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Surveying major American political and social movements

Thank you so much for the powerful stories that you have told over thee past couple of weeks.  I am grateful for the creativity and passion that you have left in our classroom.  For our final class this Wednesday the 5th, please bring a hard copy of a 1-2 page essay, reflecting on your experience with the group theater project, both as a participant and also as an observant of other groups.

 

What work did you do for your group, both before and on the date of presentation?  what was the experience like of working with your group?  How did you come to choose the story that you did?  Please comment on watching the other groups and how you view this project as a teaching and learning experience.

 

Surveying major American political and social movements

COURSE OVERVIEW

​Welcome to this course!  By surveying major American political and social movements, we will explore how Americans have shaped and used categories of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, culture, and sexuality and how both privileged and marginalized citizens have experienced these divisions and categorizations.  In short, we will examine the meaning of democracy and the contested definition of citizenship and public space.

​The heart of this course lies in the subtitle, the “Quest for Freedom and Justice.”  The course is designed as a journey through many of the struggles for social justice that have come to shape the foundation of the United States and the identity of its citizens.  These struggles define the politics of the 21st century.

​Much of our time in class will revolve around the intricate relationships between culture, justice, identity, citizenship, and politics.  How have marginalized populations in the U.S. found means of social and political expression?  What does resistance look like and how is it expressed?  What is the root of social activism and change?  Does it come from outside of political and democratic structures or from inside of these systems, or both?

​Finally, we will look closely at the political movements of today.  How do these movements relate to those of the past?  Through a series of guest speakers, we will examine the strategies, objectives, and impediments to today’s movements.

 

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

  • Students will demonstrate that they understand that categories and hierarchies of race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, ability, and gender are historically contingent. Students will also show that they recognize the historical roots of our current multicultural society.
  • Students will participate in analytical discussions surrounding the difficult and contentious terrain of race, sexuality, gender, social class, and other historically divisive issues. Students will approach these discussions through the medium of literature, secondary historical sources, poetry, and theater.
  • Students will develop the habit of historical thinking as a technique of social, cultural, and political analysis.
  • Students will learn to draw connections between the social justice struggles of the past and the social justice struggles of the present, relating today’s movements to their historical roots and ideological foundations. COURSE OBJECTIVES
  • Students will demonstrate that they understand that categories and hierarchies of race, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic class, ability, and gender are historically contingent. Students will also show that they recognize the historical roots of our current multicultural society.
  • Students will participate in analytical discussions surrounding the difficult and contentious terrain of race, sexuality, gender, social class, and other historically divisive issues. Students will approach these discussions through the medium of literature, secondary historical sources, poetry, and theater.
  • Students will develop the habit of historical thinking as a technique of social, cultural, and political analysis.
  • Students will learn to draw connections between the social justice struggles of the past and the social justice struggles of the present, relating today’s movements to their historical roots and ideological foundations.

 

 

 

Book Reflection Essays: Surveying major American political and social movements

You are asked to write a 700-1000 word essay for each of the FOUR assigned books.  Essays must be submitted electronically through Canvas. Reading responses will be marked down one point for each two day period that the assignment is late. Student essays should reflect critical thinking, a clear understanding of the readings, historical awareness and analysis of the book’s central themes and ideas, and the ability to connect the readings to your own experiences and to the world around you.  Remember that this is not a book review or summary.  Instead, you are being asked to examine each book and to form connections to the world around you. Each essay must include the following:

  • A concrete connection to the world today and related movements
  • A concrete connection to your own experiences
  • An analysis of the author’s central ideas and your reaction to those ideas
  • Highlighting specific details and sections of the book that you find stimulating or challenging

An A essay is one where it is clear that the student has completed the reading and

reflected on several of the author’s central ideas, relating them to the student’s

 

of the book.​

 

  1. Oral History Essay:

This project involves a semi-formal interview with two people whom you consider

to be family elders, people who have had a central role

in shaping your identity and values.  Your task is simply to invite them to share

stories about their lives and to relate these stories to your own social and political

foundation.  Arrange to spend 1-2 hours either face-to-face or by phone with your

elders, gathering stories that reveal the social, political, and cultural foundation

of their identity. We will spend time in class preparing you for these interviews.

Bring a list of questions to your interview, ones that invite stories from your subjects’

around themes such as education, labor, religion, politics, culture, identity, traditions,

philosophy, historical events, war, economics, and everyday life.

Essay: Write a 1000-1300 word essay that explores the stories of your subjects,

examining several specific stories that came out of your interviews.  Which stories

had the greatest impact on you?  How do these stories connect to the themes and

course readings?  Relate these stories to your own experiences and values, ultimately

connecting the life of your subject with your own life journey.

A more detailed guide to this essay will be posted later in the semester.

 

  1. Organic Theater:

Later this semester, you will be assigned a group and topic. Your task is to create a 15 minute theatrical presentation based upon the stories that you and your group members examined in your oral history projects.  Each group member is expected to share one meaningful story, to show the story instead of telling it.  The group presentation should be a creative blending together of one story from each member, pasted together into a kind of theatrical series of vignettes, framed around some kind of larger meaning.  You will not meet your group members until week 6 or 7 and then will be given class time to prepare your presentation, which will happen during the last two weeks of the semester.  Each group will rehearse with the professor once for 1-1.5 hours shortly before their presentation.  More information to follow

Reaction Essay:  Surveying major American political and social movements

Please use this 1-2 page essay to react to the theater project as a whole.  This includes your experience with your group from beginning to end, and witnessing the other group performances.  What work did you do?  What do you take away from this experience? A hard-copy of your essay is due on the last day of class,

 

 

 

Guest speakers: she talked about her migrating to the US and she has a court which will decide if she stays or get deported

 

 

My experience with class mates stories are interesting

Stories about:

Immigrant parents or grandparents from all around the world

Parents or grandparents who were harassed by skin color or religion or look

 

 

As an international student my self I have learned so many interesting things from other people experiences or stories and other people lives and cultures

 

 

We had to visit this theater and watch people act their stories out