Topics in United States History

Spring 2013

HIUS 4591 / ARH 4500/PLAN 4500

Topics in United States History

"U.Va. History: Race and Repair"

Phyllis Leffler

This special topics class will focus on the university and the surrounding community of Charlottesville with a special emphasis on issues of race.  Students will explore the history of the University from its founding and construction to the late twentieth century, exploring both the documented history and the community’s perception of that history.  Topics include:

  • the early role of the enslaved in both building and maintaining the quality of life for students and faculty; 
  • U.Va.’s position and role during the Civil War; 
  • the evolution of the student body and surrounding communities in the era of Reconstruction and Jim Crow; 
  • the values of southern Progressivism; 
  • the place of eugenics at U.Va.; 
  • early efforts at racial and gender diversity and administrative responses; 
  • the acceptance of African American students and the responses of the Black Charlottesville community; 
  • employment practices during the twentieth century;
  • issues of growth and their impact on communities; and
  • how that history has and has not been represented on grounds and throughout the built environment.

This course will invite and encourage community members who have worked or lived in the surrounding area to help construct the forgotten or buried histories of university/community relations from their perspective.  Students enrolled in the course will develop projects that actively engage members of the community, and will develop final products that serve the wider community needs for revealing and understanding this history.

Course readings will be available through Collab and will include published and unpublished essays, primary source documents, university published reports, newspaper articles, website materials.  Reading will be heavier during the first half of the semester, allowing students more time to focus on research for group projects during the second half.  Students will maintain analytic journals based on the readings, and will produce a final group project.  Active class participation is critical.  (The course will be co-taught with Professor Frank Dukes, who chairs the UCARE initiative at the university, and is cross-listed with ARH 4500 and PLAN 4500.)

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

tel: (434) 924-7147; fax: (434) 924-7891
office: M-F 8 am to 4:30 pm
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