Soc 113 Multicultural America
Professor: Phillips Office Hours: T/TH 12-1 pm
Course: Sociology 113, Section 001 Email: Kristie_Phillips@byu.edu
Time: T/TH 1:35 – 2:50 pm Campus Phone: 422-4882
Classroom: B032 JFSB Office: 2051 JFSB
Required Texts & References
Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border
American Ethnicity: The Dynamics and Consequences of Discrimination
Black Like Me
Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family
A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
Pager, D. (2003). The mark of a criminal record. American Journal of Sociology,
The Department of Sociology is working to help all of you understand the sociology major, what
you can do with a BS in sociology, and how sociology is applicable to many different
occupations. As such, I would encourage those of you who are majoring in sociology or
interested in majoring in sociology to explore the following website: http://sociology.byu.edu/.
Announcements about the program regarding RA and TA applications, internships, study abroad
opportunities, program changes, and job opportunities will be posted on this website. Check it
often. If you have further questions about anything listed on the website, please talk to me. If I
don’t know the answer, I’ll direct you to someone who should.
Learning Outcomes & Course Objectives
Each program at BYU has developed a set of expected student learning outcomes. These will
help you understand the learning outcomes of the curriculum in the program and how they relate
to course objectives and class materials and assignments. To learn more about learning outcomes
for the programs in this department and college go to http://learningoutcomes.byu.edu and click
on the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences and then the Department of Sociology.
Below I have specified the program learning outcomes that are relevant to this class as they are
listed on the learning outcomes website (see above link). I have also aligned our course
objectives with the program learning outcomes. These course objectives will serve as the basis
for instruction in this class. All course assignments are also aligned with the course objectives as
well as the program learning outcomes. Each and every assignment you will complete in this
course serves a specific purpose in allowing you to demonstrate how well you are able to meet
the course objectives and program learning outcomes.
Program Learning Outcome Course Objectives Assessment of Progress
Graduates will be conversant with Students will demonstrate Participation in lectures.
the substantive areas of sociology knowledge of several theories of Reading American Ethnicity.
and the variety of theories associated racial and ethnic prejudice, Mid-term examination.
with these substantive areas. discrimination, racism, and
assimilation by identifying
applications of these theories
within the context of race/ethnic
relations in America today.
Graduates will know the major Students will read about, research, Town meeting attendance &
controversies and debates, new and participate in activities about participation.
developments, emerging issues, and major controversies and debates Town meeting presentation.
current trends within substantive about the current state of Town meeting paper.
areas. multiculturalism in America. Mini-Project participation.
Graduates will learn the limitations Students will expand their Autobiographical readings.
of extrapolating from their own knowledge of the life experiences Autobiographical quizzes.
experience and will be able to of others by reading Participation in autobiographical
articulate how the life experience of autobiographies and participating discussion groups.
others may differ from their own. in discussions about them.
Graduates know how race, class, Students will learn how Mid-term examination.
and/or gender intersect with other race/ethnicity and class intersect Final examination.
social categories to create a variety with other social categories by
of life experiences and influence the participating in class lectures and
life changes of individuals. synthesizing information
Graduates will be able to articulate Students will understand race- and Participation in class lectures.
the sources of social conflict and ethnic-based sources of social Completing course mini-projects.
describe the relations of power in conflict and be able to describe Town meeting attendance &
modern society. these relationships of power in participation.
America (historically and in the Discussions of autobiographies.
present). Mid-term and final examinations.
Global & Cultural Awareness Rationale
The BYU Global & Cultural Awareness Rationale reads: ―The university’s Mission Statement
affirms that students at BYU should understand ―important
ideas in their own cultural tradition as well as that of others,‖ and concludes with the hope that
BYU will play a role in improving the world. The Global and Cultural Awareness requirement
proceeds from the assumption that we cannot improve that which we do not understand. In other
words, since one of the Aims of a BYU Education is to enlarge the intellect through exposure to
―the broad areas of human knowledge,‖ awareness of others, in particular traditions and cultures
outside one’s own, is an important and necessary part of a student’s education. The Global and
Cultural Awareness component is founded upon the Lord’s injunction for us to ―become
acquainted with . . . languages, tongues, and people‖ (D&C 90:15) and to understand ―things
which are abroad . . . and the perplexities of the nations‖ and to gain ―knowledge also of
countries and of kingdoms‖ (D& C 88:79).
