When President Obama was elected, it ignited a debate about whether America had finally become "post-racial." This assertion was belied by an entrenched underclass of Blacks and others from immigrant backgrounds; by the regular killing of innocent, young Black men alongside their mass incarceration, along with a whole series of other social indicators; by the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents and Islamophobia globally; and most evidently by the discourse used during the Trump era that weaponized white Christian nationalism. At the end of four years of the Trump presidency defined by racist discourse and policies, it culminated in an insurgent riot on the Capitol designed to block the peaceful transfer of power, the basis of American democracy.
This course provides the long view to understanding this recent period in American and global history. We begin by defining key terms in the discussion around racism today, including what we mean by racism and what unites anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism and Islamophobia, but also notions like privilege, cultural appropriation, and microaggressions. We then move on to the long history of the category of race. We start with a unit on race and religion and then move on to the role of the discovery of the "New World" and the development of the Atlantic slave system, and its impact on the Enlightenment, which was the incubator for the concept of race. From there, we consider how fundamental race was to European and American colonial dominance by the end of the nineteenth-century and the role it played in racial states like Nazi Germany and South Africa. The last portion of the class will focus on struggles to dismantle racism over the the last century, considering the anti-colonial and Civil Rights movement, and the anti-apartheid struggle. Along the way, we will have addressed the overlaps and disconnects between anti-Black, anti-Jewish, and anti-Islamic racism and read a number of key thinkers and activists who can hel
Course Attributes: AS HUM; AS SC; EN H