Fall 2023

Black and White in the U.S. South: Race, Racism, and Resistance

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-221  |  History, as HIST-221


Elizabeth Herbin-Triant (Section 01)


(Offered as BLST 221 [US] and HIST 221 [US, TC, TR, TS]) This course examines the history of the southern United States from the colonial period through the present.  Its central preoccupation is race.  We will examine why white southerners denied political and other rights to African Americans and explore the varied responses of African Americans to exclusion and exploitation, including resistance to slavery, accommodationism (with Booker T. Washington as the most prominent advocate for this), migration out of the region, and civil rights activism.  As we follow the themes of racial control and resistance over the course of the semester, we will consider to what extent southerners left behind antebellum patterns of labor relations and social hierarchy as they built a "New South" after the Civil War. Topics explored in this course—like state violence directed toward Black people, voter suppression, and labor exploitation—will shed light on problems the region has grappled with for generations. Other topics discussed in the course, including Black activism, will point to paths forward.  Students will work with a variety of sources, which in addition to traditional historical sources will include literature by authors such as Toni Morrison and Jesmyn Ward and films such as In the Heat of the Night.

Fall semester. Professor Herbin-Triant.

Pending Faculty Approval

How to handle overenrollment: null

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: careful reading, engaged discussion, individual research, and analytical writing.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America Carol Anderson Amherst Books TBD
Sing, Unburied, Sing Jesmyn Ward Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2023