Special Topics in Sociology
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Course Information from the University Catalog
Introduces the research interests of the faculty, offering new courses that reflect current issues not yet incorporated into the curriculum. Offers, in addition, advanced study into topics covered in the standing curriculum. Topics change by semester.
Section Information from the Schedule of Classes for Fall 2013
Plessy to Martin: Race and Politics —
Rutledge M Dennis
04:30 PM to 07:10 PM W — Krug Hall 210
This course examines the issues, individuals, and groups central to the intersectionality of race, culture, and politics in American life. We will begin with the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case which solidified and legitimized the nation’s “separate and equal” racial policy until Brown v. Board of Education. A critique of this case allows us to understand the intricate relations between the nation’s racial theories and policies and its public politics and culture. These racial, political, and cultural issues will provide the background from which we analyze the individuals and groups whose actions and positions presented challenges and counter-challenges to America’s image of itself as a free and democratic society. As a consequence, we will examine how racial and cultural politics were driving forces in the public debates and controversies surrounding such cases as the Scottsboro Boys in Alabama, Robert Williams in North Carolina, Emmett Till in Mississippi, Medgar Evers in Mississippi, Martin Luther King in Georgia, Angela Davis in California, O.J. Simpson in California, Rodney King in California, and currently, Trayvon Martin in Florida. The central questions in the cases presented above focus on why, and in what ways, did racial feelings, fears, and animosities surface as they did, how were intragroup and intergroup relations affected by such attitudes and behavior, and what were the short and long-term societal consequences of these attitudes and behavior.
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