Spring 2007 Course Description
Topics in Policy
Please note: Public Affairs undergraduate courses do not count toward any graduate degree program offered by the LBJ School. These courses are intended for students enrolled in undergraduate programs at the University.
||American Race Policy
||P A 325 - Topics in Policy
|Day & Time:
||Tuesdays, Thursdays, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
|Waitlist Information:||For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information|
Description: This undergraduate seminar has three purposes: to trace the evolution of this nation?s most persistent social issue, to introduce the tools of public policy analysis, and to give students opportunities to enhance their communications skills.
Strong emphasis will be placed on understanding the circumstances that led to particular policies and policy changes. Students will be encouraged to read and develop their own interpretations of primary sources, such as Supreme Court cases, rather than to rely solely on the interpretations of scholars. Students will broaden their perspectives the issue of race by studying policies affecting several racial/ethnic groups in the United States and the policies that other countries have used to address ethnic/racial diversity.
Course Outline: The development and evolution of race policy will be followed more-or-less chronologically, beginning with the early settlements.
- Original Intent. When, how and why did race become such an important feature of American society? Readings include the original Constitution, selections from The Federalist Papers, and the Dred Scott decision.
- Emancipation, Separate-But-Equal, and the Dawn of Protest. How did the Civil War Amendments answer the Dred Scott decision? What did Washington and DuBois disagree about? Readings include the Plessy decision, Booker T. Washington?s Atlanta Exposition speech, and selections from The Souls of Black Folk.
- The Civil Rights Movement. What were the roles of the black intelligentsia, the black church and the news media? How was the situation of black Americans affected by the two world wars and the Cold War? Which branch of government proved to be most reliable in the advance of civil rights? Readings include the Brown decision, ?Letter from Birmingham Jail? and Taylor Branch?s Parting the Waters.
- The New Policy Regime. What did people expect to happen as a result of the new civil rights laws? How were the new laws to be enforced? Why, with so much apparent progress, was there so much frustration? Readings include the 1964 Civil Rights Act, LBJ?s 1965 Howard University speech and selections from The Kerner Commission Report and Carmichael and Hamilton?s Black Power.
- Outcomes and Controversies. How much better off are African-Americans today than they were before the enactment of the civil rights laws? How did affirmative action become such an important part of the policy debate? Readings include the Urban League?s annual State of Black America report, and the writings of prominent black conservatives such as Shelby Steele and Glenn Loury.
- Comparisons. How does one compare the experiences of black Americans to those of other groups, e.g., the internment of Japanese-Americans, the treatment of Hispanics in the American Southwest, or the oppression of harijan in India? Readings include Edward Telles? Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil.
- Forecasts and Policy Options. Where do we go from here? What are the alternative policy paths? Readings include Orlando Patterson?s The Ordeal of Integration.
- Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (any edition).
- W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (any edition).
- Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954 -63 (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1988).
- William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style (any edition).
Course Requirements and Expectations:
Students will be expected to participate in the seminar discussion and to help broaden the class perspective beyond the issues outlined in this seminar. In particular, students will be asked to bring in comparative perspectives, e.g., to study and report on race policies affecting other groups or other political systems. Requirements include:
- Class attendance and participation ? 10%
- Short paper ? 10%
- Mid-term examination ? 20%
- Book review and oral presentation? 30%
- Final examination ? 30%.
Because this is an upper division course, I expect students to be active participants in a process of discovery, not passive recipients of ?the truth? as one professor sees it. My responsibilities include getting the conversation started, guiding students to existing knowledge and points of view, and assessing students? contributions to the class.
Discussions of race can be intellectually stimulating; they also can be emotionally challenging. Some issues may turn out to be more complicated than they initially appear. I expect students to show respect for one another?s views, to offer constructive criticism, and to observe high standards of academic integrity.
Class Size: up to 20
Return to Spring 2007 Undergraduate Course Schedule