HSS4: WEB Du Bois Black Reconstruction:

Insights into Modern American Social Structure: Class, Race, Politics

Prof. Christina Proenza CProenza@aol.com Office Hours: Mon 12:30-2:30

This course takes an historical approach to the examination of American social structure and culture in order to shed light on contemporary social and cultural dynamics. The class provides an overview of major sociological themes including the transition from traditional to modern society, democratization, industrialization, urbanization, class formation, ethnic stratification, social action, and social change. The work of WEB Du Bois, in particular, Black Reconstruction, in conjunction with related scholarship, explores the interrelation of class and race, economics and politics, and culture and structure in the dynamic formations of American society. The material illuminates various social, political, and economic forces that shape the social structure as well as points to relevant ideological issues in the cultural production of knowledge.


--WEEKLY Students are required to keep an intellectual journal in which weekly responses (1-2 pages) to readings and related issues are to be recorded, submitted for review, and discussed in class. Journals will count for 40% of the course grade. They will be evaluated in terms of content and consistency. A study guide is provided to explain journal assignments and offer guiding questions.

--FINAL PROJECT Students are required to prepare a 15-20 page research paper on a topic approved by the instructor. The development of the projects will be encouraged and evaluated throughout the semester, and students will deliver oral presentations of their findings at the end of the course. Research papers will count for 60% of the course grade. A research guide is provided to outline requirements and suggestions for this assignment.


Black Reconstruction is available at Shakespeare & Co Books. A binder of the assigned readings is available at Print Mor Copy Shop, 66 Bleecker Street.

Week 1: Introduction

Tues Jan 16: Introduction to Course

Thurs Jan 18: Intro to Du Bois

--Monteiro, Tony. "WEB Du Bois: Scholar, Scientist, and Activist."http://members.tripod.com/~DuBois/mont.html.

--Du Bois, WEB. "The Propaganda of History," Black Reconstruction, pp.711-729.

Week 2: Race--From Natural to Social Science

Mon Jan 22: Intro to Anthropology and Sociology

-- Stocking, George W. 1993. "The Turn of the Century Concept of Race."Modernism/Modernity 1(1): 4-16 John Hopkins University Press.

--Yetman, Norman, "Introduction: Definitions and Perspectives," Majority and Minority, Yetman, ed., Allyn &Bacon, 1999, pp. 2-38.

Tues 23/Thurs Jan 25: Contemporary Approaches to Race

--Morganthou, Tom, "What Color is Black?" Newsweek, Feb.13, 1995, pp.63-70.

--Proenza, Christina, "What Color is Cuban: Complexities of Ethnic and Racial Identity," Cuban Transitions at the Millennium, Linger and Cotman eds., International Development Options, 2000, pp.75-84.

Week 3: Research Topics

Mon Jan 29: How to Write a Research Paper

--Foner, Eric. A Short History of Reconstruction, Harper & Row, 1990, pp. xi-15.

--Lewis, David Levering. WEB Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963, Holt, 2000, pp. 349-373.

Tues Jan 30/Thurs Feb 1: Library Orientation

--Reel 1 in Civil War Series directed by Ken Burns (Bobst)

--Bottmore, T.B. Karl Marx: Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy, McGraw-Hill, 1956, pp.xiii-28.

Week 4: Black Labor

Mon Feb 5: Africans in America

--Bennett, Lerone. "Before the Mayflower," Before the Mayflower, Penguin, 1983, pp.28-41.

--Fredrickson, George M. "Settlement and Subjugation," White Supremacy, Oxford, 1981, pp.3-21.

Tues Feb 6/Thurs Feb 8:

--DuBois, WEB. "The Black Worker," Black Reconstruction, pp.3-16.

-- Wilson, William J. "The Declining Significance of Race," Majority and Minority, pp.160-166.

Week 5: White Labor

Mon Feb 12: Europeans in America

--DuBois, WEB. "The White Worker," Black Reconstruction, pp.17-31.

--Roediger, David. The Wages of Whiteness, Verso, 1991, pp.3-17, 43-63.

Tues Feb 13/Thurs Feb 15:

--Ignatiev, Noel. How the Irish Became White, Routledge, 1996, pp. 34-43, 178-189.

--Barrett, James and David Roediger. "Inbetween Peoples: Race, Nationality, and the ‘New’ Immigrant Working Class," Majority and Minority, pp.144-159.

Week 6: Paternalism

Mon Feb 19: HOLIDAY

Tues Feb 20/Thurs Feb 22: The Doctrine of Negro Inferiority

--DuBois, WEB. "The Planter," Black Reconstruction, pp.32-54.

--Jefferson, Thomas. "Notes on the State of Virginia," 1781. http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/tj3/writings/slavery.htm

--Genovese, Eugene. Roll Jordan Roll, Vintage, 1972. Excerpts.

