History | Race and Citizenship in United States History
A379 | 12060 | J. Warren
Race and citizenship are both historically constructed ideas.
Neither has a fixed definition but are constructed and employed in
relation to particular historical settings. Thus the meaning of race
and citizenship and the significance of each idea changes over time.
This course will examine the mutual construction of race and
citizenship to help expose some of the fundamental political
contradictions upon which the United States was founded. Citizenship
will be a useful lens in this endeavor for two reasons. First,
citizenship offers an arena in which everyday, social understandings
of rights meets “top-down” policies of official law and government.
Second, citizenship offers a broad view of the history of American
practices of inclusion and exclusion based on notions of identity
and /or “type”. We will cover a wide span of time, beginning with
the British colonies in early America, and ending with the modern
U.S. in the late twentieth century. We will not attempt to cover
every aspect of American history. Rather, this course will highlight
specific moments and events in U.S. history where race and
citizenship were highly contested terrains at the level of law,
social and cultural practice, and historical memory.
Class assignments will be structured around a variety of article-
length readings, in-class analysis of primary documents, discussions
of texts and films, and exams based on reading and lecture material.
Students will be asked to engage the readings through written
responses and in-class discussions. Grades will be based on class
participation, written reading responses (1-2 pages in length), and
in-class exams (primarily in essay format).