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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2003

T C 357 • The Racial Frontier: Civil Rights Struggles in Texas-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40615 W
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
GAR 107

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce students to research on 20th-century civil rights struggles in Texas by questioning how struggles over rights—to vote, to end the "white primary", to become a naturalized citizen, to serve on juries, to attend non-segregated schools, to choose to live in certain neighborhoods, to have equal access to employment opportunities, etc.—long predated the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. In fact, students will look at civil rights struggles not only of African Americans in Texas, but also of Mexican Americans, immigrants, those accused of being Communists, women, gays and Lesbians, etc. The purpose of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in historical research with the aim of producing a paper based on original sources, such as newspapers, court cases, radio/TV/film, reports, movies, contemporary studies, etc.

About the professor: Neil Foley is associate professor of history and American Studies. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Culture in 1990 from the University of Michigan. He also earned a M.A. in English and American literature from Georgetown University and a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. Professor Foley’s teaching interests include race and ethnicity in the U.S.; 20th century racial politics; borderlands history; history of the American West; immigration; civil rights; U.S. South and Southwest; and cultural history. His first book, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley 1997), examines Texas as a racial crossroads, where the U.S. South, with its black-white racial hierarchy, first encountered the Hispanic Southwest, with its Anglo-Mexican racial dyad. In the Texas borderlands between Mexico, the South, and the American West two racial orders with vastly different historical trajectories came into collision with each other, resulting in new racial formations and changes in the ideology of white supremacy. The book won 7 awards. He is now writing a book on civil rights struggles in Texas after World War II. Professor Foley took the scenic route to graduate school, having spent 9 years in Europe and Asia before deciding what he wanted to be when he grew up. Right after college he worked on Capitol Hill for a senator for two years, and then left the country to live on aircraft carriers for two years in the Mediterranean Sea where, as a civilian instructor, he taught Shakespeare classes and American literature to fighter pilots and their crews. Foley enjoys running every day, research, writing, reading, and even being an administrator (associate dean of Liberal Arts). He has three young daughters—Sabina, Bianca, and Sophia—and enjoys having lots of tea parties with them.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. 2 papers (4-5 pages each) 20% 30-page research paper 60% Attendance/Participation 10% Oral Report 10%


Reading will include articles each week as well as primary source documents. Suggested reading will include books, videos, and other sources.


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