HIST 156
The Manifesto in U.S. Politics Fall 2021
Division II Writing Skills
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Is there a style or tradition of writing political manifestos in the United States? Given the nation’s origins in revolution, the answer would seem on the surface to be a definitive “yes.” But some observers are skeptical; one writer has gone so far as to say the term “manifesto” connotes “a radicalism that American writers generally lack.” This course will investigate that claim. How would we choose to define the very term, “manifesto?” Why have so many radical American writings been embraced as having the characteristics of a manifesto? We’ll look at these questions through close readings and analyses of manifestos across three different historical junctures in the U.S. — the Revolutionary era, the 1830s and 1840s, and the 1960s and early 1970s — focusing in particular on struggles over racial equality and women’s rights.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 12
Class#: 1582
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: participation; three graded essays (3-5 pages each), handed in as drafts, given comments, and with time for revision; 3-5 very short, ungraded assignments on course content and about library research; one manifesto (any length) and a final reflection paper (3-5 pages).
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students and then sophomores
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will alternate between doing short graded and ungraded assignments in the first 8-10 weeks of the class: the 3 graded assignments (varying length, but no more than 7 pages maximum) each will involve a draft, and then a revision based on instructor comments; the ungraded assignments will be either informal, analytical responses to the reading; short, creative responses; or discussion questions. Students will also each write a manifesto and a short, final reflection paper.
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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