Archive for the 'Announcements' Category

Last Day of Class, Extra Credit, & Final Exam (Dec 6-18)

by admin - December 3rd, 2018

Thurs Dec 6 is our last day of class, and YOU will be the presenters. Prepare a 2-minute oral presentation to present your project to the class (10 points). Consult the CITIZEN Project Guidelines and Rubric for details. AND submit electronically, via email or Google doc, a 150-200 word abstract for your paper (5 points). Use past student abstracts as examples. I will also hand out the Final Exam Study Guide. Any REVISIONS of your project final draft are due back (electronically also – via email or Google doc) are due by 11:59 pm on Dec 6.

Bonus / Extra Credit: Evening of Dec 6 – @ReadingthePictures salon “The Visual Representation of the US/Mexico Border Wall in the Media”, live online webcast 7:30 – 9:00 pm. Free, but pre-registration required.

Mon Dec 10 is the last day of WSU classes. Though we’re not having class that day, submit a 2 (or more) page Reflection Paper, that offers a thorough reflection of your process and progress with the CITIZEN Project assignment, explaining how this project helped your course learning (5 points). You can send this electronically or put a printed copy in my office mailbox, Sullivan 327-D.

There will be a comprehensive Final Exam on Tuesday, Dec 18 at 12:30 pm, covering the entire semester’s topics and content (40 points). It will be OPEN BOOKS but NOT OPEN NOTEBOOK, i.e. you may bring & use the Bellamy and Waldman books and the Course Reader during the exam.

Study Guide

Study Guide for HONORS

Grading: I will enter your Attendance and Participation grade into Blackboard and update your other grades by December 11, so by then you will know where you stand without the 40-point final exam grade.

If at that point, you feel you might benefit from extra credit, here are some options you can do, between Dec 6 – 18. Each one worth up to 5 points, but extra credit is not guaranteed and cannot be used to replace missing coursework.

Participate in the @ReadingThePictures Dec 6 online Salon event, and write a 2-3 response paper.

I’ve been collecting and tagging things I find on Twitter with #CitizenNation. Take a look at things I’ve tagged, and respond to all / any of them with a 2-3 page response paper connecting the news item to our course topics and/or to your own course learning.

Listen to a podcast about the migrant caravan (noting the date it was recorded) and write a 2-3 page report about the podcast’s coverage of this event and, if relevant, what’s happened since then. Some examples: Bipartisan Policy, Oct 26 / Lawfare Blog, Oct 27 / New Yorker, Nov 5 / Slate Trumpcast, Nov 12 / New York Times Daily, Nov 21 / Voice of San Diego, Nov 30

Watch a PBS Frontline documentary about Immigration policy, and write a 2-3 page review of the film, incorporating your course learning about the historical background of immigration.

Lost in Detention (October 18, 2011)
Immigration Battle (October 20, 2015)
Separated: Children At the Border (July 31, 2018)

Watch the MTV documentary “White People,” made by Jose Antonio Vargas (author of the essay we read for Dec 4’s class), and write a 2-3 page film review, connecting the documentary to our course topics.

Welcome to Fall 2018

by admin - September 6th, 2018

Welcome to Citizen Nation, Fall 2018! This semester we will explore three interrelated themes in American history and politics: the concept, meaning and contested history of citizenship; voting rights and how they’ve changed over time; and immigration and naturalization policy in the American past and present. Struggles over American citizenship have been at the core of the American story since its founding.

The guiding questions for this course are:

  • Who counts as an American citizen?
  • What does it mean to be an American citizen?
  • What rights, privileges, and responsibilities are part of that definition?
  • How have these changed over time?

The course is intended as a rigorous upper-level course that counts for CON, WAC and DAC across the curriculum. If you are taking it for LASC, it can count for USW or TLC. It is cross-listed as History *or* Political Science, and the course can also be taken as an Honors class if you are part of the Commonwealth Honors Program.

Take some time this week to study the syllabus and the course website in detail, and reach out if you have any questions or concerns. And get ready to get woke and work hard!

This website has been developed in previous semesters, so there is information from past years as an archive for those students. You can safely ignore anything not tagged with “Fall 18.”

