SOC 318
Declining Significance of Race and Racism in U.S. Politics? Fall 2014
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed SOC 318 / PSCI 318 / AFR 318
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1677
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: five 5-page essays, five 2-page response papers; one final 5-page reflection essay
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: seniors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
SOC 318 Division II PSCI 318 Division II AFR 318 Division II
Attributes: ASAM Related Courses
PSCI American Politics Courses

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