HISTORY 50-01: HISTORIANS AND RACE

Macalester College Fall Semester 2000

MWF 10:50 — 11:50 AM Old Main 001

Peter Rachleff 306 Old Main 696-6371 rachleff@macalester.edu

Annie Silverstein (student writing assistance) 690-5610 asilverstein@macalester.edu

What is "race"? What is "racism"? Even as these terms have received increased scholarly attention in the last decade, they have also been problematized. Can we use them with confidence in their meanings? Many disciplines — sociology, anthropology, and biology, in particular — have offered answers to these questions.

This course, designed for students new to college-level history, is intended to explore how historians, particularly but not exclusively U.S. historians, have brought their interest in change over time, their attention to the relationship between economics, politics, social institutions, and culture, and their search for primary sources together in an effort to understand "race" and "racism." Since the historians themselves — their arguments, their frameworks, their sources — will be the focus of our attention, students will learn as much about the discipline of history as they will learn about "race" and "racism." They will also get an introduction to the History Department at Macalester, and the diverse ways we practice this discipline and approach these issues.

This course also has a number of other pedagogical goals. As a first year seminar, it should serve to introduce you to the nature of intellectual work at Macalester. There will be a substantial reading load, drawing on a variety of writings ranging from classic to contemporary, some of which will be challenging and difficult. Class sessions will include lectures, discussions, small group work, and oral presentations. Students will be assigned a number of papers, some of which they may undertake collaboratively, and they will be offered mentorship by a student writing assistant, senior Annie Silverstein. Students may choose to revise and resubmit some of these papers, both for the experience of rewriting and for improved grades. Students will also be offered opportunities to explore the Twin Cities communities beyond the campus and to reflect in class on their new experiences. Grades will depend on class participation and student papers.

The subject matter in this course will, at times, delve into difficult topics, and it is important that we maintain, in the classroom, and students maintain, in the dormitory, a civil environment in which it is possible to express ourselves without fear of proscription. We — all of us — are still learning how to understand and express ourselves in terms of our racial identities, locations, experiences, and relationships. This course is intended to provide a safe space in which we can continue to grow.

The following books will be required reading:

Robin D.G. Kelley, Yo’ Mama’s Disfunktional

C.L.R. James, Black Jacobins

Alden Vaughan, Roots of American Racism

Darlene Clark Hine, Hine Sight

W.E.B. DuBois, Black Reconstruction in America

Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore

Neil Foley, The White Scourge

Matthew Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color

Daily syllabus

(caution: subject to change)

 

Saturday, 9/2 Introduction to the course. Introduction to each other.

Wednesday, 9/6 Meeting a Historian of Race: Who is Robin Kelley? What is Yo’

Mama’s Disfunktional about? How does it work as an argument?

Bring in the background information you have dug up about Kelley,

his other work and criticisms of his work. Be prepared to discuss

such questions as: To whom has he written this book? What does he

want to convince them/you/us of? What is the relationship between

past, present, and future in this book? How does Kelley use the

discipline of history to analyze culture? How does Kelley

conceptualize the relationships between class, race, gender, and

sexuality? What kinds of sources does Kelley use? How does he

read, interpret, and apply them? What is Kelley’s critique of the

notion of an "underclass"?

Friday, 9/8 Placing Kelley’s work in context.

Bring in notes you have taken about such films as "Hoop Dreams,"

"Basquiat," "Summer of Sam," and "White Boyz." Be prepared to

discuss questions about your home communities and your own

experiences. How is whiteness defined in relationship to blackness

in your home communities? What are the dominant images and

representations of people of color that circulate in your communities?

Who produces them? How are they circulated? What impact do they

have? How did Reagan era economics impact your home

communities? How has the Clinton era "boom" impacted your

communities? Who has benefitted from these changes? Who has

fallen behind?

Sunday, 9/10 7:00 PM (optional) "Sankofa"

Monday, 9/11 Placing ourselves in context.

Bring in questions you have about Kelley’s work. Be prepared to

discuss: When did you realize that you were white/black/latino/

asian/bi-racial, etc.? What experiences brought you to this

realization?

Wednesday, 9/13 Race in the New World: A Contested Terrain

Be prepared to discuss: Black Jacobins, Prefaces, Prologue, I, II, III

Friday, 9/15 Race in the New World: A Contested Terrain

Be prepared to discuss: Black Jacobins, IV & V

Essay assignment #1 will be handed out, due 9/22 in class

Sunday, 9/17 7:00 PM (optional) "Africans in America" (I)

Monday, 9/18 Race in the New World: A Contested Terrain

Be prepared to discuss: Black Jacobins, VI — IX

Monday 9/18 7:00 PM (required) Meeting with all students in Intro level

History courses in Olin-Rice 250

Wednesday, 9/20 Race in the New World: A Contested Terrain

Be prepared to discuss: Black Jacobins, X — XIII

Friday, 9/22 Historians and Race: An Imagined Dialogue

Hand in essay #1 in class

Be prepared to discuss: What would C.L.R. James and Robin

Kelley say to each other about race and racism? Review:

Black Jacobins, "Appendix," and Yo’ Mama, "Intro"

Sunday, 9/24 7:00 PM (optional) "Africans in America" (II)

Monday, 9/25 Roots of Racism in Early U.S. History

Be prepared to discuss: Roots of Racism, 1 — 4

Wednesday, 9/27 Race, Racism, and Racial Identities

Be prepared to discuss: Nancy Shoemaker, "How Indians Got to Be

Red," American Historical Review 102:3 (June 1997)