Among the Aims of a BYU Education is an ―informed awareness of the peoples, cultures,
languages, and nations of the world.‖ While the American Heritage requirement is specifically
focused on American culture, and the Civilization sequence leads to increased awareness of the
Western cultural tradition especially, the Global and Cultural Awareness requirement enhances
that awareness with a greater understanding and appreciation of the varieties of human
experience across time and space. Inherent in the notion of global and cultural awareness is the
perspective that we are all spiritual offspring of the same God, that in addition to our common
humanity we also possess a nascent divinity. The Global and Cultural Awareness requirement
seeks to help BYU students come not only to see the relativity of many of their own, culturally
derived notions but also to ―go forth to serve,‖ having had meaningful discussion about or hands-
on experience in dealing with real world global issues and problems, approached with empathy
and charity gained from learning to see the world through others’ eyes.‖
Course Requirements & Policies
Attendance and Citizenship
Learning is a team effort. Don’t rob yourself or others of valuable learning experiences by not
coming to class. However, I realize that sometimes you need (or want) to be someplace else, and
I understand that emergencies may arise. If you know in advance that you will not be attending
class, please turn in any assignments ahead of time. When you are absent, you are still
responsible for notes, syllabus updates, and any other information that was presented in class the
day you were gone. Get these from a student in the class; I am not responsible for the
information you miss when you are late or absent. If there are extenuating circumstances,
please talk to me. These circumstances will be dealt with and negotiated on an individual basis.
Examples of ―extenuating circumstances‖ include serious illness, hospitalizations,
accidents/injuries, university interviews for graduate programs, university excused absences, and
other circumstances that limit your ability to attend class. If such circumstances arise, please
contact me as quickly as possible to avoid any negative consequences. Examples of
circumstances that I will not excuse include weddings, relationship issues, engagements, parking
problems, vacations, sleeping in, laziness, forgetfulness, etc. Some in-class participation
assignments will be awarded points. If you have a legitimate extenuating circumstance that
you’ve discussed with me, I will allow you to make up these points by completing an additional
assignment. When you choose to be absent without a legitimate excuse, you choose to forfeit
As a sign of respect to your fellow classmates, please avoid waking in late or leaving early. When
students come to class late it is disruptive to others. Come to class on time. If you happen to be
late, please be as discrete as possible. Please TURN OFF CELL PHONES, PAGERS, and IPODS
before class. While most of us have experienced the convenience of these devices, inconsiderate
users can be obnoxious to others. Furthermore, don’t read the daily paper, talk to your friends,
text message, shop online, etc. during class. Not only are those things disrespectful and
disruptive to your classmates and me, but they also limit your ability to participate in class
discussions and understand the material.
Laptop computers are another modern convenience that facilitate quick note taking and easy
access to online resources. Please note that the classroom our class meets in is not equipped with
enough electrical outlets to allow everyone in class to plug in their computers. If you prefer to
take notes with a laptop, please adhere to the following rules: 1. If you must plug in your
computer, sit next to the outlet. Others shouldn’t have to deal with your computer cords strung
under their seats or across their desks. 2. Do not stretch a computer cord across an isle where
other class members might trip over it and fall. 3. Do not use your computer for non-classroom
purposes. In other words, don’t surf the web, engage in gaming activities, shop online, listen to
music, or watch videos during class.
Respect the views and opinions of others. Avoid talking when others are making a point. You
will have your chance. If you feel that certain class members are participating too much during
class, it is your responsibility to consider participating more yourself. This gives me more
opportunities to enhance our class discussions by calling on a variety of students who are
engaged in the subject matter.
