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Carceral Connecticut: Middletown Stories of Race and Redevelopment

AFAM 316
Fall 2024
Section: 01  
Course Cluster and Certificates: Community-Engaged Learning

In the 1970s, during nationwide ¿urban renewal¿ or Redevelopment, the city of Middletown demolished an entire African American neighborhood to make parking lots and Route 9 on-ramps. Called the South End, this neighborhood had been Middletown¿s Black business and community center for decades. Why did city officials see this neighborhood as disposable and its residents as displaceable? When, why, and how did this Black neighborhood form, and how did its residents experience, respond to, and navigate the displacement of urban renewal? What can this lost neighborhood¿less than half a mile from Wesleyan University¿s campus¿teach us about the history of race, inequality, housing, carcerality, segregation, and Black community and community resilience and resistance in the 20th century, and what lessons can this history teach us today? In this Community-Engaged Learning course, you will not only read assigned primary and secondary sources. You will also conduct your own archival research and interview former South End residents to record, preserve, and share the largely undocumented history of this neighborhood and its legacies. Although this course is entitled Carceral Connecticut and is one of the courses associated with the Carceral Connecticut Project (carceralconnecticut.com), of which Prof. Nasta is one of four Wesleyan faculty investigators, we will not focus primarily on prisons or incarceration. Rather, we will explore carcerality as a broader set of practices and policies that have structured the world¿including 20th-century Middletown¿in ways that reinforce racism and racial inequality, including policing, segregation, and displacement. At the same time, we will pay equal attention to how Middletown¿s Black community has created institutions and neighborhoods that have resisted and responded to displacement, containment, and other carceral practices.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AFAM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM-MN)(AFAM)(HRAD-MN)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUL-18-2024
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