Race, Slavery and Freedom from 1619 to the Antebellum U.S.
Northwest Suburban American History Consortium
Teaching American History Grant Race and slavery have vexed the history of both the British North American colonies and the United States. In a 1972 article, historian Edmund Morgan went so far as to call the simultaneous rise of freedom and slavery the “central paradox of American history.” While some scholars and laypeople had made similar claims long before Morgan, his statement was radical for its time and setting. Since then, revisionist and mainstream historians have carefully and painstakingly researched and written about the intersection of race, freedom and slavery from colonial times to the recent past. For each class meeting our task is to think carefully and critically about the specific configuration of race, slavery and freedom in the time and place under consideration. Given the character of the subject matter, we will address contentious issues head-on in serious and respectful dialogue. While we will certainly address pedagogical issues, our main focus will be the questions historians ask and the answers they come up with. To that end, we will discuss one book in common during each class meeting.
Requirements and Expectations:
Read and think about the assigned texts;
Actively participate in class discussions. (30%)
Prepare a 2-page analysis of the assigned readings three times over the course. These papers should not be summaries of the books, but rather analyses addressing the text’s main arguments, method and source base. Please attach to these papers three questions that you would like the class to explore, and cite three passages from the text that you believe warrant further consideration. The first of these papers should be submitted no later than July 1st.
Write 2 analytic book reviews (4 – 5 pp). The easiest way to accomplish this entails using reviews from the relevant scholarly journals such as Reviews in American History or The American Historical Review, both of which are available via UIC Library’s website. Sign-up the first day of class.
Your final project will be the creation and presentation of two lesson plans, along with two accompanying three- to five-page papers.
The first lesson plan must incorporate primary documents used by one of the scholars that we have read in the readings.
The second lesson plan must incorporate a historical debate engaged in by one of the course readings. You must do further research on this debate, bringing in the perspectives of other relevant scholarship (at least 4 other secondary sources).
The papers should address the following issues:
Why did you choose this topic?
What is significant about this topic to high school students?
What is significant about this topic to you? What content and historiographical arguments during the course prompted your intellectual engagement with this topic?
Why did you choose these sources?
What is significant about these sources compared to others you might have chosen?
Note: Responses to questions one and two should constitute a significant component of your paper. You should think of them as the intellectual foundation upon which your lesson rests. These questions are what distinguish this paper from the type of paper you might write for an Education class.
Why did you choose the process/method that you did? In other words, what pedagogical reasons went in to your method?
What obstacles or difficulties to you anticipate when conducting this lesson with your students?
Why have you chosen your method of assessment?
Drafts of these lesson plans and papers are due by e-mail on (date to be determined), with final versions due (date to be determined). At a date to be determined, the lessons and papers will be presented to the class. You will need to distribute the lesson plans to all members of the class and you will have fifteen minutes total to discuss both.
Evaluation of your work in this course follows the conventions of most graduate humanities courses. You will not receive letter grades on your assignments. Instead you will receive feedback in the form of comments and questions. Should you desire to discuss your standing in the course, I will gladly discuss it with you.