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Ethnicity in America

The purpose of Professor Cindy Gueli’s course Ethnicity in America is to evaluate the role of ethnicity in American life from 1607 to the present. Students will look at specific issues that were relevant in the past and still are today such as scientific racism, or racism in stereotypes, sports and media. She believes that by examining the different aspects through which racism is present in our society, students will be able to look at racism in a bigger spectrum and be aware of the presence it has on society.

Prof. Gueli will bring guest speakers to her classroom but they are not the common scholars or experts. She invites speakers that have lived or experienced racism, therefore allowing the students to get a first person account for what it means to be a part of ethnic groups nowadays. She believes that these presentations have a bigger impact on the students, allowing them to learn in a more interesting and engaging manner.

Besides the use of guest speakers, Prof. Gueli will also introduce videos and documentaries to “bring the past visually alive.” This, as Prof. Gueli believes, helps the students understand ethnicity better, because it being an intangible concept it is easier to observe than to define in words.

To introduce contemporary events, the students will for example study the current lawsuit against the Washington Red Skins. A woman has taken legal action so that the team changes what she believe is a racist team name. This allows the students to immerse themselves in the concept and analyze racism in their own context because it involves a subject that they can relate with.

Prof. Gueli believes that her class gives her students a good base and reference point that allows them to be critical of their surroundings. This course delves deeper into different, rarely discussed aspects of ethnicity, giving the students a broader perspective on such an influential and significant concept.