Course Description: This course explores developments and changes in American ideas about race. How have science, social science, law, politics, art, and literature shaped definitions of race, and in turn affected race relations and racism? Considers the historical experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and white ethnic groups from the colonial era up to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Trigger Warning: The readings for this course will, at times, contain offensive language, as well as discussions of race/gender/sexuality-based violence, harassment, and sexual assault. The inclusion of readings that reference hateful language should not be construed as endorsement by the instructor, the History Department, or Simmons University. If any student has concerns, I encourage you to make an appointment to discuss them with me. If you need a more detailed list of trigger warnings, please contact me directly (no explanation necessary).
Required Materials: There are 6 required books for this course, along with supplementary readings available on Moodle. We will read all of the required books, and lecture and class will center around discussion of these readings. The books are all available through the bookstore or third-party sources.
• Bayor, ed, Race and Ethnicity in the United States: A Concise History (Columbia University Press)
• Ford, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (University of North
• Guerrero, My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope (First Square Fish)
• Bailey, The Weeping Time (U. of Cambridge)
• Nawaz, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque (Hatchett)
• Takei, They Called Us Enemy (IDW Publishing)
Follow this timetable and come to class, having completed the assigned reading indicated for that day. I strongly encourage bringing the books for the other assigned reading with you on the dates they are assigned, so that you can have them available for consultation during discussions. In addition to the readings from our assigned books, we will have occasional supplementary readings posted to Moodle.
Engagement (25%): Attendance and regular participation is expected. You may also enhance your participation grade by making good use of office hours, asking questions about material via email, and otherwise
demonstrating engagement with the course. Absence from class on dates when written assignments are due will not automatically be grounds from an excusal from the late policy. Response Paper (25%): Pick one of the four monographs we are reading this semester, and write a 4-5 page essay that responds to one of the prompts provided on Moodle. You may pick any of the four monographs, but only one essay may be submitted for credit. Due dates are noted on the syllabus. Essays should be double-spaced, use a standard 12-point font, with a maximum of 1-inch margins around. Please cite anything that is quoted, paraphrased, or is otherwise not common knowledge. You may use any recognized citation format (APA, MLA, Chicago), as long as you do it correctly. Papers should be uploaded to the link provided on Moodle. Please note that papers must be submitted correctly in order to receive credit. While I do not pre-grade, I am happy to meet with students in advance of paper assignments, or you can also meet with the TA. Feel free to make an appointment with the Writing Center if you need assistance with writing.
Game (25%): We will be working to create a Jeopardy-style game to teach the history of voting rights. Students will work in groups to develop questions for the game. Details to follow.
Final Exam (25%): There will be a cumulative take-home final exam at the end of the course. I will distribute essay questions a week to ten days in advance. You will be asked to answer two of them. You may use your books and class notes, but no outside materials. Students may not work together. Your exam should be submitted to the Moodle link by Course Schedule
Tue., Jan. 14 – Introductions/What is Race?
Thu., Jan. 16: Early Cultural Encounters
Readings: Bayor. Chs. 1 & 2, On Moodle: Pamalainen, Lakota America, Ch. 2
Tue., Jan. 21: Slavery
Readings: On Moodle: Mustakeem, Slavery at Sea, Ch. 1, Resendez, The Other Slavery, Ch. 1, Austin, African Muslims in Antebellum America, Ch. 1
Thu., Jan. 23: The Weeping Time
Reading: Bailey, The Weeping Time (entire)
Tue., Jan. 28: Race and the Enlightenment
Readings: Baylor, Ch. 2, On Moodle: Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning, 7-9; Excerpts: Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Query 11 & On The African Race).
Thu., Jan. 30: American Revolution
Readings: On Moodle: Du Val, Independence Lost, Ch. 8; Saravia, Bernado de Galvez, Ch. 4; White, Encountering Haiti, Ch. 3
Assignment Due: If you are writing one of your papers on The Weeping Time, it is due via Moodle today by 11 pm.
