This course explores contemporary political debates about minority identities with a focus on their incorporation into public politics. We will examine theories of how identities come to exist and how identity shapes and is shaped by the agenda of contemporary democratic politics. This will enable students to critically consider the place of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and foreignness in specific public policies. Policies covered include recent same-sex ballot initiatives (e.g. Proposition 8 in California), comprehensive immigration reform, wage equality, and affirmative action. Discussions will refer to primary resource policy documents as well as literary texts, film, public discourse, and images from popular and commercial culture.