Department of Political Science

PSC 229 The Civil Rights Era and Its Legacy

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Old Political Science Field: Associated Courses

This course is archived. It will not be offered again.


Spring 2008

Course Syllabus

The civil rights movement that unfolded in the 1950s unleashed cataclysmic changes in U.S. political, social, and cultural life. In this seminar, we'll draw on an exciting range of primary sources - films, organizational records, memoirs - as well as new histories of the "long 1960s" to chart the trajectory of the civil rights movement from the late 1940s to the 1970s. We shall explore the diversity of strategies and ideologies that comprised the civil rights movement. We shall also assess the movement's profound consequences for political organizing more generally, studying the process through which other movements - antiwar, feminism, gay and lesbian liberation, neighborhood rights, ethnic nationalism, and even grassroots conservatism - laid claim to the rhetoric and tactics of the civil rights movement. Assignments include reading and rigorous class discussion, one book review, the preparation of occasional discussion questions, and a 10-15 page research paper. This seminar will meet twice weekly.