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  • October 14, 2020

Class Syllabus: "American Racism: History and Healing"

American Racism: History and Healing

A class for St. James' Episcopal Church, South Pasadena
Dr. Stewart Davenport
Meets Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm
Join Zoom here

Meeting ID: 814 4299 6939
Passcode: 857780

1. Racism’s Deep Roots: Colonialism, Empire, and Transatlantic Slavery, 1400-1700 | Sept. 23

This might seem like an odd way to start, but if one wants to understand the origins of our modern racialized world, one has to go back to its early-modern beginnings, when the fearful powers of Christian Europe, in a centuries-old conflict with the powers of Islam, found a competitive edge in the riches that could be extracted from the Americas and enslaved labor.

2. The Maturation and Institutionalization of American Racial Slavery, 1700-1865 | Sept. 30

This class will cover the history of racial slavery in what became the United States of America as the so-called “peculiar institution” became more deeply woven into the social, economic, legal, and political fabric of the nation. The class will also explore the effect this process had on American culture and in particular on the formation of racial stereotypes and prescribed societal roles.

3. The End of Racial Slavery and the Tenacity of American Racism, 1865-1955 | Oct. 14

This class will explore what happened in American culture after the legal institution of slavery was abolished. [Hint: it was not an inter-racial love fest.] The class will also look at examples of institutionalized racism in the U.S. (including in our own beloved California) that were directed at other people of color (Native Americans, Latinx, the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment, etc.).

4. From the Civil Rights Movement to Today, 1955-2020 | Oct. 21

This class will tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement: the segregated order activists sought to dismantle; the violent resistance they encountered; and the hard-won victories they enjoyed. We will then look at the persistence of racial discrimination in American culture since 1965 in forms such as law enforcement, hiring, and media representation. The class will conclude with the simple assignment that we listen to one another.