The History of Affirmative Action in the USA: A Teaching and Learning Guide

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Abstract

This Teaching and Learning Guide is designed to accompany my Sociology Compass article on affirmative action. The sample syllabus is organized historically beginning with FDR's New Deal and the first use of the term affirmative action and ending with the most recent Supreme Court's deliberations on this policy. In doing so, it attends not only to the varied meanings and forms of affirmative action across time but also the different interest groups arguing for and against this remedial policy. Along the way, it explores the changing history of race relations in the USA, considers the value of personal narratives as sources in exploring meaning and personhood, examines the ways the news media has framed the debate in contemporary America, and finally, speculates about the future of this controversial policy.

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