segregation, and the tension between diversity and the provision of public goods. Cultural solutions and structural problems.

Week 9: Ethnic and racial violence
We think about the relationships among hate, fear, and powerlessness; examine the processes of politicizing race and racializing politics. Explore the racialization of poverty. We consider the political combustibility of social inequalities marked by cultural differences; and we explore the comparative causal effects of economic and political grievances in racial riots, and the possible policy responses.

Week 10: Refugees, IDPs, and global migration
Explore global migration patterns: are refugees, economic migrants and IDPs becoming isolated under-classes associated with poverty and difference?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, all students are expected to have an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of key sociological concepts and theoretical approaches to 'race' and ethnicity. In particular, graduates will be able to demonstrate:

- Knowledge that integrates key empirical debates and issues in the field of 'race' and ethnicity. For instance, the student will be able to work with the key theoretical and policy implications of 'critical race theory' as well as those involved in universalist/particularist understandings of identity ascriptions.
- A critical understanding of important theoretical, analytical and conceptual frameworks used in studying 'race' and ethnicity, including those that inform (im)migration, poverty, global development, ethnic/racial/sectarian conflict policies.
- A deeper and more engaged understanding of how 'race' and ethnicity interact with sociological processes such as inequality, migration, public policies, global aid and development bureaucracies, census and statistical counting policies, and the politics of 'race'.
- A critical awareness of current and developing issues in research on 'race' and ethnicity, particularly those around knowledge production, international aid/development, and social inequalities.
Reading List
L. Schartzman (2007) "Does Money Whiten? Intergenerational Changes in Racial Classification in Brazil" American Sociological Review 72(6): 940-63

L. Wacquant (2007) Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (Polity)

International Organization for Migration (2011) World Migration Report, Available at:

S. Delgado, eds (2012) Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2nd Edition) (NYU)

J. Habyarimana, et al (2009) Coethnicity: Diversity and Dilemmas of Collective Action (Russell Sage)

A. Appiah (1995) "The Uncompleted Argument: DuBois and the Illusion of Race" Critical Inquiry 12(1): 21-37

M. Lange (2011) Educations in Ethnic Violence: Identity, Educational Bubbles and Resource Mobilization (CUP)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Liliana Riga
Tel: (0131 6)51 1853
Course secretaryMrs Gillian MacDonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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