Writing Assignment and Book Discussions: Coming of Age in Mississippi or Impossible Subjects

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HIST 2057-04: THE UNITED STATES: 1865 TO THE PRESENT

Writing Assignments / Midterm Exams and Book Discussion Section

Required Texts:
* Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi (Random House, 1992). ISBN: 9780440314882

Anne Moody was born on September 15, 1940, in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. Coming ofAge in Mississippi is an autobiographical book about life in Mississippi, the struggle of African Americans in the state and in the South, the life of a black child and woman in the South, and the role of race and racism in America. The book helps us to understand life in the South both before and during the Civil Rights Movement and shows the struggles and triumphs and also the enduring problems that came out of the Movement. It also shows racism from the perspective of a child. The majority of the book focuses on Moody’s early years, her experiences at school and also at college. Anne Moody sees herself as an activist rather than a writer. She worked as a volunteer in the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and participated in many key events of the Civil Rights Movement.

* Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton University Press, 2004). ISBN: 9780691124292

Mae M. Ngai’s Impossible Subjects takes on a topic of considerable contemporary relevance by exploring the origins of the illegal alien in American society and why this “impossible subject” became the central problem of U.S. immigration policy. Ngai focuses on the years 1924 to 1965 and offers provocative reinterpretations of the Johnson-Reed Act in particular. Ultimately, Ngai offers a new way of thinking about citizenship and state power. Her analysis reveals that immigration restriction re-mapped the nation both by creating new categories of racial difference and by emphasizing as never before the nation’s contiguous land borders and their patrol. This yielded the “illegal alien,” a new legal and political subject whose inclusion...
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