In this seminar we will analyze and discuss the formation of the African American middle-class both historically and sociologically. We will trace the origins of the contemporary black middle class in the United States to the mid-nineteenth century. However, the bulk of the course will focus on the black middle class since the mid-twentieth century. This is the period in which it developed at a substantial rate and became a recognizable feature of American society. Key factors and problems in the development of the black middle class(es) include: the civil rights movement, organized labor, changing access to higher education, black migration and immigration, the emergence of the postindustrial economy, civil rights legislation and affirmative action policies, discrimination, wealth inequality, residential segregation, public images, and changing political fortunes. In this course we will begin by critically examining key concepts and theoretical debates in the literature that have not fully explained the formation of the black middle class. One issue has been the problem for sociologists and other scholars of clarifying the elusive concept of, middle class itself. By considering more fully the intersection of the key concepts of race and class in the context of social and historical change, we will be able to more fully examine the experiences of the African American middle class in U.S. society.
COURSE FORMAT: Seminar
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AFAM Grading Mode: Graded
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
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