Diversity in American Society

I.     Course Prefix/Number: SOC 232

       Course Name: Diversity in American Society

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: SOC 101 or SSC 101

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines history and contemporary landscape of diversity in American Society.  Content includes patterns of immigration, variations in inter-group relations, cultural expressions of race and ethnicity, dimensions of religious diversity, instances of conflict and cooperation among diverse groups, governmental policy and the uniqueness of American civic culture.

IV.   Learning Objectives

General education objectives
The student will:

  1. develop an understanding of the science of sociology, learning how sociologists construct hypotheses, gather and analyze data, and use the sociological perspective to interpret their findings.
  2. apply sociological theory and scientific principles to compare and evaluate alternative solutions to the problems arising from cultural diversity.
  3. learn to communicate sociological research and theory effectively in written assignments and class presentations.

Course objectives
The student will:

  1. examine issues and define problems arising out of cultural diversity, including hostile racial and ethnic relations, majority and minority perceptions, persistence of prejudice and discrimination, and the impact these have on civic community.
  2. study patterns of immigration and assimilation into American society, including changes in identity and expression of cultural background from one generation to the next.

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

  1. Overview of Multiculturalism
    1. Societal expressions and ideologies
    2. Socio-cultural factors of pluralism and ethnocentrism
    3. Societal groupings, e.g. ethnic, religious, gender, age, social class
  2. Historical Overview
    1. From primitive folk to diverse societies of today
    2. Modern culture and cultural milieu
    3. Cultural expressions from cultism to ethnicity to religion
  3. Ethnicity in the United States
    1. Immigration flow
      1. Colonial heritage
      2. Early immigrants
      3. Immigration restrictions
      4. New refugees
    2. From "greenhorn" to assimilation
      1. Ethnic restrictions and conflicts
      2. Exploring the new world
      3. Group bonding and cultural factors
      4. Generational changes
  4. Group Identity and Expression
    1. Ethnicity, religion, gender, and age
    2. Continuity and change of cultural expression
    3. Religious affiliation and diversity
    4. Societal roles and perceptions based on group identity
    5. Role and function of civic culture
  5. Issues of Multiculturalism
    1. Racial and ethnic divisiveness
    2. Persistence of prejudice and discrimination
    3. Social separatism and ethnic conflict
  6. Facing the Future
    1. Creating understanding
    2. Developing dialogue
    3. Building bridges
    4. Expression of one's own culture with acceptance of the rights of others

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Methods include lecture, discussion, collaborative assignments, and case studies that foster critical thinking about the subject.

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.

IX.   Instructional Materials

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

Representative text may include:

Yetman, Norman R. (ed) (1999).  Majority and Minority:  The Dynamics of Race and Ethnicity in American Life (6th. ed.).  Needham Heights, MA:  Allyn & Bacon.

Additional readings from relevant journals, magazines, newspapers, and public documents may be assigned as appropriate.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

The method of evaluation is at the discretion of the instructor within the guidelines provided by the college. Exams may include short answer, objective, or essay type questions.

XI.   Other Course Information


Class policy on make-up exams, late assignments, etc.

Important dates

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 www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.