Teaching Race & History: Institute Courses 2017-18

African Americans and Sports (Spring 2018)


MW 4 – 5:15pm, Bowden Hall 116

This course explores the struggles and political symbolism of African American athletes in times of social upheaval from the 1890s through the present. We will interrogate how black sports figures have used their skills, barrier-breaking presences, and celebrity to engage in campaigns for racial uplift, defy class conventions, promote the expansion of citizenship and civil rights, and challenge expectations of normative gender performance and sexuality within and beyond the playing arena. We will study the experiences and perspectives of those who have resisted political participation. We will see how activists, journalists, and government officials have coopted the images and abilities of black sportswomen and sportsmen to facilitate their own gains. We will trace how African American athletes have carried the aspirations and anxieties of the nation on their shoulders.

This course is cross-listed with American studies and history.

Latino/a Civil Rights Movements (Spring 2018)


TTh 11:30am – 12:45pm, Tarbutton 218

This course will outline the major ideas, movements, and events in twentieth century Latina/o civil rights history. From the Congreso Mexicanista in 1911 to the Chicana/o and Puerto Rican civil rights movements to the current Immigrant rights movement, Latina/o communities have a long history of organizing for citizenship rights and pushing back against racial discrimination. In this course, we will explore a variety of thematic, theoretical, and methodological approaches currently alive in American history, cultural studies, and ethnic studies as we interrogate the ways in which im/migration, religion, labor, race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, sports, and popular culture have served as critical arenas in shaping Latina/o civil rights history. Particular attention will be paid to how Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and other Latino groups have experienced racialization, how they have interacted with one another across place, space, and time, and the democratic movements they organized for civil rights. To trace the origins, development, and varying historiographic trends in Latina/o history is no small task and requires us to view our class meeting as a political space. By that I mean that we will explore what the past can teach us about the future, what recent demographic trends tell us about the future of the United States, and how Latina/o cultures are “remapping” American history.

This course is cross-listed with American studies, Latin & Caribbean studies, history, and sociology.

Race, Sex, & Citizenship (Spring 2018)


TTh 10:30am – 11:15pm, Bowden 118

This course will help students answer questions about who was defined as a citizen and in what historical context. The demands of civil rights activists for equality and legal status have transformed the U.S. Constitution and shaped state practices and institutions. We will read prize-winning legal histories, landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, and readings in the field of disability studies to explore the social construction of race, gender, sexuality, ability and disability, as well as the power of notions such as “ablebodiedness” to limit citizenship. We will discuss questions such as: How did struggles for suffrage and the resulting Constitutional amendments change the legal and political status of African Americans from Reconstruction to the present? How did African Americans demand enforcement of their rights? Why were immigrants’ “disabled” bodies screened, assessed and rejected? How and why were all Asian immigrants denied the right to become U.S. citizens until World War II? Similarly, how, why, and when did women become full citizens? How were subordination and difference produced by the state and how did non-dominant communities challenge their subjecthood?

This course is cross-listed with history, American studies, and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.