Final Thoughts for Fall 2016

by admin - December 13th, 2016

See you at the final exam!

…and just wanted to share this beautiful graphic showing 200 years of US immigration:


Last Day of Fall ’16 Class, Thurs 12/8

by admin - December 7th, 2016

For Thursday, Dec 8 — Review your course notes in light of the final exam study guide, and read / think about these two recent articles that talk about the health of Western democracies. Can you connect these back to Bellamy’s book from the beginning of the semester? Because of what you’ve learned in this course, how informed an interpreter are you of news items you might run across, such as these?

Remember: Response Paper #6 is due in class. See the post below for writing prompt, addressing the course learning outcomes.

Amanda Taub, “How Stable Are Democracies?New York Times 11/29/2016


Eric Voeten, “That Viral Graph About Millennials’ Declining Support for Democracies? It’s Very Misleading,” Washington Post 12/5/2016

Bonus, if you feel like digging deeper (as I know you will): the article from which they’re both citing data 

Citizen Nation Today

by admin - November 23rd, 2016

Hope you have a relaxing Thanksgiving break! Here are the plans for the last 2 weeks of the fall semester – a close look at the current debate over immigration, naturalization, and refugee programs.

Tues 11/29 – The “Silent New Deal.” Reading: GC p. 264-287 and RV p. 217-233. Guest speaker: Luis Chaves, US-CIS Lawrence Field Office, to help us understand the current immigration/naturalization process.

Update: 10 Steps to Naturalization brochure from US-CIS

Thurs 12/1 Citizens v. “Illegals.” Reading: RV p. 246-257 plus “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” (Jose Antonio Vargas, NYT 6/22/11). Also take a look at Vargas’s website, and/or his Twitter feed, @joseiswriting. If you’re curious about the refugee vetting process, here’s an official explanation. And just for fun, check out the very different Google results you get when you search “illegal aliens” vs. “undocumented immigrants” (2 different terms for the precise same group of people).

Update: 2015 maps and stats on National and State Trends on Immigration (Pew Research)

Due in class: Response Paper #5. Prompt: What are some of the fundamental problems in the current US immigration system? What are some of the proposed solutions? What are some of the perspectives in our political debate about immigration, naturalization, and refugee resettlement? How does immigration reform (or lack of immigration reform) affect you personally? What do you think/hope will happen in the next four years?

Bonus video: “Illegals is Not a Noun,” journalist Maria Hinojosa on MSNBC on 11/4/16

Tues 12/6 Citizen Lightning Round. Everyone will have precisely 2 minutes for a “Lightning Round” presentation on your CITIZEN web essay (10 points). Check the guidelines document for the options and grading criteria. Also due: an abstract + keywords for your project (150 words minimum / 200 words maximum — 10 points).

Thurs 12/8 Course Wrap-Up and Final Exam Review. Due: any finalized, revised version of your CITIZEN web essay.

Due in class: Response Paper #6 = course reflection paper. The student learning outcomes of this course were:

  • Develop a theoretical and interpretive framework for the concept of citizenship and how it has changed over time in the US
  • Analyze and compare key episodes in US history in light of dynamic or competing definitions of American citizenship
  • Explain the development of the US & MA constitutions in context of historical political processes, including: convention, drafting, ratification, amendment, judicial rulings, challenge, protest, and reinterpretation
  • Trace the expansion of the boundaries of American citizenship by constructing a well-researched historical narrative
  • Craft a historically informed personal understanding of one’s own citizenship

How well have you achieved each of these outcomes? What elements of the course helped your learning the most? The least? Are you more likely to vote or be politically involved/aware as a result of this course? What would your advice be to the students in next semester’s class?

Tues 12/13 – Final Exam, 8:30 – 11:30 am

Download Final Exam Study Guide

Votes, Rights, and Social Change

by admin - November 7th, 2016

Tues 11/8 Peer Review Day + Election Coverage
As election coverage streams in the background, we’ll have a peer review session on the drafts of the CITIZEN project. Be sure to bring a current paper copy of your project for others to look at and critique.

Thurs 11/10 Post-Election Debriefing
Prepare something specific to talk about in discussion from this week’s news; anyone could be called upon to share their thoughts on election results, news coverage, and what it all means.

