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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Objectives of the course
Knowledge of the historical origin and of the evolution of the institutional structures and of the normative apparatus in relation to the development of civil rights in a context of social evolution and in an intersectional perspective.
Knowledge of the lexicon and of the conceptual categories applicable to the comparative institutional history.
Knowledge of the history of civil, political and social rights focused on the correlation between cultural and social change and normative elaboration.
Understanding of the functioning mechanisms and development of interactions between political movements and institutional mechanisms
Learning objectives
• Acquiring the conceptual contents and the vocabulary of the historical-institutional context, through the analysis of the normative and institutional construction of cultural and political processes
• Increasing the independence of judgment, developing a critical approach to the institutional dimension, which allows to evaluate it according to a intersectional perspective with respect to the dynamics of race (as a social construct), sex and class
• Developing communication skills in classroom work through the critical discussion of the problems analyzed; acquire the ability to clearly communicate knowledge to specialist and non-specialist interlocutors; increase skills in written production and public speaking
• Being able to integrate the knowledge acquired in class with individual research activities on the sources


Knowledge of modern and contemporary history and of the history of political institutions


The course will focus on the analysis of the evolution of civil, political and social rights and related institutional and political dynamics, considering, as a case study, the emancipation and the gradual acquisition of full citizenship of the African American population in the United of America, starting from the institute of slavery. The case study will be analyzed according to an intersectional sex and class perspective, and the conservation of the memory will be evaluated through the parameters of the Public History.

Topics covered:
• Political and legal structure of slavery: the American and French case
• The secession war
• The legal status of African Americans
• Changes in constitutional jurisprudence and conservation of memory
• Women in Civil Rights Movement: the intersectionality of discrimination
• Citizenship and civil rights: the problematic contribution of oral and audiovisual sources
• Evolution and crisis of the Civil Rights Movement: the relationship with politics and institutions
• #metoo and Black Lives Matter

Teaching Methods

• Lessons: 36 hours of lectures, that will be held with the help of slides, footages and debate on documents and other texts to help students prepare the final exam. Online activities could be added to guarantee students' participation.
• Seminars: Further seminar initiatives will be defined later.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency, lessons could be held in alternate shifts.

Verification of learning

The student assessment includes two alternative options, chosen by the student: 1) preparation of a presentation (ppt) with oral report on one of the topics covered in the course, which will be established with the teacher (The computer presentations and the related oral presentations, in this case, will be discussed in laboratory form during the lessons); 2) an oral question on the textbook indicated as essential.
In both cases, the student must demonstrate that he or she has acquired the conceptual contents and vocabulary of the political-institutional sphere, through the analysis of the normative and institutional construction of the apparatus of political processes. He/she must demonstrate competence in the elaboration of written texts and in the oral exposition, an increasing in the understanding of historical phenomena and autonomy of judgment. He/she must demonstrate a developing in communication skills in the classroom work through the critical discussion of the problems analyzed.
The score of the exam is given by a vote out of thirty, based on the evaluation of the written or oral exam. The determination of the final grade will take into account the knowledge of the subject, the logic and coherence of the exhibition and the use of an appropriate vocabulary.
The satisfaction of the basic knowledge of the subject is a necessary condition for the achievement of an evaluation equal to 18. The higher marks will be awarded to the students whose tests meet all the aspects listed above.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemiological emergency, exams could be changed, with papers, oral examinations or Moodle forms requested


Essential: Silvia Benussi, Le donne afroamericane negli Stati Uniti. La lunga lotta per i diritti civili, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2007
Silvia Benussi, Black Empowerment nel Congresso degli Stati Uniti. Etnia e genere nella politica americana, Aipsa Edizioni, Cagliari 2008 (students are required to ask the professor for a free copy)
Further reading: Nadia Venturini, Con gli occhi fissi alla meta : il movimento afroamericano per i diritti civili, 1940-1965, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2010
Further reading on each topic will be given to students in order to let them prepare the ppt and oral report.
The knowledge of the slideshows is mandatory.

More Information

Slides will be provided to the students. The student reception is held online by appointment (write to Reception is considered suspended in the periods of suspension of the teaching activity indicated in the teaching calendar of the current academic year. Before contacting the teacher by e-mail, students are required to carefully read the "Rules for communication by e-mail" (

Questionnaire and social

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