First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
LE01107988, A.A. 2015/16

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2014/15

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
IF0314, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2015/16
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Department of reference Department of Linguistic and Literary Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge STEFANO LUCONI

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines SPS/05 History and Institutions of the Americas 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 28/09/2015
End of activities 23/01/2016
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2016 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
5 Commissione 2017/18 01/12/2017 30/09/2018 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
4 Commissione 2016/17 01/12/2016 30/11/2017 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
3 Commissione 2015/16 01/10/2015 30/11/2016 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)

Prerequisites: None. Previous exams in Modern History and Contemporary History are advised but not compulsory.
Target skills and knowledge: By the end of the course, the student will be able to master and to critically discuss the main events of the African-American experience from colonial times to the presidency of Barack Obama, as well as to discuss the leading scholarly interpretations.
Examination methods: Oral exam on the issues addressed during classes and/or in the "textbooks" section of the syllabus.
Assessment criteria: Ability to discuss the issues addressed during classes and/or in the “textbooks” section of the syllabus; clarity in expressing one’s ideas and arguments.
Course unit contents: THE BLACK FREEDOM STRUGGLE, FROM COLONIAL TIMES TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. The first African Americans were landed in chains in the territory of the present-day United States in the early Seventeenth century. Their descendants represented the largest minority in the country until the beginning of the Third Millennium, when Hispanics outnumbered them. The black experience, therefore, constitutes a significant component of the multifaceted history of the United States as a multiethnic and multiracial society that cannot be overlooked, at least because of African Americans’ quantitative relevance. Moreover, blacks’ standing over the centuries has been shaped by peculiar features which cast light on the inner nature of the societal model that the United States have elaborated and offered the world since the nation’s establishment as a sovereign country. Most African Americans were subjected to slavery until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 as well as to racial segregation and exclusion from political life in southern states in the following one hundred years before the enforcement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Such living conditions and legal status were blatantly at odds with the ideals of equality and freedom the United States has identified itself with since 1776 in order to legitimize its own existence and to sustain the ambition of exporting and spreading worldwide its political, economic, and social system. Furthermore, notwithstanding de lege integration in the mid 1960s, forms of de facto discrimination and prejudice, along with racially-based types of economic and social imbalance, have since then survived and still continue to affect the lives of numerous blacks. The killings of a few unarmed and apparently harmless African Americans on the part of white police officers and the ensuing riots, in response to both the deaths themselves and the acquittal of the policemen involved, in cities such as Ferguson (Missouri) and Baltimore (Maryland) in the last couple of years demonstrate that, despite the first black president’s two consecutive terms in the White House, the race question is still a burning and unresolved problem in the United States. The course aims at reconstructing the main events in the history of African Americans since the introduction of the slaves into British North America in the early Seventeenth century until Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election to the presidency. Specific attention will be paid to the following issues: the slaves’ supposed resistance and agency in colonial times and in the antebellum Republic; the ideological inconsistencies and implications of the denial of African Americans’ rights for a country that, since 1776, has claimed the legitimacy of its establishment as a sovereign state on the basis of the principle that “all men are created equal” and are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”; the diverse and somehow overlapping strategies (accommodation, militant confrontation, and separatism) in the struggle for African Americans’ emancipation and claims to full civil, political, and socio-economical rights; the scholarly debate on all these matters.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Frontal teaching with discussions during classes.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Cartosio, Bruno, L’esperienza afro-americana e la storiografia: pregiudizi, cancellazioni, confini, in. "Acoma": vol. I, n. 1, primavera, 1994. pp. 31-39 Cerca nel catalogo
  • Couvares, Francis G., Martha Saxton, Gerald N. Grob e George Athan Billias (a cura di), Interpretations of American History. Patterns and Perspectives, vol. I, Through Reconstruction. Boston-New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009. pp. 96-108, 274-89. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Douglass, Frederick, Memorie di uno schiavo fuggiasco. Roma: manifestolibri, 1992. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Joseph, Peniel E., The Black Power Movement: A State of the Field, in. “Journal of American History”: vol. XCVI, n. 3, dicembre, 2008. pp. 751-76, scaricabile gratuitamente all’indirizzo Internet Cerca nel catalogo
  • Luconi, Stefano, Gli afro-americani. Quattro secoli di storia. Padova: Cleup, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Obama, Barack, Sulla razza. Milano: Rizzoli, 2008. pp. 15-61, consultabile gratuitamente in inglese all’indirizzo Internet Cerca nel catalogo
  • Venturini, Nadia, Il movimento afro-americano per i diritti civili, in. "Passato e Presente": vol. XXVI, n. 74, maggio-agosto, 2008. pp. 133-48. Cerca nel catalogo
  • X, Malcolm, con Alex Haley, Autobiografia di Malcolm X, introduzione di Alessandro Portelli. Milano: Rizzoli, 1992. (o edizioni successive). Cerca nel catalogo