Critical Race Theory casebooks (and course structure) question
posted by Kaimipono D. Wenger
This fall, I’m going to be teaching a seminar on Critical Race Theory. It looks to be a fun topic to teach, and I’m excited about the class. I’m less excited about the pedantic task of selecting a book. However, with the bookstore breathing down my neck, book selection must take place. This requires me to nail down some underlying questions about course structure that I hadn’t really resolved yet.
I’m of two minds.
Option one is to assign one or both of the two essay collections that seem most suited for a seminar. (Delgado’s Cutting Edge, and Crenshaw et al’s Key Writings.) The class will hit several essays, and students will ultimately write a major paper on one essay (and probably a few minor paper responses to others). This sounds like fun. It also sounds quite a bit more unstructured than any other class I’ve ever taught.
Option two is to go a more structured route. West has a CRT casebook, by Dorothy Brown, that situates some of the ideas of CRT in a coherent outline format. If I use this one, I’ll probably drop one of the two essay collections, and go for a more structured, outlined sort of class.
I do like the idea of just essay-hopping and tying it all together loosely. But I don’t want to frighten the students, and I worry that a completely unstructured outline might do that. So — what do other professors (or Co-Op readers in general) think? In particular, has anyone here taught CRT using either of the methods I’ve mentioned — and if so, how did it go?