Department of
Political Science


Online Readings


Election Results

2008 Presidential
Election Results

101 Gowen Hall, Box 353530
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3530
Ph: 206-616-3584

POL S 317: Racial and Ethnic Politics in the U.S.

Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00 - 1:20 pm, Kane Hall 220

Professor: Matt A. Barreto
Office: Gowen 139
Office Hours: Wed 9:00 – 11:00 am

Course Description:

This class will examine the history and contemporary role of racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. political system. We will focus on political relationships between Whites, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans as they relate to political institutions, political parties, voting coalitions, representation and public policy. For the first 200 years of its history, the United States passed laws to restrict the rights of racial and ethnic minorities to purposely keep them outside the political system. In recent years, there has been a growing trend by political parties and politicians to court minority voters and promote diversity. Why is this the case? Is this real outreach or symbolic politics? During this quarter we will take up this debate and explore the current state of racial and ethnic politics in the U.S.

This year, with the Presidential election as a backdrop, we will explore the role of race, racism, and racial attitudes as they relate to voting for, or against, Barack Obama. You will be expected to follow the campaign closely, including course assignments that ask you to critique the various campaign ads being run, and also create your own campaign ads that use race and diversity in both a positive and negative light – as is happening in the current campaign environment.

We will also take part in the UW common book, Devil’s Highway, by reading it this quarter, and also attending various talks, lectures, and symposia related to the book.


Each week there will be required readings from one or more of these books. Readings should be done for the day they are assigned. For some weeks, the required readings are posted online. The complete, week-by-week reading list is posted on this website.

  • Segura, Gary And Shaun Bowler. 2005. Diversity In Democracy: Minority Representation in the United States. University Press Of Virginia
  • Nakanishi, Don And James Lai. 2003. Asian American Politics: Law, Participation, And Politics. Rowman And Littlefield.
  • Garcia, F. Chris and Gabriel Sanchez. 2008. Hispanics and the U.S. Political System. Pearson/Prentice Hall.
  • Urrea, Luis Alberto. 2004. The Devil’s Highway. Back Bay Books.


    Quiz Section				10 points
    Short paper				20 points
    Election Project			20 points
    Final Exam				50 points
    TOTAL					100 points

    GPA Point Scale

    Extra Credit:

    Throughout the quarter, there will be opportunities to attend various events, talks, and symposia on campus that are related to racial and ethnic politics, or the common book, which will count for small, but important, extra credit points.

    Important Dates: (subject to change)

    September 25, 2008 (TODAY)		First Day of Class
    October 22, 2008			Luis Alberto Urrea Lecture 7pm
    October 23, 2008			Short Paper due by 12:00PM
    October 30, 2008			Election Predictions due – online
    November 4, 2008			Election Day
    December 11, 2008			Final Exam, 10:30am – 12:20pm