Race and the Constitution

Primary Number: POLS 40064

ConStudies Number: CNST 40606

ConStudies CRN: 21619

Primary CRN: 21585

Instructor: Barber, Sotirios

Day/Time: TTh 11:00am-12:15pm

Attributes: X

Location: DeBartolo Hall 125

Was the American Constitution originally a pro-slavery constitution that changed over time to a constitution that outlawed slavery and state-supported racial discrimination? Did the Civil War and subsequent developments through the civil rights acts of the 1960's represent a commitment implicit in constitutional principles from the nation's beginning? Do these constitutional principles embrace active governmental efforts to achieve an equal-opportunity society, including equal educational opportunity and an end to racism, a "private" attitude? Do constitutional principles promise a color-blind society? Or do they promise no more than color-blind governments? This course addresses these questions. Readings will include state documents like the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers, the speeches of American politicians and other public figures, and decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding slavery, public accommodations, education, voting, housing, and employment. Grades will be based on mid-term and final exams. Texts TBA.