THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED STATES
Professor James Gregory
See Pages at left for lecture slides, sample exams, and other materials
This course explores the history of American diversity. Covering five centuries, it examines the sequences of immigration and conquest that eventually made the United States one of the most ethnically and racially complicated societies on earth. The consequences of diversity are another theme of the course. We will discuss both the contributions of various peoples and the conflicts between them, paying special attention to the historical construction of race and ethnicity and the changing understandings of American citizenship. "What is an American?" each generation has asked, usually answering in terms that are new to their era.
HSTAA 105 earns writing course w-credits and satisfies the I&S and Diversity (DIV) requirements. The course also fulfills requirements for the UW Diversity Minor. If you have questions about that program, please see the webpage http://depts.washington.edu/divminor or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASSIGNMENTS: Grades will be based on four elements: a midterm, final, research paper, and participation in discussion section. All assignments are mandatory; failure to complete any assignment will make it impossible to pass the course. The research paper and final exam will each count for 30% of the grade; the midterm and discussion section will each contribute 20%.
Due dates are subject to change:
NOTE: Recording lectures or class discussions is allowed only under special circumstances and with the express permission of the instructor.
SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND LECTURES
Week 1: Jan 4-Jan 8 reading assignment: 105Reader, section A
Week 2: Jan 11-Jan 15 reading assignment: 105Reader, section B
Week 3: Jan 18-Jan 22 reading assignment: 105Reader, section C
Week 4: Jan 25-Jan 29 reading assignment: 105Reader, section D
Week 5 : Feb 1-Feb 5 reading assignment: Murray, Proud Shoes, 1-136
Week 6: Feb 8-Feb 12 reading assignment: Murray, Proud Shoes, 137-end
Week 7: Feb 15-Feb 19 reading assignment: Bell, Out of This Furnace, 1-178
Week 8: Feb 22- Feb 26 reading assignment: Bell, Out of This Furnace, 179-end
Week 9: Feb 29 -Mar 4 reading assignment: 105Reader, section E
Week 10: Mar 7-Mar 11 reading assignment: 105Reader, section F
Paper prospectus: Jan 19 (Tuesday)—a 1-page description of your project
The research paper assignment accounts for 30% of the course grade. You may choose between two kinds of projects: a family history project or a civil rights movement project.
Option 1: FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT
This involves research into your family's history. Pauli Murray’s book, Proud Shoes, is an example of what family research can yield. Family documents and interviews with relatives will be the major sources for this assignment, and they must be supplemented with library research. Collecting family stories is only part of this assignment. The idea is to use your family’s history to illustrate some of the concepts developed in this course. The family stories you tell must be used to discuss one or more of the following issues and concepts that will be explained in lectures over the coming weeks:
Identity issues: "ethnic pride," "cultural retention/change," "varieties of Americanism," "passing," "evaporating ethnicity," "compiled ethnicity," "expanding whiteness"
Citizenship issues : "struggles for equality, " "xenophobia, " "exile politics," "14th Amendment, " "using politics," "expanding pluralism"
Economic issues : “job ghetto,” "ethnic enterprise, " "ethnic privilege, " "immigrant resources," "productive stereotypes, " "the educational divide"
Gendered ethnic issues : "gendered stereotypes," "gendered identity pathways," "gendered cultural guardians," "intermarriage"
Here are some ways to think about connecting a family story to the issues of this course: Does your family background lend itself to a discussion of immigration and Americanization? Think about the issues involved in coming to America and becoming American. Cultural conflicts and identity negotiations will probably be the focus of your analysis. Pay attention to national background, generations, gender, class, and other factors and conditions that might have affected your family's experience.
Some family backgrounds lend themselves to examinations of struggles for basic rights. Perhaps there are family experiences with prejudice and discrimination or perhaps there were ancestors who benefited from the oppression of others. In either case you will want to think about the historical context and try to understand how your family story fits into the changing patterns of pluralism and ethnocentrism that mark different eras. You may also have an opportunity to discuss the political forces that have changed the fabric of rights and opportunities.
Some of you will be intrigued by family stories about changing economic status, about struggles to attain wealth, position, or a better living. If so, you will want to pay attention to ethnic enterprises and perhaps ethnic privilege. Think beyond the purely personal aspects of these accounts. What events and conditions helped shape opportunities? How did ethnic connections and communities contribute to the family's experiences?
Some may choose to examine complicated genealogies that stretch back many generations. Here you may find opportunities to discuss issues of intermarriage, cultural retention or ethnic evaporation, and any number of other concepts.
Library research is a required part of this assignment. You will need to set your family's stories in historical context, which means reading about the time periods and also ethnic groups you will be discussing. Here is a list of books that can serve as reference works. Your paper should include at least three book citations.
The final result should be 8-10 typed pages. It should be logically organized and well written. Good ideas do not count if they are not readily understood. All quotations and specific references require citations. Here is a brief guide to Chicago style footnotes and endnotes. Be sure to edit your work. There is no excuse for sloppy grammar, spelling, or typing. Warning: be very careful about plagiarism. I enforce a zero tolerance rule when it comes to any form of cheating.
Option 2: CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT PROJECT
This involves researching one of the civil rights movements listed below using online or microfilm newspapers. You will record events associated with the movement in a database and write a paper about the movement’s goals and activities that is based both on your primary source research and a few suggested secondary sources (books or historical articles). Choose one of the following civil rights movements:
NOTE: Students choosing the civil rights movement projects will work directly with Prof. Gregory who will demonstrate research techniques, clarify sources, and tailor the scope of each project. Students completing successful projects may be invited to publish their work on the Mapping American Social Movements through the 20th Century, an online digital history project sponsored by the History Department.