American Society: Ethnic Encounters in the Making of the USA
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
26 May 2023
Requisites for this module
BA LL36 Social Anthropology,
BA LL3P Social Anthropology (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL6P Social Anthropology (Including Placement Year),
BA LL37 Social Anthropology with Human Rights,
BA LL38 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA LL39 Social Anthropology with Human Rights (Including Placement Year)
In this module, we will examine the social, political and economic encounters between the European settlers, American Indians, African-Americans and Latino migrant groups that have shaped the social and political development of the United States.
The first term will primarily deal with social and political relations between European settlers/white Americans and Native American Indians. We begin with the early English colonisation of North America, proceeding with Westward expansion, and federal policies including moving Native Americans to reservations and removing children from their parents. We finish the term by looking at contemporary issues such as the industrialization of Native American landscapes, ill health and alcohol abuse on reservations, and the new and exciting social movements associated with Native American cultural revitalization.
The Spring term is divided into two sections – Black-White Racial Politics (Weeks 16-21) and Immigration and Borders (Weeks 22-25). We will start our focus on the relationships between Euro-Americans and Afro-descended peoples, examining how the European idea of race was a shaping constituent of the experience of white and black people from enslavement to the present. We will look at the contemporary and historical aspects of slavery then concentrate more recent histories of racial segregation, the civil rights and anti-poverty reforms of the 1960s, racial justice and the ongoing racial disparities in health. The second section will look at the US-Mexico border as a flash point of ethnic and cultural conflict. This conflict is played out in the very history of the region – annexed by the US in 1848 – and continues through the need of the US economy for cheap labour. Throughout we will describe and analyse immigration policies from the Bracero guest worker’s to Trump’s ‘beautiful wall’. All along we will emphasize how the past and the present cannot be separated.
To further understand American Society and Ethnic Encounters in the making of the United States
Compulsory module for some third year students
Available as full option
Available as a half option (SC361-3-AU Autumn, SC361-3-SP Spring).
Available as an Outside Option
Available third year students
As there are still restrictions related to COVID-19 in place, some of the teaching on most modules will take place online. Most modules in Sociology are divided into lectures of around 50 minutes and a class of around 50 minutes. Some are taught as a 2hr seminar, and others via a 50-minute lecture and 2-hr lab. For the majority of modules the lecture-type content will be delivered online – either timetabled as a live online session or available on Moodle in the form of pre-recorded videos. You will be expected to watch this material and engage with any suggested activities before your class each week. Most classes labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face (assuming social distancing allows this).
This module will include a range of activities to help you and your teachers to check your understanding and progress. These will include lectures, videos, and discussion sessions with short critical reflections due 3 times per term.
The lectures provide an overview of the colonising processes, social histories and ethnic conflicts around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with other students to develop understanding, interpretation and critical analysis further. The weekly classes will take place face-to-face (unless there is a change in the current COVID safety measures). You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes as they provide an opportunity to exchange ideas with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be recorded and available via Listen Again. However, Listen Again is a poor substitute for attending and engaging in person. Please note that the recording of classes is at the discretion of the teacher.
Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules).
Wilson, J. (1998a) The Earth shall weep: a history of Native America. London: Picador.
Taiaiake AlfredJeff Corntassel (2005) ‘POLITICS OF IDENTITY - IX: Being Indigenous: Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism’, POLITICS OF IDENTITY - IX: Being Indigenous: Resurgences against Contemporary Colonialism
, 40(4), pp. 597–614. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44483133
Colin Samson and Carlos Gigoux (2017) ‘Colonization’, in Indigenous peoples and colonialism: global perspectives
. Cambridge: Polity Press, pp. 38–74. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1441178&site=ehost-live&ebv=EK&ppid=Page-__-38
‘Vantage Point - “Take a Picture with a Real Indian” (James Luna performance) - YouTube’ (no date). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAa69BVwPYg
Bowden, H.W. (1981) American Indians and Christian missions: studies in cultural conflict. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cronon, W. (1983) Changes in the land: Indians, colonists, and the ecology of New England. New York: Hill and Wang.
Perdue, T. (1989) ‘Cherokee Women and the Trail of Tears’, Journal of Women’s History
, 1(1), pp. 14–30. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1353/jowh.2010.0030
‘The Trail of Tears: They Knew It Was Wrong - YouTube’ (no date). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qalhDKLrWEQ
Anderson, G.C. (2014) Ethnic cleansing and the Indian: the crime that should haunt America
. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Available at: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=713954&site=ehost-live
‘Return of the American Bison - YouTube’ (no date). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww3cMgFr2xQ
‘Kill Every Buffalo You Can! Every Buffalo Dead Is an Indian Gone’ - The Atlantic
(no date). Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2016/05/the-buffalo-killers/482349/
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Critical Reflection 1
||Critical Reflection 2
||Critical Reflection 3
||Critical Reflection 4
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Colin Samson, email: email@example.com.
Professor Colin Samson
Jane Harper, Student Administrator, Telephone: 01206 873052
Dr Umut Erel
Dr Aneira Edmunds
School of Law, Politics & Sociology
Available via Moodle
Of 38 hours, 38 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
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