People often have strong opinions about the topics discussed in this class. Many people have
ideas about race and ethnicity that are based on misinformation and prejudices which are very
prevalent in the society in which we live. In this class, we will try to help each other come to a
better understanding of racial and ethnic relations. In the process it is possible that members of
the class will make comments which are based on misinformation or an interpretation that other
members of the class find objectionable. Given this, it is essential that we treat each other with
respect, and that we stick to the issues rather than engage in personal attacks. If something is said
in class that makes you uncomfortable and you want to discuss it, you can either address it in
class or you can speak to me personally. When you discuss such comments, remember to do so in
a way which meets the ground rules described here.
Time is precious in any professional or scholarly organization, and deadlines are enforced with
consequences that can be severe; therefore, my late-work policy is simple—I will not tolerate
late work. Assignments and major papers must be turned in to me on time. I will not accept late
assignments. Again, if you have extenuating circumstances, please discuss them with me before
major problems arise. If you know you are going to miss a class period when an assignment is
due, turn in your work before you leave. If you know you will be late to class, turn in your
work before hand. Work can be submitted by email when permission is granted. You will not be
allowed to make up any in-class quizzes or in-class assignments for the days you miss class. If
your circumstances seriously conflict with a particular due date, please let me know as soon as
possible. Things such as computer problems, power outages, procrastination, printing problems,
etc., do not count as valid reasons to miss a due date. So, I suggest you save everything in at least
two places, check your syllabus regularly, and keep it updated (in case any changes are made
during the semester).
It is important to me that you a) do the readings, b) think about the in-class material, c) think
critically beyond the class discussions, and d) add to the class conversation. Otherwise, this class
will be a serious yawner, and I’m sure we all have more productive things to do than snooze for
three hours a week. Your grade in this class is based on your performance on the following forms
of evaluation: 4 Mini-Projects; 6 Town Meetings; 4 Quizzes; 1 Mid-Term Exam; and 1 Final
You will have the opportunity to participate in four Mini-Projects. The Mini-Projects could be
short written papers or participation in an activity. In either case, you will be required to think
about experiences or observations and contextualize them within the framework of what you’re
learning about in class. Each Mini-Project will be worth 20 points.
We will hold six Town Meetings throughout the semester. Each Town Meeting will address
current issues dealing with race and ethnicity in America today. Up to 10 students will be active
participants in each Town Meeting. Some of you will sign up as ―guest speakers,‖ and others will
sign up as ―town board members.‖ These students will be active participants in the Town
Meetings. The rest of the class will act as town residents who are interested in the meeting topic.
Guest speakers will take on a persona and will ―act‖ as the person they represent. This most
definitely includes representing the person’s real-life point of view, and can also include things
like mannerisms, patterns of speech, dress, etc. As part of their assignment, guest speakers must
also write a three page (single spaced) position statement outlining their stance on the issue at
hand. Board members will be required to direct the course of the conversation by asking relevant
and important questions of the guest speakers. The board members will write a three page (single
spaced) statement including their own personal opinion on the topic at hand, information on all
of the guest speakers, and what questions they would like to ask each of the speakers as well as
question they would like to ask the group collectively. A short summary of why they are
important questions to ask may also be relevant. The rest of the town’s people will participate by
paying complete attention (and avoiding distracting behaviors such as ipod listening, online
shopping, and Daily Universe reading), asking relevant questions during the question and answer
period of the town meeting, by completing a response page, and voting on the issue. More
specific directions will be given on the Town Meetings at a later date. Each person in class will
have the opportunity to be an active participant (either a guest speaker or a board member) for
one of the six Town Meetings.
You will take four on-line quizzes based on the autobiographies we will read throughout the
semester. These will be 20-question multiple choice quizzes given to ensure that you are familiar
enough with the books to contribute to the in-class discussion about them. The quizzes are not
intended to be difficult, but they do test your thorough reading of the books. If you read the books
and retain the information, you should be able to do well on the quizzes. The quizzes are open-
book and open note, but you are on your honor to do your own work. Quizzes are worth 25
points—1 point for each question answered correctly plus 5 additional points for coming to class
and participating in the class discussion about the autobiography. The quizzes are timed—you
will have 20 minutes to take the quiz on Blackboard. As soon as you begin the quiz, you must
time yourself and complete the quiz in 20 minutes. Unfortunately, Blackboard does not shut the
quiz down automatically once 20 minutes has expired; therefore, it is to your advantage to time
your quizzes so you know how much time you have. Taking significantly longer than 20 minutes
may result in a failing quiz grade.
