Course: The Rhetoric of Racial Reconciliation: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and the Promise of Intersectionality

HC 444H / HC 421H

Professor: David Frank

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill both of the following requirements: an Arts & Letters Colloquium and an AC (American Cultures) Multicultural class. If you have already taken an Arts & Letters Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements: an Elective Colloquium and an AC Multicultural class.

This course centers on the rhetoric of race, adaptive racism, adaptive anti-racism, and racial reconciliation.  Barack Obama's forty speeches on race during his two terms as president and the discourse of Donald Trump's white identity movement will serve as the primary texts for the course.  The course begins with a study of Obama's 2004 address before the Democratic National Convention and considers the trajectories of his rhetoric on race up to and beyond his Eulogy at Charleston address of June 26, 2015.  Ten days earlier, on June 16, 2015, Donald Trump delivered his presidential announcement, offering voice to an audience of disaffected whites.

The course will chart the exchanges between Obama and Trump on the issue of race.  Drawing from the theories of intersectionality, the writings of J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Michael Eric Dyson's The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America and Mark McPhail's The Rhetoric of Racism, the course is designed to study the rhetoric of race, adaptive racism, adaptive anti-racism for the purpose of creating the mythic and symbolic anchors for racial reconciliation.