Course syllabus

Summer School, 2018

15 points


Convener & Lecturer: Jennifer Frost


Office: Humanities Bldg, Room 721 (206-721)

Phone: 373-7599, ext. 88322

Office Hours: Thursdays 1-3 and by appointment

Lecturer: Dr. Aroha Harris


Office: Humanities Bldg, Room 705 (206-705)

Phone: 373-7599, ext. 88372

Office Hours: Thursdays 1-3 and by appointment

Course delivery format: 2 x 2-hour lectures with discussion (Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)


Course Description              

This course explores the historical construction of ‘race’ through a series of in-depth historical case studies drawn from settings in New Zealand and the United States.  It examines how claims and assumptions about racial difference among different groups and peoples have developed and changed over time.  While we are concerned with how race has structured inequalities and injustices, past and present, we are also attuned to how cultures and solidarities based on racial understandings have empowered different groups and peoples.  This course consists of two 2-hour lectures with discussion weekly. 


Course Objectives and Learning Objectives 

This course offers you the opportunity to develop key capabilities in the BA Graduate Profile and toward employability, including advancing disciplinary knowledge and practice in history, critical thinking, communication and engagement, and social responsibilities. From this course, students will gain a strong understanding of the significance of tangata whenua and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which will contribute to you ability to exercise rights and fulfil responsibilities as informed, ethical, and engaged citizens in Aotearoa New Zealand and the world. Specifically you:

  • will gain an understanding of ‘race’ as a historical construction.
  • will acquire and expand knowledge of the racial histories of New Zealand and the United States
  • will further develop the skills of the historian, including thinking historically, using and distinguishing between primary and secondary sources, and develop proficiency in writing argumentative essays.


Course Expectations

Students in the course are expected to:

  • regularly attend lectures and participate in discussions.

  • complete the course assessment, including reading summaries, document analysis essay, essay and the examination; students must pass the examination to pass the course.

  • adhere to basic standards of classroom etiquette. These standards include coming to lecture and tutorial on time, refraining from using phones, or talking to neighbors during lectures, and waiting until the class period is over before getting ready to leave. Violations of these standards are considered rude and unacceptable, and the instructor reserves the right to ask students violating these standards to leave the classroom.


Assessment Summary

Assessment in this course is divided between course work (50%) and an examination (50%).
(1) Two Required Reading Summaries, 500 words (10%)
(2) Document Analysis Essay, 750 words (15%)
(3) Essay, 1,250 words (25%)
(4) Examination, 2 hours TBA (50%)


Note about te reo Māori
Some commonly known words and phrases will be used throughout the course in lectures, discussions and readings. If you are less familiar with the Māori language, refer to AUT’s Te Aka Online Māori Dictionary, available online at: This is also available as a free downloadable App (iOS and Android). Some of the books you will consult will also contain their own glossaries.


Lecture Format

Lecture meetings are Wednesday and Thursday 11-1 and will consist of lectures, interspersed with images, video, and discussion.  Aroha and Jennifer will use PowerPoint to display an outline of the lecture, which should assist you in note-taking.  These outlines will be available on Canvas.  You should aim to do the weekly required reading before Wednesday's lecture as we will be referring to and discussing the readings during lecture, and you want to be prepared to talk.  The purpose of our class meetings is for you to attend, listen, discuss, and take your own notes.  Indeed, this activity is an important part of the learning process and note-taking is an important skill.  Lectures will be recorded but only available for five days following the lecture to ensure students keep up with course material.  The recordings will be re-released during the exam period to aid with exam preparation.  Discussions will not be recorded.


Lecture Schedule, Required Readings, and Discussion Questions

Week 1            Introduction

4 January:       Race Matters

Required Reading:

  • History 111 Racial Histories Timeline (skim and note for future reference)
  • James Belich, ‘Lenses on Prehistory’, in Making Peoples: A History of the New Zealanders, Auckland, 1996, pp. 19-22.
  • Howard F. Taylor, ‘Defining Race’, in Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Anderson, eds., Race and Ethnicity in Society: The Changing Landscape, Belmont, 2006, pp. 47-54.

Questions to Consider: What is the main point Belich is making in ‘Lenses on Prehistory’?  What does Taylor mean when, on p.49, he writes; ‘the definition of race in America, and in most other societies as well, is largely social’?