I will give one midterm exam and one final exam. The midterm will cover information from the
first half of the class. Your readings in American Ethnicity will be covered on the exam as well
as information from class lectures and discussions. The final exam will be comprehensive, but
emphasis will be placed on the information presented in the last half of the class. Your readings
in A Different Mirror will be important for the final exam as well as any information covered in
class. Anything in the readings or from class lectures and activities is fair game for the midterm
and final exams. I expect you to master the course materials at the following levels of
understanding: (1) basic knowledge, (2) comprehension and understanding, (3) application, and
(4) analysis and comparison. More information and instructions about the midterm and final
exams will be given at a later date.
A Few Words About Autobiographies
One of the most important things you can learn in this class is that your life experiences are not
reflective of the experiences of all Americans. Many social factors (including race/ethnicity)
influence where you live, who you marry, who your friends are, how you dress, where you attend
school, your daily experiences with others, and even what you eat for breakfast. As such, many
people in the U.S. live lives that are very different from your own. The autobiographical readings
are intended to help you understand the life experiences of people who may be different from
you. As such, these autobiographies do not necessarily adhere to or reflect Mormon values and
culture. Some may find the language and images in the autobiographies disturbing and
objectionable. If you feel that you would rather not read the autobiographies based on this, I
respect your views and would be happy to assign you different readings and assignments that
would fulfill these requirements.
Online Course Evaluation
In order to receive your full participation points, you must complete the online course evaluation
at the end of the semester. Make sure you submit your name along with the evaluation. I will not
be able to match your name to your evaluation, but I will be able to give you credit for
Email & Blackboard
I will be sending out syllabus updates and assignment clarifications through email and through
Blackboard. All students should have free internet access through the university. Please check
Blackboard often. You are responsible for being informed about any changes and updates I post
on Blackboard. If you are currently using an email account other than the one you’ve listed with
the University, please update it as soon as possible. Any emails will be sent to the address you’ve
listed with BYU. Responsibility for receiving such emails and announcements is your own.
The University has encouraged everyone to make the change to Microsoft Office 2007. All on-
campus computers should be equipped with this software. As such, most documents posted on
Blackboard will be in an Office 2007 format. If you do not have access to Office 2007, please
install the necessary compatibility software that will allow you to view course documents. Unless
extenuating circumstances arise, I will not post documents in multiple formats.
Honor Code & Dress and Grooming Standards
You all signed the Honor Code and Dress and Grooming Standards when you applied to come
here. You know what the standards are; I expect that you will abide by them. Consistent or
flagrant violations of the Honor Code or Dress and Grooming Standards will affect your grade.
―BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should
complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic
dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or
falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct.‖ (see http://www.byu.edu/honorcode)
There is a zero-tolerance policy for cheating or academic dishonesty of any kind in this class.
Cheating is the same thing as stealing: if you turn in work that is not yours or fail to cite others’
work, you are a thief. If you commit such behavior, you are choosing to commit immoral
violations against your fellow students, your instructors, the university, and the promises you
have made to yourself and others. Please know that as your professor I will notice instances of
cheating on exams or plagiarizing on papers; in fact, last semester I caught three thieves. If you
are caught committing any form of academic misconduct, you will receive a failing grade for the
entire course; you will also be asked to leave the course immediately and will be reported to the
Honor Code Office for any further actions they deem appropriate. These actions may include but
are not limited to dismissal from the university.
If you are unsure about your citation choices, it is your obligation to consult with the instructor to
make sure you are not plagiarizing. As you will note in the university statement on academic
honesty cited above, inadvertent plagiarism is still plagiarism, and it will be treated as such.
Ignorance is not a sufficient defense before the law. If you plagiarize because you couldn’t
manage to figure out how to cite others’ work, you are merely a lazy thief rather than an
organized one. Do not cheat; you will pay for it if you choose to cheat.