Friday, 9/29 Roots of Racism in Early U.S. History

Be prepared to discuss: Roots of Racism, 5-6-7

Sunday, 10/1 7:00 PM (optional) "Africans in America" (III)

Monday, 10/2 Roots of Racism in Early U.S. History

Be prepared to discuss: Roots of Racism, 8-9-10

Essay assignment #2 will be handed out, due 10/13

Monday, 10/2 7:00 PM (required) Meeting with all students in Intro level

History courses in Olin-Rice 250

Wednesday, 10/4 Slavery, Race, Gender, Racism, and Sexism

Be prepared to discuss: Hine Sight, Preface, Intro, Part 1

Friday, 10/6 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss: Black Reconstruction, I, II, III

Sunday, 10/8 7:00 PM (optional) "Africans in America" (IV)

Monday, 10/9 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss: Black Reconstruction, IV & V

Wednesday, 10/11 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss; Black Reconstruction, VI & VII

Friday, 10/13 Race, Class, and the Study of History

Discussion

Essay assignment #2 due by 5:00 PM today

Sunday, 10/15 7:00 PM (optional) "Night John"

Monday, 10/16 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss: Black Reconstruction, VIII & IX

Wednesday, 10/18 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Prepare in class: Brief oral summaries of chapters X-XI-XII-XIII

Friday, 10/20 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Brief oral presentations in class: chapters X-XI-XII-XIII

Sunday, 10/22 7:00 PM (optional) "Amistad"

Monday, 10/23 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss: Black Reconstruction, XIV & XV

Wednesday, 10/25 Race, Class, and Reconstruction

Be prepared to discuss: Black Reconstruction, XVI & XVII

Friday, 10/27 NO CLASS — FALL BREAK

Monday, 10/30 Race, Gender, Racism and Sexism

Be prepared to discuss: Hine Sight, Parts 2 and 3

Wednesday, 11/1 Race, Gender, Racism, and Sexism

Be prepared to discuss: Hine Sight, Part 4

Friday, 11/3 Race, Immigration, and Asian Americans

Be prepared to discuss: Strangers From a Different Shore,

Preface, 1 and 2

Sunday, 11/5 7:00 PM (optional) "Glory"

Monday, 11/6 Race, Immigration, and Asian Americans

Be prepared to discuss: Strangers From a Different Shore, 3 and 4

Monday, 11/6 7:00 PM (required) Meeting with all students in Intro level

History courses in Olin-Rice 250

Wednesday, 11/8 Race, Immigration, and Asian Americans

Small groups in class: Strangers From a Different Shore, 5 — 9

Friday, 11/10 Race, Immigration, and Asian Americans

Small groups in class: Strangers From a Different Shore, 5 — 9

Sunday, 11/12 7:00 PM (optional) "Burn"

Monday, 11/13 Race, Immigration, and Asian Americans

Oral presentations in class: Strangers From a Different Shore, 5 — 9

Wednesday, 11/15 Meet in Library Basement: Manuscript Census of Population

Essay assignment #3 will be handed out, due 11/29

Friday, 11/17 Theorizing "Whiteness"

Be prepared to discuss: David Roediger, "’Neither a Servant Nor a

Master Am I’: Keywords in the Language of White Labor

Republicanism," in The Wages of Whiteness; Grace Elizabeth

Hale, "’History’ as the Autobiography of Southern Whiteness,"

in Making Whiteness; and George Lipsitz, "The Possessive

Investment in Whiteness," in The Possessive Investment in

Whiteness.

Sunday, 11/19 7:00 PM (optional) "Beloved"

Monday, 11/20 Race Three Ways: White, Black, and Latino

Be prepared to discuss: The White Scourge, Preface, Intro, 1-3

Wednesday, 11/22 Race Three Ways: White, Black, and Latino

Be prepared to discuss: The White Scourge, 4-5-6

Friday, 11/24 NO CLASS — THANKSGIVING

Monday, 11/27 Race Three Ways: White, Black, and Latino

Be prepared to discuss: The White Scourge, 7,8, and Conclusion

Wednesday, 11/29 Film: "Salt of the Earth"

Essay assignment #3 due by 5:00 PM today

Friday, 12/1 Race, Immigration, Ethnicity, and Whiteness

Be prepared to discuss: Whiteness of a Different Color, Intro,1-2

Sunday, 12/3 7:00 PM (optional) "Ethnic Notions

Monday, 12/4 Race, Immigration, Ethnicity, and Whiteness

Be prepared to discuss: Whiteness of a Different Color, 3-4-5

Hand out essay assignment #4, due 12/15

Monday, 12/4 7:00 PM (required) Meeting with all students in Intro level

History courses in Olin-Rice 250

Wednesday, 12/6 Race, Immigration, Ethnicity, and Whiteness

Be prepared to discuss: Whiteness of a Different Color, 6-7

Friday, 12/8 Race, Immigration, Ethnicity, and Whiteness

Be prepared to discuss: Whiteness of a Different Color, 8 & Epi

Monday, 12/11 Race and the New Immigration

Be prepared to discuss: Strangers From a Different Shore, 10-11

Wednesday, 12/13 Race and the New Immigration

Be prepared to discuss: Strangers From a Different Shore, 12-13

Friday, 12/15 Historians and Race: Final Discussion

Essay assignment #4 due by 5:00 PM today