Tue., Feb. 4: Immigration and Citizenship in the Early Republic
Readings: Bayor, Ch. 3 & 4; On Moodle: Naturalization Act of 1790; Alien and Sedition Acts (1798)
Thu., Feb. 6: Louisiana Purchase and the First Wave of Expansion
Readings: Visit this LSU Exhibit and read through the sections. On Moodle: Vidal, Caribbean New Orleans, Conclusion
Tue., Feb. 11: 1820s
Readings: On Moodle: Hamalainen, The Comanche Empire, Ch. 4; Frank, “The Seminole Wars;” Treaty of Adams-Onis and Transcontinental Treaty
Thu., Feb. 13: Indian Removal
Readings: Green, The Politics of Indian Removal, Ch. 2, 6-8;* Lesse v. McIntosh; Cherokee Nation, Trail of
Tears Photo Exhibit; Invasion of America project
Note: The Green book is an e-Book through Simmons Library. See Moodle for the link.*
We will start watching More than Frybread in class.
Tue., Feb. 18: US-Mexico War
Readings: President James K Polk, Proclamation of War, Map of the Mexican War, Sloat, “To the Residents of California (1846);” Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Finish watching More than Frybread
Thu., Feb. 20: Slavery & Abolition
Readings: On Moodle: Carter-Jackson, Force & Freedom, Intro & Ch. 2; Spires, The Practice of Citizenship, Ch. 2
Tue., Feb. 25: The Civil War
Readings: Secession Documents; On Moodle: Merritt, Masterless Men, Ch. 6; Wright Lewis, A Curse Upon the Nation, Ch. 8
Thu., Feb. 27: Reconstruction
Readings; Reconstruction Amendments, Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors, On Moodle: Hamalainen, Lakota America, Salyer, A Starry Flagg
Tue., Mar. 3: Immigration & Imperial Expansion
Reading: Dawes Act (1887); 1897 Petition Against the Annexation of Hawai’i; Chinese Workers in America; On Moodle: Salyer, Laws as Harsh as Tigers; Lew, The Chinese Must Go, Ch. 1; Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire, Ch. 4.
Thu., Mar. 5: World War 1 & the First Red Scare
Readings; Sacco & Vanzetti; The Palmer Raids (read all links); Espionage Act of 1917; Lapina v Williams (1914); East St. Louis Riots
Tue./Thu. -10-12 Mar. – No Class Meetings. Happy Spring Break!
Tue., Mar. 17: Nativism and the Rebirth of the KKK
Readings: DPLA Source Set; the Second KKK; Native American Citizen Act (1924)
Thu., Mar. 19: The Harlem Renaissance
Readings: Garvey, 2nd Speech to the UNIA; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God [Excerpt]; Duke Ellington, Jubilee Stomp (1928).
Tue., Mar. 24: Tuskegee and the Eugenics Movement
Readings: On Moodle: Rusert, Captivating Technology, Ch. 1; Reverby, Examining Tuskegee, Ch. 1; Davis,
Women, Race, & Class, Ch. 12
Thu., Mar. 26: World War II
Readings: On Moodle: Garcia, Refugee Crisis in the Age of Genocide; Whitman, Hitler’s American Model, Ch.
1; Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire, Ch. 13; Start Reading Takei, They Called Us Enemy
Tue., Mar. 31: Japanese Internment
Readings: George Takei, They Called Us Enemy (entire); Executive Order 9066; Please also watch the original Pearl Harbor news reel; On Moodle: Wu, The Color of Success, Ch. 2
Thu., Apr. 2: The Cold War
Readings: On Moodle: Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire, Ch. 16; The Vietnam War and its Effect on Vietnamese Refugees; Friedman, “The Strange Career of Annie Lee Moss: Rethinking Race, Gender, and McCarthyism,” Journal of American History, 94:2 (Sept. 2007): 445-468
We will begin watching The Power to Heal
Tue., Apr. 7: Civil Rights
Readings: MLK, Letter from a Birmingham Jail; Rosa Parks on her arrest; Malcom X, Learning to Read; Chose and listen to two interviews from The Civil Rights History Project; Visit Mapping Inequality
Finish watching The Power to Heal
Assignment Due: If you are writing a paper on They Called Us Enemy, it is due via Moodle by 11 pm today.
