2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Law and Literature: Equality, Citizenship and Democracy in the United States

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Jose Gomez constitutional law, Greg Mullins comparative literature, American studies

Fields of Study: American studies, law and government policy and literature

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10384 (16) Fr; 10385 (16) So  

Winter: Enrollment Accepting New Students  CRN (Credit) Level 20237 (16) Fr; 20238 (16) So; 20590 (1-16)  Conditions Students must have completed chapters 1-18 of A People's History of the Supreme Court by Peter Irons, The Marrow of Tradition by Charles Chesnutt, and 4 decisions of the Supreme Court (Marbury v. Madison, Worcester v. Georgia, Dred Scott v. Sanford, and Plessy v. Ferguson). Contact the faculty for more information.  

Credits: 16(F); 16(W)

Class Standing: Freshmen - Sophomore; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmenFreshmen - Sophomore

Offered During: Day


Democracy in the United States, as a social practice and political ideal, has been a work in progress since the Revolution. Given the linguistic, religious, ethnic and regional diversity of the U.S. population, and given differential hierarchies assigned to race, gender, sexuality and social class in this country, institutions that aspire to promote democratic ideals have become sites of debate and struggle around such questions as how to define citizenship, how to define equality, how to protect minority populations against majority prejudices, and how to promote individual liberties while safeguarding the common good.

In this program we will study U.S. Constitutional history and U.S. literature, from the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement. Our studies will focus on how the law defines, and how literature represents, national belonging and exclusion. During fall quarter we will focus on the origins and framing of the Constitution, American Indian sovereignty, slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. During winter quarter we will focus on women’s suffrage, school segregation and desegregation, internment of Japanese Americans, Critical Race Theory, and migrant workers’ struggle for justice.

Central themes will include the political factors the Supreme Court considers in making its decisions, competition between sectors of society in wielding effective political citizenship, the gradual expansion of formal citizenship and voting rights over the course of the nation’s history, and forms of social discrimination. We will complement our analysis of Constitutional history by reading literature that represents and illuminates the struggle for equality and national belonging.

Maximum Enrollment: 46

May be offered again in: 2010-11

Preparatory for studies or careers in: American studies, education, government, law and literature.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Enhanced Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
May 24th, 2010 This program is now offered to both freshmen and sophomores.