Cultures - U.S. Diversity

The United States is a nation that has been, and is increasingly becoming, one composed of people from many different backgrounds. With such diversity come opportunities and challenges, including that of systemic racism and various forms of overlapping discrimination. Those living in the United States must understand how diversity and related issues of power and privilege affect their lives as well as their relationships with people and institutions in their communities.


Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain historical trajectories and consequences, worldviews, languages, and/or ways of life of diverse cultures within the United States. 
  2. Explain how social constructions of ethnicity/race and at least one of the following social attributes shape group and individual identities: gender, class, abilities, age, sexual orientation, religion, or common history.
  3. Explain how individual and systemic racism affect those who are discriminated against and those who discriminate against others in the United States.
  4. Skill Outcome #1:
    • Written communication: Write effectively for multiple purposes and audiences; or
    • Information literacy: Identify the need for information; access, evaluate, and use information effectively, ethically, and legally.
  5. Skill Outcome #2:
    • Oral communication: Effectively prepare and deliver a formal oral presentation; or
    • Ethical reasoning: Apply ethical principles and codes of conduct to decision making.

Courses

You are required to take one course in the U.S. Diversity Cultures category.

AAA 201 — Introduction to African American Studies
Traces the historical development and examines the scope, theories, discourses, and methodologies defining African American studies and the critical responses to these studies. Surveys perspectives on African American history, religion, social organization, politics, economy, literature, and culture and social ideology. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: information literacy, oral communication 

AAA/WGS 352 — Black Women’s Cultures and Communities 
A historical and theoretical analysis of the distinct identities African American women constructed for themselves (and had constructed for them) in response to the forces of patriarchal domination and political colonization. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Human Rights Issue. Skills: collaboration, ethical reasoning, integration, problem solving, written communication 

AAA 355 — History of the Underground Railroad
An exploration of the historical, political, and cultural contexts out of which the American Underground Railroad and abolitionists movements emerged with emphasis on the important role the State of Michigan played in these movements due to its geographical proximity of Canada. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Skills: information literacy, oral communication 

ANT 207 — Language and Culture
Explores the interaction between language, communication, and culture, employing cross-cultural analysis to reveal cultural models and to understand how linguistic variation is linked to gender, age, region, ethnicity, and class. Several practical activities are used to apply analyses to anthropological problems. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: critical thinking, oral communication, written communication 

ANT 311 — Native Peoples of North America
A multifaceted examination of North American Indians and a comparison of that culture with the American. Focus is on origin, early history, and present disposition of American Indian populations. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, information literacy, integration, oral communication, problem solving 

ANT 375 — Language, Identity, and Diversity
Examines how language reflects and constitutes social identity and hierarchy. Language variation, with respect to place, gender, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity, is explored in U.S. and global contexts from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Students learn to critically analyze their own and others’ unique speaking and writing practices and related identities. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication

ART 425 - Depicting a Nation: 19th Century American Art
A thematic approach to 19th century American arts and visual culture. Considers individual artists, but stresses works and their cultural contexts. Topics include portraiture, westward expansion, the Civil War, as well as the role of visual culture and concepts of gender, race, ethnic identity, and socioeconomic class. Skills: ethical reasoning, written communication

CMJ 290 - Media History
In this course, students will study historical aspects of print, broadcast and digital media with an emphasis on media used in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will use archival materials and research historical events and publications through the original writings of the time. Skills: information literacy, oral communication

EDF 315 — Diverse Perspectives on Education 
This course will introduce the historical, philosophical, and sociological foundations of education in the United States. Emphasis will be placed on the changing purposes of education historically, the legal and procedural expansion of schooling to an increasingly diverse student population, and the cultural competencies needed to teach all students effectively. Skills: ethical reasoning, written communication 

ENG 335 — Literature of American Minorities
Studies the importance and variety of literature by American minorities, such as African American, Native American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and other minority or marginalized authors. Emphasis will be on multiplicity of literary voices, social-historical contexts, and themes of negotiating identity between/among majority and minority cultures. Prerequisites: Junior standing and Fulfillment of GE Foundations - Writing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, ethical reasoning, integration, problem solving, written communication 

GPY 353 — Geography of the United States and Canada
A comparative study of the cultural and physical geographies of primarily the United States population, cultural diversity, migration, resources, and economy, with those of Canada. Skills: oral communication, written communication 

HST 103 - Introduction to American Civilizations
How did we get here?  Explore the long-term development of American history from precolonial origins to European colonies to a world power.  Investigate how social, cultural, political, and economic forces have shaped our lives. Topics and thematic approach will vary by section. Fulfills Foundations - Historical Analysis. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, information literacy

