Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VI: United States Cultures & Communities
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


This course examines key historical events and debates in the field of Ethnic Studies that center around land and labor. Some of the topics include disputes over territory, natural resources, chattel slavery and other forms of coerced labor, labor recruitment and migration, globalization, and U.S. transnational borders. This course also analyzes how race and ethnicity intersect with gender, sexuality, class, citizenship, and nationhood, in order to better understand how systems of power and inequality are constructed, reinforced, and challenged.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Critically explore the role of land and labor in shaping social, political, and economic relations in the United States
  2. Critically analyze the intersection of race and racism as they relate to class, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, national origin, immigration status, ability, tribal citizenship, sovereignty, language, and/or age, in Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino American communities
  3. Identify and evaluate the various theories that help explain Western expansion in the U.S. and Manifest Destiny
  4. Evaluate the relationship between being dispossessed from land, the politics of racialized and gendered labor, and the construction of economic and social inequality
  5. Identify connections between historical processes and contemporary phenomena to the themes of land and labor in the U.S.
  6. Critically review how struggle, resistance, racial and social justice, solidarity, and liberation, as experienced and enacted by Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and/or Latina and Latino Americans, are relevant to current and structural issues, such as communal, national, international, and transnational politics as, for example, in immigration, reparations, settler colonialism, multiculturalism, and language policies
  7. Describe and actively engage with anti-racist and anti-colonial issues and the practices and movements in Native American, African American, Asian American, and/or Latina and Latino communities, to build a just and equitable society

Course Content

  1. Theories and concepts
    1. Colonialism and slavery
      1. The Middle Passage and transatlantic slave trade
      2. Property and slavery to 1865
    2. Land concepts
      1. Property ownership
    3. Race and Manifest Destiny
      1. Genocide
      2. Settler colonialism
      3. Western expansion
      4. Continental imperialism
    4. Labor
      1. Native American servitude and slavery
        1. Labor as servitude
      2. The Reconstruction Amendments
        1. 13th Amendment
        2. 14th Amendment
        3. 15th Amendment
      3. Cult of Domesticity
        1. Gender and labor
        2. Race, gender, and social security
      4. Racial capitalism
      5. Immigration and labor
      6. Labor unions
  2. California
    1. Unfree labor in California
      1. Native American slavery and Franciscan missions
    2. Angel Island
      1. Yellow Peril
      2. 1875 Page Law
      3. 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
      4. Immigration to California via Angel Island
    3. History of incarceration in Los Angeles
      1. The Anti-Vagrancy Act of 1855
        1. Greaser Act
      2. Chain gang labor
      3. Convict leasing in Southern California
      4. Immigration detention centers
    4. Native American Urban Relocation
    5. Japanese American farms during WWII
      1. The Mendez family
    6. Labor and agriculture
      1. Filipino immigration and labor
      2. Chicano labor in the fields
      3. The struggle for the UFW union
        1. Dolores Huerta
        2. Larry Itliong
        3. Cesar Chavez
    7. The 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island
      1. Indians of All Tribes
      2. 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie
        1. Government Surplus Land
      3. LaNada War Jack
      4. Richard Oakes
      5. Indigenous Peoples' Day Sunrise Ceremony
  3. Midwest
    1. The fur trade and the invention of whiteness
    2. Settler colonialism
    3. Blood quantum
    4. Racial politics of allotment
    5. Dispossession among the Ojibwe
    6. The Great Migration
      1. African American labor in Chicago
    7. Chicago factory labor and Mexican American migration
    8. Executive Order 8802
    9. Race, gender, and labor in turn of the century Chicago
    10. Contemporary Native sovereignty struggles
      1. Dakota Access Pipeline
  4. South/Southeast
    1. Chattel slavery
    2. Gender and labor in the U.S. chattel slavery
    3. Native Americans and African American slaves in the South
    4. Race, marriage, and removal
    5. The battle for whiteness during the 1920s
    6. Latin American migration in the New South
    7. McGirt v. Oklahoma
    8. African American farms in the 21st century
  5. Northeast
    1. Slavery in the North
    2. Niagara Movement
      1. W.E.B. DuBois
      2. NAACP
    3. Mohawk Territoriality
    4. Informal economy
      1. Undocumented labor in New York
    5. Staten Island and the first Amazon labor union
  6. The Southwest
    1. Empire Zinc union strike
      1. Mexican American zinc miners
      2. Demanding better wages
      3. Anti-segregated housing
    2. Race, gender, and citizenship
    3. Labor migration and recruitment
    4. Transnational labor migrations and globalizations
      1. The Bracero Program
      2. U.S. Mexico border
      3. NAFTA
      4. Maquiladoras
      5. USMCA
      6. DACA recipients and employment
  7. Pacific Rim/Arctic Circle
    1. Colonialism and immigration in Hawai'i
    2. Labor in Hawai'i
    3. Military presence in the Hawaiian Islands
      1. BIPOC in the U.S. military
    4. Thirty Meter Telescope protest
    5. Arctic indigenous peoples and climate change
  8. Puerto Rico
    1. Foraker Act of 1900
    2. The Great Depression and labor migration
      1. Sugar plantations
      2. Landless laborers
    3. Military presence in Puerto Rico
    4. Service work, pensions, and bankruptcy
    5. Post-Hurricane Maria

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. When taught on campus, no special facility or equipment is needed
2. When taught via Foothill Global Access, on-going access to a computer with email software and capabilities; email address

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Critical papers
Class presentations
Reading journals
Documentary film review
Midterm examination
Final examination
Social justice/service learning project

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Readings of multidisciplinary text from fields including history, social science, political sciences, law, and cultural studies
Viewing and analyzing various media regarding historical and contemporary issues relating to land and labor
Class discussions on relevant topics
Writing analytical responses to course material
Actively engaging in social justice/service learning
Guest speakers
Field observation and field trips
Collaborative learning and small group exercises
Discussion of course topics and videos in relation to real life examples drawn from students' experiences and observations

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Almaguer, Tomás. Racial Fault Lines: The Historical Origins of White Supremacy in California. 2009.

Chang, David A.. The Color of the Land: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Landownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929. 2010.

Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. Not "A Nation of Immigrants": Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion. 2021.

Hernández, Kelly Lytle. City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965. 2020.

Immerwahr, Daniel. How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States. 2020.

Mbembe, Achille. Necropolitics. Translated by Steve Corcoran. 2019.

Ortiz, Paul. An African American and Latinx History of the United States. 2018.

Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of how Our Government Segregated America. 2018.

Texts older than five years are considered foundational texts.

Note: Text(s) may be chosen at the instructor's discretion.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading multidisciplinary texts from fields including ethnic studies, law, psychology, history, social science, political science, literature, and cultural studies
  2. Attending ethnic studies cultural events, musical performances, or museum exhibits, and responding in writing
  3. Analytical essays on readings
  4. Analytical essays on films
  5. Journal entries
  6. Social justice/service learning projects (e.g., Foothill Research and Service Learning Symposium)
  7. Group projects
  8. Reflective essays on personal experiences or interviews


Ethnic Studies