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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christopher C. Towler
POL S 246
Seattle Campus

African American Politics

Survey of African Americans within the U.S. socio-political processes. Situates African Americans within a post-civil rights context where there is debate about race's centrality to an African American politics. Recommended: either AES 150, AFRAM 201, or POL S 202. Offered: jointly with AFRAM 246.

Class description

Ever since arriving on the North American continent over four hundred years ago, African Americans have encountered myriad barriers in their quest for inclusion. Drawing on a mix of history and social science, we will come to understand why certain segments of America remained steadfast in their refusal to cede equality to African Americans. We will also discuss the political strategies undertaken by the black community to combat social, political, and economic injustices.

Student learning goals

Introduce students to the African American experience and the social scientific study of African American politics.

Advance students writing ability.

Develop students research ability.

Improve students familiarity with the history of African American struggle

Develop students ability to identify and hypothesis about a research question using social scientific evidence.

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion. There will be films and independent research projects in addition to the normal reading requirements and classroom lectures.

Recommended preparation

Attendance is required as is completion of all readings. All required readings are available from the UW Book Store or online via course reserves.

Class assignments and grading

Students are expected to complete short discussion papers and serve as discussion leaders, as well as complete a midterm exam, a final course paper.

Texts: Dawson, M.C. (1999). Behind the Mule. Princeton: Princeton University Press. All other readings are available online through course reserves.

Assignments: There will be a midterm examination and final paper. Students also complete discussion papers based on the assigned readings and serve as discussion leaders throughout the term.


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.
Last Update by Christopher C. Towler
Date: 04/22/2014