Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

While it is sometimes claimed that we are living in a 'post-race' world, social divisions around race and ethnicity continue to have real consequences for people's lives, opportunities and well-being. Professionals working in fields related to sociology thus require an understanding of how ideas of race and ethnicity shape social relations and inequality. This unit introduces you to the concepts of race and ethnicity from a sociological perspective, examining how race and ethnicity shape social life in Australia and globally. It focuses on how social inequalities get organised along racial and ethnic lines and considers the social and historical processes that shape our understandings of race and ethnicity. The unit will also explore the political, economic and cultural 'work' that race and ethnicity perform as social categories of difference in Australia and across the globe. The overall aim of this unit is to acquaint students with the concepts, theories and skills necessary to analyse race and ethnicity from a sociological perspective.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify different sociological approaches and perspectives relevant to the study of the impact of race and ethnicity on groups and individuals in Australia and globally (GA1, GA5) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly and comprehensively through written and oral forms (GA9) 

LO3 - Demonstrate skills in sociological analysis and critical thinking through the collection and analysis of empirical data through a range of methods (GA4, GA8) 

LO4 - Apply relevant sociological theories, concepts and evidence to the analysis of social phenomena associated with race and ethnicity (GA1, GA4, GA8) 

LO5 - Construct specific sociological arguments using relevant theories, concepts and evidence relevant to race and ethnicity (GA4, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Theories of race and ethnicity 
  • A historical perspective on the development of race, ethnicity and racial hierarchies 
  • Ethnic identities 
  • Prejudice, discrimination and racism 
  • Multiculturalism and cultural diversity 
  • Indigeneity, Indigenous peoples and settler colonialism 
  • Nationalism and national identity 
  • Migration, asylum seekers and refugees 
  • Whiteness 
  • Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia 
  • Post-race and anti-racism 
  • Anti-racist policy and legislation e.g. Australian Racial Discrimination Act 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit employs two formal ways of learning and teaching. It additionally makes use of online materials and activities to facilitate flexible and accessible supplementary learning. Lectures are structured to promote case-based learning, a format that involves collaborative deep learning. You will explore real world challenges and problems, a process that requires them to demonstrate their investigative, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Case-based learning requires learning specific theories and concepts that will complement the conceptual tools and theoretical knowledge critical to analysing divergent approaches to the sociology of race and ethnicity. Tutorials for this unit provide students opportunities for active learning. You will engage in activities including reading, writing, interrogating ideas, exploring case studies, doing role plays, debating, and giving presentations. These activities, as well as promoting acquisition, assimilation and synthesis of lecture content, are designed to build skills appropriate to second year study in Sociology. 


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes at a level suitable for second year study in Sociology.  


The assessments in this unit encourage students to apply a sociological perspective on race and ethnicity to analyse an empirical case study (analytical task), critically consider a sociological approach to race and ethnicity in an in-depth manner (written task) and demonstrate a sociological understanding of the concepts, theories and case studies covered in the unit (exam/tests). The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practice their skills and receive feedback. This assists students to develop metacognitive awareness, thereby promoting ongoing learning. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Analytical Task 

Students are required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sociological approaches to race and ethnicity by undertaking an empirical case study. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written Task 

Students are required to consider an aspect of the sociological approach to race and ethnicity in-depth via a major written task such as an essay. 


LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9 

Exam/In-class Tests 

An exam/in-class tests will assess students’ knowledge of the different topics covered in the unit.  


LO1, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Beydoun, K. A. (2018) American Islamophobia: Understanding the roots and rise of fear. Los Angeles: University of California Press. 

Boese, M. & Marotta, V. Eds. (2017) Critical reflections on migration, ‘race’ and multiculturalism: Australia in a global context. London: Routledge.  

Heiss, A. (2018) Growing up Aboriginal in Australia. Carlton: Black Inc. 

Jardina, A. (2019) White identity politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Mares, P. (2016) Not quite Australian: How temporary migration is changing the nation. Melbourne: The Text Publishing Country. 

Moran, A. (2017) The public life of Australian multiculturalism: Building a diverse nation. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.Neumann, K. (2015) Across the seas: Australia’s response to refugees: A history. Collingwood: Black Inc. 

Soutphommasane, T. (2019) On hate. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. 

Smithers, G.D. (2017) Science, sexuality and race in the United States and Australia, 1780-1940. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press. 

Wolfe, P. (2016) Traces of history: Elementary structures of race. London: Verso. 

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