Even though students are all required to sign the honor code and are expected to live by it, I have
caught several students cheating on exams, quizzes, and papers. If I catch you cheating, you will
fail the course and the action will be reported to the university. The same will happen to those
who are caught helping others cheat. If you find that you are tempted to cheat or help others cheat
when in certain situations, please come and discuss this with me. I would rather help you work
out a strategy where you are less temped to cheat than give you a failing grade in the class.
Preventing Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any
participant in an educational program or activity hat receives federal funds. The act is intended to
eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs,
admissions, activities, and student-to-student sexual harassment. BYU’s policy against sexual
harassment extends not only to employees of the University but to students as well. If you
encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please talk to your
instructor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895 or 367-5689 (24-hours); or contact
the Honor Code Office at 422-2847.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that
reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability that may
impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University
Accessibility Center (1520 WSC; 422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are
reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated
with the student and instructor by the UAC. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been
unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through
established grievance policy and procedures. You may contact the Equal Employment Office at
422-5895, D 282 ASB.
Grading is a means of communicating to students how well they understand and are able to
display that understanding (through test-taking, writing, or otherwise) class material. This
communication occurs when I rate your performance on a task. In this class, I rate your work
based on criteria that specify the ideal performance (criterion-referenced grading). I will be as
clear as possible in spelling out the evaluation criteria for each assignment and in explaining how
I think your performance measures up to the standards set for this class. These criteria will be
clearly outlined on course assignment sheets and on grading rubrics. I suggest you consult both
when completing an assignment for this class. Keep in mind that by definition, ―C‖ is average. If
you only write an average essay or give an average presentation, you will earn an average
grade—more specifically, a ―C.‖ A good essay, presentation, or test will receive a ―B‖ grade.
“A” grades are reserved for outstanding academic performances only.
If you have concerns or questions about grades or any other problem in the course, please discuss
your concerns with me as soon as possible. In the case of a mathematical error or a grade
miscalculation, the issue will be immediately remedied. If you wish to challenge your grade on
specific assignments, please keep in mind that nearly all of your assignments are graded by me
and by the TA. You will be given the benefit of the doubt (i.e., the higher grade) in the case that
we disagree on your grade. If both of us read your work and agree on the grade, your chance of
improving the grade by arguing over points is slim. Arguments, nonetheless, will be heard.
Please feel free to approach me, and I will meet with you to discuss your grade. Keep in mind
that if I meet with you and discover that you have failed to read the required books, attend
classes, and take notes, our discussion will likely be very short.
Assignment and Percentage Breakdown
Mini Projects (4 @ 20 points each) 5%
Town Meetings 10%
Position Paper (100 points)
Presentation (100 points)
Autobiographical Quizzes (4 @ 25 points each) 25%
Mid-Term Exam (100 points) 25%
Final Exam (100 points) 30%
Town Meeting Reviews
Other Participation Assignments
Class Online Evaluation
A 94-100% C 73-76%
A- 90-93.5% C- 70-72%
B+ 87-89% D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
C+ 77-79% E 0-59%
University Final Exam Policy
The BYU Final Exam Policy reads: ―Final examinations will be given at the times shown in the
schedule. Examinations are not given early. The examination period is preceded by exam
preparation days, which give time for conscientious review, study, and synthesis of the
semester’s work. The preparation and the examination periods are firmly scheduled parts of the
semester; you must not make plans that interfere with these important academic activities. If
illness or other uncontrollable circumstances prevent you from taking an examination at the
scheduled time, you are responsible to inform the class instructor as soon as possible. Your
instructor may give the grade Incomplete, depending on the circumstances. The incomplete
cannot be given unless you and your instructor together prepare a contractual agreement.‖
The class schedule as is printed below is a guide. It is not set in stone, and it will probably change
throughout the semester. It is your responsibility to keep your syllabus updated as changes are
made. I occasionally make changes to the syllabus for three reasons: (1) to accommodate student
interests in certain topic areas; (2) to discuss new, cutting-edge developments and current events
as they apply to race and ethnicity in America; and (3) to adjust the timing of tests and quizzes to
provide equitable opportunities for students to do well. Any changes are intended to help you
develop a better understanding of course materials.
Note: Items in this syllabus may change as necessary to meet the needs of the class.
