& reminder: Essay #1 due on 9/25

And, remember that Essay #1 is due in class at the start of class or uploaded to Blackboard (in the folder “Essay #1) by the time class starts– or it will be considered late.

Have a good week + see you on Monday!


*important* change to next week’s homework

dear all,

The revised reading worksheet (#3) is up now + it includes questions for Wednesday’s reading (Lopez and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Open City series of blog posts).

I have decided to make the film (Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America (2016), available on Kanopy) an OPTIONAL assignment.

It’s a great film + I suggest you watch it! And, we will talk about it in class if enough of you have seen it.

If you watch the film and write a one-page reflection (and turn this in on Wednesday), you will get extra credit.  But, it is more important that you complete your reading worksheet, so only do the extra credit writing if you have enough time, after you have completed the required homework.

Be in touch with any questions.




Reading Worksheet #3, due 9/27

The (REVISED) reading worksheet questions are below and here: rw3.1f17

Omi and Winant:

  1. What do the authors mean when they say “race is indeed a pre-eminently sociohistorical concept” (page 15)? What examples do they give and how do these examples demonstrate their point?
  2. What is the danger of viewing race as something “fixed and immutable,” or natural?
  3. What does the term “racialization mean? How does the racial category of “white” illustrate its meaning?


Race: The Power of an Illusion


  1. How long do you think the idea of race has been around in the United States?
  2. Do you think that Africans were enslaved in the U.S. because they were thought to be inferior, or do you think they were thought to be inferior because they were enslaved?


  1. How has race been used as a way to justify inequality?
  2. How can you connect U.S. slavery to prejudices against people descended from Africa?
  3. What did scientists like Agassiz, Morton and Nott argue about race? How did this affect U.S. laws and social policy?
  4. [optional, if you get to the end of the film] What role did beliefs about race play in the American colonization of Mexican territory, Cuba, the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico?


  1. (pages 51-52): What does Lopez say about the category of “black” and what was the relationship of Chinese immigrants to this category?
  2. What happened in the case of Ah Yup? Was he given citizenship? Why or why not?
  3. (page 63): What are the four justifications that are used in deciding how to legally define someone’s race? What do these justifications use as their evidence?
  4. (page 76): Where does the term “Caucasian” come from and what does it mean?

Asian American Writers’ Workshop Blog Posts

  1. What do the Asian American Writers’ Workshop articles show us about the challenges that are specific to undocumented immigrants? Give specific examples.


Reflections/Questions/Concerns about this week’s materials?




for Monday, 9/18

For Monday, you have two assignments:

Read the piece by Omi and Winant +

Watch at least the first 35 minutes of the documentary film, Race: the Power of an Illusion EPISODE TWO (“The Story We Tell”) (but do watch the full film if you can).

This documentary has three parts– we are only watching EPISODE TWO (“The Story We Tell”), but you are welcome to watch the other episodes.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 3.29.18 PM


This film is available through the database, KANOPY, which you access through BMCC’s Library Website.

If you are having trouble watching it through the library website, you likely need to either reset your username/password (if you are watching off-campus) or try a different browser. You can also come to campus and watch the film on a BMCC computer.

The reading questions for this week’s reading are on the Reading Worksheet (#3). Since this worksheet is not due until 9/27, it will also include questions about other readings– I will add these questions next week.




for next week

For next week:

READ the piece by Anzaldua  (available on the Course Materials page on the website) + WATCH the documentary, Babies.  You are only required to watch the first 20 minutes of the documentary, but you are more than welcome to watch the whole film.

To access the film, follow these steps: (& remember that if you are doing this off-campus, you will need to log in to the library site with your BMCC email and password):

  • Go to the BMCC Library Website: http://lib1.bmcc.cuny.edu/
  • Click on Databases (Articles, Videos & More)
  • Click on Video Databases
  • Click on SWANK
  • In the search bar, type in the name of the film (Babies).
  • Click PLAY.

It looks like there are some illegal videos of the film up on youtube (though some have been taken down) and it is also available on Netflix. How you view it is up to you–  regardless of source, watch the first 20 minutes by Wednesday, 9.13.