HIST E-1682 White Rage: Progress and Backlash in American History
This course examines how people struggled to achieve the full-promise of freedom throughout American history. The organizing theme of this course is the cycle of progress and retrenchment, of revolutions and counter-revolutions, that has come to define American life. The course begins with enslaved people's struggles for freedom, and the white planters who created a form of representative government to maintain the institution. From there, we proceed chronologically through American history to the present, exploring changing notions of community, strategies used to gain freedom, and the range of violent responses that groups seeking liberation encountered. Our readings include a play by Suzan Lori-Parks, manifestos by white power advocates, George Schuyler's novel Black No More, essays by Toni Morrison, political speeches, and oral history interviews with formerly enslaved people and migrant workers, among many other historical and literary sources. While race has been an important element to every debate about political representation in American history, most debates represented overlapping interests of race, gender, class, and even sexuality. As such, we take up each issue throughout the semester.