Human Diversity

""Courses in Human Diversity

It is the goal of the University that courses at CSULB foster respect for racial and ethnic diversity in the US. Thus, the sample of courses featured below introduce students to the life experiences of people with whom they are less familiar. This promotes the understanding of diversity and encourages tolerance and acceptance of others in our increasingly multicultural society. While CSULB recognizes the importance of other forms of diversity—gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability status, nationality, etc.—these featured courses focus specifically on the experiences and concerns of four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups within the US: Native Americans, African Americans, Latinx people, and Asian Americans. These courses therefore provide a critical examination and understanding of the nature and social implications of race and racialized ethnicity as both social constructions and lived realities, especially as it relates to the four historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in the US named above.

Featured Courses – November 2019


ANTH 315: Human Variation – Dr. Marcus Young Owl and Dr. Denise Cucurny
Human Variation looks at human diversity.  It is divided into four sections. Section I looks at how humans viewed one another from ancient times to the present.  The race concept is discussed, including deconstruction of the idea, ending with a conclusion that the race concept is invalid. Section I concludes with the American Association of Physical Anthropologists statement on race. Section II looks at how several American ethnic groups have been classified, not just from a scientific perspective, but from US government policy and conventional definitions (e.g., the one-drop rule and the divisive blood quantum idea to define Native peoples).  Mixed individuals are discussed with recent studies from the PEW Research Center.  The inconsistency of “racial” classification by states is highlighted. Section III focuses on the evolutionary forces that shape human variation. Associated with this are models that examine human migrations, including the incorporation of genetic ghost populations and hybridization.   Special attention is given to gene flow, genetic drift, and founder effect using American ethnic groups for examples, as well as sexual selection.  Basic inheritance and the structure of DNA is presented. Section IV looks at those differences in humans that represent biological adaptation to varied environments. Developmental acclimatization and acclimation are discussed.  Body form and size, limb proportions, nose size, skin color, hair structure, lactase persistence, and sickle-cell trait are examined.  The course ends with Herrnstein and Murray’s genetically determined The Bell Curve, examined in the light of interaction between genetics and environment (including the social environment).

ANTH 329: Cultural Diversity in California – Dr. Mihir Pandya and Dr. Luzilda Carrillo
Examination of current cultural diversity in California, including ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, religion, and region; and the impact of this diversity on public institutions will be covered.

ANTH 421: Education Across Cultures – Dr. Amir Sharifi and Dr. Diana A. Porras
Cross cultural perspectives on formal and informal education and socialization, using theory and methods from anthropology and linguistics. Cultural variation in schooling and multiculturalism in U.S. American classrooms. Cultural, linguistic and educational issues facing indigenous, minority and immigrant populations in schools.

American Studies

AMST 142: Race & Hollywood – Dr. Justin Gomer
Race & Hollywood examines the central role of Hollywood in shaping our understandings of race in the 20th and 21st centuries. By studying race through film and film through race, this course provides an interdisciplinary look at how film fundamentally influenced and continues to shape American racial discourse, and how race fundamentally shaped the development of the medium of film in both form and content.

AMST 310: Foodways in Contemporary America – Dr. Linda Maram
Examines the production and consumption of food in the U.S. after 1945, comparatively exploring issues of race, class, gender, and inter-ethnic relations. Themes include food as “Americanization,” “authentic” cuisine, politics of sustainability, and social justice in the food industry.

Asian American Studies

ASAM 120: Asian American History – Dr. Larry Hashima and Dr. Barbara Kim
Overview of experiences of people of Asian ancestry in the United States. Major themes include: immigration (labor migration and refugee resettlement), racism and economic conflict, resistance to discrimination, and community building.

ASAM 121: Contemporary Issues in Asian America – Dr. Larry Hashima
Examination of contemporary issues, including immigration, labor, family, public policy, popular culture, the media, and political activism in Asian America. Focuses on the U.S. in the context of the global economy and Asian diasporas.

ASAM 319: The Ethnic Experience in the U.S. – Dr. Barbara Kim
Examines the dynamics of our multicultural society, emphasizing ways in which Asian American, Black American, Mexican American, and American Indian experiences have shaped cultural diversity in the U.S.

ASAM 335: Asian and Latino Immigration Since World War II – Dr. Linda Maram
Examines the causes of massive Asian and Latino immigration as well as major contemporary issues in the Asian and Latino communities.

ASAM 350: Environmental Justice – Dr. Dean S. Toji
Examines social justice aspects of environmental issues (e.g., exposure to environmental hazards and burdens), and the ability and opportunities to cope with and mitigate such problems, as influenced by race, ethnicity, gender, and class.

Political Science

POSC 323: Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S. – Alfredo Carlos
In this course students will gain an understanding of the comparative study of Racial and Ethnic Politics in the United States. The course will utilize work from political science and related disciplines such as history, sociology and ethnic studies to build a conceptual understanding of how race and ethnicity have shaped the political economic development of the U.S. The course will introduce some of the major literature in the debate about racial, social and economic inequality in the U.S.  To the extent possible, the course seeks to understand politics from the point of view of politically active and engaged persons of color. Students in this course will be expected to critically analyze important social scientific and historical background information on racial politics in an effort to improve students’ critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as improve student writing.


SOC 340: The Latino Population in the United States – Dr. Rigoberto V. Rodriguez

SOC 346: Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender – Dr. Shae Miller
This course is designed to facilitate your understanding race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability (to name a few), and the ways that they intersect with and inform one another in the contemporary United States. Throughout the semester we will examine the socio-historical construction of social categories, and learn to critically analyze the historical and contemporary reproduction of structural inequality in relation to those categories. Areas of inquiry include: media, family, labor, criminalization, and violence.

SOC 466: Aids and Society – Dr. Carole A. Campbell
This course examines the history of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic from a medical sociology perspective. The course deals with two overarching topics: prevention and treatment. We examine HIV risk behavior and approaches aimed at controlling the epidemic. This course will demonstrate how the epidemic’s continuing spread is the result of social forces that define disease, shape individual risk and health behavior and restructure health care institutions. It will illustrate sociologically how HIV/AIDS is a behaviorally-based epidemic and how its control depends on behavioral change. Structural variables such as poverty, inequality, sexism, racism, homophobia, and discrimination will be examined for their role in the spread of the disease. Sexual identities, gender roles, gender power relations, and gender-based violence are given substantial coverage. The course includes AIDS advocacy, activism, social policy, and social justice issues.

A full list of Fall 2019 Human Diversity courses can be found at: