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Prof. Gina's AAS 201: Spring 2011 class schedule

Contact Information

  • Gina Masequesmay
  • Pronunciation of Last Name: Mah-say-kes-may
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Education: Ph.D. in Sociology
  • Office Phone: 818-677-7219
  • Department: Asian American Studies
  • Email: Gina Masequesmay
  • Office Hours: Tu &Th 2 to 3 PM, and by appointment.
  • Office Location: Jerome Richfield 346 C (enter through JR 340)

Class Info

  • Tu & Th 09:30 AM to 10:45 AM, JR 134, #12952
  • Tu & Th 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM, JR 134, #12782


380-400 is an A.

360-379 is an A-.

349-359 is a B+.

333-348 is a B.

320-332 is a B-.

309-319 is a C+.

293-308 is a C.

280-292 is a C-.

269-279 is a D+.

253-268 is a D.

240-252 is a D-.

Below 240 is an F.


  • For 09:30 AM class, FINAL EXAM is on, 05/17, Tuesday, from 08:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • For 11:00 AM class, FINAL EXAM is on 05/17, Tuesday, from 10:16 AM - 12:15 PM.

Instructional Materials

  • Andreas, Joel (2004) Addicted to War: Why the US Can’t Kick Militarism. Canada: AK Press. [ISBN# 1 902593 57 X] New: $10.00; Used: $7.50. Call No. UA10 .A48 2002 for 2nd edition. Can be read online here.
  • Paula S. Rothenberg (2008) White Privilege: Essential Readers on the Other Side of Racism, 3rd Edition. New York: Worth Publishers. [ISBN# 0-7167-8733-4] New: $33.50; Used: $25.00. Call No. E184.A1 W394 2005 for 2nd edition.
  • A Reader for Prof Gina Masequesmay’s AAS 201: Race, Racism, and Critical Thinking Class to be bought from ASAP Copy & Print located at 9250 Reseda Blvd. Suite 6, Northridge, CA 91324 (South of Prairie and East side of Reseda, near China Star Restaurant), 818-700-7999, www.asapcopyprint.com, about $31.00.

In addition to the required texts, I may also assign extra short readings based on class interests and current events. I will either pass them out in class or have you read them online

For those financially challenged, the required texts will be available at the Oviatt Reserve Library (4th Floor) for a 2-hour checkout.




This page gives details of the required components of this course and provides a schedule of weekly class activities including assigned readings and writing assignments and exams. Please note that this is a tentative schedule for the course and to be used for students without access to Moodle. After the third week, the class schedule will no longer be updated here but at the class Moodle site.

Click link on navigation bar above to go back to AAS 201 Homepage. You can download the syllabus here:Syllabus PDF version (updated as of 01-21-11). You can also download the Guides on Readings, Films and Writing Assignments

Click the following Moodle link to log into the course's web discussion board.

Updated as of 01-21-11.


Course Format and Requirements

The course format consists of short lectures, films (9), group activities, in-class writing assignments, homework writing assignments, and class discussions. Students should read the assigned material(s) BEFORE coming to class. I expect students to be prepared and ready to engage in class discussion based on the readings. Homework assignments will be given to help students through the readings and in-class assignments and short exams are to ensure students have done the readings and achieved basic level understanding and application of the materials.

Attendance accounts for 10% of your grade or 40 points. An absence means a deduction of 1 point; tardiness or leaving class early leads to a subtraction of 0.5 point. I take attendance at the beginning of class. If you are late, make sure I mark you down at the end of class; otherwise, my record will show you have an absence. You are given automatic excuses for 2 absences and 2 tardies; after that, I accept no excuses unless it’s life threatening.  You will need to provide proof of emergencies. Given that there are 30 meeting days, the last ten points are easy points that students can earn by making an appointment for an office visit with the professor. The purpose of the meeting is for the professor to get to know the students better and for students to ask questions or address concerns that they may have about the course. It is a chance for students to familiarize themselves with coming into office hours to talk to their professors.

Class participation is required for full course credit and is based on the student’s thoughtful contribution to class discussion. Babbling without having read class materials does not count. Please note that participation correlates with attendance and involvement in class activities (40 points). I will intermittently record students’ participations during class. In addition to class participation, students can also use the class web discussion forum (via Moodle) as a way to further discuss issues raised in class. Thoughtfully asking relevant questions, answering others’ questions, and commenting on others’ responses are ways of earning participation points aside from in-class participation.

There are six writing assignments to help students better understand the reading or film materials. Each writing assignment is worth 20 points for a total of 120 points or 30% of your class grade. No late work is accepted. Correct answers to writing assignments are discussed in class where students are given opportunities to correct their assignments. For the most part, students are given full credit for doing and correcting their assignments. However, the professor also “randomly” selects papers to grade, especially papers that look like there have not been much effort put into the assignment. At times, students are encouraged to work in producing a group paper so that they could learn from one another.

Five short exams are given in the second half of the class. The exams are given intermittently as means to help students think through the readings and be prepared for class discussion. Each exam is worth 20 points for a total of 100 points or 25% of your class grade. The format is short answer, multiple choice, matching, and fill-in. These exams are given usually at the beginning of class using codenames and collected and redistributed to other students for correction in class. There are no make-ups for missing the exams except under emergency conditions (e.g., If you arrive late, you will have less time to complete the exam). These exams are to underscore main points of the readings which should help students on the final exam.

A final exam is scheduled and given on final day to test students’ comprehension, and ability to apply and integrate class materials. The format for the final exam is short answers, multiple choice, and fill-ins. The short exams and writing assignments should help in this preparation of the final exam. The final exam is worth 100 points of 25% of your grade.

Extra Credit

Opportunities for extra credit assignments are also available. Students must consult the instructor before doing extra credit assignments that are not announced by the professor. Students can earn up to 15 points of extra credit. Each extra credit paper (ECP) has a maximum of four points. ECP can be a reaction 1-2 page paper to a reading or film (not shown in class) relating to Asian Americans. Students must summarize the reading or film and discuss what they learned from it and what new questions arose from this assigned reading or film. Students are also encouraged to attend Asian American or Asian-ethnic event(s) and to write a report of what happened and what they learned from the event. Please see page 10 of the syllabus for questions. The due date for an ECP is one week after the event or film screening, usually by Thursday 5 PM. The last class meeting in Week 15 is the last time to hand in ECP. Only 2 ECPs are accepted per week.

Advices to Students on Professional Development

Here is a list of things NOT to do to be a professional student (points will be deducted if you repeat these bad habits):

  1. Emailing me to find out what you missed in class. Please befriend your classmates and ask them what you missed. Assignments will usually be posted on the web end of the week.
  2. Having your pager/phone/video game on while the professor conducts class.
  3. Reading materials (e.g., newspapers/magazines) not relevant to class activities during class.
  4. Disrupting class discussion by having your private conversation with other students.
  5. Sleeping in class. If you are not feeling well, rest at home. The classroom is not your bedroom.
  6. Disrupting class by arriving late or leaving early.
  7. Faxing/emailing me your paper. If I don’t have your paper by the due date, you’ll have a zero.
  8. Disrespecting others in class, including name-calling, cat-calling, snickering, disrupting.
  9. Cheating and plagiarizing.

Things to do to be a professional student:

  1. Be organized and allocate study time (~ 8 hrs/wk) for this class as you do for each of your other classes.
  2. Attend class regularly and arrive on time.
  3. Be respectful of everyone in class and keep an open mind.
  4. Contribute positively to class discussion by active listening and thoughtful commenting.
  5. Read assigned readings or do assignment before class and arrive prepared to discuss readings or assignment.
  6. Hand assignments in on time, typed and stapled.
  7. Take notes in class and on assigned readings. Go over them for reinforcement and write down questions on items you still need clarification. Ask these questions in class.
  8. Ask questions when you don’t understand. Remember, the best way to learn is to ask questions.
  9. If you miss a film, go to the media library on the 2nd Floor of Oviatt Library to watch it.
  10. Visit the professor during office hour for extra help, if need be, or just to familiarize yourself to speaking to your professor and to keep in touch in case you ever need a recommendation letter.


Additional Advice from Your Professor

Let’s humanize our experience! I highly encourage you to see me during office hour or by appointment at least once (you  need to do it anyway for 10 points) so that I will have a chance to know you and that you can ask me questions about class, majoring/minoring, graduate school, and career options. If you have any struggles (e.g., financial difficulties, family obligations, learning disability), please let me know ahead so we can work around them. However, scheduling in work or a doctor appointment during class time is not excusable unless it is life threatening. If you are really shy, you can bring along another classmate to make the experience less intimidating.

To get the most out of this class, you should:

  • actively engage in the course materials (do the assigned work on time)
  • listen mindfully to thoughts, experiences, and emotions shared by others (to understand; not to judge)
  • accept that there are usually more than  two ways of viewing the world and that your perspective is shaped by your limited experience in the world
  • remain open to new ideas that may conflict with your own for it is in conflict that we can learn and grow

Because the issues discussed in this class can be controversial and can provoke strong emotions, please temper your questions, answers and comments with respect for others' differences in opinions and with patience for others' unskilled expressions so that we can create a safe environment for learning issues of which we might be ignorant or misinformed. The best way to do this is to first see our common humanity with our strengths and weaknesses in a struggle to survive and to be accepted/loved. Once we can see this, we can become more open to differences and can always remember to return to this commonality when we are frustrated, angry, confused, condescending, hurt, etc. As a class, if we can be mindful that what we know and feel are based on our limited experiences in the world, then we can try to be less judgmental and more aware of how our reactions and emotions to differing ideas are based on our own limited interaction in the world. While logic and social scientific evidence can help us through muddy thinking, our strong emotions can steer us in other ways. Hence, be thoughtful, self-reflexive and committed to fostering a safe space in the classroom to discuss difficult issues that will encourage each of us to grow and expand our mind, and in the process, hopefully to also open our heart.    

This class has a webpage where updates are made at the end of the week and students are encouraged to view it to stay on top of things they might have missed when absent. Please also befriend your classmates for help in catching up and to collaborate on some class assignments and to study together.

A Note on the Rules of Scholarly Discourse in the University**

In this course we will be discussing very complex issues of which all of us have strong feelings and, in most cases, unfounded attitudes. It is essential that we approach this endeavor with our minds open to evidence that may conflict with our presuppositions. Moreover, it is vital that we treat each other’s opinions and comments with courtesy even when they diverge and conflict with our own. We must avoid personal attacks and the use of ad hominem arguments to invalidate each other’s positions. Instead, we must develop a culture of civil argumentation, wherein all positions have the right to be defended and argued against in intellectually reasoned ways. It is this standard that everyone must accept in order to stay in this class; a standard that applies to all inquiry in the university, but whose observance is especially important in a course whose subject matter is so emotionally charged.
[**From UCLA Professor Melvin Oliver’s Sociology 156 syllabus, Fall 1991.]

AAS 201 Spring 2011 Schedule

Weekly Table
Date Reading & Writing Assignments and Class Activities

Week 1

1/25 & 1/27

Introduction & Creating a community for learning
        - Overview of course syllabus
                + Attendance Call and Sign-In
                + Go over syllabus:  Introduction of professor and her expectations
                + Homework on Writing Assignment #1: Student Profile (see syllabus p. 11);  Scan “The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts & Tools” for a general idea about critical thinking. 
        - Introduction of students
                + Student Introduction using Student Profile (Writing Assignment #1) to be handed in the end of class 
                + Discuss students’ expectations and Guides on studying and being a professional student
* Read Addicted to War for Week 5 Homework and Week 6 Discussion! Please view or print out Guides on Readings, Films and Writing Assignments to aid you in your study hereon.



Week 2

2/1 & 2/3

Beyond Stereotypes: Being Analytical
        - A quick history and current inequalities
                + Watch film “The Road to Brown” 1989, 50 min., (N82671)
                + Discuss film, racial stereotypes and current inequalities
        - Explaining racial differences (e.g. achievement gap between Latinos and Asian Americans)
                + Argumentative essay and thesis
                + Discuss article about Asian Americans as Model Minority (Being passive and smart)
* Scan articles “LA Blacks Still Fare Poorly” and “Names affect Response to Job Seekers” for Tuesday; Read “Morphing Outrage into Ideas” and Scan pages 95-107 (structure of an argumentative essay) for Thursday.

Week 3

2/8 & 2/10

Taking Lecture Notes & Finding the thesis in an argument and considering the evidence
        - Film “Race, Racism and Anti-Racism” 2001, 95 min. (N 85797) – Watching first half of video on Claude Steele’s research on Stereotype Threats.
                + Homework Writing Assignment #2 – Reflection on Steele’s research – DUE Thursday for discussion. Please use codename in lieu of your real name for the assignment. Please use the following grammar sheet to help proofread your paper.
        - Concepts: Stereotypes, self-fulfilling prophecy, thesis, reliability, validity, fallacies
                + Discuss Readings on reason & logic & other forms of persuasion
                + Discuss Writing Assignment #2 and apply assigned reading
* Read carefully pgs 107-117 (reason & logic), and scan pgs 117-123 (Toulmin & Rogerian) of Form and Function in Arguments (Chap.3); Also carefully read “Stubborn Pull of Dogma” and read Doonsbury cartoon for Tuesday.

Week 4


Examining the Evidence & Critical Questions
        - More on logic, fallacies, and evidence
        - Film “Race, Racism and Anti-Racism” 2001, 95 min. (N 85797) – Watching second half of video on John Dovidio’s research on Aversive Racism.
+ Homework Writing Assignment #3 – Notes and questions on Dovidio’s research – DUE next Tuesday
* Read carefully pages 133-144 (definition, authority and evidence) and read 144-151 (revising, function outline) for Tuesday discussion (definitions & evidence) and Thursday homework.

  • Discuss Writing Assignment #3.

Week 5


Reading Critically and Library Research Tour
        - Go over Writing Assignment #3
                + Reading Critically (using guideline from syllabus, p. 10)
        - Library Tour on Thursday – Meet at Oviatt Library Computer Lab C with Ms. Lindsay Hansen for 9:30 section. Computer Lab B with Ms. Susanna Eng-Ziskin for 12:30 and 2:00 sections.
                + Writing Assignment #4: Find references of research articles on Aversive Racism; Find sources on defense spending to address Joel Andreas’ evidence (p. 1) in Addicted to War.  DUE next Tuesday.