-- Minstrelsy sites: http://afroamhistory.about.com/homework/afroamhistory/cs/minstrelsy/


Week 7: Resistance

Mon Feb 26:

--Du Bois, "The General Strike," and "The Coming of the Lord" pp. 55-127.

--Berlin, Ira, et al. "The Destruction of Slavery," Slaves No More, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp.3-76.

Emancipation Chronology http://www.inform.umd.edu/ARHU/Depts/History/Freedman/chronol.htm

Sample Documents http://www.inform.umd.edu/ARHU/Depts/History/Freedman/sampdocs.htm

Thirteenth Amendement http://greatamericanhistory.tripod.com/gr02011.htm

Tues Feb 27/Thurs Mar 1:

--Reed, Adolph, WEB Du Bois and American Political Thought, Oxford, 1997, pp.163-186.

--Shatz, Adam. "Up From Tuskegee." The Nation.http://past.thenation.com/issue/980112/0112shat.htm

Week 8: (Re)constructed Goals

Mon Mar 5:

--DuBois, WEB. "Looking Backward," Black Reconstruction, pp. 128-181

--Will, George. "The Ultimate Emancipation" Newsweek, March 5, 2001, p.64. http://www.msnbc.com/news/535529.asp?cp1=1#BODY

--Steele, Claude. "Thin Ice," Atlantic Monthly, August, 1999. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/99aug/9908stereotype.htm

Tues Mar 6/Thurs Mar 8:

--Barkley Brown, Elsa. "To Catch a Vision of Freedom," Unequal Sisters, Vicky Ruiz and Ellen DuBois eds., Routledge, 2000, pp.124-138.

--Hunter, Tera, To 'Joy my Freedom, Harvard, 1997, pp.4-44.

--New York Times Book Reviews, March 4, 2001.

Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Islam's Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora

Week 9: Modernization

Mon Mar 12:

--DuBois, WEB. "Looking Forward," Black Reconstruction, pp. 182-233

Tues Mar 13/Thurs Mar 15:

--Hale, Grace Elizabeth. "Producing the Ground of Difference" and "Bounding Consumption," Making Whiteness, Vintage, 1998, pp.3-11, 121-194.

--Film: Ethnic Notions


Week 10: Urbanization

Mon Mar 26: Abstract, Outline, Bibliography Due

--Du Bois, WEB. "The Price of Disaster, " Black Reconstruction, pp.325-379.

--New York Times, March 21, 2001. Ad Intended to Stir Up Campuses

Tues Mar 27/Thurs Mar 29:

--Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton, "The Construction of the Ghetto," Majority and Minority , pp.178-202.

--New York Times, March 23, 2001. Races Still Tend to Live Apart, Census Shows

Week 11: Socio-economics

Mon Apr 2:

--Du Bois, WEB. "The Counter Revolution of Property, " Black Reconstruction, pp.580-635.

Tues Apr 3/Thurs Apr 5:

--Oliver, Melvin L. and Thomas Shapiro, "Introduction," "Race, Wealth and Equality," "A Sociology of Wealth and Racial Equality," in Black Wealth/White Wealth, Routledge, 1995, pp.1-52.

Week 12: Underclass Theory

Mon Apr 9:

--Du Bois, "Back Toward Slavery," Black Reconstruction, pp.670-710.

-- Katznelson, Ira. "Du Bois for the 1990s," Boston Review. http://www-polisci.mit.edu/BostonReview/BR22.1/katznelson.html

Tues Apr 10/Thurs Apr 12:

--Wilson, William J. "Ghetto Related Behavior and the Structure of Opportunity,"When Work Disappears, Knopf, 1996, pp.51-86.

--Hartigan, John. "Green Ghettos and the White Underclass," Social Research, Vol. 64, No.2, Summer 1997, pp.339-362.

Week 13: Race: Past and Future

Mon Apr 16: Rough Draft Due

--Du Bois, WEB. "The White World," Dusk of Dawn, Schocken, 1968, pp.134-172.

Tues Apr 17/Thurs Apr 19:

--Hollinger, David. "Postethnic America" Majority and Minority, pp.122-128.

--Jacoby, Russell. "The Myth of Multiculturalism," pp.121-126.

Week 14: The Future of Race, Continued

Mon Apr 23:

--Patterson, Orlando. "Race Over," New Republic, January, 2000.http://www.tnr.com/011000/trb011000.html

Tues Apr 24/Thurs Apr 26:

--Fukuyama, Francis. "The Great Disruption," Atlantic Monthly, May 1999, pp. 55-80.

--Reed, Aldoph Jr. "Socializing Neo-Slavery," The Nation.http://past.thenation.com/issue/960506/0506reed.htm

Week 15: Research Findings

Mon Apr 30: Presentations

Tues May 1/Thurs May 3: Presentations

Week 16: Conclusion

Mon May 7/Tues May 8: Final Thoughts

--Research Papers due