Dept Banner
Dept Banner

Signature Courses

From Plantation to White House

OBAMAS 20090118 We Are One 1x2

From Plantation to White House
01:512:268 (4 credits)
Professors Deborah White and Donna Murch, History

November 4, 2008, the day Barack Obama won the United States presidential election, is certainly among the most significant historical moments of your lifetime. But history is not made in a moment. How did a people who were just such a short time ago on the margins of citizenship move to the center of political power in a land where their color and ascribed status marked them as outsiders? Has racism disappeared? When and how did it begin in America; how was it sustained; and what groups have been its victims?

Michelle Obama's heritage takes us from American slave plantations to the White House, raising questions about the intersecting histories of slavery, race, and women and gender in America. Barack Obama's interracial and international heritage prompts us to ask: "Who is black in America?" Can someone choose to be black or is blackness thrust upon oneself? What does it mean to be brown in America today? Can a person choose their race?

By exploring America's legal and social history to answer these questions, this course challenges you to rethink American history while preparing you to address contemporary issues of profiling, neoliberal and neoconservative politics, immigration, racial identity, and gender in the 21st century.

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to pursue majors or minors in history, Africana studies, American studies, business, criminal justice, journalism and media studies, labor studies, political science, public policy, social justice area studies, sociology, women's and gender studies, area studies, and studies of race and ethnicity. This course carries credit toward the major and minor in American history and the major and minor in history. It can be used to fulfill the SAS interdisciplinary and diversity requirements.