Week 6


Perspectives and Putting Things in Context
        - Critical Perspectives & Being Analytical
                + Go over Writing Assignment #4  - Aversive racism literature; Addicted to War on defense budget
                + Analyzing the data (using Chronology of Asian American History by Judy Yung) – finding patterns, connecting between themes
                + Homework on Writing Assignment #5: Group notes on articles using reading guide in syllabus (p. 10)
        - The Personal is Political and hegemony
                + Writing Assignment #5 due and discussion
* Group assigned reading and notetaking for class presentation on “The Promise” & “The Structure of Power in American Society” by C. Wright Mills; “Letter to My Sister” by Lisa Park; “If Hitler Asked You…”.

Week 7


Critical Perspectives and the Matrix of Domination
        - Class and Race and Gender and the Matrix of Domination…
            + Film “The Storm at Valley State” 59 min. (N84653)
            + Discussion of the 1960s politics and founding of Ethnic Studies
        - Paradigm Shifts and the Politics of Knowledge
                + Fish analogy exercise
                + Discussion of Readings
* Read Race, Class, and Gender’s Preface & Ch. 1 by M. Andersen & P. Hill-Collins; “Rethinking Race: Paradigms and Policy Formation” by S. Hune.

Week 8


The Significance and Endurance of Race
- Racialization and a nation divided
+ Watch film “Jefferson’s Blood” by Thomas Lennon. PBS.  75 min.
- Finish film and discuss film and relate it to the readings
+ Concepts to cover: Racial formation, Race, Racial projects, Racist Projects, “Oriental” vs. “Asian American”
* Read “The Social Construction of Difference: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality” by Paula S. Rothenberg;  “Racial Formations” by Michael Omi and Howard Winant; “Were the Presidents …‘Men of Their Time?’”

Week 9


Explanations of Racial Inequality and Their Consequences
        - Film “The Color of Fear” by Lee Mun Wah. Stir Fry Production, 1994, 90 minutes (N83681)
        - Finish and Discuss film “The Color of Fear”
                + Homework Writing Assignment #6

* Scan “State of Black LA…”; “Racial Gap in Loans…”; “REAL LIFE/Affirmative …”; “Does White Privilege…”

Week 10


Explanations of Racial Inequality and Their Consequences Continues
- Discuss Writing Assignment #6 (due)
+ Review of ideas from films and readings on explanations of racial inequality
- Review of concepts: Racial vs. Racist Projects; White Supremacy; Colorblind Racism; White Privilege; etc.
* Read “Colorblind Racism” by Bonilla-Silva.


Spring Break 4/4 to 4/9


Whiteness, Privilege, Colorblind Racism

Week 11


Whiteness: The Power of Invisibility & Privilege
- Watch Film “Blue Eyed” Directed by Bertram Verthagg in assoc. w/ Jane Elliott. 1995, 93 minutes (N84089)
- Why Study Whiteness and White Privilege?
+ Finish film & discuss film and reading
* Read Introduction and Part I (Chapters 1, 2, 3) and Part III (Chapters 1, 2, 3) of White Privilege.

Week 12


The Power of the Past
        - How “Whiteness” came to a particular meaning on inclusion and exclusion
                + Film “Roots in the Sand” by Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 1998, 57 min. (N 86778)
                + Discuss film and WP Part II Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4
* Read Part II Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 of WP.

Week 13


Whiteness: The Power of the Past and the Power of Privilege
        - Discuss Readings WP Part II Chapters  5, 6, 7
        - Exercise on Different Forms of Privileges and discussion of WP Part III Ch. 4, 5, 6
* Read Part II of WP (Chapters 5, 6 & 7) and Part III (Ch. 4, 5, 6) of WP.

Week 14


Whiteness: The Power of Privilege
        - Past and Present Privileges
                + Quick Recap on the Power of Privilege and Power of the Past
                + Discuss “The Miniature Earth”
*Read “The Miniature Earth” in the Reader.

Week 15


The Power of Resistance & Conclusion
        - The Power of Resistance
                + Film “Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice” 1993, 57 min. (N85403)
                + Discuss film and WP Part IV Chapters 1, 2 & 3
        - Wrap-Up
                + Finish discussion reading and film “Yuri Kochiyama…” and issues of resistance
* Read Part IV of WP.

Week 16

Final Week

Final Exam is in the same classroom.

  • For TTh 09:30 AM class, FINAL EXAM is on, 5/17, Tuesday, from 08:00 AM - 10:00 AM.
  • For TTh 11:00 AM class, FINAL EXAM is on 5/17, Thursday, from  10:15 - 12:15 PM.