History 723: Literature of American History: The Twentieth Century

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History 768: Race in America
Professor Tracy Teslow
Winter 2010
6:30 – 9:10 p.m. Tuesday
323 McMicken
Office hours: Tuesday 4:30-5:30 p.m. and Thursday 2:30-3:30 p.m., and by appointment
310D McMicken Hall
tel: 556-2557
email: [email protected]
Description
In this course we will approach the study of race in/and American history by looking at this large
topic from a variety of perspectives, reading select monographs and articles, including work that
raises provocative conceptual issues. We will explore content and method, themes and debates, in
the literature on race in America and consider broadly what constitutes historical, scholarly inquiry
about this fraught, complex topic. Through close reading and discussion of influential texts we will
explore a range of topics and approaches, examining their assumptions and goals, virtues and
shortcomings. We will study the disparate ways historians conceive and execute their projects,
considering their arguments in terms of historiographical debates, questions posed, evidence
marshaled, theory deployed, and other methodological concerns.
This seminar is devoted as much to the historiographical and conceptual problems of doing the
history of race, as about the history of race itself. To that end, we will read work by scholars from a
range of disciplines that raise questions about how to write the history of race, and how to
conceptualize the idea of race (what is race? how is it analytically similar or different from sex and
gender? how should we talk about it?), as well as what our role is as scholars in the larger landscape
of race in America (are we reproducing race ourselves?).
Required Readings
 Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs Gender, Race, and Power
in Colonial Virginia, Chapel Hill, NC: Published for the Institute of Early American History
and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 1996
 Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, New York:
Oxford University Press, 1993
 Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Chicago:
University of Chicago, 2004
 David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class,
London; New York: Verso, 1991 (revised editions 1999, 2007)
 Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996
 Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, eds., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, Albany, NY:
State University of New York Press, 2007 (Recommended purchase/borrow)
 Articles will be posted as pdfs on Blackboard (http://blackboard.uc.edu). Many also are
available online via JSTOR and other databases.
All required books are available at the University and DuBois bookstores. You may want to
investigate purchasing your books online via sites such as Alibris, Abebooks, and Half Price Books,
which may have good used copies.
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Course Structure, Assignments, Grading
Reading
This class is a seminar devoted to in-depth discussion of the weekly reading. You will be expected to
read at least one book or a number of articles each week. Following the introductory class meeting,
the course is divided into three segments, each beginning with a set of readings that raise conceptual
and theoretical issues, followed by two weeks devoted to key monographs or articles.
Discussions
Each of you will take a turn leading our weekly discussion by posing questions, making observations
and raising topics related to the week’s readings for us to discuss. There is no need to summarize
reading(s); you should focus your preparation by critically appraising the week’s reading, considering
notable themes, the authors’ arguments, conceptual or theoretical positions, method and sources,
strengths and weaknesses. Monographs and articles should also be assessed in light of the analytical
concepts introduced in the readings assigned in weeks 1, 2, 5, and 8, as relevant.
Essays
After each course segment, you will write a 6-7 page analytical essay that grapples with the issues and
history we’ve worked on in that section of the seminar. There will be three of these papers, for
which I will provide a prompt.
Grading
Participation
Essays (3 x 20% each)
Discussion leading
30%
60%
10%
100%
Please note:
 Plagiarism is not allowed and may result in a failing grade for the course. Plagiarism entails
presenting others’ work as your own—whether that of your roommate, work obtained on the
internet, or material from a book or article. You need not copy an entire paper or article to
commit plagiarism—any identifiable portion of text that you include in your essay without
proper attribution constitutes plagiarism and is grounds for action. If you are unclear about what
constitutes plagiarism, please consult guidelines in the Student Code of Conduct or talk to me.
 Late papers. Papers turned in after the due date without prior approval will be penalized.
Exceptions will be made only in the case of hardship or illness. Every effort should be made to
notify me in advance.
