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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 2109 San Jacinto Blvd , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Stephen H Marshall

Assistant Professor Ph.D., 2002, Government, Harvard University

Associate Professor of American Studies and of African and African Diaspora Studies
Stephen H Marshall

Contact

Interests

Ancient and Modern Political Theory; History of Political Thought; 20th Century Political and Social Thought; African American Political Thought; Political Evil; Democratic Theory; Race and Social Justice

AFR 317D • Street Justice:morals/The Wire

29655 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WRW 102
(also listed as AMS 315, GOV 314 )
show description

This lower-division large lecture course will examine the moral and philosophical dilemmas behind the concept of “justice” for Black, inner city communities in the United States, using Baltimore, MD in the popular TV program “The Wire” as a case study. Students will be expected to define the ethical subjects in real-world moral dilemmas surrounding justice, using introductions to political science, philosophy, and intellectual history as a structural guide (with special considerations of Critical Race Theory and Black Studies in their analyses).

Students will be asked to think critically about the complicated concepts of justice in inner-city communities, as exemplified in “The Wire”. Students will be invited to apply their understandings of morality and justice to not only the fictional situations in this case study, but also to ethical decisions in historical, race-related cases in Black United States history, such as Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and modern-day Drug Wars. It is hoped that this course helps to parse out what is considered “right” and what is considered “wrong” when analyzing the concept of justice.

AFR 372C • Black Political Thought

30520 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 101
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

In this course we will examine radical traditions of  black political thought. Enagaging thinkers who jettison the project of political reform in favor of social and political transformation, we shall explore a variety of writters and texts for what they have to teach us about ongoing legacies of slavery, empire, and patriarchy within the US. We will look at exemplary writtings of black marxism, black feminism, Afrocentricity, and Afro-Pessimism among other traditions.           

           

Requirements

Final Paper                      30%

2 Response Papers             30%

In Class Presentation          20%

Class Participation              20%

 

Possible Texts

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction

Cedric Robinson, The Black Radical Tradition

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

 

AFR 381 • Afr Amer Social/Polit Thought

30638 • Fall 2014
Meets T 200pm-500pm BUR 436B
(also listed as AMS 390 )
show description

Graduate standing required. Permission from instructor required.

AFR F374F • Literature Of Black Politics

81375 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm BUR 228
(also listed as AMS F370 )
show description

Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity. 

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?

                 

Requirements

5 page Midterm paper:          20%

15 page Research Paper:        40%

Daily reading quizzes:           20%

Class Presentation:              20%

 

Possible Texts

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain

James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

 

AFR 317D • Street Justice:morals/The Wire

30600 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm JGB 2.216
(also listed as AMS 315, GOV 314 )
show description

This lower-division large lecture course will examine the moral and philosophical dilemmas behind the concept of “justice” for Black, inner city communities in the United States, using Baltimore, MD in the popular TV program “The Wire” as a case study. Students will be expected to define the ethical subjects in real-world moral dilemmas surrounding justice, using introductions to political science, philosophy, and intellectual history as a structural guide (with special considerations of Critical Race Theory and Black Studies in their analyses).

 

Students will be asked to think critically about the complicated concepts of justice in inner-city communities, as exemplified in “The Wire”. Students will be invited to apply their understandings of morality and justice to not only the fictional situations in this case study, but also to ethical decisions in historical, race-related cases in Black United States history, such as Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and modern-day Drug Wars. It is hoped that this course helps to parse out what is considered “right” and what is considered “wrong” when analyzing the concept of justice.

Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

The Illiad, Homer

The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle,

The Republic, Plato

The Metaphysics of Morals, Immanuel Kant

The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon

Possible grading breakdown (percentages):

Attendance – 15%

Reading Responses on Bb (5 per semester) – 25%

Exam 1 – 20%

Exam 2 – 20%

Final exam – 20%

AFR 374F • Literature Of Black Politics

30805 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm JES A205A
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity.

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?