Week 2            Colonialism, Commerce & ‘Civilising’ Missions in Aotearoa New Zealand

10 January:     First Impressions: voyagers, commercialists and missionaries

11 January:     Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi

Required Reading:

  • M. P. K. Sorrenson, ‘How to Civilize Savages: Some Answers from Nineteenth-century New Zealand’, New Zealand Journal of History, 9, 2, 1975, pp.97-110.
  • Extract from Rev Samuel Marsden’s first New Zealand journal, 1814-1815, published in John Rawson Elder, ed., The Letters and Journals of Samuel Marsden, 1765-1838, Dunedin, 1932, pp.60, 130.
  • Claudia Orange, An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi, Wellington, 2004, pp.24-45; and texts of the Treaty of Waitangi and Tiriti o Waitangi.

Questions to Consider: What is the question Sorrenson is seeking to answer in this essay? What role did race play in economic developments in Aotearoa New Zealand?  How did British understandings of race inform civilizing missions and shape the process of negotiation over and resulting Treaty of Waitangi and Tiriti o Waitangi?


Week 3            Colonialism, Commerce, and ‘Civilising’ Missions in North America

17 January:     Colonial Migrations and American Slavery

18 January:     The White Republic and Cherokee Trail of Tears

Required Reading:

  • T. H. Breen, ‘The “Giddy Multitude”: Race and Class in Early Virginia’, in Ronald Takaki, ed., From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, 2nd ed., New York, 1994, pp. 107-117.
  • Theda Perdue, ‘Cherokee Women and the Trail of Tears’, in Vicki L. Ruiz and Ellen Carol DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History, 3rd, New York, 2000, pp.93-104.
  • ‘Christian Missionaries Oppose Removal, 1830’, excerpt from The Missionary Herald, 27 (March 1830), pp.80-84, reprinted in James J. Lorence, Enduring Voices, vol. I: To 1877, Boston, 2000, pp.188-189.

Questions to Consider: How does Breen’s essay contribute to our understanding of ‘race’ as a historical construction?  What role did race play in economic developments colonial America?  What is Perdue arguing in this essay?  How do understandings of ‘race’ inform efforts to ‘civilize’ the Cherokee?




Week 4            Race and Citizenship in Aotearoa New Zealand

24 January:     Two Citizenships? Amalgamation to c.1920

25 January:     One Citizenship Fits All: Integration in the mid-twentieth century

Required Reading:

  • Richard S. Hill, ‘Maori and State Policy’ in Giselle Byrnes, ed., The New Oxford History of New Zealand, Melbourne, 2009, pp.513-535.
  • ‘First Conference Of Maori Women’s Welfare Leagues’, Dominion (24 September 1951), Maori Affairs File (MAI, 36/26/18 pt. 1), Archives New Zealand, Wellington.

Questions to Consider: Does Hill’s argument complement or challenge your previous understandings of Māori/State relations?  How did race shape policies and attitudes about NZ citizenship?


Week 5            Race and Citizenship in the USA

31 January:     Divided We Stand and ‘Scientific Racism’

1 February:     Immigration Restriction and Japanese American Internment

Required Reading:

  • John Higham, ‘Patterns in the Making’, in Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925, New York, 1985, pp.3-11.
  • Ian F. Haney-Lopez, ‘Racial Restrictions in the Law of Citizenship’, chapter 2 in White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, New York, 1996, pp.37-47.
  • Alice Yang Murray, ‘The Internment of Japanese Americans,’ in Murray, ed., What did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? Boston, 2000, pp. 3-19.

Questions to Consider: How do the readings by Higham and Haney-Lopez contribute to our understanding of ‘race’ as a historical construction?  According to Murray, why were people of Japanese ancestry interned during World War II and why were they treated so differently in Hawaii versus the mainland?  How did race shape policies and attitudes about US citizenship?


5 February     ESSAY DUE @ 11:59 PM TO CANVAS


Week 6            Race, Resistance, and Social Movements in the USA and Aotearoa New Zealand

7 February:     ‘Ka whawhai tonu matou’ and ‘Viva la Raza’: Modern Māori Protest and the Chicano Movement

8 February:     Racial Histories/Racial Futures

Required Reading:

  • Aroha Harris, Hīkoi: Forty Years of Māori Protest, Wellington, 2004, pp.10-31.
  • V. Reed, ‘Revolutionary Walls: Chicano/a Murals, Chicano/a Movements’, in The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle, Minneapolis, 2005, pp. 103-121.
  • Review required course readings and your lecture and discussion notes for a session on exam preparation.

Questions to Consider: What factors that influenced the rise of the modern Māori protest movement?  What sorts of messages are presented by the Chicano/a murals?  How do Harris’ chapter and Reed’s essay help us to understand how race has not only structured inequalities and injustices, but has also been a site of empowerment and solidarity?  What did the Māori Protest Movement share with its counterparts in the USA, especially the Chicano Movement?  How was it different?  For exam preparation, what have been the principal themes of this course?  How could those themes be formulated as essay questions?



Course summary:

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