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Course Information

Instructor Info:Amy Jordan
Office Extension x5644
TA Info:Joseph Loonam
Term: 2014F
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 103
09:00 AM - 10:20 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 103
Description: How do we interpret the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the post WWII era? What role do journalist, activists, and scholars play in shaping how we remember the past? How do African-American communities give meaning to the "Movement." Do we understand the "movement" in terms of understanding the leaders, determining the nature of the political climate, or by examining community traditions? When do we begin our exploration---in the 1950s, 1960s or perhaps sooner? Does the emergence of newly independent nations in Africa and Asia shape activist conceptions of civil rights, human rights, violence, nonviolence, citizenship or nation building? How do the discourses and struggles of the 1960s animate our understanding of social change today? Can studying the modern Civil Rights Movement help us to understand discourses of morality and family values in use today? The questions we ask about the past, tell us something about what we hope to gain from our inquiries. As a class we will critically examine the questions that scholars and activists have raised about the "movement" but will also develop questions of our own? A major objective of this course is to provide students with tools for interpreting historical writings for their broader historical and theoretical implications. During the semester, students will have an opportunity to examine primary documents, including the movement newspapers located in the Marshall Bloom Collection at Amherst College. This course encourages students to engage in the kind of thinking processes that scholars who chronicle social movements do and prepares students to pursue more advanced social movement research in the future.