Professor: Dr. Aviva Ben-Ur
Department of Sociology
This course explores and examines one of the most distinctive features
the contemporary United States: its ethnic diversity. Numerous and
diverse ethnic groups will be considered, including Native Americans,
African Americans, Jewish Americans (Sephardic, Ashkenazic and Mizrahi),
Middle Eastern Americans, Hispanic Americans, and East and South Asian
Americans. Special consideration will be given to the experience of
migration for women as distinctive from that of men, intra-ethnic
conflict and cross-fertilization, and three competing historical and
contemporary trends: Anglo-conformity, the melting pot, and cultural
pluralism. This course will combine sociological and historical
approaches. Readings and discussions will be supplemented by either a
field trip to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum or the viewing of the
film "Imitation of Life."
Required textbooks and readings
The following books have
been ordered from the college bookstore
and are required for all students:
Dinnerstein, Leonard and David M. Reimers. 1988. Ethnic
History of Immigration and Assimilation. New York: Harper and Row
Silvia Pedraza and Rubn G. Rumbaut. Origins and Destinies: Immigration,
Race, and Ethnicity in America. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996. (PR)
Takaki, Ronald. 1994. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural
America. Little and Brown & Co. (T)
A course packet available for students to purchase from the bookstore. (CP)
The Following Books are Recommended, but not Required for Purchase:
Ben-Ur, Aviva. 1998. Where Diasporas Met: Sephardic and
in the City of New York: A Study in Intra-Ethnic Relations, 1880-1950.
Michigan: University Microfilms. (B)
Chan, Sucheng. 1991. Asian Americans: An Interpretive History. New
Jersey: Twayne Publishers. (C)
Jensen, Joan. 1988. Passage From India: Asian-Indian Immigrants
North America. New Haven: Yale University Press. (J)
Ignatiev, Noel. 1995. How the Irish Became White. New York: Routledge. (I)
This is a senior seminar and thus emphasizes both attendance and
class participation. Each class will focus on the assigned readings and
discussions of these readings. While all students are expected to
prepare for each class, individual students will be assigned a particular
reading to present. In addition, each student should come to class
prepared with two analytical questions on that day's reading assignment.
There will be a mid-term research paper, based on either the
Appendix in (PR) (pp.492-494) or the student's own topic, and a final exam.
Participation in class discussion (including individual presentations)-30%
Mid-term research paper-35%
Week 1: Overview
1. No advance reading required
2. Pedraza, Silvia. "Origins and Destinies: Immigration, Race,
Ethnicity in American History." Ch. 1 (pp.1-20) in (PR)
Thornton, Russell. "North American Indians and the Demography
Contact." Ch. 3 (pp.43-59) in (PR)
Week 2: Theories of Ethnicity
3. Wednesday, September 9
Waters, Mary. 1990. "Flux and Choice in American Ethnicity".
in Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America, Berkeley, University
of California Press, 1990, pp.16-51. (Plus Appendix A, "The 1980 Census
Ancestry Question, p.169). (CP)
Waters, Mary C. 1996. "Optional Ethnicities: For Whites
Only?" Ch. 33
(pp.444-454) in (PR)
Sarna, Jonathan D. "From Immigrants to Ethnics: Toward a New Theory
Yinger, J. Milton. "Ethnicity." Annual Review of Sociology 11(1985):
Yancy, William L., Eugene P. Eriksen, and Richard N. Juliani.
Ethnicity: A Review and Reformulation," American Sociological Review 41:3
(June 1976): 391-402. (CP)
Week 3: The Colonial Experience
4 and 5.
Preface (pp.xiii-xv) and ch.1, "The Colonial Heritage" (pp.1-9) in (DR).
Takaki, Ronald, c. 2, "The 'Tempest' in the Wilderness: The
Racialization of Savagery," (pp.24-50) in (T).
Week 4: Northwest European Americans
6. Schneiderman, Howard G. "The Protestant Establishment: Its History Its
Legacy-Its Future?" Ch. 10 in (PR).
Kamphoefner, Walter, D. "German Americans: Paradoxes of a 'Model
Minority."" Ch. 11 in (PR).
Diner, Hasia. "Erin's Children in America: Three Centuries of
Immigration to the United States." Ch. 12 in (PR).
Takaki, Ronald. Ch. 6, "Emigrants from Erin," (pp.139-165) in (T).
ch. 2, "The Old Immigrants" (pp.10-35) in (DR.)
Ignatiev, Noel. How the Irish Became White. 1995.
Week 5: African Americans
7. Rawick, George P. 1996. "From Sundown to Sunup: Slavery
and the Making
of the Black Community." Ch. 4 (pp.60-72) in (PR).
Marks, Carole. "Farewell-We're Good and Gone: Black Migration
PostBellum South," ch. 5 (pp.73-83) in (PR).
Takaki, Ronald. Ch. 3, "The 'Giddy Multitude': The Hidden Origins
Slavery," (pp.51-76) in (T).
Week 6: Southern and Eastern Europeans
8 and 9. Alba, Richard D. "Italian Americans: A Century of Ethnic
Change." Ch. 13 (pp.172-181) in (PR).
