Social|Justice|Praxis                                                                                              revision 3/31/2014

Ethnic Studies 100C, Winter 2012                                  Sequoia 147, Tu-Th. 11am -12:20pm

Professor Ross Frank                                                                      Phone:  (858) 534-6646

Hours:   Wed. afternoon by apt., Thurs. 1-3 & by appt.           Office:  Social Sciences 227


Graduate Teaching

Apprentices (GTA):          Mohammed Abumaye, Shamell Bell, Martin Boston, América Martinez, Jennifer Mogannum, Leslie Quintanilla


Considered independently, the concepts "social," "justice" and "praxis" have important critical functions, which will each be taken up individually as a project of this practicum:

So-cial adjective \ˈsō-shəl\ of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society.

Jus-tice noun \ˈjəs-təs\ 1: the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action; 2: conformity to this principle or ideal.

Prax-is noun \ˈprak-səs\ 1: action, practice: as a: exercise or practice of an art, science, or skill b: customary practice or conduct;  2: practical application of a theory.

Paulo Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, describes to praxis as a "revolutionary theory" consisting of "reflection and action directed at structures to be transformed".  Through an advanced exploration of praxis-based approaches to the social world and to the utopian and futurist project of justice, in this capstone course students apply their Ethnic Studies theoretical training alongside research methods developed in ETHN 100B and ETHN 189W or 107 to original research projects.

Course Design:

Each Tuesday the class will participate in lecture and discussion of the weekly theme and common reading.  Every Thursday beginning week 3, students will join in small-group, roundtable style workshops that focus on research development exercises or workshops, which are run by graduate teaching apprentices.  Students will rotate into different small-groups weekly.

Grading & Assignment Detail:

Co-Authored Syllabus Project (20% of final grade):

Each student is responsible for contributing one reading to the syllabus

Attendance and Small Group Participation (20% of final grade)

Attendance and participation will constitute 20% of the student's overall course grade. Presence and preparedness are key aspects to the successful fulfillment of requirements for this course.  This course meets a total of twenty times and under normal circumstances only two absences will be excused.  Every unexcused absence thereafter will result in the removal of 5 points from your final grade.  Participation is determined by your active presence and preparedness, which are key aspects to the successful fulfillment of requirements for this course.  If you miss class, it is your responsibility to keep up with the reading, notes for lectures and discussions, and any assignments due.

Your small-group participation will count significantly towards your attendance and participation grade. Along with GTAs, each student is responsible for helping to facilitate a Thursday roundtable discussion.

Research design proposal  (10% of final grade): propose a critical research project including the format for the final project (written, sonic, visual or performative). Due April 24th in class.

Two-part blog assignment  (25% of final grade):  

1)    Each student will produce a bi-weekly blog entry that reflects upon and responds to the readings and ties them into your research project (beginning week two, and uploaded by 10am Tuesdays). Blog entries should: connect and discuss the article and how it pertains to your research project.  What issues does it raise for you?  How does it complement or complicate your work?

2)    Each student will actively engage with another student's blog entry (which no other student has commented on for that week) offering thoughtful feedback, facilitative critique and encouraging suggestions for moving forward (beginning week 2, and uploaded by 10am each Thursday). Responses should engage with the classmate's ideas critically and function as facilitative of their ideas.

Work in Progress Presentation at ES Symposium  (25% of grade):

Each student will undertake a small-scale "capstone" project in which knowledge is produced collaboratively with your interlocutor(s) or symbiotically with your environment or medium.  The objective of the project is to determine how to best achieve collaboration and symbiosis, and your Symposium presentation will focus on:  1) your process;  and 2) the result of your "findings" as "work in progress".  Evaluation will depend primarily upon the presentation of your process, rather than your research outcomes or findings.  You will receive detailed instructions on how to move forward by Week 5.  

Students are encouraged to utilize office hour time to discuss necessary background and direction on the course material and development of a capstone project.  ESL students are highly encouraged to consult the resources at the OASIS (858-534-3760) or the Writing Center (858-534-4911) for further assistance in successfully completing assignments.  It is your responsibility to seek and utilize these resources as the need arises.

Class Schedule


Week 1           Why Social/Justice/Praxis?

April 1            Course introductions; small group theme selections

April 3  

Week 2           On Collaborative Learning as Praxis

April 8            Karl Marx "Theses on Feuerbach" in The German Ideology

Syllabus Contribution Due

April 10          Stuart Hall "Gramsci's Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity"

Week 3           Globalized Social Justice?

April 15         

April 17         

Week 4           Postmodern Social Justice?

April 22         

April 24         

Research Design Due

Week 5           Race/Nation/Justice?

April 29         

May 1            

Week 6           Feminist Social Justice?

May 6            

May 8            

Week 7           Queer/Social/Justice?

May 13          

May 15          

Week 8           Law and Justice?

May 20          

May 22          

Week 9           Violence/Social/Justice?

May 27          

May 29          

Week 10         Symposium week

June 3             Presentation preparations

June 4             Ethnic Studies Symposium, CCC, 1:30-5:30

June  5                        Wrap up