Four Fridays: June 3, 10, 17, 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. EDT Online
Lecture and Discussion
By now, it seems everyone has an opinion about the 1619 Project, a special edition of The New York Times’ Magazine that tried to focus readers’ attention upon the continuing legacies of race slavery in American life. Legislators in several states have since passed laws to ban it from school curriculums, along with the teaching of Critical Race Theory—or CRT—a set of premises developed by legal scholars in the 1990s to interpret America’s institutions in the context of race and civil rights.
In this four-part lecture and discussion course, University of Maryland historian Richard Bell will take us back to basics. We’ll push past the headlines and talk candidly about what the 1619 Project says and doesn’t say, and what CRT means for the teaching of American history. To do so, we will get as close as we can to the subjects—like the American Revolution, the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, and Reconstruction—around which so many of these debates have swirled.
Four Fridays: June 3, 10, 17, 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Online EST
#1: The History Wars: Introducing the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory. This first talk introduces participants to the 1619 Project and to Critical Race Theory, describing their intellectual origins, there central contents, the nature of the controversies surrounding them, and why this all might matter. Post-Session Recommended Reading: Nikole Hannah-Jones, ed., The 1619 Project: A New Origins Story (2021).
#2: To Preserve Slavery? Debating the Causes of the American Revolution. This second talk examines the 1619 Project’s controversial claim that patriots fought the American Revolution to protect their right to own enslaved people. Is that claim supportable? What’s the evidence? Does any of it hold water? Post-Session Recommended Reading: Woody Holton, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution (2021).
#3: The White Man’s President? Debating Lincoln’s Racial Politics in the Civil War. This third talk examines the 1619 Project’s provocative claim that President Abraham Lincoln “opposed black equality.” It explores Lincoln’s complex and changing racial politics and explains how the Civil War brought forth the destruction of slavery. Post-Session Recommended Reading: James Oakes, The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution (2021).
#4: Institutional Racism? Debating the Legacies of Slavery in America. This final talk examines the merits of some of the core claims of Critical Race Theory by exploring the histories of Reconstruction, crime and punishment, and voting rights. Post-Session Recommended Reading: Crystal M. Fleming, How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide (2018).
The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story (9780593230572)
Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution by Woody Holton (9781476750378)
The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution by James Oakes (9781324020196)
How to be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal M. Fleming (9780807039847)
Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home which is shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award and the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Center for History and Culture and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.