This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2021-2022

ENGL 13186-5: Reading the 1619 Project

Instructor: John Duffy

In this course we will examine The 1619 Project, The New York Times' celebrated, Pulitzer Prize winning, extremely controversial retelling of the history of slavery in the United States and its continuing influence on U.S. institutions and culture. A series of essays, photographs, stories and poems, the project places slavery at the center of the American experience and argues that it is the foundation of the systemic racism that continues to plague contemporary U.S. life. Former President Trump denounced the project as a shameful misrepresentation of U.S. history, and several prominent historians have criticized its scholarship. Still other historians and social commentators have defended the project as necessary and courageous. We will read arguments critical of the project and those defending it. We will devote most of our time, however, to reading, discussing, and writing about the essays and other materials contained in the 1619 Project. We will consider what these materials may teach us about the history of slavery and about the state of race and racism in the United States today.