Ethnic Studies

Identity and Transformation **FULL**

Jonathan Bruce, Associate Lecturer

Course: Ethnic 192, Sem 001
Class Number: 21205
Credits: 3/HU
Time: TR 3:30 – 4:45
Place: Merrill 311

Course Description

Culture—popular or otherwise—is one of the principle ways that we learn to identify who we are on an individual level. The music we listen to, the books we read, and the films we watch all contribute to not only who we are, but how we see and interact with others. And while these ideas may seem obvious, the mechanisms by which things like pop culture influence our perceptions of things like race, gender, and ethnicity are not always apparent.

This course will begin laying the foundations for understanding the complex world of identity as it constantly evolves. Examining both popular culture and academic work, students will learn to negotiate not only their own identity, but the processes that influence how they see and interact with others. As part of their journey, students will begin exploring the urban environment, partaking in the rich history that Milwaukee has to offer.

Work Involved

  • Attendance and Participation 20%
  • Unit Papers 30%
  • Reflection Papers 20%
  • Final Project 30%

About the Instructor

Jonathan Bruce has a master’s degree in history from UWM. His thesis work focused on the Civil Rights Movement in Milwaukee, although he has done a considerable amount of work on pop culture and its relationship with identity. As such, his academic interests range from critical analysis of literature to the nuances of history. He’s a bit weird like that.

He teaches in the Ethnic Studies program, offering a course on how popular culture has impacted historic understandings of race, gender, and ethnicity in the United States. He also has a course that explores Milwaukee history through the lens of race and gender.

When he’s not teaching, he writes a lot. When he’s not doing that, he reads books that aren’t ones that he’s written. When he’s not doing that, he’s playing video games.