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 3-Jan 6 reading assignment: 105Reader, section A
Week 2: Jan 9-Jan 13 reading assignment: 105Reader, section B
Week 3: Jan 16-Jan 20 reading assignment: 105Reader, section C
Week 4: Jan 23-Jan 27 reading assignment: 105Reader, section D
Week 5 : Jan 30-Feb 3 reading assignment: Murray, Proud Shoes, 1-136
Week 6: Feb 6-Feb 10 reading assignment: Murray, Proud Shoes, 137-end
Week 7: Feb 13-Feb 17 reading assignment: Bell, Out of This Furnace, 1-178
Week 8: Feb 20- Feb 24 reading assignment: Bell, Out of This Furnace, 179-end
Week 9: Feb 27 -Mar 3 reading assignment: 105Reader, section E
Week 10: Mar 6-Mar 10 reading assignment: 105Reader, section F
Paper prospectus: Jan 17 (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 two 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: NATIVIST MOVEMENTS/ CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS
This involves researching a political movement that has fought either to restrict or expand civil rights. It involves research in primary sources (historic newspapers) as well as in reputable secondary sources (especially books). Choose one of the movements listed below. You will record events associated with the movement in a database and write a paper about the movement’s goals and activities.
Civil Rights and labor movements:
Nativist and white supremacist movements: