Description: We will survey U.S. history, from its beginnings to today, by exploring how race has enabled conceptions of the American nation and empire and shaped everyday practices and social interactions among different peoples. How have racial concepts, racial representations, and racial practices fundamentally defined power dynamics in the United States? From slave revolts to the Black Lives Matter movement, how have various individuals and organizations framed and pursued racial justice?
September 26 Race, Nation, Power
September 27 Readings
Dunbar-Ortiz, 1-14 [pages for week 1 uploaded only].
- George Lipsitz, “The Possessive Investment in Whiteness,” from The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), 1-23.
- “16,000 Readers Shared Their Experiences of Being Told to ‘Go Back.’ Here Are Some of Their Stories,” New York Times, July 19, 2019.
- John Eligon, “The El Paso Screed, and the Racist Doctrine Behind It,” New York Times, August 7, 2019.
- “Declaration of Independence (1776)” and “Constitution of the United States (1787),” in Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History, second ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 54-58, 85-97.
- “Naturalization Act, March 26, 1790,” in The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience, ed. Franklin Odo (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 13-14.
October 1 Founding a White Republic
October 3 Challenging and Expanding Slavery
October 4 Reading
October 8 Making Race Scientific
October 10 Civilization and Colonization
October 11 Reading
- “Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857),” in Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History, second ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 366-372.
October 15 Striking for Freedom
October 17 Reconstructing Race and Nation
October 22 Asiatic "Invasion" and Exclusion
October 24 Redeeming White Supremacy
October 25 Reading
- “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896),” in Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History, second ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 539-543.
October 31 The White Man's Burden
November 1 Readings
- Excerpts from Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923), from Ian F. Haney López, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, revised edition (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 176-182.
- Peggy Pascoe, “Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of ‘Race’ in Twentieth-Century America,” Journal of American History 83, no. 1 (June 1996): 44-69.
November 5 "Americanizing" Within and Abroad
November 7 The Rising Tide of Color
November 14 Incarcerating Aliens and Citizens
November 19 Anticommunism and White Supremacy
November 21 The Black Freedom Movement
November 26 Politics of Liberation and Repression
December 3 What's Wrong with Color Blindness?
December 5 Seeing Race, Seeking Racial Justice
December 6 Readings
- Barack Obama, “A More Perfect Union,” March 18, 2008. https://constitutioncenter.org/amoreperfectunion/docs/Race_Speech_Transcript.pdf
- Ana Mari Cauce, “We the People: Diversity, Equity and Difference at the UW,” April 16, 2015.
- American Historical Association, “Statement from the AHA on Domestic Terrorism, Bigotry, and History,” August 26, 2019.
- Robin D. G. Kelley, “Polycultural Me,” Utne Reader (September-October 1999).
- Kenneth J. Cooper, “I’m a Descendant of the Cherokee Nation’s Black Slaves. Tribal Citizenship Is Our Birthright,” Washington Post, September 15, 2017.
- Jenni Monet, “Climate Justice Meets Racism: This Moment at Standing Rock Was Decades in the Making,” Yes! Magazine, September 16, 2016.
- “Herstory” and “What We Believe” at:
- Claudia Rankine, “I Wanted to Know What White Men Thought about Their Privilege. So I Asked,” New York Times Magazine, July 17, 2019.