Race in America

Subject HIST30059 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

on campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture per week and a 1-hour tutorial for 11 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

8.5 hours per week: Total time commitment 102 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Assoc Prof David Goodman


Dr David Goodman d.goodman@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

The American understanding of race has changed over time, but in different ways race has been a crucial line of division in American society since the 17th century. The history of African Americans from slavery through the eras of legal segregation, the civil rights era and beyond, forms a central strand in the subject, both for its own importance and because the black experience has at times affected how other racial minorities have been understood and treated in US history. We will also survey Native American history, from the treaty-making frontier to the era of assimilation and beyond, and the long history of US relations with Hispanic people within and without the nation. The history of whiteness in the US the way the idea of race has also encompassed immigrant groups that have long since been assimilated into the broad category of white American will also be a theme. The subject concludes with reflections on the way that in the contemporary US, the increasing Hispanic and Asian-American populations were rendering the bipolar, black/white understanding of race in America increasingly obsolete, just as the first black president was elected.


Students who complete this subject should:

  • have an enhanced understanding of African American, Native American and Hispanic history and of the issues they has raise about race in US national life
  • have demonstrated a critical understanding of important currents in the historiography of African American, Native American and Hispanic history and of the history of race as an idea
  • be able to undertake guided independent research on the functioning of race in US history

A research essay of 2500 words 65% (due late in semester)and a reflective essay of 1500 words 35% (due in the exam period).

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should

  • develop research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources.
  • demonstrate critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion.
  • demonstrate written communication through essay preparation and writing.
  • develop time management and planning through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay writing and assignment completion.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: American Studies Major
History Major
Related Breadth Track(s): The United States

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