Skip Navigation
search: People | Departments | Penn State | Web
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Sociology (SOC)

SOC 529 Seminar in Race and Ethnicity (3) Reviews the status of U.S. racial and ethnic minority groups; analyzes factors influencing inequality and inter-group relations.

SOC 529 Seminar in Race and Ethnicity (3)

The seminar opens with a review of the status of central racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States: African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, American Indians. Educational and economic status are considered, along with such factors as family structure, geographical location, residential segregation, language, and involvement with the criminal justice system. Institutional patterns that potentially contribute to observed statuses are reviewed.

Two groups of African Americans receive special attention: the urban “underclass” that sits at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder and middle class blacks. Consideration of economic stratification by race and ethnicity includes analysis of wealth disparities and the differences in life chances they create. Structural and cultural explanations of economic outcomes are contrasted. Patterns of economic assimilation shown for recent immigrants are outlined, and the notion of “segmented assimilation” is introduced. Economic interdependence among minority groups receives attention. Extensive recent evidence about employment discrimination is reviewed.

The relevance of white Americans’ racial attitudes to political opinions and policy outcomes receives attention in readings that focus on policy issues affecting both African Americans and American Indians. Classic and recent frameworks for understanding prejudice and discrimination are introduced. Patterns observed for African American targets are contrasted with those for Latinos and Asian Americans. Research on the outcomes of intergroup contact is reviewed, along with recent “contextual” studies that assess the influence of community characteristics on racial attitudes.

Racial/ethnic identity is put in the spotlight, with attention to African Americans but also American Indians, West Indian immigrants, Latinos, Asian Americans, multiracial groups, and white Americans. “Pan-ethnicity” is considered.

The seminar is designed to familiarize graduate students in sociology and related fields with central information about the evolving status of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S., and with theoretical perspectives developed in sociology and other social science disciplines to understand racial/ethnic prejudice, discrimination, and inequality.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2012

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Graduate Course Descriptions
  2. Graduate Programs
  3. Doctoral Degree Requirements
  4. Master's Degree Requirements
  5. Application and Admission Procedures
  6. Credit Certificate Programs
  7. General Information
  8. Tuition and Cost
  9. Intercollege
  10. Academic Information and Procedures