The African American Experience from Martin Luther King to Barack Obama

Course code HIST3151Units 20Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

This course traces the history and culture of African Americans since World War II, focusing on individuals as well as social trends that informed the twentieth century struggle for racial equlity. While most attend will centre on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and the leadership of Martin Luther King, the course also explores the more extreme expressions of black militancy and separatism tied to 'Black Power' and the leadership of Malcolm X.

Moving into the post-civil rights era, we will chart the 'progress' made by African Americans in the United States after 1968, emphasizing the emergence of a black middle class alongside black politicians and a black entertainment industry, dominated by musicians, actors and sporting heroes. But also by scrutinizing the experiences of the black poor in this period, we will remain attuned to the persistence of racial disadvantage in America and raise fundamental questions about the nation's future to address the systemic roots of inequality.

Finally, the course will conclude optimistically with an assessment of the Obama phenomenon and its meaning in the context of twenty-first centure American race relations.

Not available in 2015

Previously offered in 2014
Objectives1. To familiarize students with key issues and themes in African American history from World War II to the present.
2. To expose students to a wide range of historical sources such as speeches, autobiographical accounts, legal documents, oral histories, photographs and film.
3. To teach students how to analyze these sources in the context of African American history.
4. To develop students' ability to think critically and to conduct research.
5. To improve students' written and oral communication skills.
ContentCourse topics may include: the impact of World War II on the political consciousness of African Americans; the civil rights and black power movements of the 1950s and 1960s; the leadership of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X; the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations; the rise of the black middle class in the 1970s; the deteriorating circumstances of the 'black underclass' in the 1980s and 1990s; black entertainment (especially music, movies and sport); the Los Angeles Riots; the OJ Simpson case; Hurricane Katrina; the Barack Obama phenomenon; and/or other similar topics as appropriate.
Replacing Course(s)HIST3150
TransitionStudents who have completed HIST3150 are not eligible to enrol in HIST3151.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed Knowledge20 units in History at 1000 level or equivalent.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Examination: Class15%
Essays / Written AssignmentsShort essay 1500 words (worth 20%)

Annotated Bibliography (10%)

Research essay 3000 word (worth 45%)
Group/tutorial participation and contributionTutorial participation based on contribution to discussion (10%)
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Tutorial: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term