Date: Topic: Readings & Assignments Due:
Tue, Jan 5 Assignment
Thurs, Jan 7 Mini-Project #1: StarPower • American Ethnicity Ch. 1
StarPower Discussion: Race, Class, • American Ethnicity Ch. 2 & 3
& Power Relationships • Obama/Berry Assignment Due
Tue, Jan 12 World View Formation
Funds of Knowledge • Black Like Me
Mini-Project #2: Making the
Thurs, Jan 14 Calendar
Racism in America • Black Like Me
Tue, Jan 19 Social Significance of Race • Mini-Project #2 Due
• Black Like Me
Social Significance of Race
• Black Like Me Quiz
Thurs, Jan 21 Autobiography: Black Like Me
Prejudice & Discrimination #1 • American Ethnicity Ch. 4 & 5
Tue, Jan 26 Prejudice & Discrimination #2
• American Ethnicity Ch. 6
• Town Meeting Responses due
Town Meeting #1: Reparations
Thurs, Jan 28 • Town Meeting Papers due
Assimilation • American Ethnicity Ch. 7 & 8
Tue, Feb 2 Theories of Ethnic Relations
Mini-Project #3: Social • Across the Wire
Thurs, Feb 4 Construction Workshop
• Across the Wire
Contemporary Theories of Ethnic
Relations • Mini-Project #3 Due
Tue, Feb 9
• Across the Wire
Marxist & Neo-Marxist Theories
• Across the Wire Quiz
Thurs, Feb 11 Autobiography: Across the Wire
Tue, Feb 16 MONDAY INSTRUCTION
Marxist & Neo-Marxist Theories • American Ethnicity Ch. 9 & 10
Town Meeting #2: Affirmative • Town Meeting Responses due
Action & Education
Thurs, Feb 18 • Town Meeting Papers due
MIDTERM EXAM in Testing
Feb 19-24 Center
• Please bring your scriptures to
Soc 113 & The Gospel class
Tue, Feb 23 • A Different Mirror Ch. 1 & 2
Immigration • A Different Mirror Ch. 3 & 4
TOWN MEETING #3: • Town Meeting Responses due
Thurs, Feb 25 • Town Meeting Papers due
Immigration • A Different Mirror Ch. 5
Tue, Mar 2 Race/Ethnicity & Economics
Race/Ethnicity & Economics • Lakota Woman
TOWN MEETING #4: • Town Meeting Responses due
Thurs, Mar 4 • Town Meeting Papers due
Race/Ethnicity & Housing Patterns • Lakota Woman
Tue, Mar 9 In the White Man’s Image
• Lakota Woman
Race/Ethnicity & Housing Patterns
Autobiography: Lakota Woman • Lakota Woman Quiz
Thurs, Mar 11 (Blackboard)
Race/Ethnicity & Housing Patterns • A Different Mirror Ch. 7
Tue, Mar 16 Race/Ethnicity & The Media
Race/Ethnicity & The Media • Desert Exile
TOWN MEETING #5: Who Can • Town Meeting Responses due
Thurs, Mar 18 • Town Meeting Papers due
Tue, Mar 23 Race/Ethnicity & Education • Desert Exile
Race/Ethnicity & Education • Desert Exile
Thurs, Mar 25 Autobiography: Desert Exile • Desert Exile Quiz (Blackboard)
Race/Ethnicity & Politics • A Different Mirror Ch. 9
Tue, Mar 30
Race/Ethnicity & Politics • A Different Mirror Ch. 12 & 13
Town Meeting #6: Color-Blind • Town Meeting Responses Due
Thurs, Apr 1 • Town Meeting Papers Due
Race/Ethnicity & The Law • Pager Article: The Mark of a
Tue, Apr 6 Criminal Record
Race/Ethnicity & The Law • A Different Mirror Ch. 14 & 15
Mini-Project #4: Whiteness in
Thurs, Apr 8 America
• A Different Mirror Ch. 16 & 17
Semester in Review
Tue, Apr 13 • Mini-Project #4 Due
FINAL • FINAL EXAM (Multimedia
FINAL EXAM Testing Lab, B153 JFSB)
Apr 16 –