COURSE SCHEDULE
Week 1: Introduction (Jan. 5)
 Peter Erickson “Seeing White,” Transition, No. 67, (1995), pp. 166-185.
SEGMENT 1: WHAT IS RACE? CLASS, IDEOLOGY + IGNORANCE
Week 2 (Jan. 12)
 Essays from Shannon Sullivan and Nancy Tuana, eds., Race and the Epistemologies of Ignorance,
Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007: Charles Mills, “White Ignorance,”
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p. 11-38; Linda Martin Alcoff, “Epistemologies of Ignorance: Three Types,” p. 39-58;
Harvey Cormier, “Ever Not Quite: Unfinished Theories, Unfinished Societies, and
Pragmatism,” p. 59-76; Alison Bailey, “Strategic Ignorance,” p. 77-94. [pdfs on Blackboard]
 Barbara Fields, “Ideology and Race in American History,” in Region, Race, and Reconstruction:
Essays in honor of C. Vann Woodward, edited by J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson,
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 143-177.
 Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, “African-American Women's History and the Metalanguage
of Race,” Signs, vol. 17, no. 2 (Winter 1992), p. 251-274.
Week 3 (Jan. 19)
 David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class,
London; New York: Verso, 1991.
Week 4 (Jan. 26)
 Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, New York:
Oxford University Press, 1993.
Essay #1 DUE: Wednesday, Feb. 3 by 5:00 p.m. via Blackboard Digital Dropbox
SEGMENT 2: RACE + GENDER, NATION, COLONY
Week 5 (Feb. 2)
 Nancy Stepan, “Race, Gender, Science and Citizenship,” in Gender & History, vol. 10, no. 1,
April 1998, pp. 26-52.
 Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Questions in Feminism and the
Privilege of Partial Perspective,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature,
Routledge, 1991, p. 183-202.
 Donna Haraway, “Race: Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture,” in Modest [email protected]
Millenium. FemaleMan Meets Oncomouse, New York; London: Routledge, 1997, p. 213-266.
 Patricia Hill Collins, “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation,”
Hypatia, Journal of Feminist Philosophy 13(3) Summer 1998, p. 62-82.
Week 6 (Feb. 9)
 Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs Gender, Race, and Power
in Colonial Virginia, Chapel Hill, NC: Published for the Institute of Early American History
and Culture by the University of North Carolina Press, 1996
Week 7 (Feb. 16)
 Ann Laura Stoler, “Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the
Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and
History, vol. 34, no. 2, (1992), p. 514-51.
 Warwick Anderson, “Excremental Colonialism: Public Health and the Poetics of Pollution,”
Critical Inquiry 21 (1995), p. 640-69.
 Nayan Shah, “Between ‘Oriental Depravity’ and ‘Natural Degenerates’: Spatial Borderlands
and the Making of Ordinary Americans,” American Quarterly, Volume 57, Number 3,
(September 2005), p. 703-725.
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Essay #2 DUE: Wednesday, Feb. 24 by 5:00 p.m. via Blackboard Digital Dropbox
SEGMENT 3: RACE + THE SCHOLAR
Week 8 (Feb. 23)
 Ann Laura Stoler, “Racial Histories and their Regimes of Truth,” Political Power and Social
Theory, vol. 11, (1997), p. 183-206.
 Virginia Dominguez, “A Taste for ‘the Other’: Intellectual Complicity in Racializing
Practices,” Current Anthropology, vol. 35, no .4, (1994), p. 333-348.
 Elizabeth Spelman, “Managing Ignorance,” p. 119-131, Lucius T. Outlaw (Jr.), “Social
Ordering and the Systematic Production of Ignorance,” p. 197-211, in Shannon Sullivan and
Nancy Tuana, eds., Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, Albany, NY: State University of New
York Press, 2007
Week 9 (Mar. 2)
 Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Week 10 (Mar. 9)
 Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Chicago:
University of Chicago, 2004.
Essay #3 DUE: Tuesday, Mar. 16 by 5:00 p.m. via Blackboard Digital Dropbox
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