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790-395-02 - POLS 395"WHITENESS AND U.S POLITICS Meeting...

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POLS 395: “WHITENESS AND U.S. POLITICS” Meeting Time: T 1:10 PM to 4:10 PM Location: Murray Hall, Room 114 Instructor: Professor Alvin B.Tillery, Jr. Office: Hickman Hall 611 (Douglass Campus). Ph: (732)-932-9312 Email: [email protected] Office Hours: Wednesday 2:30-3:30 PM (Hickman Hall 611) by appointment. I. COURSE OVERVIEW This course introduces students to the dynamics of the social and historical construction of race and ethnicity in American political life. Using the social category “white,” the course explores the following questions: What is the history of race in American political life? How did American racial constructs come into existence? How has the existence of America’s system of racial classification shaped our broader national identity? How does race link up with other identities animating political actions like gender and class? What role do American political institutions—the Congress, presidency, judiciary, state and local governments, etc.—play in constructing and maintaining racial categories? Can we use these institutions to overcome racial boundaries? In other words, is a “post-racial” society ever possible? All readings on the syllabus are required. The following books are available for purchase at the Rutgers University Bookstore: (1) Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); (2) Thomas A. Guglielmo, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890-1945 (London: Oxford University Press, 2003); (3) Stephen Erie, Rainbow’s End: Irish Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840-1985 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988); (4) Ira Katznelson, When Affirmative Action was White: An Untold Story of Racial Inequality in America (New York: W.W. Norton Press, 2005); (5) Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness (New York: Random House, 1999); (6) Michael Patrick McDonald, All Souls: A Family Story for Southie (New York: Random House, 2000). 1
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The remaining readings, those with two asterisks (**) in front of them, are on the electronic reserve list with the Alexander Library. II. Course Requirements I will derive your grade based upon your successful completion of the following requirements: (1) Regular class attendance and participation (30%). (2) Completion of four two-page response papers (20%). (3) Completion of 15-page research paper (50%). III. Reading List and Assignments I. Foundations: Whiteness and American Democracy Week 1 (1/20): Course Overview and Analytical Frameworks **Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Racial Formation,” excerpt from Racial Formation in the United States (New York: Routledge, 1994), pp. 9-37 and 57-69 **Joel Olson, “Introducing White Democracy,” excerpt from
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