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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Quintard Taylor
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

Class description

Much of 20th Century African American history revolved around great debates over the best course black women and men should pursue to gain complete political equality and significant economic opportunity. This colloquium will explore a number of these debates including the three that continue in some version to this day: The Booker T. Washington-W.E.B. DuBois rivalry, the Universal Negro Improvement Association--Communist Party arguments, and the integrationist-separatist debates of the 1960s as reflected in the rivalry of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. It will also explore contemporary (21st Century) debates over authentic black culture and the meaning of progress as well as the most discussed contemporary question: With the election of a black President, has the nation become a post-racial society.

The colloquium will explore a variety of readings to shed light on the underlying assumptions and ultimate goals of the proponents of these various approaches to black freedom. In the final weeks of the term students will write research papers reflecting on these debates and their consequences for Black America and the United States.

Student learning goals

Students will have a greater understanding of 20th century African American history and leave the course with an enhanced knowledge of the major contemporay questions facing black America.

Students will learn to engage in independent historical research including the ability to assess primary and secondary sources.

Students will learn to assess and critically analyze the arguments of historians, of fellow colloquium participants, and of the instructor.

Students will, through a research paper or other writing projects, hone their writing skills as they present empirical data and advanced reasoned and persuasive arguments to support their interpretation of historical events.

General method of instruction

Students will meet once a week for a two-hour class which focus on the discussion of the assigned readings. Each discussion will be led by a colloquium participant. Students are particularly encouraged to incorporate the extensive array of supporting documents and materials from the Taylor faculty website, URL: http://faculty.washington.edu/qtaylor/ and BlackPast.org, URL: www.blackpast.org.

Recommended preparation

Undergraduate survey courses in African American history, African American history in the American West, and U.S. history are helpful but not required. Recommended background readings include: Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine, and Stanley Harrold, The African American Odyssey and John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr., FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM: A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS. For the West see Quintard Taylor, IN SEARCH OF THE RACIAL FRONTIER: AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE AMERICAN WEST, 1528-1990.

Class assignments and grading

Each colloquium participant will write a 12-15 page paper assessing some important aspect of the various debates. Additionally each participant will be expected to complete all of each week's reading assignments and participate fully in the in class discussions of those readings. Primary readings TBA.

Grading Percentages: Participation in Weekly Discussions 20% Performance as Chair of a Session 30% Research Paper 50%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
For more information see my website.
Last Update by Quintard Taylor
Date: 01/22/2014