Introduction to Ethnic Studies

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SSC 105

       Course Name: Introduction to Ethnic Studies

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines scope of ethnic studies.  Content includes the concepts of ethnicity, dynamics of various ethnic groups and possible social consequences of continued ethnic affiliations.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will:

A. examine contemporary immigration trends and the formation of and retention of ethnic identities in the United States while obtaining a general knowledge of historical trends in immigration.
B. define problems faced by American society as well as those faced by immigrant groups and explore various theories that seek to explain the emergence of a multicultural American society.
C. carry out primary research on a chosen ethnic group in which hypotheses will be constructed and research carried out and interpreted.
D. work in small groups to develop a research project and cooperatively produce a final written and oral presentation of the group’s findings to the class.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

A. American Culture, Definitions and Values
    1. Human Nature -- majority and minority groups
    2. Nature and technology
    3. Individual and the group
    4. Time
B. Ethnocentrism, Prejudice and Discrimination
    1. Historical rationales and immigration policies
    2. Effects on the majority
    3. Effects on minorities
C. Immigration Cultures – Northwestern, European, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Asian: Old and New, Western Hemisphere.
    1. Traditional values in a new context
        a. Folkways and identity
        b. Conflict: competition and power
    2. Inter-generational Relations
    3. Language, religion and the arts
    4. Adaption and new consciousness
        a. Economic and political adjustment
        b. Psychological and social survival
D. Pride, Togetherness and the Future

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, analysis of readings, discussion, social-psychological field research, ethnic group guests, audio-visual materials.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

This course relies on the student's ability to read and understand college-level text material. Students will be required to write for the class the equivalent of 12-15 typed pages of material that will be graded.  This writing may take the form of a research or term paper, summaries of journal articles, and/or a series of shorter, analytical papers.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grades will be determined by one or more of the following methods:  completion of exams on social-psychological and historical evidence; a major research paper on two ethnic groups, one "old" immigrant, one "new" immigrant or on some other relevant topic; scores received on short papers and other homework; performance on in-class exercises.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at