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Topics in American Culture Studies: Protest and Power in Modern America

History 3590 - Spring 2021

This course will delve into the diverse and interconnected struggles waged by marginalized peoples for freedom, equality, and liberation in the modern United States. The course will focus on grappling with a series of big questions. How did ordinary people organize to challenge entrenched forms of oppression? What kind of tactics and strategies did they employ? How did they confront repression? Above all, what kind of world did they want to build? The course will explore a wide variety of movements. We will travel from the fields of the Mississippi Delta to factories in Detroit. From there, we will explore the uprising at the Stonewall Bar, organizing behind bars, and the protests in Ferguson. Understanding different social movements also requires thinking through how they confront political institutions. What does it mean for movements to follow the "rules of the game" and try to exert change through existing systems? What happens as movements try to make change outside the law? Throughout, we will emphasize the intersection of struggles for material, racial, sexual and gender equality. Readings will cover not only social movement histories, but also theoretical writings to help conceptualize what movements do and how they operate.

Section 01

Topics in American Culture Studies: Modern American Social Movements
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