Department of
Political Science


Online Readings


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

POL S 555: Am Pol Graduate Seminar
Minority Political Behavior

Tuesday 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm, Savery Hall 155

Professor: Matt A. Barreto
Office: Gowen 148
Office Hours: Thurs 10:00am

Course Description:

This is a graduate seminar for students interested in how minority group identity influences political behavior. We will define minority group identity broadly, covering race, ethnicity, immigrant status, religion, gender, sexual orientation. While a majority of the existing scholarship has tended to focus on African American, Latino, Asian American, and White political participation, the course will not be limited to only these topics. We will take up the role of gender, sexuality, and religion as each impacts the political development, attitudes, and behavior in American politics.

This seminar will examine the history and contemporary role of minority groups in the U.S. political system. We will focus on political relationships between Whites, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans as they relate to political participation, party affiliation, voting coalitions, and public opinion, in addition to other groups referenced above. 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.

Books / Articles:

Each week there will be required readings from one or more of these books and scholarly journals. Readings should be done for the day they are assigned. Readings from journal articles will be accessible online via JSTOR, Google Scholar, or the course website. The complete, week-by-week reading list is posted on the course website.

  • Tate, Katherine. 2003. Black Faces in the Mirror. Princeton University Press.
  • Dawson, Michael. 1994. Behind the Mule. Princeton University Press.
  • DeSipio, Louis. 1996. Counting on the Latino Vote. University of Virginia Press.
  • Fraga, Luis et. al. 2010. Latino Lives in America. Temple University Press.
  • Wong, Janelle. 2006. Democracy’s Promise. University of Michigan Press.
  • Wong, Janelle, et. al. 2011. Asian American Political Participation. Russell Sage Foundation.


    Research outline (1 page)			Cr/NC
    Research prospectus (5 pages)		Cr/NC
    Research paper presentation			30 points
    Final Paper (20 pages +/-)			70 points
    TOTAL					100 points

    Course Outline: (subject to change)
    TODAY		Sept 28			First Day of Class
    Week 1		Oct 5			Historical exclusion of minorities
    Week 2		Oct 12			1 page research outline due / discuss in class
    							Early research on minority/ethnic politics
    Week 3		Oct 19			Black Politics 1
    Week 4		Oct 26 			Black Politics 2
    Week 5		Nov 2			Latino Politics 1
    Week 6		Nov 9			5 page research outline due / discuss in class
    							Latino Politics 2
    Week 7		Nov 16 			Asian American Politics
    Week 8		Nov 23			Gender / Sexuality as minority politics
    Week 9		Nov 30			Religion and Politics
    Week 10		Dec 7			15 minute presentation of research findings
    Finals		Dec 14			15 minute presentation of research findings
    							Final paper due Friday, Dec 16 by 5:00pm