Slavery and the Making of America

Using both slavery and the Civil War as a springboard, this course concerns the broad issue of social justice in a historical, cultural and literary context. Estimates now suggest that well over 750,000 Americans died as a result of this conflict. But why? Was John Brown right to proclaim that the scourge of slavery could only be eradicated “but with blood”? This greatest of American tragedies cannot be understood without an understanding of racialized slavery and what that fact has meant for us in the past, now and in the future. Writers from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Nobel Prize winners William Faulkner and Toni Morrison have explored this issue to great effect...and hopefully we will too.

By examining both film, fictional and dramatic representations of race and the Civil War, students will come away from the course with a much stronger appreciation for and understanding of ourselves as Americans.