Violence and American Identity

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: History

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Violence & American Identity

Spring 2022

Taught By: Claire Potter

Section: A

CRN: 11007

Credits: 4

How do we understand the simultaneous disavowal of, and persistent fascination with, violence in the United States? This course examines a foundational theme in American history: a state, national culture and model for citizenship that compulsively returns to violence. Our project this semester is to understand the history of white supremacist violence that culminated in the January 6 2021 attack on the Congress by supporters of Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Course readings and videos will be organized around four main themes: the citizen militia movement; gender in American political violence; conspiracy theories that move white Americans to violence; and the role of virtual technology in promoting racist violence as heroic. We will explore changes over time in how, as democratic citizens, human beings inhabit the "American" identities that are available to them in popular literature and media; how singular violent events make new American identities possible; and how Americans have—or have not--made peace with the violence of their nation’s founding. We will also examine how the state uses violence, not only to police and wage war, but also to transform the social order and create the citizens they need. Readings will include Kathleen Belew, Bringing the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (2018), Ta-Nehesi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015), Talia Lavin, Culture Warlords: My Journey into the Dark Web of White Supremacy (2020), and Nancy Rosenblum and Russell Muirhead, A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy (2020). While you need have had no prior knowledge of this material, you should be enthusiastic about the project of doing historical reading and research. This is an intermediate course for upper level students. It is not recommended for first-year students without a strong background in historical study.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: History (LHIS)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: February 6, 2022 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 17, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: No

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 5:18pm 6/29/2022 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Monday, Wednesday

Times: 10:00am - 11:40am

Building: Academic Entrance 63 Fifth Ave

Room: 601

Date Range: 1/24/2022 - 5/16/2022