HST 205 — American History to 1877
The development of the United States from the Colonial Period to the end of Reconstruction with an emphasis on the role that race, ethnicity, culture, political thought, economics, and gender played in shaping American values and institutions. Fulfills Foundations - Historical Analysis. Skills: ethical reasoning, written communication 

HST 206 — American History Since 1877 
The legacy of Jim Crow, the impact of immigration on political systems in an urban industrial society, the quest of social, civil, racial, gender and political equality, competing economic and political thought, and the emergence and preservation of America as a world power. Fulfills Foundations - Historical Analysis. Skills: ethical reasoning, written communication 

HST 314 — African American History
Examines the history of African Americans from forced migration through the civil rights movement. Issues studied include race relations, black culture in slavery, emancipation, the origins of segregation, the great migration, and the civil rights movement. Prerequisite: HST 205 or HST 206 or junior standing. Skills: oral communication, written communication 

INT 201 — Diversity in the United States
Explores how the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, and physical abilities affect the material lives and media representations of various cultural groups in the United States. Engages historical and current debates regarding issues of immigration, meritocracy,  segregation, the economy, the environment, and identity. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, written communication 

INT/HRT 320 — Voices of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
This interdisciplinary course integrates numerous expressive genres, including autobiographies, oral histories, and music, to examine how activists challenged human rights violations. Narrations of individual transformations show how shared experiences, ideologies, and opposition expanded understandings of human rights nationally and globally during the civil rights movements in the United States. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Human Rights Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

INT 350 — The Immigrant Experience in the U.S.
An interdisciplinary course framing immigration in the United States as part of a global struggle for human rights. Students develop an understanding of the experiences of diverse immigrants and how migrations shape the U.S. historically, economically, politically and culturally. Examines policies and perspectives about citizenship and human rights. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Human Rights Issues. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

INT 401 — American Visionary Leadership
A variable topics course that focuses on the life and work of a significant contributor to the American mosaic and thereby the United States’ vision of diversity. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy 

ITC 100 — Introduction to Intercultural Competence
This course introduces students to the concept of cultural competence, and provides them with the knowledge and application of skills necessary to succeed in diverse settings. This course examines theories of intercultural engagement and then requires students to consider how they might apply knowledge in diverse practical settings. Skills: information literacy, oral communication 

LAS 220 — Introduction to Latino/a Studies
An interdisciplinary introduction to the diversity and complexity of the U.S. Latino/a population, with attention to intra-ethnic and interracial relations, formation of social identities, and issues of assimilation and cultural conflict. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, oral communication, written communication 

LAS 373 — Latinos/as in West Michigan
An interdisciplinary examination of demographic, socioeconomic, political, and cultural trends in the growing, diverse Latino/a community in the West Michigan area. Students have the option of conducting an original research project or engaging in service-learning. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, ethical reasoning, information literacy, integration, problem solving 

MES 202 — Arab Americans 
Introduces students to the Arab American community in the United States, and its historical experiences and to other salient social and political issues. Topics include such issues as immigration, race and ethnicity, gender, political behavior, economic development, education, media coverage, and civil rights. Skills: oral communication, written communication 

MGT 355 — The Diversified Workforce*
An examination of the experiences of different groups in the U.S. workforce including race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Cultural differences are explored and consideration is given to the ways in which organizational norms operate to include or marginalize groups of people. Skills: oral communication, written communication 

MUS 219 — Jazz History
Survey of jazz from 1900–present, including Dixieland, blues, swing, be-bop, cool jazz, jazz fusion, free jazz and the avant-garde, and the so-called “third stream.” Music background is helpful, but not mandatory. Skills: oral communication, written communication

MUS 300 — From Rag to Rock - Exploring American  Music
Introduction to a variety of American musical styles drawn from many cultures, including Native American, African American, Latino, and European American traditions. Topics may include folk music, religious music, Broadway, country, jazz, rock, and American classical music. Part of the Identity Issue. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Skills: collaboration, ethical reasoning, information literacy, integration, problem solving

PHI 230 — American Philosophy
Focuses on the history and context of American philosophy, from the precolonial indigenous wisdom traditions to contemporary philosophers. Special emphasis on American Pragmatism as a distinctively American philosophical movement, and on the issues of race as a common theme in American philosophy. Skills: ethical reasoning, written communication 

