Fall 2013 - 63405 - PA325 - Topics in Policy

American Race Policy

This upper division seminar traces the evolution of race policy in the United States from the development of the color line, through the struggle for equal rights, to alternative forecasts about the role of race in America’s future.  The course uses this particular issue as an example of the policy-making process.  Thus, we will examine key steps in policy-making: issue definition, solution, implementation, evaluation, and so on.  We also will examine the principal components of policy: classification, assignment, allocation, and justification.        

The term “race policy” is of recent vintage – the past decade or so.  There is a huge amount of literature about race as viewed through the lenses of particular disciplines – history, sociology, psychology, politics, economics – but there is not much literature about race as a policy arena.  This is ironic, considering the central role of race in American life.  It also is an interesting contrast with other important issues such as health, education, the environment, and national security, all of which have well-established bodies of policy literature.

On the other hand, because of the long and tortured history of race in this and in other societies, it is possible to identify points at which fateful choices were made.  Students will be encouraged to develop their own interpretations of those choices by studying primary sources such as Supreme Court cases.

Principal Texts:

Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988).

W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (any edition).
Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, The Federalist Papers (any edition).
Ian Haney Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, (New York: New York University Press, 2006).
Edward Telles, Race in Another America: The Significance of Skin Color in Brazil, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004).
OPTIONAL: Ariela Gross, What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008).
OPTIONAL: Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro, Black Wealth, White Wealth, (New York: Routledge, 2006).
KEY REFERENCE SOURCE: “Sources and Citations: A Short Guide,” Developed for Professors Dorn and Evans.  On Blackboard.

This course is cross-listed with LAH 350 #31515 and HMN 350 #42490. Liberal Arts Honors is the originating department.