English | Projects In Reading and Writing: Representing and Remembering Civil Rights
W170 | 16412 | Goldstein


16412    11:15a - 12:05p    MWF    SB 231   Kate Goldstein

TOPIC: Representing and Remembering Civil Rights

During the recent presidential election, the legacy of the civil
rights movement has been evoked, memorialized and celebrated, but
what, precisely, do these memorials tell us about the movement and
our own historical moment? In this course, we will begin by reading
civil rights era texts by authors including Martin Luther King and
James Baldwin in which they redefine American identity for
themselves and other citizens. During this collective political
movement seeking full citizenship for African Americans, the roles
available to individual people also changed. We will explore how the
visual culture and writing of the civil rights era challenged,
created, and suppressed various individual identities related to
gender, race, class, and sexuality in our reading and writing. Then,
through contemporary media and political culture, we will analyze
the complex and sometimes competing narratives which are held up as
the "real" stories and legacies of civil rights. By examining the
different contemporary narratives deployed to understand and
document the civil rights movement, we will investigate the legacy
and effects of the way we remember civil rights in contemporary
society. Our readings will include various articles, book chapters,
civil rights era essays and speeches, short stories, poetry, and
first person accounts. This semester, we will seek a variety of
answers to our inquiry question: Who and what are at stake in ways
we choose to represent and remember the Civil Rights Movement; what
are the legacies for current struggles over racial, class, and
gender identity?