Political Violence and The American Experience

February 14, 2022
Submitted By: Max Strubel

With the assault on our nation's capital not even one year behind us, the subject of political violence is more relevant than ever. Mr. Doyle will help us put this political violence in context, specifically, in the context of American history. While we associate turbulent moments in the past with violence—Reconstruction, the 1920's, the 1960s—for the most part, we have the habit of imagining Americans as peaceful people sharing a consensus that prioritizes the rule of law, individual rights, and equal opportunity for all. Yet recent events and a nuanced study of history complicate the story of America's peaceful consensus. We'll study racial and ethnic violence, vigilantism, voter suppression, and labor violence. We'll consider violence throughout American history, beginning with casual violence between Native-Americans and colonists, and concluding with the Capitol riot of 2021. We'll also examine scholarly frameworks for understanding political violence in the American experience.  

About the instructor: Chris Doyle teaches at Avon Old Farms School. He holds a doctorate in history and his scholarship centers on slavery, politics, race, and on the teaching of history. His teaching has been featured in stories in the New York Times and National Public Radio.  

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