Flag: Cultural Diversity in US
Work is a central activity in the lives of most people. Along with providing an income, the type of work one does shapes the worker’s sense of personal identity. Social interaction in the work place provides workers with a set of skills, values, and mindset that influences how the work is done. Structure of a society determines the kind of work it does, who does what type of work, and how much people are paid for their efforts. In United States, individuals’ racial and gender characteristics deeply shape how labor markets emerge and how skills are evaluated. Jobs are often gender segregated and men and women are remunerated differently. This course is a critical examination of work through a gendered and racial lens. The purpose of this course is to examine concepts such as labor markets, globalization, racial segregation, and gendering of the work place. This course is cross-listed with Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.
Students will be able to sociologically identify concepts such as global markets, transnational labor, care work, service industry, gendered work, and racial segregation in the work place. A majority of the readings, films, and class meetings will focus on contemporary work environment. Students will examine workers in the retail industry, care workers such as nannies, maids, and nurses, transnational workers in the STEM fields, and migrant labor. We will start the class with a survey of different forms of labor throughout United States’ history. Students will be able to make historical connections between American citizenship, work, and value of one’s labor.
Selected chapters from the following:
Skhlar. Judith. American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion. Harvard University Press. Any Edition.
Lowe, Lisa. Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Duke University Press. 1996.
Wharton, Amy edited. Working in America: Continuity, Conflict, and Change in a New Economic Era. Routledge. 2016.
Ngai, Mae. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton University Press. 2004.
Wright, Melissa. Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism. Taylor and Francis. 2013.
Thistle, Susan. From Marriage to the Market: The Transformation of Women’s Lives and Work. University of California Press. 2006.
Assignments and Grading
Attendance and participation: 20%
Two Essays: 40% (2x20)
Two Exams: 40% (2x20)