HIST 152
The Fourteenth Amendment and the Meanings of Equality Spring 2025
Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 152

Class Details

For more than 150 years, the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has served as the principal touchstone for legal debates over the meaning of equality and freedom in the United States. This course explores the origins of the 14th Amendment in the years immediately following the Civil War, and examines the evolution of that amendment’s meaning in the century that followed. Central themes in this course include the contested interpretations of “birthright citizenship,” “due process,” “privileges and immunities,” “equal protection,” and “life, liberty or property”; the rise, fall, and rebirth of substantive due process; battles over incorporating the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment; and the changing promise and experience of citizenship. We will pay particular attention to how arguments about the 14th Amendment have shaped and been shaped by the changing meanings of racial and gender equality.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15-19
Class#: 3955
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: a series of short (3-page) response papers; and a final 10-12 page research paper
Prerequisites: first-year or sophomore standing; juniors or seniors with permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: given first to sophomores who have been dropped from this class previously, then to first-years, then to sophomores who have not been dropped previously
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST 152 Division II WGSS 152 Division II
WS Notes: Students will write three short (3-page) response papers to the readings in the first part of the semester, and will also write a substantial (10- to 12-page) research paper. In preparation for the research paper, students will write proposals, develop bibliographies, write outlines and drafts, and do peer critiques. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
DPE Notes: This course satisfies the DPE requirement because it examines the legal, social, and political constructions and theorizations of difference, power, and equity. It examines the ways that individuals and groups have organized across various axes of difference to fight for legal equality, and explores how those individuals and groups have experienced legal equality and legal inequality in varied ways.
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
JLST Interdepartmental Electives

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