                 

Requirements

5 page Midterm paper:                     20%

15 page Research Paper:                  40%

Daily reading quizzes:                      20%

Class Presentation:                          20%

 

Possible Texts

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain

James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

 

AFR 372C • Politics Of Afro Pessimism

30340 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.212
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Taking the precariousness of black life as its point of departure, Afro Pessimism is a rising interdisciplinary critical discourse which both explores the personal, cultural and political afterlife of Atlantic slavery and attempts to reformulate intellectual agendas, cultural production, and black politics around slavery’s living catastrophes. We will critically engage leading figures of this unsettling and controversial subfield of black studies with a view to enlarging our understandings of contemporary crises of black mortality, poverty, mass imprisonment, and racialized violence, among others; and to acquiring a scholarly appraisal of this disturbing but important literature.                 

                 

Requirements

8-10 page Final paper (30%);

2  3-4 page critical analyses (30%);

4 in-class reading quizzes (20%)

Participation (20%)

 

Possible Texts

Baldwin, No Name in the Street

Patterson, Slavery and Social Death

Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Butler, Kindred

Hartman, Scenes of Subjection

Wilderson, Red, White, and Black

Moten, In the Break

Robinson, Black Marxism

Butler, Precarious Life

West, “Black Strivings in a Twilight Civilization”

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

AFR F372F • Tragicomedy Of Amer Democracy

81593 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 0.106
(also listed as AMS F370 )
show description

This course is a survey of the foundational ideas and practices essential to the unfolding of American democracy. It will be organized around three parallel objectives. First, we will examine the founding documents, public speeches, and private reflections of a wide array of leading and not so leading figures in order to illuminate the developing purposes and imperfect performances of American political life. Second, we will look at the political conflicts which generate and result from the articulation and performances of these purposes. And, finally we shall examine tragedy and comedy as forms of civic judgment, which it is hoped will improve our abilities to think more effectively about the past, present, and future of American democratic life.

 

Requirements

Four in class quizzes

Four 2-3 page response/reaction papers, two of which are to be revised

One in Class Oral Presentation in which student leads class discussion

Final Research Paper 10 pages

Class discussion

 

Possible Texts

Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers

Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty

Additional readings will be compiled in Sourcebook.

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

AFR 374F • Literature Of Black Politics

30436 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 500pm-630pm JES A207A
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity.

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?

                 

Requirements

5 page Midterm paper:                  20%

15 page Research Paper:               40%

Daily reading quizzes:                   20%

Class Presentation:                       20%

 

Possible Texts

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain

James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

 

AFR 376 • Senior Seminar

30445 • Spring 2013
Meets MW 300pm-430pm JES A215A
show description

Restricted to majors in African and African diaspora studies. A capstone course focusing on black intellectual traditions.

Prerequisite: Completion of seventy-five semester hours of college coursework, African and African Diaspora Studies 301, and consent of instructor.

AFR 372C • Black Political Thought

30265 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm BUR 228
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Description

In this course we will examine radical traditions of  black political thought. Enagaging thinkers who jettison the project of political reform in favor of social and political transformation, we shall explore a variety of writters and texts for what they have to teach us about ongoing legacies of slavery, empire, and patriarchy within the US. We will look at exemplary writtings of black marxism, black feminism, Afrocentricity, and Afro-Pessimism among other traditions.           

 

Requirements

Final Paper                        30%

2 Response Papers             30%

In Class Presentation         20%

Class Participation             20%

 

Possible Texts

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction

Cedric Robinson, The Black Radical Tradition

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

AFR 390 • Intro To Afr & Afr Diasp Stds

30455 • Fall 2012
Meets TH 1100am-200pm BEL 232
show description

In this course we will explore some of the central themes and problems of Black Studies. We shall ask—what is blackness and how is it lived and expressed throughout the African diaspora? What is race and how has it functioned in the constitution of modernity, space, and selfhood? What is relationship of slavery to capitalism, empire, and democracy and what are its legacies? Finally, what are the cultural, imaginative, and institutional forms that have organized black communal life and which forms remain vital? 

We shall pursue these and other questions by following the intellectual path marked by W.E.B. Du Bois‟s great work The Souls of Black Folk. As a founding and seminal text within the field, Souls continues to map a compelling and encompassing intellectual terrain. As the achievement of a brilliant yet quite often parochial man of his time, Souls maps an intellectual terrain that is fraught and sometimes perilous. As such, we shall grapple with Du Bois to engage the larger field of Black Studies and grapple with the field of Black Studies in order to engage Du Bois. We shall take up Du Bois‟s questions in order to go beyond them. And, we shall take up questions Du Bois neglected or never considered in order to supplement the project he helped to create with his landmark text, The Souls of Black Folk.

