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. 2016/17

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2015/16

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
IF0314, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2016/17
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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
E-Learning website
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 SPS/05

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 27/09/2016
End of activities 20/01/2017
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2016 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 Commissione 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 LUCONI STEFANO (Presidente)
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 analyze a sample of the sources documenting them.
Examination methods: Oral exam on the issues addressed during classes, including the contents of the documentary sources and essays uploaded to Moodle, and/or in the "textbooks" section of the syllabus.
Assessment criteria: Ability to discuss the issues addressed during classes, including the contents of the documentary sources and essays uploaded to Moodle, and/or in the “textbooks” section of the syllabus; clarity in expressing one’s ideas and arguments.
Course unit contents: THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES. Race discrimination is the main inconsistency of the U.S. history. Although America proclaimed itself "the land of the free" – to cite the words of the national anthem – and pointed to the principle that "all men are created equal" and entitled to the inalienable rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" as the foundation of its claim to establish itself into a sovereign nation in 1776, the United States allowed the legal existence of slavery until 1865 and blacks' segregation during the century that followed their manumission. Even today, notwithstanding the first presidency of an African American, a disproportionate number of blacks is victims of the zero-tolerance policy by law enforcement officers and the average weekly income of a person of color equals 76.8 percent of that of a Caucasian worker. For an apparent paradox, instead of marking the climax of integration, the Obama administration witnessed an upsurge of the conflicts between whites and blacks. This development is shown not only by the 160 harmless African Americans who were slaughtered by the police in 2015, but also by the revival of race riots – after the precedents of the two world wars, of the mid 1960s, and 1992 – and the retaliatory surprise attacks on a few law enforcement agents. As Ta-Nehisi Coates has suggested, having dark skin continues to represent a threat to the black's personal safety in present-day United States, while the percentage of Americans who think that racism is a severe problem in their own society grew from 28 percent in 2011 to 49 percent in 2015. Therefore, African Americans' treatment as well as their social, economical, and political conditions are significant criteria to assess to what an extent the United States have complied with those values that it planned to export abroad for centuries, claiming the leadership of the "free world". The course will address these issues. In particular, it will examine the reasons for the resort to the importation of African slaves in colonial America and during the first quarter century of the Republic, the main features of the Atlantic slave trade, the characteristics of southern economy, the slaves’ living conditions and sense of identity, abolitionism, the colonization programs for freed slaves, slave rebellions, the relationship between continental expansion and the spread of slavery, the role of the latter in triggering off the civil war and shaping its developments, African Americans' participation in the military conflict, the process leading to the emancipation of blacks, postbellum racial segregation, the stand of the Supreme Court about the legal status of blacks, African Americans’ campaigns for the achievement of full civil and political rights, the gender dimension of of race discrimination, the role of black leaders such as Ida B. Wells, Booker T. Washington, William E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Jesse Jackson, the legislative accomplishments, the shift of African-American movements from nonviolence and demands for integration to violence and calls for racial separatism in the wake of the rise of Black Power, the white backlash at racial integration, the progressive accommodation of blacks within politics that eventually paved the way to Barack Obama's election, and his presidency. Specific attention will be paid to the sources to reconstruct those events and phenomena, including African Americans' voices.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will alternate frontal teaching and discussions about documentary sources and essays that will be recommended and uploaded to the Moodle platform in advance. Such readings are an essential part of the exam program. Students are required to participate actively in classes.
Additional notes about suggested reading: ATTENTION!!! The program above is for students planning to take an exam in U.S. history with NINE CFU. For students (if any) with SIX CFU, the exam program covers the period from colonial times to the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act included. Therefore, 1) the study of Gli afro-americani. Quattro secoli di storia can be confined to pp. 9-274, 2) the study of Martin Luther King Jr.’s book can be limited to pp. 3-295; 3) the study of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ volume is not required.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi, Tra me e il mondo. Torino: Codice Edizioni, 2016. ISBN 978-88-757-8605-2 Cerca nel catalogo
  • Douglass, Frederick, Narrazione della vita di Frederick Douglass, uno schiavo americano, scritta da lui stesso, a cura di Maria Giulia Fabi. Venezia: Marsilio, 2015. ISBN 978-88-317-2184-4
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., «I Have a Dream». L’autobiografia del profeta dell’uguaglianza, a cura di Clayborne Carson. Milano: Mondadori, 2000. ISBN 978-88-044-9893-3 Cerca nel catalogo
  • Luconi, Stefano, Gli afro-americani. Quattro secoli di storia. Padova: Cleup, 2015. ISBN 978-88-678-7455-2 Cerca nel catalogo
  • Northup, Solomon, 12 anni schiavo. La straordinaria storia vera di Solomon Northup. Milano: Newton Compton, 2014. ISBN 978-88-541-6062-0 Cerca nel catalogo
  • X, Malcolm con Alex Haley, Autobiografia di Malcolm X, introduzione di Alessandro Portelli. Milano: Rizzoli, 1992. ISBN 978-88-170-0287-5 Cerca nel catalogo