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CSER UN3904 Rumor and Racial Conflict. 4 points.

This course will take a transnational look at the strange ways that race and mass rumors have interacted. From the judicial and popular riots in the U.S. justified by recurrent rumors of African-American insurrection, to accusations that French Jews were players in the 'white slave trade,' to tales of white fat-stealing monsters among indigenous people of Bolivia and Peru, rumors play a key role in constructing, enforcing, and contesting regimes of racial identity and domination. In order to grasp rumor's importance for race, we will need to understand how it works, so our readings will cover both instances of racialized rumor-telling, conspiracy theories and mass panics, and some key approaches to how rumors work as a social phenomenon. The instructor will expect you to post a response to the reading on Courseworks each week and to engage actively in class discussion. There will be an in-class midterm exam, and you will be able to choose between writing an independent research project or doing a take-home exam.