NOTE: Banner images should be placed in this first content block and should be at least 720px wide.

Have you ever wondered...


  • Where did the Gypsies (the Roma) originate and why have they been persecuted almost everywhere they went?
  •  Who was the Moses of Unkrainian Canadians and why did he lead them to Canada?
  •  Was the treatment of Nikkei (persons of Japanese descent) in Canada during World War II better or worse than their treatment in other countries?
  •  Why do Sikhs wear turbans and what brought them to Canada?
  •  How do highland Scots like most of those from Cape Breton differ from lowland Scots, and why is it that they initially settled in the Maritimes and eastern Ontario?


This course will contemplate these and other questions!

Calendar description


0.5 unit
Prerequisite: SOAN 1101, or SOAN 1102 and 1103, or permission of the instructor
An examination of the ways ethnic and racial groups are formed, how they persist over time, and how they change in response to changing conditions in society. Case studies from Canada and other societies are examined to demonstrate these processes of persistence and change. (Also listed under Canadian Studies)


Description of course as it will be taught


In the past, courses on race and ethnicity in Canadian universities have taken a Canadian-centric perspective, focusing on non-British, non-French groupings and how they have fared in Canada.  This course attempts to move beyond this narrower perspective by incorporating a more global perspective associated with increasingly popular diaspora studies.  Diaspora studies examine the spreading out of individuals from a particular nation or region, to become immigrants in other countries, including Canada.  Thus, there is consideration of why individuals moved from their mother nation or region, the places they moved to, and their reception and experiences (both positive and negative) in their destinations.  The instructor will present information on the Japanese diaspora, the Ukrainian diaspora, the South Asian diaspora, the Roma (Gypsies), the Scottish diaspora, and possibly others.   Students will be expected to select an ethnic or minority group of interest to them, research it, make an individual or joint class presentation, and write a paper on it.

How will students be evaluated in this course?


 Midterm take-home exam. 20%

 A list of questions requiring essay answers and based on the lecture and reading material associated with the first half of the course will be given to students. You will be asked to answer one or more of them. Your answers should be typed and a maximum of 1500 words.


 Presentation (15%) and Paper (35%)

 Select a grouping of people which would be considered a racial or ethnic grouping In Canada. For both the presentation and the paper, you can choose to examine the experiences of the ethnic group in Canada, or examine the grouping from the perspective of diaspora studies, or a combination of the two. For the presentation, you will be asked to provide a reading for the class one week in advance of your scheduled presentation, and to provide presentation notes for evaluation purposes. The paper should be a minimum of 3000 words. Joint presentations (two persons maximum) and papers are expected to be more comprehensive and complete than individual efforts.


 Attendance and participation 10%

 Attendance will be taken. Unexcused absences will result in the loss of 1 point per missed class to a maximum of 5 points. Partipation will be assessed through the submission of two questions, based on the readings, for each of five different student presentations. These will be chosen randomly from all student presentations.


 Final take-home exam. 20%
 This will be in the same format as the midterm, but covering material from the second half of the course.


What are the prerequisites?

Students should have completed SOAN 1101 (or SOAN 1102 and 1103) prior to enrolling in this course. If you would like to take this course but do not have the stated prerequisites, please contact the course instructor to discuss.

When is this course offered?

This course is offered during the 2013 Winter term, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 PM until 2:45 PM.


Please contact the course instructor, Dr. Norman Okihiro.