AJL27053 Civil and Human Rights: A Comparative Examination

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2020
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 6 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Jeffrey Alan Smith, M.A., Ph.D. (lecturer)
Jeffrey Alan Vanderziel, B.A. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Jeffrey Alan Smith, M.A., Ph.D.
Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Mon 14:00–15:40 B2.23
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 15 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 8/15, only registered: 0/15
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 15 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
What are "civil rights" and why are they important, not only in terms of American history, but in a larger "global" context as well? Are the issues related to the struggle by minorities in the United States to gain these "rights" (whatever they may be) relevant in European or Czech contexts and if so, how? This course uses an examination of the issues surrounding the struggle for civil rights in the United States during the course of this century - primarily, but not exclusively, by the African-American community - as a springboard for a wide-ranging examination of civil and human rights in a more global context. Social, political and legal perspectives will be examined, as will the ramifications of this movement for American society as a whole. Reading for this course will be based on a variety of historical material, including contemporary documents and articles, texts of speeches, analysis of the relevant Supreme Court decisions and a number of essays on this issue. In addition, the video series America's Civil Rights Years, will be viewed and discussed, as well as some additional video material. We will also be looking at contemporary media coverage of such events, including both the American and Czech media.
Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to discuss and analyze the development of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. They will be able assess the primary factors that influenced the development of this movement. They will be able to compare and contrast the development of civil rights in the U.S. with larger questions of human rights in a variety of countries and different historical periods. They will be able to evaluate how specific questions relating to civil and human rights are currently being dealt with around the world.
  • Week 1: Course Introduction: Rights, Minorities, Race
  • Week 2: Racism: Eye-to-Eye documentary
  • Week 3: What are “civil rights”? Are they the same as “human rights”?
  • Week 4: The Stirrings of a Civil Rights Movement: 1896-1918: Plessy v. Ferguson, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, Prelude to the Great Struggle: 1918-1954 -- The Springfield Riot, Resurgence of the KKK, the New Deal, World War II, CORE, Brown v. Board of Education
  • Week 5: “America’s Civil Rights Years: Awakenings (1954-1956)” The Montgomery Bus Boycott,Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till
  • Week 6: “America’s Civil Rights Years: Fighting Back(1957-1962)”: School Desegregation, Little Rock, the University of Mississippi
  • Week 7: “America’s Civil Rights Years: No Easy Walk(1961-1963)”: Albany, GA; Birmingham, AL, the March on Washington, “I Have a Dream”
  • Week 8: Martin Luther King
  • Week 9: “America’s Civil Rights Years: Mississippi:Is this America? (1962-1964)”: Voter Registration, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Democratic Party in turmoil
  • Week 10: Turmoil:1965-1972: Black Power, Riots, Busing
  • Week 11: Retrenchment: 1972-2005: Jesse Jackson, “Reverse Discrimination,” Louis Farrakhan, “Million Man March”
  • Week 12: GLBTQ Issues
  • Week 13: The Roman Question in Europe and Beyond.
    required literature
  • Romové a Evropa : sborník z konference : romské etnikum a multietnicita v zemích střední Evropy : evropský problém? (Souběž.) : The Roma and Europe : conference proceedings : the Roma community and multi-ethnicity in the countries of central Europe : a e. info
  • RICHES, William T. Martin. The civil rights movement : struggle and resistance. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. xxix, 248. ISBN 9781403916051. info
  • The rights of minority cultures. Edited by Will Kymlicka. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995. ix, 387 s. ISBN 0-19-878101-6. info
  • WILLIAMS, Juan. Eyes on the prize : America's civil rights years, 1954-1965. Edited by Julian Bond. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1988. xv, 300 p. ISBN 0-14-009653-110. info
  • ABRAHAM, Henry J. Freedom and the court : civil rights and liberties in the United states. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. xii, 397. ISBN 0195015258. info
Teaching methods
1.5 hour seminar per week with extensive classroom discussions. Students will also be viewing (outside of class) The 14-part documentary "Eyes on The Prize".
Assessment methods
Assessment will be based on four items:
1. Class participation (10%)
2. Research project (50%)
3. Journal/Diary (20%)
4. Comment Paper (20%)
Language of instruction
Teacher's information

  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/spring2020/AJL27053