Possible Texts

W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Norton Critical ed.

Frank Guridy, Forging Diaspora

Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection

Kali Gross, Colored Amazons

Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought

Achille Mbembe, On the Post Colony

AFR S374D • Tragicomedy Of Amer Democracy

81768 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm GAR 0.132
(also listed as AMS S370, CTI S326 )
show description

This course is a survey of the foundational ideas and practices essential to the unfolding of American democracy. It will be organized around three parallel objectives. First, we will examine the founding documents, public speeches, and private reflections of a wide array of leading and not so leading figures in order to illuminate the developing purposes and imperfect performances of American political life. Second, we will look at the political conflicts which generate and result from the articulation and performances of these purposes. And, finally we shall examine tragedy and comedy as forms of civic judgment, which it is hoped will improve our abilities to think more effectively about the past, present, and future of American democratic life.

 

Requirements

Four in class quizzes

Four 2-3 page response/reaction papers, two of which are to be revised

One in Class Oral Presentation in which student leads class discussion

Final Research Paper 10 pages

Class discussion

 

Possible Texts

Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers

Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty

Additional readings will be compiled in Sourcebook.

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

AFR 374D • Afr Amer Social/Polit Thought

30425 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm PAR 201
(also listed as AMS 321, CTI 335, GOV 335M )
show description

African American political thought is often construed as an essentially moralizing discourse which has outlived its usefulness as a lens for political reflection. On this view, African American cultural and political critique correctly identified and challenged historical American injustice, and contributed to a revivification of core principles of American liberal democracy. Now however, this view continues, it is little more than a divisive political rhetoric deployed by opportunists to extract indefensible social advantages and/or excuse the problematic behaviors of an increasingly marginal subset of underperforming and/or maladjusted African Americans. Among other contestable assumptions, this view conceives African American political thought as an essentially propagandist rhetoric rather than a sustained, self conscious, and internally contested tradition of theoretical critique of American politics.

This course seeks to illuminate this tradition, explore the insights of some of its greatest minds, and assess its value as a resource for contemporary political reflection. We will ask, what is a tradition of theoretical reflection? Are commonalities of concern among authors decisive or the needs of contemporary political actors? What is it that connects African American political theorists? What external intellectual traditions informed these writers, and how should we understand the involvements of these writers in traditions of American political thought, canonical political theory, post colonial, and Latin American political thought? Finally, how do African American thinkers understand the nature, possibilities, and limits of the political life in the U.S.? Do the visions they articulate affirm the purposes of the American polity or reject them in favor of new ones?

 

Requirements

4 Response Papers                   10% 

Midterm Exam                         20%

Final Exam                               40%

Daily reading quizzes                20%

Class Participation                    10%

 

Possible Texts

David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, On Lynching

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin, Blues for Mr. Charlie

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph P. Jones, The Known World

 

Upper-division standing required.

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

AFR 374D • Tragicomedy Of Amer Democracy

30475 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm GRG 312
(also listed as AMS 370, CTI 326 )
show description

This course is a survey of the foundational ideas and practices essential to the unfolding of American democracy. It will be organized around three parallel objectives. First, we will examine the founding documents, public speeches, and private reflections of a wide array of leading and not so leading figures in order to illuminate the developing purposes and imperfect performances of American political life. Second, we will look at the political conflicts which generate and result from the articulation and performances of these purposes. And, finally we shall examine tragedy and comedy as forms of civic judgment, which it is hoped will improve our abilities to think more effectively about the past, present, and future of American democratic life.

 

Requirements

Four in class quizzes

Four 2-3 page response/reaction papers, two of which are to be revised

One in Class Oral Presentation in which student leads class discussion

Final Research Paper 10 pages

Class discussion

 

Possible Texts

Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers 

Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty

Additional readings will be compiled in Sourcebook.

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

AFR 390 • Intro To Afr & Afr Diasp Stds

30370 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 1100am-200pm JES A230
show description

Introduction to African and African Diaspora StudiesThis course enables students to develop a firm grasp of the literature in the field of African and African Diaspora Studies. Students will become fluent in the prevailing theories of Diaspora and Black history and cultures.

