Sociology 341-AA

Race and Ethnic Relations


Professor:            Dr. Tom Henricks

Office:                 Sociology/Anthropology House

    309 E. Haggard Ave.

    Office 202

Phone:                 278-6446

Home Phone:       584-0682




                                                                                      Course Description


                This course examines the meaning of minority group status in society.  The course focuses on both the general patterns and problems presented by all minority groups as well as the more specific issues facing individual minority groups in American society.  We will discuss these issues in both historical and contemporary perspective.  Groups receiving special emphasis will be African-Americans, white ethnics, Latinos, Jews, and Asian-Americans.




                                                                                          Required Texts


Richard Schaeffer.  Racial and Ethnic Groups, 8th edition.  (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2000).


John Kromkowski, ed. Annual Editions 02/03: Race and Ethnic Relations (Guilford, Ct.: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin. 2002).


Other readings will be placed on reserve, gathered from Internet sources, and/or distributed as hand-outs.




                                                                              Student Learning Objectives


Students who have completed this course will be expected to:


Understand the nature of prejudice and discrimination, including the basic causes of each


Confront their own feelings about these matters


Understand sympathetically the circumstances of minority status


Explain the ways in which minority status is a common experience for many groups as well as the ways in which it is distinctive for different groups.


Explore the related effects of discrimination in economics, housing, education, politics, and other social institutions


Consider the nature and extent of prejudice and discrimination in a college community






                                                                             Topical Outline with Readings

                                                                                  From the Schaeffer Text


                                                                                 (Note: Other readings will

                                                                              be assigned on a daily basis)


I.  Introduction: The Nature of Prejudice and Discrimination


                Schaeffer, chapters 2 and 3


II. The Meaning of Minority Status


                Schaeffer: Chapter 1


III. Immigration and Minority Status


                Schaeffer: Chapter 4 and 5 


IV. Native Americans


                Schaeffer: Chapter 6


V. African-Americans


                Schaeffer: Chapters 7 and 8


VI. Latinos in America


                Schaeffer: Chapter 9 and 10


VI. Asian Americans: Growth and Diversity


                Schaeffer; Chapters 10 and 11


VII. Jewish Americans


                Schaeffer: Chapter 13





                                                                        Course Requirements and Grading


                Grading will be based on the results of two periodic exams, one final exam, a research paper, a class participation grade, and a grade on further written work.  These will be apportioned as follows:


                                First Exam                              =              20%

                                Second Exam                         =               20%

                                Final Exam                             =               20%

                                Research Paper                       =              15%

                                Class Participation                   =              10%

                                Further Written Work                =              15%



                Exams: Exams will be based on readings, lectures, videotapes, class discussions, and any student reports.  They will be given after approximately each third of the class and will be predominantly essay (with some identification) in format.  The third exam, which will constitute our final) will have some cumulative elements reflecting themes developed throughout the class.


                Any make-up exams will be given only at the discretion of the professor.  Normally, these will be given for students on official college business or because of documented illness or emergency.


                Research Paper: The substance and due date of the paper will be announced well in advance.  Paper length is to be approximately 8-10 pages typed double-spaced.  All papers must have a title page as well as an appropriate form of citation/references.  In this regard, the APA reference system is preferred; others may be discussed with the professor.  Papers not conforming to these formal requirements will not be accepted.  The paper topic itself must be selected in consultation with the professor on a suitable course theme.


                In addition to the (library/Internet) research portion of the paper, students will also be expected to illustrate their creativity as a sociological observer/researcher.  Such activities may include observations of behavior, interviews, or applications of sociological concepts to various social settings.  Should the class feature oral presentations by individual students, the grade for this portion will become part of the total project grade.


                Class Participation: The class participation grade will be based on attendance, participation in in-class written assignments and any student panels or projects, and general support for the collective enterprise that is the course.  For a three-times-a-week class, it is generally acknowledged that three absences (for whatever reason) is an acceptable level.  Absences beyond this number will affect this portion of the grade.  Students anticipating absences (because of personal medical difficulties, family emergencies, or official college business) should discuss these with the professor.


                Further Written Work: In addition to the research paper, the course will feature a number of short, more informal papers.  A few of these may be done as in-class "reactions".  Others may be evaluations of portions of the reader or text, still others may involve observations or other forms of sociological activity.


                A typical length for such papers is 2 pages.  Typically, they will be due the class day after they are assigned.  Late submissions will receive no more than half credit.


                Some of these papers will not receive a traditional grade but will be marked with a "check plus," "check," or "check minus" grade.  Others may receive a 4, 3, 2, 1 evaluation.  The professor will keep a listing of the total papers completed and a final grade with be based on the overall quality and number of the papers submitted.


                The grading scale for the course will follow that adopted by the Elon College Sociology Department.  This is as follows:


                                93-100                     A

                                90-92                       A-

                                87-89                       B+

                                83-86                       B

                                80-82                       B-

                                77-79                       C+

                                73-76                       C

                                70-72                       C-

                                67-69                       D+

                                63-66                       D

                                60-62                       D-

                                59-below                   F



                                                                                    Academic Citizenship


                Elon College is committed to high standards of academic citizenship.  Essentially this means that members of the academic community should conduct themselves in ways that exemplify personal honesty and respect for the rights of others.  In this light, and as a matter of simple courtesy,  I ask that students arrive for class on time and not leave early unless this has been discussed with me. 


                Like other forms of academic inquiry, colleges classes should illustrate the characteristics of open and courteous discourse.  Part of this includes respect for the views of other members of the class.  Furthermore, a  person must take responsibility for their own work and, when using the work of others, should indicate the nature of that relationship.  If you are unsure what the Elon Honor Code entails, please consult that portion of the Elon College Student Handbook (on-line this year at or discuss this with me.