American Identities: "Jim Crow and Afro-American Resistance" (HIST*4180) | College of Arts

American Identities: "Jim Crow and Afro-American Resistance" (HIST*4180)

Code and section: HIST*4180*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Deirdre McCorkindale


Brief Description

Jim Crow is the name often given to the series of legal and social customs that segregated Black people throughout the United States after the Civil War. This seminar will cover the period from roughly 1865 to 1965, and will explore the history of Jim Crow from its early namesake minstrel character to the set of complex social practices and enforced laws that came to be identified with the term. The purpose of this course is to study the development of Jim Crow throughout the United States. Accordingly, this course will study the accompanying development of ideas about race and Blackness over time. The course will also explore the various forms of Black resistance to segregation and other forms of oppression. The goal of this seminar is for students to develop an understanding of how race was a dominant force in many aspects of American life in this period and at times explore how it intersected with other elements of identity such as class, region, sexuality and gender. Fundamental to this understanding is how anti-Black racism transcended legal segregation and seeped its way into many aspects of American life, including law, social etiquette, history, advertisements, games, literature, music, film, and television.

Course Format:

Seminar: The course will meet twice per week in person. The bulk of seminars will be spent discussing assigned readings. There will also be a round table assignment involving in-class participation in seminar later in the semester.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will have made progress toward meeting the course learning objectives. Assignments tailored to meet each objective are noted in parentheses. This course is designed to help students:

  1. Identify and interpret themes and patterns throughout African American history. (weekly discussion, primary source analysis, roundtable assignment, research paper)
  2. Find and analyze primary sources. (primary source analysis, round table assignment, research paper)
  3. Develop and improve their writing skills, such as how to form an argument and support it with historical evidence. (primary source analysis, research paper)
  4. Question and evaluate historiographical debates among historians, and how these interpretations shape cultural narratives. (weekly discussion, primary source analysis, research paper)

Evaluation Breakdown

Participation: 35%
Primary Source Analysis: 15%
Roundtable Assignment: 20%
Research Paper: 30%

Course Readings:

Blackmon, Douglas A. Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Doubleday, 2008

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi: The Classic Autobiography of Growing up Poor and Black in the Rural South. New York: Dell; Reissue edition, 1992

(Note: The vast majority of the class readings will be available online through provided links or PDFs on Courselink.)

*Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.