American Studies | Comparative American Identities / Topic: Comparative Racialization in the United States
A200 | 11958 | Barwick, Clark


3 cr. hrs. (A&H)
Tues./Wed./Thurs. 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois predicted that the "problem of the color-
line" would be America's greatest challenge in the twentieth
century. During Du Bois's time, many Americans viewed race primarily
as a white-black issue. However, as America has become more complex,
there is less consensus as to exactly what terms such as "race,"
"racial identity," and "racism" actually mean. For instance, what
social and political value do categories such as "Asian American"
or "African American" continue to hold in today's age? Can we
establish any basic shared experiences among Americans of color? How
do whites perform their "whiteness"? And what happens when Americans
identify with more than one racial and/or national heritage?

In this course, we will place a number of perspectives--from
anthropologists, to Supreme Court justices, to filmmakers, to
activists--in conversation, in order to establish a workable history
of race in America and to enrich our understanding of how race is
learned, experienced, and lived. Emphasis will be placed on how race
is constructed in popular culture, and we will look at texts ranging
from fiction by Junot Diaz and Bharati Mukherjee, to films by Spike
Lee and Wes Anderson, to recent episodes of South Park and The
Office.