SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
Riots and Revolts in American History
History 170: Topics in American History - Spring 2010
Professor Ruma Chopra
M, 3-5:45 p.m., DMH 163
T, 9:00-10:00 a.m., W, 1:00-3:00 p.m., and by appointment
(You can access the syllabus, handouts, and paper guidelines via this website.)
An in-depth investigation of selected periods or problems. May be repeated for credit for
No credit for history majors or minors.
Completion of this course fulfills the F1—U.S. History portion of the American
Institutions graduation requirements.
Riots and revolts dramatically illuminate the tensions and fears of the societies they
Some actions spring from conservative community impulses; others allow the
politically powerless to command the attention and reaction of those who hold power.
Using a variety of primary accounts and current historical research, the class will
investigate the causes of revolt and the role of rebellion in political and social change. We
will analyze how leadership, ideology, geography, religion, race, and sex shaped
incidents of riots and rebellions. We will explore the motives and meanings of Native
American rebellions within English settlements in the seventeenth century, pre-
Revolutionary and Revolutionary ―mob‖ activity in urban and rural settlements in the
eighteenth century, and slave rebellions in the nineteenth century. Individual student
projects will bring the story forward, by applying the analyses we develop to more recent
riots and revolts.
Upper division standing.
The course is designed so that students will consider principal events, developments,
ideas, politics, and international relations in the territories now in the United States.
provides a multicultural framework, including both conflict and consensus perspectives,
of the choices and options available to individuals and groups in their social, economic,
and political relations.
The course focuses on the development of a multicultural
American society and on interactions, including cooperation and conflict, as varied
peoples have dealt with social, economic, and political issues.