Honors | Confronting Authority
H204 | 0013 | D. Rome
This section meets with HON H228
This course charters the unfinished agenda of a nation still
struggling to come to terms with the consequences of its history of
relations between African and white Americans. In many ways, this
history has left a legacy of pain, and this course would be remiss if
it did not acknowledge and emphasize that fact. In this class, we will
discuss many improvements in the economic, political and social
position of African Americans. We also will discuss the continuance of
conditions of poverty, segregation, discrimination and social
fragmentation of the most serious proportions.
Contemporary views of the status of black-white relations in America
vary widely. Perspectives range from optimism that the main problems
have been solved, to the view that African American progress is
largely an illusion, to assessments that the nation is retrogressing
and moving toward increased racial disparities. To some observers, the
present situation is only another episode in a long history of
recurring cycles of apparent improvement that are followed by new
forms of dominance in changed contexts: the level of African American
status changes, it is said, but the one constant is African Americans'
continuing subordinate social position. To other observers, the
opposite conception is correct: long-run progress is the dominant
trend. Listening to these discordant views, reasonable students of
social life may well wonder what, indeed, is the case. To this serious
question this course seeks to bring to bear a large compilation of
facts and analyses. It would be unrealistic to expect all students to
agree with all positions articulated throughout the semester.
Hence, it is expected that students will gain knowledge of those
complex problems that have confronted the African American community
and at the same time have a greater understanding of the struggle of
African Americans and the impact African Americans have had on
recurring freedom for all Americans. Further, it is also expected that
students will increase their ability to analyze, assess, and interpret
contemporary policy-decisions that have relevancy for all Americans.
Required Texts (Subject to Changes):
Bell, Derrick. 1992. Race, Racism and American Law. 3rd Edition.
Little Brown and Company: Boston.
Berry, Mary Frances. 1994. Black Resistance/White Law: A History of
Constitutional Racism in America. Penguin: New York.
Higginbotham, Leon A. Jr. 1996. Shades of Freedom: Racial Politics
and Presumptions of the American Legal Process. Oxford University
Press: New York
In addition, students are required to purchase a reading packet which
contain additional readings.
Students will be asked to write four, 3-5 page papers to present their
reflections of materials covered within a given period. Students'
papers should include a demonstration of their comprehension of
information presented in class lectures, readings, films, class
discussions/debates and presentations by guest lecturers. These papers
should not be mere summaries; instead, impressions felt or conclusions
reached as a result of readings, lectures, etc. Students will be asked
to read parts of their papers to the class.
Students are also required to participate in class debates and
"simulated-society" activities. There are also a couple of field-trips
scheduled as well as late evening films. Students will receive a tour
of both the main library and the Black Culture Center Library.
Students are expected to utilize both libraries.