This course traces the varied historical experiences of African Americans in the United States from their cultural roots in the western interior of Africa to the present day. Importantly, the course rests on the assumption that African American history cannot be disentangled from the broad narrative of American history. Accordingly, it traces the most pivotal moments of U.S. History through the lens of African Americans; navigating the different ways in which black folks at times created, resisted and accommodated to events such as the peopling of the early colonies, the transition from indentured servitude to slavery, the growth of racism, capitalism, industrialization, urbanization, and the nation’s involvement in wars and changes in foreign diplomacy. Equally as important, however, this course also centers on the idea that the study of African American history intellectually challenges and complicates the broader narrative of American history in meaningful and fascinating ways. By focusing on African American voices and experiences, this course will thus problematize the historical development of the nation’s most fundamental values, opening wide the door for us to wrestle with the overarching themes of freedom, democracy, citizenship, capitalism and Christianity that structure the national narrative of the United States.
Candice Harrison, Assistant Professor, joined the history department in Fall 2008 after completing her Ph.D. at Emory University. Her teaching and research interests span the fields of colonial and nineteenth century U.S. History, African-American History, and comparative race and slavery in the Atlantic World. Her current book manuscript explores the social and political dynamics of economic exchange in the diverse street markets of early Philadelphia.