"The New Immigrants," Ch. 3 (pp.36-55) and "Ethnic Conflict and
Immigration Restriction," ch. 4 (pp.56-72) in (DR.)
Week 7: Ashkenazic Jews in America
10. "Between 'Two Endless Days'" The Continuous Journey to the Promised
Land," ch. 11 (pp.277-310) in (T).
Gold, Steven J. and Bruce Phillips. "Mobility and Continuity among
Eastern European Jews." Ch. 14 in (PR).
Week 8: Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews and Sephardic/Mizrahi/Ashkenazic Jewish
11 & 12. Dahbany-Miraglia, Dina. "American Yemenite Jews:
Persistence & Flexibility: Anthropological Perspectives on the American
Jewish Experience." Walter P. Zenner, ed. New York: State University of
New York Press, pp.63-78 in (CP).
Ben-Ur, Aviva. "Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) Press" and "Ladino
(Judeo-Spanish) Theater." In (CP).
Ben-Ur, Aviva. Where Diasporas Met: Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews
City of New York-A Study in Intra-Ethnic Relations, 1880-1950.
Week 8: Problems with the Definition of "White"
13 and 14. Barrett, James R. and David Roediger. "Inbetween
Nationality and the 'New Immigrant' Working Class." Journal of American
Ethnic History 16: 3 (Spring 1997): 3-44. In (CP).
Ibid. Preface, Introduction ("From the Social Construction of Race to
the Abolition of Whiteness") and ch. 11 (Whiteness and Ethnicity) in (CP).
Rogoff, Leonard. "Is the Jew White?" The Racial Place of the Southern
Jew." American Jewish History 85: 3 (September 1997): 195-230. In (CP).
Hammond's World Atlas Classics Edition: An Encyclopedic Atlas of the
World. New York: C.S. Hammond & Company, 1954, pp.257-260; 266-268.
Week 9: Latin Americans
15 and 16. Romo, Ricardo. "Mexican Americans: Their Civic
Incorporation. Ch. 6 (pp.84-97) in (PR).
Carrasquillo, Hctor A. and Virginia Snchez-Korrol. "Migration,
Community, and Culture: The United States-Puerto Rican Experience." Ch.
7 (pp.98-109) in (PR).
Takaki, Ronald. "Foreigners in Their Native Land: Manifest Destiny
the Southwest." Ch. 7 (pp.166-190) in (T).
"The Spanish-Speaking Minorities." Ch. 6 (pp.93-116) in (DR).
Week 10: Asian Americans
17 and 18. Ngan-Ling Chow, Esther. "Family, Economy, and the State:
Struggle for Chinese American Women." Ch. 8 (pp.110-124) in (PR).
Nakano Glenn, Evelyn and Rhacel Salazar Parreas. "The Other Issei:
Japanese Immigrant Women in the Pre-World War ll Period." Ch. 9
(pp.125-140) in (PR).
Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore. New York:
Chan, Sucheng. 1991. Asian Americans: An Interpretive History.
Jersey: Twayne Publishers.
Week 11: South Asian Americans
19 and 20. Jensen, Joan. "Brown is Not White: Naturalization
Constitution" in ch. 12 (pp.246-269) in Passage From India. 1988.
Week 12: Middle Eastern Americans
21. MIDTERM PAPER DUE on NOVEMBER 23!!!
Suleiman, Michael. "Early Arab-Americans" (pp.37-54) in (CP).
Halaby, Raouf J. "Dr. Michael Shadid and the Debate over Identity
Syrian World" (pp.55-65) in (CP).
Conklin, Nancy Faires. "'Colored' and Catholic: The Lebanese in
Birmingham, Alabama" (pp.69-84) in (CP).
Shakir, Evelyn. "Good Works, Good Times: The Syrian Ladies' Aid
of Boston, 1917-1932." In (CP).
22. Class visit to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Week 13: The Phenomenon of "Passing"
23 and 24. Movie: "Imitation of Life."
Ginsberg, Elaine K. "Introduction: The Politics of Passing." In (CP).
Sollors, Werner. "Passing; or, Sacrificing a Parvenu." In (CP).
Week 14: Ethnic Identity in the United States Today
25 and 26. Preface (pp.xi-xv), introduction (pp.1-33) and ch. 5
Marilyn Halter's Between Race and Ethnicity: Cape Verdean American
Immigrants, 1860-1965. In (CP).
Orsi, Robert. "The Religious Boundaries of an Inbetween People:
Feste and the Problem of the Dark-Skinned Other in Italian Harlem,
1920-1990." American Quarterly 44: 3( September 1992): 313-347. In (CP).
"Voluntary information surveys" (read: racial background surveys)
received by the professor in 1998 in response to job applications.
Spencer, Jon Michael. The New Colored People: The Mixed-Race Movement
America. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
Week 15: Immigration to the United States Today
27 and 28. Binder, Frederick M. and David M. Reimers. "New York
Immigrant City." Ch. 25 (pp.334-345) in (PR).
Bozormehr, Mehdi et al., "Los Angeles: Explosive Diversity." Ch.
(pp.346-359) in (PR).
29. Review of Final Exam
30. Final Exam