Friday, November 29, 2013

Identity Coursepack

The second coursepack of the year engages the second SK theme: Identity.

Where the Explorers coursepack was purposefully wide-ranging, this second text is more streamlined. The topic at hand is the definition of American.

The first half of the anthology provides readings on the intentions of this newfangled nation, and the narrative of how the decision was reached to break away from the most liberal-minded and humanitarian kingdom in human history (not to say the British Empire was atrocity-free). In the end we created a document called the Constitution, loyalty to which entitled one to full-fledged citizenship, regardless of background.

Discovery of AmericaPaul La Farge1
New ColossusEmma Lazarus6
What Is an American?Hector St Jean de Crevecoeur7
Gettysburg AddressAbraham Lincoln9
Four FreedomsFranklin Delano Roosevelt10
Wordy ShipmatesSarah Vowell11
Fifty YearsLarry Gonick14
Ohio, 1754Larry Gonick16
Americans & EmpireEdmund Morgan20
Oops!Larry Gonick27
ConstitutionLarry Gonick38

This wasn't actually true, of course. Most Americans weren't citizens in our earliest years, and most suffered deeply from this denial. Changes were required and still are. The greatest characteristic of the Constitution is that changes to it are built right in. This process began even before its ratification, with the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments. Since then, most of the Amendments have the effect of distributing the rights of American citizens more widely.

The second half of the coursepack explores this process.

LiteracyFrederick Douglass44
Douglass Meets LincolnLarry Gonick47
How It FeelsZora Neale Hurston48
Creation StoriesBarbara Kingsolver50
Phoenix, ArizonaSherman Alexie53
House on Mango StreetSandra Cisneros61
American Born ChineseGene Luen Yang68
Undeterred by RealityMolly Ivins87

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