Politics of Ethnic Minorities and Gender

Professor Biles Fall 2006

Room 302, AB-1, TuTh, 9:30-10:50

TEXTS :     Aguirre, Jr., Adalberto, and Jonathan H. Turner. American Ethnicity: The Dynamics and Consequences of Discrimination . 4th ed. Boston : McGraw-Hill, 2004.


McGlen, Nancy E., and others. Women, Politics, and American Society . 4 th ed. NY: Pearson Longman, 2005.

Blackboard and Electronic Reserve. Notices and course information may be placed on Blackboard (found on the SHSU homepage). Use your computer account info to access it. Please check the Announcements section periodically. I may also email the class using your student computer account address. If you lose it, a copy of the syllabus will be on Blackboard. If I need to post information that does not work for Blackboard, I will put it on Electronic Reserve and announce it on Blackboard. To get to Electronic Reserve, go to the SHSU homepage, click Library, then Course Reserves, Electronic Reserve, and finally Electronic Reserves and Reserves Pages. Select Course Reserves by Instructor (Biles), POL 235, and finally the item you wish to download. Password: Ethnic . The password will also be on the Blackboard announcement . You will need to use PDF (Adobe Acrobat) to download the material. It should come up automatically.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the study of ethnicity, race, and gender. While politics is the major focus, students are expected to learn about the impact of economic, social, and historical factors on minorities. Students will become familiar with the historical and contem­pora­ry experience of white ethnics and Asians and will learn in more detail about the experience of the two major contemporary ethnic minorities - African and Hispanic Americans. Finally, students will examine the role of women in politics, covering political behavior, women as political elites, how politics affects women, and the politics of the women's movement. As a result of the course, students should increase their knowledge, understanding, and analytical and writing skills. (The course is writing enhanced.)



First essay exam             15%       90 = A

Second essay exam         20          80 = B

Comprehensive final                      70 = C

(may be multiple choice)    15         60 = D

Paper                                40         Grades are rounded up at .5 (e.g., 89.5 = A).

Debate                              10


PAPER: The paper is due Thursday, Mar. 2 . The topic must be approved by the instructor . Discuss the paper with me and by Thurs., Feb. 2 provide me at least a typed paragraph describing what you will do. The paper should deal with some aspect of ethnicity or gender and be of interest to you. You might consider a topic applying ethnicity or gender to your major or intended profession. In choosing a topic, bear in mind that the paper should be analytical, not descriptive (e.g., why, what were the consequences?). The first day, we will talk about topics and hints on how to do the paper. Use formal writing style, but write the paper with the assumption that it will be read by the other students in this class at the end of the semester. By then, they will know something about race and gender but not a great deal about your topic. Half of the grade will be determined by the substance of the paper: for example, is the information accurate and complete, is the thesis developed adequately, does the paper reflect the knowledge in the field, are the sources adequate? The other half of the grade will be determined by the quality of the writing: grammar, spelling, organization, smoothness of writing, etc. If you make a good effort the first time and want to do a revision, it is due three weeks after the paper is returned to you. Having the possibility of a revision does not mean you can skip the original due date.

    •  To be accepted, the paper must be at least six typed pages of text (12 font and one-inch margins).

    •  Papers based on original research are recommended.

    •  Library research projects must have at least fifteen different cited sources .

    •  Except by permission, news magazines (such as Time and Newsweek ), the textbooks for this course, and general encyclopedias may not be counted to meet the required number of sources.

    •  Among Internet sources, only those sites of academic value are acceptable (such as electronic academic journals and government and organizational data sites). Interest group and individual sites selling their own views are acceptable only if they are serious players and you are presenting their argument as one perspective.

    •  Books, professional journals, serious magazines, interviews and established, academic Internet sites are suggested sources .

    •  The paper must have notes and a bibliography (or works cited section) containing all (and only) the cited sources. Footnotes, endnotes, OR the works cited style of citation may be used.

    •  Page numbers must be given for each citation in the notes or parenthetical insertions.

    •  The paper should use proper style. A style manual such as the MLA Handbook or Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers , must be followed. In the bibliography, indicate the manual used . Include a photocopy of the pages from your style manual illustrating the type of note and bibliographic entry you used.

    •  Include a copy of each page cited .