AFR 374D • Afr Amer Social/Polit Thought

30480 • Spring 2011
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm MEZ 1.120
(also listed as AMS 321, GOV 335M )
show description

Description

African American political thought is often construed as an essentially moralizing discourse which has outlived its usefulness as a lens for political reflection. On this view, African American cultural and political critique correctly identified and challenged historical American injustice, and contributed to a revivification of core principles of American liberal democracy. Now however, this view continues, it is little more than a divisive political rhetoric deployed by opportunists to extract indefensible social advantages and/or excuse the problematic behaviors of an increasingly marginal subset of underperforming and/or maladjusted African Americans. Among other contestable assumptions, this view conceives African American political thought as an essentially propagandist rhetoric rather than a sustained, self conscious, and internally contested tradition of theoretical critique of American politics.

This course seeks to illuminate this tradition, explore the insights of some of its greatest minds, and assess its value as a resource for contemporary political reflection. We will ask, what is a tradition of theoretical reflection? Are commonalities of concern among authors decisive or the needs of contemporary political actors? What is it that connects African American political theorists? What external intellectual traditions informed these writers, and how should we understand the involvements of these writers in traditions of American political thought, canonical political theory, post colonial, and Latin American political thought? Finally, how do African American thinkers understand the nature, possibilities, and limits of the political life in the U.S.? Do the visions they articulate affirm the purposes of the American polity or reject them in favor of new ones?

 

Requirements

4 Response Papers                   10% 

Midterm Exam                          20% 

Final Exam                               40% 

Daily reading quizzes                20% 

Class Participation                    10% 

 

Possible Texts

David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World 

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk  

Ida B. Wells-Barnett, On Lynching

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

James Baldwin, Blues for Mr. Charlie

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph P. Jones, The Known World

 

Upper-division standing required.

 

Flag(s): Cultural Diversity

AFR 374F • Literature Of Black Politics

30590 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 330pm-500pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Description

Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity.

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?

 

Requirements

5 page Midterm paper:                     20%

15 page Research Paper:                  40%

Daily reading quizzes:                       20%

Class Presentation:                           20%

 

Possible Texts

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison

James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain

James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie

James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison, Paradise

Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins

Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing, Cultural Diversity

AFR 374D • Tragicomedy Of Amer Democracy

35360 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.122
(also listed as AMS 370, CTI 326 )
show description

Description

                  This course is a survey of the foundational ideas and practices essential to the unfolding of American democracy. It will be organized around three parallel objectives. First, we will examine the founding documents, public speeches, and private reflections of a wide array of leading and not so leading figures in order to illuminate the developing purposes and imperfect performances of American political life. Second, we will look at the political conflicts which generate and result from the articulation and performances of these purposes. And, finally we shall examine tragedy and comedy as forms of civic judgment, which it is hoped will improve our abilities to think more effectively about the past, present, and future of American democratic life.

 

Requirements

Four in class quizzes

Four 2-3 page response/reaction papers, two of which are to be revised

One in Class Oral Presentation in which student leads class discussion

Final Research Paper 10 pages

Class discussion

 

Possible Texts

Tocqueville, Alexis de, Democracy in America

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers

Locke, John, Two Treatises of Government

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty

Additional readings will be compiled in Sourcebook.

 

Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing

AFR 301 • African American Culture

83410 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am MEZ 1.102
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L, T D 311T )
show description

This course will provide students with the analytical tools to critically
 explore and consciously and constructively participate in the ongoing
 process of the construction of African American Culture. The course focuses
 on Black culture as politics. The first section of the course will begin
 with an interrogation of key concepts such as race, culture, blackness,
 power and politics. Then we will go on to briefly explore the history of
 African Americans cultural politics. The second section of the course will
 focus in on cultural spheres that are components of African American
 culture. In each we will look at their evolution, contemporary expression,
 and alternatives with special attention to the social and political
 processes both inside and outside Black communities of which they are a
 part.

AFR 374F • Literature Of Black Politics-W

35537 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1100-1230pm BUR 228
(also listed as AMS 370, WCV 320 )
show description

AMS 370, Spring 2010

The Literature of Black Politics: Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison

Dr. Stephen Marshall,

stephenmarshall@austin.utexas.edu

Office Hours W. 1-4.

