Cultural Pluralism in the USA

Course Description

Examines the origins of cultural pluralism in the USA and the valuing of diversity as a socio-cultural imperative. Explores voluntary and involuntary immigration, internal colonization, the implications of demographics, and the history of discrimination in the USA, based on race, ethnicity, religion, and gender.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss historical, sociological, and literary perspectives on multicultural America.
  • Explain the multifaceted nature of cultural pluralism in the United States.
  • Define key terms such as culture, cultural pluralism, ethnic subcultures, ethnicity, race, stereotypes, labeling theory, ethnocentrism, cultural relativity, internal colonization, the colonization of the body, institutional discrimination, assimilation, ‘dominant’ vs. ‘other’ groups, and the matrix of power and oppression: the interaction among class, race, and gender.
  • Discuss past and present immigration patterns and policies; talk about demographic change in the United States.
  • Describe the uniqueness and commonality of people from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds in the United States.
  • Analyze how issues of race, class, and gender complicate the discussion of cultural pluralism in the United States.
  • Evaluate varying perspectives on some of the issues and world views associated with the spirit of individualism and community, the value of a multicultural society, multicultural education reform, and post-911 borders and civil rights.
  • Discuss a vision of multicultural society in the United States for the 21st century. Appreciate differences in global civil society.
  • Appreciate differences in global civil society.
  • Understand the global ramifications of ‘Americanization’ and ‘McDonaldization’ through an increasingly United States based world-wide popular culture.


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