REL 340 — Religion and Popular Culture in the United States
An interdisciplinary study of religion and popular culture in the United States. Students will employ religious studies approaches to critically examine cultural forms such as music, art, cinema, social media, sports, and virtual reality in order to analyze the diversity of U.S. popular culture. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Information, Innovation, or Technology Issue. Skills: collaboration, ethical reasoning, information literacy, integration, problem solving 

SOC 105 — Social Problems
Examines a range of social conditions, arrangements, and behaviors typically defined as problems in modern society. Applies sociological analysis to understand how problems arise from the organization of society, and the processes by which conditions become identified as social problems, and how ideology and power shape responses. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy

SOC 285 — Families in Society
An examination of the basic concepts of culture and their application, first to the American family and then to the family in other cultures. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy 

SOC 286 — Health and Society
Health is not only an individual characteristic but is also influenced by society and sociohistorical context. This class focuses on the current state of healthcare in the USA and the future of healthcare, healthcare systems in other countries, as well as health issues relevant in the United States today. Fulfills one of the Foundations - Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, written communication

SOC 287 — Sociology of Religion 
Critically analyzes religion as an institutional structure and belief system and explores the relationship of religion to social change and organization. Emphasis on religion in the contemporary United States, both the uniquely American aspects of religion and in comparison to the broader diversity of religious expression globally. Fulfills one of the Foundations – Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: critical thinking, ethical reasoning, information literacy 

SOC 313 — Race and Ethnicity
Analysis of cultural, historical, and social construction of race and ethnicity in the U.S. and cross-culturally. Assesses theories of prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Grounds the examination of the interplay of group privilege and disadvantage within the context of contemporary issues related to race and ethnicity. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Human Rights Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

SOC/WGS 317 — Sociology of Gender
Explores gender as a socially constructed system of stratification, focusing on gender in the United States. Topics may include: how ideas about gender shape childhood, families, education, work, violence, science, and social inequality. Examines how gender intersects with other systems of 
stratification, including race, sexuality, class, age, and ability. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

SOC/WGS 318 — Sociology of Sexuality
Explores sexuality as a socially constructed system of stratification, focusing on the U.S. Explores the production of sexual identities and desires, and how ideas about sexuality shape the media, violence, social movements, and work. Examines how sexuality intersects with other systems of  stratification, including race, gender, class, age, and ability. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

SOC 322 — Sociology of Community
Examines sociology’s community studies tradition and concerns with the modern fate of close-knit, cohesive communities. Readings focus on the field’s intellectual origins, contrasts between small towns and cities, major theories, research methods, and contemporary communities. Prerequisites: SOC 201 and junior standing. Part of the Identity Issue. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication 

SOC 381 — Class, Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Studies the meaning of difference in contemporary society. Focus on the interplay of structure and agency in relation to class, race, gender, and sexuality regarding life opportunity, privilege, and inequality. Prerequisite: SOC 201 or SOC 280. Skills: ethical reasoning, information literacy 

SPA 313 — U.S. Latino/a Civilization and Culture
An introduction to the political, social, economic, and cultural history of Latinos/as in the United States, which will lead to an appreciation and awareness of the cultural roots and current lifestyles of these groups. Prerequisite: Completion of SPA 322 with a C or better (not C-). Skills: oral  communication, written communication 

SW 355 - Addressing Ageism and Health
Analyzes the impact of historical, economic, and societal responses to population aging in the United States on pervasive ageism against older adults, based on the human rights framework. Special attention given to professional ageism in health and human services systems and its impact on minority older adults' health and wellbeing. Part of the Health Issue. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Skills: collaboration, integration, oral communication, problem solving, written communication

WGS 200 — Introduction to Gender Studies
Examines gender, sex, sexuality, and race as they relate to other categories of difference from an interdisciplinary perspective including disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Fulfills one of the Foundations - Social and Behavioral Sciences. Skills: information literacy, oral communication, problem solving

WGS 255 — Gender and Popular Culture
This interdisciplinary course is an introductory examination of the role of U.S. popular culture in creating and maintaining ideologies of gender. Building upon an intersectional analysis, content will focus on using gender as a lens to analyze popular images and messages about race and sexuality. Fulfills Foundations - Arts. Skills: oral communication, written communication


*You must have completed 55 credits to enroll in 300- to 400-level Seidman College of Business courses. If you are a nonbusiness major with a 2.5 overall GPA, please email your name, G-number, course, and semester to go2gvbiz@gvsu.edu to request a permit to register. Secondary admissions criteria applies for business majors.



Page last modified May 17, 2022