Trump 2.0 Syllabus Assignments

Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Photograph by Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Here is a collection of suggested assignments to accompany Trump Syllabus 2.0. The contributing faculty member’s name is included.

WEEK 1: “Trumpism’s” Antecedents
  •  In 1-2 pages, draw connections between Donald Trump and Ben Tillman, paying close attention to similarities in their strategies of recruitment; political and economic messages; rhetorical strategies; and intended audience. [Sherie Randolph]
  • Have students read a speech from Trump, Father Coughlin, and Dennis Kearny (anti-Chinese labor activist 1870s). In 2-3 pages, students should offer an analysis of the speeches, noting similarities and/or differences. [Annelise Orleck]
WEEK 3: Blackness and Right-Wing Multiculturalism
  •  Ask students to read SCOTUS decisions in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) and United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) and compare to Donald Trump’s attacks on Obama’s citizenship. [Julie Greene]
  • Create a scavenger hunt in which students search historical primary sources for dog whistles (political messages employing coded language). Ask them to draw connections between these dog whistles to Trump’s non-coded race baiting. [Elizabeth Cohen]
WEEK 7: Misogyny, Sexism & Shaming the Female Body
  •   Searching through major news outlets online–including the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Huffington Post–locate an article that examines Donald Trump’s misogynistic comments or behavior and write a 2-3 page analysis of the article, drawing connections to course readings. [Rachel Guberman]
WEEK 9: Racial Double Standards under Mass Incarceration
  •  Ask students to write a paper drawing connections between Khalil Gibran Muhammad’s The Condemnation of Blackness, Ken Burn’s Central Park Five documentary and Trump’s ad, “Bring Back the Death Penalty. Bring Back the Police” in the NY Daily News. [Jessica Neptune]
WEEK 10: Racism, Real Estate and the Strange Career of Donald Trump’s Wealth
  •    Ask students to select a Trump property (current or former) and write a paper on its history of labor/client/neighborhood relations, from development to operation/sale. [David Huyssen]
WEEK 14: Trump’s GOP Takeover, Contextualized
  •   Using the transcript from one of the Republican debates, ask students to offer a close reading of Trump’s ideas and those of another Republican candidate. In 5-6 pages, students should trace the intellectual genealogy in Trump’s statements as well as in the statements of one of his opponents. Students should also highlight similarities and/or differences. [Karl Jacoby]
  • Ask students to do a close reading of one of Trump’s speeches, drawing connections to the historical primary and secondary sources assigned in the section. For week 5: “I’m Building a Wall,” for instance, ask students to analyze Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric in light of past articulations of nativism. [Melissa Borja]
  • In 5 pages, offer a critical analysis of a primary source, exploring the key themes and ideas and drawing connections to one or more of the secondary readings included in the section. [Allyson Hobbs]
  • Ask students to search through a primary source database and locate a document (i.e. newspaper article; ad; cartoon) related to “Trumpism.” As students to write up an accompanying “headnote” explaining the source, its context, and its relationship to course subject matter/themes. [Rachel Guberman]
  • Ask students to imagine that they are journalists in the future, working on a “year in review” column to be published in January 2018 regarding the first year of a Trump presidency. The assignment would be for them to describe and analyze Trump’s first year in office. [Andrew Highsmith]
  • As students to write a paper from the point of view of specific historical actors (i.e. George Wallace and Ella Baker), imagining how they would respond to Trump’s rise. [Josh Mound]
  • Ask students to construct an idea/intellectual map using one Trump’s speeches, tracing where ideas come from historically and noting connection to other primary/secondary sources assigned in the course. [Brian Goldstein]
  • Ask students to write a paper analyzing one of Trump’s policy proposals. In this assignment, students should use primary and secondary sources to create a genealogy of Trump’s policy suggestions. [Elizabeth Todd-Breland]
  • In another variation of the previous assignment, as students to offer a close reading of one of Trump’s speeches and then analyze how the speech was covered in a variety of news outlets including CNN, Fox, Univisión, and MSNBC. [Karl Jacoby]
  • Analyzing one of Trump’s interviews, ask students to highlight the overlapping dimensions of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. [Jeff Helgeson]