AMST 354
Race/War: Critical Readings on Violence Spring 2025
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

We live in a moment where the media visibility of warfare is surging. On both mainstream media outlets and social media platforms often-pervasive depictions of violence challenge our ability to analyze, historicize, and empathize. This course will step back and explore a longer history of military violence and its connection to key American Studies concepts including race, empire, settler colonialism, and more. We will interrogate a mix of historical, literary, and theoretical texts that offer tools for analyzing the tangled intersections of race and violence, with an emphasis on the history of the United States and its militarized relationship to the rest of the world. Course texts will invite us to investigate how categories like “civilized” and “savage” have intersected with concepts like the “rules of war,” international law, and forms of violence that draw the label “race war.” Course topics will include Native resistance to US continental expansion, overseas US imperialism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, indiscriminate violence during World War II, the relationship of Cold War foreign policy to the Global War on Terror, and more. Students can expect to engage a range of sources, including archival materials, legal texts, novels, films, video games, and much more.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 3353
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Requirements will include participatory discussion, selected responses to assigned readings, essay exams, and papers.
Prerequisites: none.
Enrollment Preferences: Junior/Senior students, and sophomores with previous coursework in American Studies and related disciplines.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course centers race as a key category in the history of militarized violence, both in the United States and throughout the rest of the world. Students will analyze how difference and power have contributed to the history of violence, and the role these histories have played in inequitable power relations.
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
AMST pre-1900 Requirement

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