DEBATES : At midterm, we will choose debate topics (by class vote) and divide the class into teams. Each team will decide on a format, do research, and carry out a debate on its topic. Grades will be given by each team member based on contribution to the group and by the prof based on the substance of what is said. The debates will be at the end of the semester.



Students are expected to attend class regularly and punctually, to respect others, to read the assignments, to participate in class discussions, and to contribute to a good learning environment.

    •  For each unexcused absence in excess of three, a point will be deducted from the course average. Students with one or no absences will receive a two point bonus on their average.

    •  It is the responsibility of the student to report late arrival (at the end of the class) , to provide written documentation of excused absences and to arrange to make up any missed work, including examinations.

    •  Barring extenuating circumstances, missed work should be made up within two weeks of your return to school. All missed work must be made up by the last day of classes.

    •  Excused absences include official active participation in university functions, illness of yourself or someone for whom you are a primary caregiver, attendance at a funeral, religious holy days, and occasional work emergencies. I will consider other reasons in the spirit of the above. Sleeping late because you work late is not an acceptable reason.

    •  Tardiness will count as half an absence.

    •  Students leaving class early without prior clearance will be counted absent.

    •  Students physically but not mentally present in the class (e.g., reading newspapers, playing with their cell/computer, using earphones, or studying for other classes), disturbing the class , or using tobacco products may be asked to leave, counted absent, and referred to the Dean of Students.

    •  Turn off cell phones, pagers, etc. before class begins.

    •  For additional information, see http://www.shsu.edu/syllabus/


ACADEMIC DISHONESY : I disapprove of cheating on exams, papers, or other assignments. Those engaged in dishonest practices will be submitted to university disciplinary action. In addition, cheating will produce a zero on the assignment and will be part of the course grade. Plagiarism is a particular problem. Don't do it! In writing a paper, cite the source of any ideas, facts, phraseology, etc. that is not very common knowledge. If you paraphrase something (that is, take the ideas or information from a source but put it in your own words), cite the source. When you are learning, it is better to sin on the side of too many citations than too few. If you use someone else's words, put them in quotation marks and provide a citation of where you found the material. This includes material from web sites, books, articles, interviews any source that is not your very own words. A common form of plagiarism is using material patched together from websites.

Cell phones must be off and out of sight during all examinations. If I see one on and in view, you fail the exam.

STUDENT ABSENCES ON RELIGIOUS HOLY DAYS POLICY : Holy day absences are treated like other excused absences. Provide me documentation of the absence before or after the absence and arrange to make up any missed work within two weeks of the absence.

: SHSU adheres to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have a disability that may affect adversely your work in this class, I encourage you to register with the SHSU Counseling Center and to talk with me about how I can best help you. All disclosures of disabilities will be kept strictly confidential. NOTE: No accommodation can be made until you register with the Counseling Center


CONTACTING THE PROF: Office AB1 315H (same floor as the class), phone (936) 294-1460, e-mail gov_reb@shsu.edu . Enter the political science suite through 315 or 315K. Office hours : T-days, 11-1:15, 4-5; M-days, 11-1:00. Classes TuTh 9:30-11 & Tues. 6-9. Please do not come to see me just before 9:30, when I am getting ready for class. Any other time I am in, you are most welcome. Conferences by appointment or drop-in, after class, or by phone . I am available most of each day, and students are not limited to office hours . Come see me as soon as you need help; the end of the semester is generally too late. We also have a graduate assistant who can help you with the course (without charge).



I. Race and Ethnicity

  A. Introduction

      1. Concepts: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 1

      2. Explanations: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 2

      3. The Anglo Core Culture: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 3


  B. White Ethnics: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 8




  C. African Americans: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 4

  D. The New Not So New Immigration: Read American Ethnicity, pp. 243-262

  E. Latinos/Hispanics: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 6

  F. Asian Americans: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 7

  G. Native Americans: Read American Ethnicity, Chap. 5

   H.  Conclusions:  Read American Ethnicity, pp. 262-73



II. Gender


  A. Introduction

    1. Language and Ideas

    2. Home & Family: Read McGlen, Part III, Chap. 5-6

    3. Women in the Economy: Read McGlen, Part II, Chap. 3-4

  B. Women and Politcs

    1. Mass behavior: Read McGlen, Chap. 2

    2. Women as elites

     3. Women's movements: Read McGlen, pp. 1-64 & Chap. 7

     4. Public policy Included throughout book