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Literature and Society: Colorblindness in U.S. Law and Literature

ENGL 105.910

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Hypothetically, the colorblind society is one where race is not a factor in obtaining justice.  In this course, we will ask if the familiar claim, “I don’t see color,” produces a less racist and more just American society. Some guiding questions of the course are: What are the implications of endorsing colorblindness as the cornerstone of American justice? Does colorblindness produce just outcomes for various groups of people? Are justice and colorblindness incompatible concepts? To think through these questions, we will study many different texts interested in colorblindness, including legal cases, works of literature, and a few writings from the legal school known as Critical Race Theory.  Spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, these texts wrestle with the problem of how to best guarantee “liberty and justice for all” in the racially diverse United States. Our discussions will also touch on issues of racial equality, civil rights, and diversity.


Course requirements will include active participation, two short papers, and a final exam.  This course fulfills Sector 2 (Language, Literature, and Culture) or Sector 5 (19th-century Literature) of the undergraduate English major.

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major