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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Devon G Pena
CHSTU 200
Seattle Campus

Latinos in the United States

Historical, social, and economic experience of Latinos in the United States. Major themes include education, labor, class, and gender identity. Analyzes rapid growth of old and newly established Latino communities, based on emigration from Latin America.

Class description

This course introduces students to the origins and diversity of Latina/o cultures and communities with an emphasis on Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican-origin peoples.

The course also involves a critique of conventional histories of these groups by introducing students to the theory and methodology of discourse analysis and power relations.

The course focuses on contemporary public policy conflicts and controversies including issues related to immigration, education, housing, health, and political participation.

The course also introduces students to the study of environmental issues in the context of Latina/o communities and focuses on the impact of the environmental justice movement in Latina/o communities.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This is a lecture format class; generally, the professor will lecture for the first hour and this will be followed by Q&A discussions and break-out into smaller discussion groups which will report back to the rest of class.

Recommended preparation

Every student should get in the habit of reading daily news sources (newspapers, on-line sites, blogs, etc.) on events related to the themes of the class. Every student should also get accustomed to reading at least 100 pages per week from class textbooks.

Class assignments and grading

1. Think piece. Each student must write a “critical thought” essay related to ideas presented in the course textbooks. The essay must be typed and double-spaced. It must have a length of no less than 5 or more than 7 pages. Please see Instructional Handout #1 for further instructions and a sample think piece. 40 percent of grade.

2. Mid-term exam. Take-home examination consisting of two parts. Must be typed, double-spaced. Part One consists of 10 conceptual definitions; Part Two requires students to write a short-essay response to two out of four problem statements related to course readings and lectures. 30 percent of grade.

3. Final exam. Take-home examination consisting of two parts. Must be typed, double-spaced. Part One consists of 10 conceptual definitions; Part Two requires students to write a short-essay response to two out of four problem statements related to course readings and lectures. 30 percent of grade.

4. Participation and attendance. While a record of attendance will not be kept, concepts and materials presented through the lectures will be incorporated into the exams. It is in the student’s best interests to attend class regularly and take lecture notes. Friday sessions will be reserved for open and smaller group discussions. Students may earn bonus participation points for the quality (not quantity) of their contributions to these Friday discussion sessions.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Devon G Pena
Date: 11/02/2006