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The American White Working Class and Modern Conservatism

For decades, the white working class was key to the New Deal coalition put together by Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, but in the more recent past, the political affinity of this demographic has shifted markedly.  Many analysts of the 2016 presidential election point to the “white working class”—a group whose definition we will critically investigate—as a key bloc in Republicans’ electoral victories.This one-day course offers a historical perspective on a demographic whose members and political power have seen great change in the decades since WWII. By delving into some of the key issues that animate these voters, we will explore how political parties have sought to capture—or have failed to capture—their votes in a changing America and a changing world.  Possible readings include selections from Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas?; Mary and Thomas Edsall’s Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics; and Justin Gest’s The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality.

More details

You'll Walk Away with

  • A better understanding—through critical investigation—of the definition of the “white working class,” a key bloc in Republicans’ electoral victories in 2016
  • Knowledge of the key issues that animate these voters

Ideal for

  • The curious and creative
  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in between
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.