Week 14 Reading Guide

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Monday Reading

Gerstle Epilogue, "Beyond the Rooseveltian Nation, 1975-2000"

1. After the decline of the Rooseveltian Nation, Gerstle asserts that different political cultures on the left and light have risen up to take its place. On the left, he argues for the rise of a political project of multiculturalism. How does he characterize this project? What is the difference between "hard" and "soft" multiculturalism? Before the 1990s, what does he give as an example of "soft" multiculturalism?
2. In Gerstle's section of the Epilogue entitled, "Varieties of Multiculturalism," he devotes most of his time to critiquing the rise of "hard multiculturalism" in the 1980s. He asserts there are two camps of hard multiculturalists - who are they? What are their differences? Why did hard multiculturalists come to dominate the 1980s - what three reasons does Gerstle give?
3. How did the political right respond to the decline of the Rooseveltian Nation? What were the key aspects of Ronald Reagan's vision of the American nation? How was it different from and similar to the Rooseveltian nation?
4. How was Bill Clinton's vision of the American nation an attempt to find a "Third Way" between Reagan's vision and the vision of left multiculturalists? How does Gerstle argue his was a form of "soft multiculturalism"? How is Clinton's vision different from and similar to the Rooseveltian nation?
5. From around page 368 to the end of the chapter, Gerstle inserts his own voice into the narrative in a new way. Here he is giving his own interpretation as to the state of American nationalism at the end of the 20th century. What does he think about the state of the racial nation? Is it gone? Note on page 371 that he speculates on "Islamic fundamentalism" and what might happen if there was a terrorist attack on the U.S. - did his prediction come true after 9/11? Given what he says on page 372-374, do you think he laments the decline of the Rooseveltian nation? Why or why not?

Wednesday Reading

Assata Chapters 1, 3, 5, and 7

You are now reading the portion of Assata's narrative after she is imprisoned - accused of being part of a murder of a New Jersey State trooper in a traffic stop. Sundiata (her friend) is also accused of the same crime. However, the trial she is talking about in chapter 5 was about a bank robbery the federal government said Assata was involved in. In this trial she is being tried with her friend Kamau. She was tried, and eventually acquitted, on this charge before she was tried and convicted in the New Jersey incident. Note that her Aunt Evelyn is her lawyer.

1. How does Assata attempt to link black life on the streets to life in prison? How are they the same? Why does she consider both to be "un-free"? How, according to her, do prisons and the justice system reinforce racism and even slavery?
2. How do Assata and Kamau discuss Islam and having a child as forms of resistance inside prison? How does Asstat see her doctors as attempting to thwart the resistance of her having a child?

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Stahl published on November 30, 2012 3:41 PM.

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