Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Theme: What was the most important expression of U.S. citizenship for Americans of African descent?
This course traces the process by which people of African descent gained and embodied roles as U.S. citizens. Throughout this semester, we will discuss major books and articles on African American history and analyze many of the primary sources on which those histories are based. These readings will help you understand how African Americans improved their economic standing, environmental health, social mobility, and political power. The class topics will range from the era known as the "nadir of race relations" through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. At the end of the semester, you will apply your knowledge of African American history by answering the theme question through an essay and exam questions.
Prerequisite: HIST 1301 or HIST 1302 or HIST 2301 or HIST 2330 or HIST 2331 or equivalent.
â€¢ John Hope Franklin and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, From Slavery to Freedom, ninth edition (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2011) ISBN: 0072963786
â€¢ Thomas C. Holt and Elsa Barkley Brown, Major Problems in African-American History: From Freedom to "Freedom Now," 1865-1990s (2000) ISBN: 0669249912
Other assigned texts may be added or placed on course reserve.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Grades will be determined through two short reading exercises (18% of your grade), two essays (30% of your grade), a group assignment (12% of your grade), and two exams (40% of your grade). Each assignment helps you practice skills that will be useful on later assignments or exams. The reading exercises are outlined notes to help you summarize two of the assigned primary sources. The two page essay gives you an opportunity to reflect on a week's worth of readings and answer that week's main question. For the longer essay, you will revise your earlier argument as part of your answer to the topic question of the course. The group assignment will ask you to create a public service announcement that could educate and motivate African Americans regarding one crucial aspect of citizenship. You will cooperate with one or two classmates and create a short announcement in print, audio, or video format. Finally, the midterm and final exams will include identification and short answer questions about the course readings and lectures. In the final exam, you will explain your opinions of modern black citizenship in comparison with key events since the 1930s.