Check out some of our undergraduate course offerings, next semester and beyond!

Race and Inequality Courses

A selection of our history courses that focus on race and inequality.

HIST 2001.13: Capitalism and Inequality, 1700-Present

T. Jackson

TR 3:45-5:00

Economic inequality has become one of the central political concerns of our time, but it has only recently attracted scholarly attention. Is inequality a natural and inevitable characteristic of human society, or can it be historicized? What are its determinants and how has it changed over time? Has the global spread of industrial capitalism increased or decreased inequality between individuals, between groups, and between countries? Have changes in inequality historically been the product of market forces, or political forces, or both? This course explores the history of global inequality and examines how it relates to the peculiar set of economic institutions that we call "capitalism."

HIST 3301W.10: Slavery, Race, and American Visual Culture

P. Troutman

TR 11:10-12:25

How did 18th- and 19th-century American artists, sculptors, cartoonists, and viewers use visual culture to assert, challenge, reproduce, and rethink ideas about race? How were those ideas informed and shaped by trans-Atlantic and trans-Caribbean events, including the American and Haitian Revolutions and French and British Emancipation? How did they intersect with gender, sexuality, religion, class, and political identities? Students in this WID course will engage with pathbreaking recent scholarship on visual culture and race theory and will perform original analysis on period visual materials in digital archives and, if possible, in virtual field trips to museums and collections. Please note that we will encounter and analyze historical materials that include disturbing imagery and language; we will address ethical approaches to handling such materials in contemporary scholarship, museum curation, and artistic expression.

For further information, please email Prof. Troutman at [email protected].

HIST 3301W.81: U.S. Black Radicalisms

Cross-listed with AMST 3950W.80

E. Chapman

M 11:10-1:00

Seeking to revitalize and re-envision prior generations’ praxes for freedom and progressive social transformation, we will study the radical side of the 20th-century black freedom movement, including feminism, nationalism, varieties of Marxism, and combinations of these. This course will emphasize the northern and Midwestern arenas of the black freedom movement where historians have better documented the ways in which black radicalism remained at the forefront of activists’ social criticism and strategies. Likewise, we will remain mindful of international politics and follow black American activists as they travel the world, participating in and drawing upon freedom movements in West Africa, Asia, and Europe.

HIST 3361.80: African American History since 1865

Cross-listed with AMST 3361.80

E. Chapman

MW 2:20-3:35

This course investigates the major events and themes of African American history since the slaves achieved emancipation and began the long struggle toward full freedom in the United States.  We will thus study late 19th century and 20th century U.S. history from the perspectives of African American men and women, focusing on their efforts to make freedom real and learning the dynamic history of U.S. white supremacy. Along the way, we will study issues of gender politics, cultural expression and representation, labor organizing, racial identity, and the various, evolving ideologies of the movement for black freedom.  We will cover the major eras of the U.S. black freedom movement, including emancipation and Reconstruction, Uplift, the Great Migration, Garveyism, the New Negro Era, Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Feminism.

HIST 6001.10: Pearl Divers in Eastern Arabia

D. Khoury

M 4:10-6:00

The course focuses on slavery in the nineteenth and twentieth century Western Indian Ocean, an area that includes western India, southern Pakistan and Iran, the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa. We will address the distinctive features of slavery in the Western Indian Ocean; the role that ethnicity, race and religion played in enslavement and manumission; the impact of the international ban on slave trade on labor practices in places like Mauritius, Zanzibar and the pearl fisheries of Bahrain and Kuwait, and the influence of inter-imperial rivalry between European powers and their indigenous interlocutors on the one hand and the Ottomans on the other, on the ability of freed slaves to fashion a new identity. We conclude the course with a look at how descendants of East African slaves in the Persian Gulf have shaped notions of citizenship and race.

HONR 2053.11: Narratives of Slavery and Freedom

C. Arena

F 1:00-3:30

This seminar will examine histories of slavery found in plays, novellas, and autobiographical texts written in Europe, the Caribbean, and North America. Some of these texts, originally created as fictional works, nevertheless reveal important historical truths about the development of racism towards the indigenous peoples of America and Africa. We will also focus on the genre of “slave narratives” written by formerly enslaved Black abolitionists, and discuss the political power and use of these texts. The first half of the class will thus address the institutionalization of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery, and the second half of the class on the long process of abolition of the slave trade and emancipation. We will see both the creation and dismantling of slavery and racial ideology as long and ongoing processes. Please note there are two sections of this course: an Honors section where plays, novellas, and autobiographies will be read in their entirety (HONR 2053:11) and an introductory section with abridged versions of texts and shorter essay requirements (UNIV 1006).

#OnlyAtGW Courses

The following courses are offered every year. Application required.