HIS 389 • GENDER, RACE, & NATL IDENTITY
This course will concentrate on U.S.-based historical scholarship, but is open to history graduate students concentrating on other regions, and to graduate students in other disciplines. In the first decade of the new millennium, problems of race, gender, and national identity continue to preoccupy Americans, both in and out of the academy. This graduate research seminar offers students the opportunity to critically discuss major works in the recent historiography of gender, race and national identity in the 20th-century U.S., and to write a research paper on a related topic of their choosing. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which these ideas shaped and, in turn, were shaped by major social, economic, cultural and political developments. We will also consider the relationships of gender, race and national identity to each other. Why, for example, has race frequently been elaborated in gendered terms of manhood and womanhood? Why have understandings of national identity and citizenship been so frequently bound up with ideas of race and gender, and with what consequences? The course will emphasize the historically specific meanings of these categories in different time periods and contexts.
During the first part of the course we will assess various methodological approaches. We begin with several theoretical pieces, and then examine significant monographs, essays and chapters of longer works that address gender, race and national identity in the context of specific thematic problems. In the early weeks of the course, students also develop ideas for research projects, identify sources, and write a brief proposal. During the middle part of the course, we suspend class meetings while students work independently and meet as needed with the professor. In the final classes, we reconvene for students to read and comment on each others' drafts.
Possible Readings: Bercaw, Nancy. Gendered Freedoms: Race, Rights, and the Politics of Household in the Delta, 1861-1875. (University of Florida Press, 2003) Gordon, Linda. The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction. (Harvard University Press, 2001) Holt, Thomas. The Problem of Race in the 21st Century. (Harvard University Press, 2000) Ngai, Mae. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. (Princeton University Press, 2004) Orleck, Annelise. Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty. (Beacon Press, 2005) Peck, Gunther. Reinventing Free Labor: Padrones and Immigrant Workers in the North American West, 1880-1930. (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Phillips, Kimberley L. War! What is it Good For?: Black Culture and the U. S. Military (University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming in 2009) Shah, Nayan. Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco's Chinatown. (University of California Press, 2001) Summers, Martin. Manliness and Its Discontents: The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1900-1930. (University of North Carolina Press, 2004)