The rest of this month, we explore what happened with citizenship and civil rights from the 1960s to the present. Remember this was a complex movement, or really – a set of overlapping movements – with different strategies, constituencies, and histories. It cannot be reduced to a few key figures or events, and it did not end with the 1960s or even in the 1970s. So it helps to think about the civil rights revolution as unresolved, unfinished, and ongoing, and as part of a shared American history no matter your background.

Tues 11/15 Rights Revolution
Reading: Back to both books – Good Citizen pp. 240-264 and Right to Vote 205-217. Due by the start of class: Final version of the CITIZEN project. Submission options: 1) as electronic document (.doc or .docx) emailed by 8:30 am with your last name in the filename, or 2) contact me if you want to post it directly to WordPress if you have strong skills with that platform.

Links for Today:
Voting Rights Act, post 2013 Shelby decision
Audio of “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King, Jr 1967
Official Trailer for Loving (2016)

Thurs 11/17 We Shall Overcome, Part I + Soapbox #6
Soaps for today = Danny, Connor, Sophia, John, Jennie, and Janine

Instead of a reading, please watch the entire “Eyes on the Prize” episode 5 posted below (55 minutes), which covers the period 1962-1964, mainly focused on Mississippi. Take notes, and you might want to leave time to go back to certain scenes to make sure you fully understand this history and its timeline, including the main people and organizations.

Links for Today:
Jim Crow Voting Restrictions (PBS)

Tues 11/22 We Shall Overcome, Part II
Reading – Spend some time exploring one or more of these digital archives related to the civil rights movement. Due in class: Response Paper #4. Please write 2-3 pages analyzing something you found in one of these archives AND CONNECTING it to either the “Eyes on the Prize” episode or to something in the Schudson or Keyssar readings assigned for 11/15, in the form of a short coherent essay brought PRINTED to class.

Calisphere – Social Reform 1950-1970
Library of Congress – Civil Rights History Project
Library of Congress – Voices of Civil Rights
Civil Rights Digital Library
American Indian Movement 1968-1978 – Digital Public Library of America
Black Panthers Newspapers and Posters – Medgar Evers College

Update, Link from Class Discussion: Texas Textbook Deemed “Racist” Against Mexican Americans (Sept 2016); related = Texas School Board past struggles over historical content.

No class Thurs 11/24 – Enjoy Thanksgiving break!

Japanese American Internment Workshop 11/3

by admin - November 2nd, 2016

In your groups, explore the links / documents / digital artifacts below and record your group’s finding and impressions in this Google spreadsheet

1-4) Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive (JARDA) – People / Places / Everyday Life / Personal Experiences

5) Primary documents relating to relocation (National Archives, read the overview and scroll down to the list of documents)

6) Ansel Adams’ Photographs at Manzanar – Fall 1943 (Library of Congress)

7) War Relocation Authority Documents (Truman Presidential Library)

8) A More Perfect Union (Smithsonian)

9) 442nd Regimental Combat Team (recruited from within the camps) – photographs from Calisphere

10) Case files of claimants under the Japanese Evacuation Claims Act of 1948 (National Archives)

11) 1982 Report: Personal Justice Denied (National Archives)

12) Proclamation 4417, Gerald Ford 1976 (Ford Presidential Library)

13) Dr Suess Went to War political cartoons 1941-1943 (University of California San Diego)

Supreme Court cases:
14) Korematsu v. US (1944) | biography of Mr. Korematsu
15) Hirabayashi v. US (1943, reopened and vacated 1987) | biography of Mr. Hirabayashi
16) Yasui v. US (1943, reopened and vacated 1984) | biography of Mr. Yasui
17) Ex parte Mitsuye Endo (1944) | Ms. Endo’s story

Update, 11/16/16Carl Higbie interviewed on Fox News, citing internment as precedent for proposed Trump administration policy of Muslim registry.

Immigration and the American Melting Pot

by admin - October 15th, 2016

The next several class periods will explore the history of immigration in law and society in the early part of the 20th century (keeping in mind, of course, the continuing relevance of that debate to our own time).