Thu., Apr. 9: Liberated Threads
Readings: Ford, Liberated Threads (Entire)
Tue., Apr. 14: Foreign Policy and the Middle East
Readings: Begin reading Nawaz, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
We will begin watching Arranged
Tue., Apr. 16: Muslim After Sept 11
Readings: Nawaz, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque [Entire]
Finish watching Arranged
Thu., Apr. 21: Immigration in the 20th Century
Reading: Guerrero, My Family Divided; Review Separados/Torn Apart
Thu., Apr. 23 – Undergraduate Research Symposium / No Class Meeting
Assignment Due: If you are Writing on Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, it is due today.
Tue., Apr. 28: From Rodney King to Black Lives Matter
Readings: On Moodle: Itagaki, Civil Racism, Ch. 1; Cobbina, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, Ch. 4; Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?, Ch. 5; View at least two items from The Baltimore 2015 Uprising Archive; To Watch: Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter; Interview with John Singleton
Thu., Apr. 30: Race and Technology
Reading: Harriett, Medical Apartheid, Ch. 12; Van Oort, Captivating Technology, Ch. 9; Noble, Algorithms of Oppression, Ch. 2
Assignment Due: If you are Writing on My Family Divided, it is due via Moodle today, by 11 pm.
Exam: Your Final Exam Assignment is due by May 8. at 11 pm EST. I am unable to accept late exams outside of extenuating circumstances.
Academic Integrity: You are expected to do your own thinking, write your own words, and create your own arguments. If you use someone else’s words, ideas, or arguments, you must always make that clear in your paper using footnotes, citations, or references. Please ask if you have questions about citation. Cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Simmons Honor Board. To learn more, information is available at: http://www.simmons.edu/student-life/handbook/rights-responsibilities/honor-system.
Checking Email: You should get in the habit of checking your Simmons email regularly, and ensuring that your Moodle profile is linked to an email account you use. I sent announcements, assignments, and other course materials via email. Students are responsible for knowing the contents of those emails. Please note that due to federal privacy laws and institutional policies, I cannot discuss grades over email.
Moodle: Please make sure that you visit the course site regularly, to check for announcements, and alsoto access readings.
Late Assignment Policy: Students are responsible for making sure they understand all expectations and keep track of deadlines. Each student is eligible for a one-time 48-hour, no questions asked grace period on one written assignment.
Classroom Citizenship: The classroom is a professional environment. Uncivil conduct towards other students or the professor is a violation of the student code of conduct and will not be tolerated. Although class content will include some racist language, please be sensitive to the fact that repeating this language can make the classroom environment hostile to students from the targeted groups.
Technology: Please silence cell phones during class and refrain from texting. Laptop and tablet use should be limited to note-taking, viewing class materials, or other activities of direct relevance to the course. Also, be mindful that computers are not infallible. It is wise to save a second copy of your paper somewhere you can access it if your computer fails. Failures of technology are still subject to the late policy. Finally, class can only be recorded with advanced permission of the instructor, and recordings may only be used for study purposes. They may not be distributed at any time, in whole or in part. No exceptions.
Communication: Email is the fastest way to reach me. I respond to all messages within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday. I check email occasionally on weekends, but I may not respond quite as quickly. Please allow sufficient time for me to respond before emailing again. Please use a clear subject heading and note which class you are in in your correspondence. If you have a deadline-sensitive query, such as a request for help with an assignment, you should email me at least a few days in advance of the assignment due date.
Grades: Most assignments will be graded within two weeks. As a general rule, grades are only changed in the event of a mathematical error. When graded assignments are returned, please take the time to read your feedback before coming to me with questions or concerns about grades. If you still have concerns about your grade after reading your feedback, please write me a memo, which includes a paragraph-length response that directly addresses each of your concerns raised by your feedback, using the assignment guidelines and explaining why it merits a re-grade. I will take your concerns seriously, but there are no guarantees that your grade will be changed, and all decisions are final. Please note: I can only assign grades based on the quality of the final product, and cannot take effort, life circumstances or other factors into consideration. If you are unclear on the expectations for an assignment, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification in advance of the assignment’s deadline. You should bring any concerns about your grade to my attention within a week of receiving the graded paper back. Queries made thereafter will not be entertained