Thurs. & Wed. 2:30p.m. –
4:00 p.m. (or by appointment)
Office: 215 Old Mill,
TAs, Old Mill 217:
-Office hours: Wed 3:30-5:00; Th 9:15-10:45
-Office hours: Mon 2:30-4:30; Tu 2:00-2:30; Th 2-4, Fr 11:30-1
GEO060: Geographies of Race
and Ethnicity in the U.S. (Sect. B)
The basic message of this course is this: the meanings of race and ethnicity are socially constructed, not biological absolutes.
Yet a critical understanding of the complex resulting processes, identities and struggles, and the spaces they create matter
profoundly to all of our lives, whether we are geographers, ecologists, businesspeople, teachers, x-ray technicians, or students
required to sit in a chair to fill a requirement.
The landscapes each of us inhabit are “artifacts of past and present racisms” (Pulido 2000, 16). They have been shaped by a
history of powerful and carefully built-up ideas about how certain groups of people are superior, and others inferior. Race is not
“real”, in the sense that it is a construct, not natural and unchangeable. Yet racial formations and racism, itself a slippery,
changing, and adaptable set of ideas, remain: ideologies of difference in human worth have profound social and spatial
consequences. They affect where people live and work, where they shop and worship, and who they are likely to know and
Because they matter so much, these ideas and the spaces they create are sites of struggle. It has taken centuries of the
often violent, often invisible work of everyone from policymakers to ordinary folks wielding everyday power to establish and
maintain prejudicial ideas about the meaning of race. So too, it has taken years of struggle to begin to break down those ideas
and their on-the-ground consequences.
In Geographies of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S., we will use different theoretical lenses, historical and contemporary accounts,
legal decisions, survey research, and case studies to explore the way these struggles over the meaning of racial and ethnic
identities have been organized. We will examine how they shape both people’s lives, and urban and rural spaces throughout
the history and present of these United States.
We will examine who organized these struggles, how they presently affect us
(locally, nationally, globally), and most importantly, who controls them and their benefits. We will also push to ask hard
questions about how to understand those process, relationships, and struggles in terms of the ideas of freedom and justice that
shape much of how we make sense of the world (Rosati 2007,1).