Tuesday 10/18 The “Long View” of Contested American Citizenship. Reading / prepare to discuss: Linda Kerber, “The Meanings of Citizenship” (1997). Bring to class: an immigration story to share (your own, a family story, someone else’s story, from any time period).

Links for Today:
Vote (Early!) PSA from Pres Obama
Election Wisdom from Ultra Spiritual Life

Thursday 10/20 Immigration Law. Reading: *NOTE this is a CHANGE FROM THE SYLLABUS* Ngai, “The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law” (1999) AND Collins, “Aliens v. Free Born” (1930). Also, Soapbox #4 [Tim, Alex, Simone, Michael, Monica, Amanda, and Rebeca]

Tuesday 10/25 Special Location for Today = LRC 121. We will be screening the film “Citizen USA” and we’re opening it up to the campus as a Democracy Café event, so we’ll meet in a bigger room with some more seating for guests.

Thursday 10/27 Petitioners at the Gates. We will have a special guest speaker today from the local field office of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, in addition to Soapbox #5 [Robert, Janine, Dave, Aleta, Kevin]. Reading: The compelling personal account of Lee Puey You at Angel Island Immigration Station in 1939, Yung “Bowlful of Tears.

Links for Today:
Citizens Initiative Review pilot project about MA Question 4
Lousiana law about documentation required for marriage
First Native American named an ambassador
America is a Bad Boyfriend (College Humor)

Tuesday 11/1 [Note this is a typo on the syllabus, it’s not the 18th obviously] Melting Pot. Reading: Horace Kallen’s 1915 Essay “Democracy vs. the Melting Pot” (in 2 parts: Part 1, Part 2) *and* Barrett, “Americanization from the Bottom Up.” Due in class: your CITIZEN Project Draft and Bibliography

Thursday 11/3 Workshop in Class on Japanese American Internment During World War II. Reading ahead of time: Goldstein-Shirley, “Enemies in Their Own Lands.” Bring laptops to class, we’ll be working in groups with a variety of documents related to the experience of Americans during wartime internment.

Women’s Suffrage & Response Paper #3 Prompt: State of the Vote circa 1900

by admin - October 11th, 2016

Thursday 10/13 Reading is RV Chapter 6, about the long struggle for women’s ability to fully exercise their voting rights as citizens.

For your response paper due Thurs 10/13 (2-3 pages, double-spaced) – you can base it on any of our recent readings: Wolfley, Love, or something drawn from chapters 4-6 of Keyssar. Address this question (or some portion of this question): How did geography, gender, race, and/or class inform the meaning of citizenship by 1900? Use this paper to demonstrate what you’ve learned in the course so far, QUOTING from the readings (cite any direct quotations) and discussing any quoted passages in depth. In your writing try to avoid just summarizing or restating the readings; go below the surface level.

Pro tip: think of this response paper less as a personal/opinion response, and more of a dry run for the kind of essay question that will appear on the final exam.

Today’s Links
Voting Registration Deadline extended in Florida due to Hurricane Matthew
538’s Nate Silver’s thought exercise on what the electoral map would look like if only women voted
Some Trump supporters responded with the #repealthe19th Twitter hashtag

Bonus Video for Today

Democracy in Practice – Thurs 9/29

by admin - September 27th, 2016

Assigned reading this week: GC Ch 3-4 and RV Ch 4

Due Thurs 9/29: Citizenship Exam Reflection Paper

At this point, you have taken some version of the US citizenship test twice, and studied for it using the entire set of 100 Civics, History and Geography questions. Compare your scores on the two tries. Write a short reflection paper (2 pages, double-spaced) on what this experience has meant to you, or what you found instructive or surprising about taking the exam.

Some questions you could consider:

How (and when) did you learn the answers to these questions?

Do you think these are the right questions to ask? If not, what else do you think naturalized citizens should know, or do, to demonstrate their fitness for American citizenship?

Would you advocate for a test like this to be a qualification for voting even for naturally-born citizens? If so, how often should it be taken – once, or renewed at certain intervals, like a drivers license? What would the logistics of that look like? If someone challenged such a program as unconstitutional, by what reasoning would you defend it? What might be the consequences if such a policy were instituted?