HIS 2305 - Freedom Dreams: U. S. Social Movements from Theory to Action
Credits: 3 hrs
In this class, we will examine historical and contemporary movements and critical perspectives on freedom, justice, equality, autonomy and self-determination. Freedom is the operative word because the movements and activists we consider emerge out of, or struggle against, the conditions of incarceration (Kelley 2008). Incarceration or imprisonment is not limited to the formal jail or prision; we will be looking at the conditions of Southern sharecroppers, the position of women of color under racism and patriarchy, incarcerated activists as political prisioners, indigenous movements, and the struggle against state-sanctioned and/or extralegal violence proscribing hegemonic sexual and gender expressions. We will consider a wide range of movements, including labor, civil/human rights, radical feminism, lgbtqi liberation. Black and Brown liberation, prisoners’ rights, indigenous rights, and environmental justice. Framed through a transdisciplinary approach, this course employs sources from academic texts and articles to autobiography, film, music and poetry to examine, among other things, how movements were formed and sustained; the social and historical contexts for their emergence and demise; the impact they might have had on power, on participants in the movement, on the community at large, and on people’s vision of a liberated future.
The lectures, readings and talks by guest activists should, compel us to move beyond traditional binariers; demolish the myth of “the great man of history” by introducing us to local leaders who rose from the grassroots but never found a place in the grand historical narratives; and reveal a vision of liberation so broad, so complex, so fluid that it defies labels and categories. Through our collective study, we will strive to remake the world, “to imagine something different, to realize that things need not always be this way” (Kelley, 2002, 9). Toward that end, we will center the analysis of those freedom dreamers who seek to build a society free of inequality, oppression and violence.
Student Learning Outcome: Information Literacy
Cross-listed as JUS 2305