Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

Political Science 42

Fall 2000



Professor Duchess Harris

Office: Old Main 213

Office: 696-6478



Course Description:

This course will open up by asking, what is "race", "ethnicity", and "politics"? We will then interrogate the concept of "Whiteness". Historically we will focus on post-1960 America and the Brown, Red, and Yellow Power Movements. We will use autobiography to explore Neuyorican politics, prison writings to examine the American Indian Movement, and theatrical performance to critique representations of the Vietnamese and Jews. We will end the course with a section on "Black and White in the 90s" where will we discuss the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings, the beating of Rodney King and the L.A. Rebellion, and finally the O. J. Simpson Trial.

This course will be conducted in a seminar format. Consequently, regular attendance, critical engagement with the assigned readings, and class participation are essential. In addition, five written assignments will be required.

Texts: (At Ruminator Bookstore)

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefanic Critical White Studies: Looking

Behind the Mirror

Jade Ngoc Quang Huynh South Wind Changing

Leonard Peltier Prison Writings: My Life is a Sun


Toni Morrison Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power

Toni Morrison Birth of a Nation-hood: Gaze, Script,

and Spectacle in the O.J. Simpson


Piri Thomas Down These Mean Streets

Robert Gooding-Williams Reading Rodney King: Reading

Urban Uprising

Requirements: These are only paper topic suggestions. I would like you to demonstrate intellectual sophistication and design you own thesis.

Paper #1 September 28, 2000

"Is it Antidemocratic to identify oneself as White?" 5-7 pages

Paper #2 October 19, 2000

Discuss the "Politics of Prison" and Masculinity in relationship to American Democracy. 5-7 pp

Piri Thomas and Leonard Peltier paper

Paper #3 November 14, 2000

Theater Review of Faces in the Mirror 3 pages

Paper #4 November 24, 2000

Should Miss Saigon be for public consumption?

Paper #5 20 Page Final Paper on either Clarence Thomas, Rodney King, or OJ