 

Within the African American intellectual and political tradition, artists have produced some of the most penetrating insights about American culture and politics. Beginning in the latter half of the twentieth century, literary artists have assumed pride of place. Among this group of artists and intellectuals, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are among the most important. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity. In this course, we will examine the novels and critical essays of these writers as works of cultural criticism, political theorizing, and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies? What is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole? And are these conceptions of the intellectual’s vocation politically relevant for us today?

The aim of this course will be to facilitate, among students, a substantive intellectual engagement with these authors’ novels and critical works, and to wrestle with the some of the central intellectual problems within African American political thought and practice and African American Cultural criticism.

 

Required Texts:

Invisible Man; Ralph Ellison

Go Tell it On the Mountain; James Baldwin

Beloved; Toni Morrison

Course Reader [available at Abel’s Copies: 715-D West 23rd St].

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

3 2 page response papers @ 5% (15%); due February 23, March 30, April 27.

12 page Research Paper (45%); due May 11

Seminar Participation (40%)

This course is designed to be a seminar. Students are expected to have completed the readings prior to class and to actively participate in class discussion. The quality of discussion depends on the extent of your preparation and participation. Attendance is required, as is completion of all assignments.

 

The University of Texas at Austin provides, upon request, appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To determine if you qualify, please contact the Dean of Students at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY. If the office certifies your needs, I will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.

A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least 14 days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.

 

Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

 

Week 1: Black Critique and the Political Theology of America

Tuesday, January 19: Introduction

Thursday, January 21: Ronald Reagan, “The Shining City Upon a Hill”*, Barak Obama, “A More Perfect Union”*, “Inaugural Address”*.

 

Section 1

Ralph Ellison: Blackness and the Promise of American Democracy

Weeks 2: Harlem, the Blues Sensibility, and the Spirit of Black Politics

Tuesday, January 26: Ralph Ellison, “Richard Wright’s Blues”*, & “Harlem is Nowhere”*.

Thursday, January 28: Ralph Ellison, “The Perspective of Literature”*. 

 

Weeks 3-6: The Politics of Invisibility

Tuesday, February 2: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Prologue, Epilogue, and chapter1 & 2.

Thursday, February 4: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 3-chapter 6.

Tuesday, February 9: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 7-chapter 11.

Thursday, February 11: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 12-chapter 16.

Tuesday, February 16: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 17-chapter 21.

Thursday, February 18: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 22 –chapter 25.

Tuesday, February 23: First Response Paper Due

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Epilogue, “The Novel as a Function of American Democracy”*, & “What Would America be Like Without Blacks”*.

 

Section 2

James Baldwin: Re-dis- covering America

Harlem, Whiteness, and the Racial State of Exception

Thursday, February 25: James Baldwin, “The Harlem Ghetto”*, & “Many Thousands Gone”* .

Week 7: Blackness and the Night-side of New World American Modernity

Tuesday, March 2: James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain, part I

Thursday, March 4: James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain, part II

Weeks 8:

Tuesday, March 9: James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain, part III

Thursday, March 11: James Baldwin, “Stranger in the Village” *, & “The Creative Process” *.

 

March 15–20, Spring Break

 

Week 9: “Achieving our Country”

Tuesday, March 23: James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time” *, p. 333- 352.

Thursday, March 25: James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time” *, p. 352- 379..

 

Week 10: Mourning America

Tuesday, March 30: Second Response Paper Due

James Baldwin, “No Name in The Street” *, p. 449- 475.

Thursday, April 1: James Baldwin, “No Name in The Street” *, p. 475- 519.

Week 11:

Tuesday, April 6: James Baldwin, “No Name in The Street”*, p. 519- 552.

Thursday April 8: Toni Morrison, “James Baldwin Remembered”*.

Section 3

Toni Morrison: Memory and Self-Making in the Midst and Aftermath of Catastrophe

Week 12: Making and Unmaking Whiteness

Tuesday, April 13: Toni Morrison: Playing in the Dark, preface & chapter 1*.

Thursday, April 15: Toni Morrison: “Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation”*.

Week 13: Black Agency and American Evil

Tuesday, April 20: Toni Morrison, Beloved, p. 3- 63.

Thursday, April 22: Toni Morrison, Beloved, p. 64 -117.

