American studies

Race and the Law in U.S. History

Module code: T7057
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Not yet finalised
Assessment modes: Coursework

This seminar explores race in American courts beginning with Native Americans’ loss of their land and ending with recent debates over criminal sentencing. The module will examine how the courts worked to uphold the power of elites throughout American history. At the same time, we will study how the courts provided opportunities for Americans to challenge restrictions based on race and at times allowed them to exercise their rights as citizens when other branches of government did not. In addition to reading articles and books examining these questions, we will analyze cases from local and appeals courts.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of race in the courts in America and the history of race in America
  • Express informed and well-thought out ideas about key themes related to the module
  • Analyze primary sources and present the analysis coherently in written form
  • Conduct research independently and form an original argument about the research in written form