SOC 318 Fall 2014 Declining Significance of Race and Racism in U.S. Politics? (W)

Cross Listed as PSCI318, AFR318
Historically, America has faced a dilemma. On one hand, the United States was founded on the principles of liberty and equality, and consequently the American ethos is largely characterized by individualism and egalitarianism. On the other hand, the U.S. has faced and continues to be challenged with matching its expectations and ideals of itself with reality, as there are on-going inequalities based on race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Nonetheless, one would have difficulty in arguing that American society has not improved at all, especially over the past half-century. The U.S. government -- via Congress, the Supreme Court, and Executive Orders of various Presidents -- has improved the well-being and status of racial minorities. Further, the overwhelming majority of American citizens eschew racist language and attacks on racial and ethnic minorities. Some would argue that the election of the United States -- first Black president is a clear indication that the country is approaching -- if not already realizing -- its post-racial, American Dream. But, scholars who have tried to measure the significance, impact, and effect of race on American politics are currently engaged in a highly contested debate on the extent to which racism has declined in this society. In this tutorial, we will explore a variety of debates concerning the role of race in American society and American Politics. Have racial attitudes improved over the past 60 years or has the language of racial animus simply changed over that time? Are racial minorities failing to live up the opportunities provided to them by the U.S. Constitution and various other laws or are there structural barriers that are too high for them to overcome? Is the election of minority leaders in majority white districts a sign that racial attitudes have an insignificant influence on candidate evaluation and elections or have minority candidates deracialized their campaigns in a way that may ultimately disserve minority groups? These are just a few of the questions we will consider. Students will be exposed to texts on at least two sides of various debates.
Class Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: five 5-page essays, five 2-page response papers; one final 5-page reflection essay
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: seniors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ASAM Related Courses, PSCI American Politics Courses
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 1677
SOC 318 - T1 (F) TUT Declining Significance of Race (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Candis W. Smith
TBA 1677
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