Week 14: The Ambiguities of Black Virtue

Tuesday, April 27: Third Response Paper Due

Toni Morrison, Beloved, p. 118- 165.

Thursday, April 29: Toni Morrison, Beloved, p. 169-235.

Week 15:

Tuesday, May 4: Toni Morrison, Toni Morrison, Beloved, p. 239- 275.

Thursday, May 6: Toni Morrison, “Rediscovering Black History” *, “What the Black Woman Thinks of Women’s Lib” *, “On The Back of Blacks” *, “The Dead of September 11” *.

Final paper Due May 11.

UGS 302 • Race, Nation, And Empire-W

63825 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm JES A209A
show description

UGS 302, Spring 2009                                       Profs. Juliet Hooker & Stephen Marshall                       

Jester A209A                                                    MEZ 3.146, x232-2406 & Jester A232A, x471-4361

T-TH 2:00-3:15 PM                                           Office hours: (JH) T-TH 3:30-5pm & (SM) W 2-5pm

Unique # 63825                                               juliethooker@mail.utexas.edu & stephenmarshall@austin.utexas.edu

 

Race, Nation, Empire

This course will examine the problems of race, nation, and empire. To wrestle with this topic we will explore these issues as they are formulated as political projects by key intellectual figures of early modern political thought; and as these issues are confronted and theorized as political and existential problems by thinkers from formerly colonized and/or formerly enslaved peoples. The course will draw from history, political theory, and literature, and will be designed to facilitate a substantive intellectual engagement among students with postcolonial, Latin American, and African American political thought and practice.

Course Requirements: This course is designed to be a seminar. Students are expected to have completed the readings prior to class and to actively participate in class discussion. The emphasis of this course is on critical thinking and analytical writing. Students are expected to read thoroughly and carefully, as the quality of discussion depends on the extent of your preparation and participation. Attendance is required, as is completion of all assignments. Students who fail to complete ANY of the following assignments will fail the course.

 

Writing Assignments: 1) Book Review – a short paper in which you summarize one of the readings (2 pages).

2) Assessing Evidence – a short paper in which you take one of the readings and assess the persuasiveness of the author’s claims (2 pages).

3) Generating Knowledge – A longer paper in which you will develop your own ideas and make your own arguments using the skills learned in the previous two assignments. You will write an essay dealing with one of the central topics analyzed in the course from a list provided by the instructors (4 pages).

4) Final paper – a revised, expanded version of essay # 3 based on instructor feedback (5 pages).

 

The due dates for the papers are listed in the course schedule. If a paper is due on a class day, it should be submitted at the beginning of class, in hardcopy form. If a paper is due on a non-class day it is due at 5PM on the day noted, and should be submitted in electronic form via email to both instructors. Late papers will NOT be accepted. All work on the papers must be independent. Students who are found guilty of academic dishonesty will fail the course and be recommended for suspension from the university.

In addition to writing assignments, students are also required to actively participate in class and take part in other course activities that will count towards their class participation grade, including:

1) An in-class oral presentation on a day’s readings, in which students will help lead discussion.

2) Attendance at one of the panels of either the “Challenges of Violence” conference (March 4-5) or the “23rd Annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights” (April 14-17), documented by a brief (1 page) report.

 

Final grades will be assessed based on attendance/participation (20%), 1st short papers (20%), 2nd short paper (20%), 3rd paper (20%), and final paper (20%). There will be no grading curve. Class participation affects grades that are on the borderline.

 

The University of Texas at Austin provides, upon request, appropriate accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To determine if you qualify, please contact the Dean of Students at 471-6259 or 471-4641 TTY. If the office certifies your needs, we will work with you to make appropriate arrangements. A student who misses an examination, work assignment, or other project due to the observance of a religious holy day will be given an opportunity to complete the work missed within a reasonable time after the absence, provided that he or she has properly notified the instructor. It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin that the student must notify the instructor at least 14 days prior to the classes scheduled on dates he or she will be absent to observe a religious holy day. For religious holy days that fall within the first two weeks of the semester, the notice should be given on the first day of the semester. The student will not be penalized for these excused absences, but the instructor may appropriately respond if the student fails to complete satisfactorily the missed assignment or examination within a reasonable time after the excused absence.

