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Online Course: Race and Cultural Diversity in American Life and History

Coursera at the University of Illinois has created this 11 hour, do at your own speed online course.  And it is free!

Learners will deepen their understanding and appreciation of ways in which race, ethnicity and cultural diversity have shaped American institutions, ideology, law, and social relationships from the colonial era to the present. Race and ethnicity are ideological and cultural categories that include all groups and individuals. Hence, this course is designed in significant part to take a broad look at the ideology of race and cultural diversity in America’s past and present. The primary focus is on the historical and social relationships among European Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Latino/as, and Asian/Pacific Americans. Issues of race and ethnicity are examined across different ethno-cultural traditions in order to interweave diverse experiences into a larger synthesis of the meaning of race and ethnicity in American life. In this course, we conceive of “race” and “diversity” as references to the entire American population, even as we recognize that different groups have unique historical experiences resulting in distinctive and even fundamental cultural differences. We treat race and ethnicity as dynamic, complex ideological and cultural processes that shape all social institutions, belief systems, inter-group relationships, and individual experiences.

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