If We Must Die



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“If We Must Die”

War and Military Service in African American History
AAAS 160B

Fall 2015

MW 5:00pm-6:20pm

Olin-Sang 124


Professor Chad Williams

e-mail: chadw@brandeis.edu

781-736-3250

Mandel 219



Office Hours: Tuesday, 10:00-12:00; by appointment
“His problem as a soldier was always peculiar: no matter for what America fought and no matter for what her enemies fought, the American Negro always fought for his own freedom and for the self-respect of his race.” W. E. B. Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folk (1924)
COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course traces African American participation in the nation's military from the American Revolution to Afghanistan. We will examine the relationship between African Americans and warfare, paying particular attention to the relationship between race and military service. Throughout the semester we will re-conceptualize the meaning of African American military history by addressing themes such as slavery and freedom, the meaning of citizenship, nationalism and imperialism, war and civil rights activism, manhood and respectability, and violence and trauma.
LEARNING GOALS
Students enrolled in this course will:


  • Gain a broad introduction to the ways in which war has shaped American history.

  • Specifically interrogate how war and military service has informed the lives of African Americans and their various historical experiences in the United States.

  • Be introduced to key recent scholarship on African Americans in the military.

  • Develop their writing skills through a combination of assignments focused on reading analysis, historical argumentation, and primary source research.




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