 

Required Texts: 1) James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time [available at the Co-op bookstore]

2) Course Reader [available at Abel’s Copies: 715-D West 23rd St].

 

Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

Week 1: Introduction

Tuesday, January 19: Introduction

Thursday, January 21: Class field trip to a screening of the film Avatar, 3:45-6:30pm @ Bob Bullock Imax Theatre.

 

Weeks 2-3: Defining Key Terms

Tuesday, January 26: Class discussion of Avatar.

Thursday, January 28: Michael Ignatieff, “The Burden”, New York Times Jan 2003, p. 1-15.

Tuesday, February 2: Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 5-7, Michael Omi & Howard Winant, “Racial

Formations,” in Race, Class, & Gender in the U.S., p. 33-45.

 

Section 1: The Problem of Empire

Weeks 3-5: The Politics and Economics of Imperialism

Thursday, February 4: Bartolomé de las Casas, In Defense of the Indians, Ch. 1, 2, 4-5: p. 25-36, 41-49.

Tuesday, February 9: John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government, Ch. 2, 8: p. 269-278, 330-350.

Thursday, February 11: John Locke, The Fundamental Constitution of South Carolina, p. 1-12.

Tuesday, February 16: James Madison, “Federalist # 10,” in The Federalist Papers, p. 45-52.

Thursday, February 18: José Martí, “My Race,” & “The Truth about the United States,” in José Martí Reader: Writings on the

Americas, p. 160-162, 172-176.

February 19: 1st writing assignment due

 

Section 2: The Ethics and Politics of Race

Week 6: Empire and Racialization

Tuesday, February 23: Charles Mills, The Racial Contract, p. 9-31.

Thursday, February 25: Charles Mills, The Racial Contract, p. 31-40.

 

Week 7: The Politics of Race for Racialized persons

Tuesday, March 2: W. E. B. DuBois, “The Conservation of Races,” in The Souls of Black Folk, p. 176-183.

Thursday, March 4: Jose Vasconcelos, The Cosmic Race, p. 3-5, 9, 16-27.

 

Weeks 8-9: The Existential Implications of Race

Tuesday, March 9: W. E. B. DuBois, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” in The Souls of Black Folks, p. 9-16.

Thursday, March 11: Franz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness,” in Black Skin/White Masks, p. 109-122.

March 15–20, Spring Break

Tuesday, March 23: “Dred Scott v. Sanford,” p. 1-31, & Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, p. 185-193.

Thursday, March 25: visit to the PCL Library.

March 26: 2nd Writing Assignment Due

 

Section 3: Nation and Polity

Weeks 10-11: The Problem of National Identity

Tuesday, March 30: Abraham Lincoln, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions” [1838], p. 1-5.

Thursday, April 1: José Martí, “Our America,” in José Martí Reader, p. 111-120, & Rubén Darío, “A Roosevelt [Ode to

Roosevelt]” [1904], p. 2-4.

Tuesday, April 6: Frederick Douglass, “What to The Slave is the Fourth of July,” p. 1-15. 

Thursday, April 8: visit to the Blanton Museum of Art.

 

Week 12: Democratic Citizenship and the Nation

Tuesday, April 13: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, p. 3-47.

Thursday, April 15: James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, p. 47-106.

 

Section 4: Democratic Politics in the Aftermath of Empire

Week 13: The Problem of Democratic Beginnings

Tuesday, April 20: Frantz Fanon, “Concerning Violence,” in The Wretched of the Earth, p. 35-51.

Thursday, April 22: Martin Luther King, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” p. 289-302.

April 23: 3rd Writing Assignment Due

 

Weeks 14-15: The United States—Empire, Democracy, or Imperial Democracy?

Tuesday, April 27: Ronald Reagan, “The Shining City Upon a Hill” [Jan. 25, 1974], p. 1-4, & Barack Obama, “President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address” [Jan. 20, 2009], p. 1-6.

Thursday, April 29: “The National Security Strategy of the United States”, September 2002, p 1-31.

Tuesday, May 4: Sheldon Wolin, “Domestic Politics in the Era of Superpower and Empire”, in Democracy Inc., p. 184-210.  

Thursday, May 6: Cornel West, “Putting on Our Democratic Armor,” in Democracy Now, p. 201-218.

May 7: Final paper due

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