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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2004

GOV 365N • Comparative Race and Gender Politics in Australia and the US

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35143 -TBA


Course Description

This Maymester course takes place in Melbourne, Australia This upper level seminar course is designed to explore the similarities and differences in racial and gender politics in the US and Australia. These two nations have several things in common: both are English settler nations; both have a frontier history that shapes their national identities and political cultures; and both countries have political and legal structures rooted in English liberalism. How have these commonalities shaped the historical development of racial and gender politics in the two nations? As in the US experience with Native Americans, the founding of the Australian nation involved the displacement of many aboriginals, which engendered a long history of racial animosity and resentment between whites and natives. In both the US and Australia today, there is a debate over whether the national governments should make reparations for the historical racial wrongs committed in these countries. In the realm of gender politics, nineteenth century Australian women struggled for the right to vote and won this right before their counterparts in North America. More recently, a vibrant Australian feminist movement has produced both institutional political gains for women, and new ways of analyzing gender inequality in the realm of feminist theory. Both the American and Australian feminist traditions have struggled with their relationship to liberalism. The course will be organized as follows: the beginning of the course will explore the impact of the English settler and frontier traditions on Australian and American politics. The second part of the course will look at racial politics in the two nations (particularly the Native American/aboriginal comparison), beginning with some more theoretical work on the treatment of indigenous populations in liberal nations, then moving to the political history of racial politics in the two countries, and ending with the contemporary debates over reparations and group status in the two places. Part three of the course will consider the role of gender politics in the two societies, looking at their suffrage movements, the more recent gains of second wave feminism, and ending with the very different ways that the issue of sexual harassment is being handled in both places.

Grading Policy

This course will be organized as a seminar. Students are expected to do the required reading, attend class, and participate in class discussion every day. Questions will be distributed on the reading assignment and students will need to prepare to discuss these questions in class. In addition, there will be three short reaction papers and one longer essay due at the end of the course. The reaction papers will be 1-2 pages each and ask you to summarize and critically evaluate the main argument of a text. The longer essay will ask students to explore more deeply one aspect of the comparison between US and Australian racial or gender politics. It will be 15-18 pages in length.

Grading will be determined as follows: participation and discussion, 20%; reaction papers, 10% each, 30% total; and final essay paper, 50%.


Here is a list of possible texts and authors for the course: Timothy Rowse, Australian Liberalism and the National Character Ann Curthoys, Freedom Ride Hester Eisenstein, Inside Agitators, Australian Femocrats and the State Marion Sawer, Elections, Full, Free and Fair Marilyn Lake, "The Inviolable Woman: Feminist Theories of Citizenship, Australia 1900-1945," in Joan Landes, ed., Feminism, the Public and the Private Patrick Wolfe, "Land, Labor and Difference: Elementary Structures of Race" American Historical Review, (June 2001) Ruth Rosen, A World Apart Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi, Names we call Home Russ Castronovo and Dana Nelson, eds, Materializing Democracy Stephen Cornell, Return of the Native Kira Sanbonmatsu, Democrats/Republicans and the Politics of WomenÂ’s Place Caroline Daley and Melanie Nolan, eds, Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives Rogers Smith, Civic Ideals Carole Pateman, The Disorder of Women


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