LEAD 320
Heroes and Villains: Iconic Leadership and the Politics of Memory Fall 2024
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed PSCI 320

Class Details

Americans have been arguing intensely in recent years about how we should remember the leaders from our nation’s past. Does Thomas Jefferson’s statue belong on a university campus? Should college dorms be named for John C. Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson? Should Harriet Tubman’s portrait replace Andrew Jackson’s on the $20 bill? In this course we will look at how people in the United States and elsewhere have used their leaders’ images to hash out larger political issues of national identity, purpose, and membership. Why has historical commemoration gotten so contentious–or has it always been contentious? What’s really at stake when we depict our leaders? How (if at all) should we reconcile contemporary morality with historical context in assessing the leaders from our past? To address these questions, we will study portrayals of some of the most famous leaders in American history–including Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Our sources will include political speeches, literature, film, and journalism as well as monuments and museum exhibits; though our examples will be drawn mostly from the United States, our conceptual framework will be transnational. As a final assignment, students will write an 18-20 page research paper on a topic of their choice related to the core themes of the course.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 14
Expected: 14
Class#: 1159
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Seminar participation, research proposal, peer workshop, research paper, in-class research presentation
Prerequisites: previous course in Leadership Studies, or Political Science, or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Leadership Studies concentrators, Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
LEAD 320 Division II PSCI 320 Division II
WS Notes: Students will receive consistent and ongoing feedback as they develop, propose, and complete a substantial research paper. Feedback will take the form primarily of written comments from the instructor, in-class workshopping, and peer feedback.
Attributes: LEAD American Domestic Leadership
LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership
PSCI Research Courses

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