From our indefatigable filer of Freedom of Information Act requests, Walter Smith, we get the following description of a course, “Trump, Tea Party Women, and the Rebirth of a White Christian Nation,” offered by the University of Virginia departments of Politics and Religious Studies. The course description and required texts speak for themselves — no commentary needed. On a positive note, Professor Larycia Hawkins does demand adherence to the Honor Code and penalizes students for late papers! — JAB
Depts of Politics and Religious Studies
The idea that women’s main role in the republic is birthing citizens has experienced a renaissance. This course explores the politics of evangelical Tea Party women, including their construction of authentic citizens as white and Christian; explains the cultural logics that secured Trump’s election; and analyzes the effects of this version of reproductive politics for public policies in the Trump era ranging from immigration to welfare.
Students will be critically conversant in the following as they relate to the Tea Party and the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the presidency.
• The historical placement of themes through the lens of American Political Development
• The intersection of identities in the politics of the right, including race, gender, class, sexuality, and religion
• The nature of the contemporary Tea Party, including insights its formation, profile, characteristics, and influence
• The role of women at the grassroots of the Tea Party
• The role of discourse in the success of the Tea Party, particularly racialized and gendered framings of politics and public policy
• The extent and efficacy of Tea Party discourse in recent elections, namely the ascendance of Donald Trump
In a community dedicated to scholarship and learning, there is no substitute for academic and intellectual integrity. Honesty and forthrightness are essential pillars upon which our enterprise rests and, without them, there can be no trust and little community. All participants in this course are therefore expected to conduct themselves honestly and forthrightly at all times. Truth is the coin of our realm and that truth applies not only to words, facts, and ideas, but also to the authorship of those items. Misrepresentation of authorship is a form of intellectual dishonesty known as plagiarism and intolerable.” (Professor Bloomfield, Physics). I hold each student in this class responsible for knowing what actions violate the Honor System at UVA. I hold each student responsible for abiding by the Honor System. As class members, we all have a collective responsibility to uphold academic and intellectual integrity.
Whenever possible, classroom activities and testing procedures will be adjusted to respond to requests for accommodation by students who have documented their learning differences with the university. If you need accommodations, please alert me so that we can make arrangements requisite to your particular circumstances.
Attendance is critical and each student is expected to be in class everyday except when ill or with prior permission, including school-related events. Please alert the professor immediately if physical or mental illness, emergency, or other significant issues begin to interfere with class attendance and performance.
Statement on equality of respect and equality of justice.
All class members are expected to treat each other at all times with respect, courtesy, tolerance, fairness, and justice. I strive to assure that students in this class are treated with equal respect and equal justice. As part of that effort, I identify my office as a safe haven for anyone who believes she or he is being treated with prejudice or injustice. Moreover, I view it as my essential responsibility to include on this syllabus the Statement on Sexual Violence distributed by the UVa Office of the Dean of Students. “The University of Virginia is dedicated to providing a safe and equitable learning environment for all students. To that end, it is vital that you know two values that the University and I hold as critically important: 1. Power-based personal violence will not be tolerated. 2. Everyone has a responsibility to do their part to maintain a safe community on Grounds.
If you or someone you know has been affected by power-based personal violence, more information can be found on the UVA Sexual Violence website that describes reporting options and resources available www.virginia.edu/sexualviolence. As your professor and as a person, I care about you and your well-being and stand ready to provide support and resources as I can. As a faculty member, I am a responsible employee, which means that I am required by University policy and federal law to report what you tell me to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator’s job is to ensure that the reporting student receives the resources and support that they need, while also reviewing the information presented to determine whether further action is necessary to ensure survivor safety and the safety of the University community. If you would rather keep this information confidential, there are Confidential Employees you can talk to on Grounds. (See http://www.virginia.edu/justreportit/confidentialresources.pdf). The worst possible situation would be for you or your friend to remain silent when there are so many here willing and able to help.”
The goal of an upper level class is always to discuss topics raised by readings in a thorough manner, synthesizing other materials from this course and other courses. Disparate disciplinary lenses should be applied to a course. Thus, your insights from other fields of study are imperative.
• White Identity Politics (2019) by Ashley Jardina. Cambridge University Press.
• The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (2013) by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson. Oxford University Press.
• Let Them Eat Tweets: How the Right Rules in an Age of Extreme Inequality (2020) by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson. W.W. Norton & Company.
• Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (2016) by Arlie Russell Hochshild. The New Press.
• Change They Can’t Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America (2013) by Christopher S. Parker and Matt A. Barreto. Princeton University Press.
• Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Leaders, and the Changing Face of the American Right (2016) by Melissa Deckman. New York University Press.
• Jesus and John Wayne: How White Americans Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation (2020/21) by Kristen Kobes DuMez. Liveright.
• Going Rogue: An American Life (2009/10) by Sarah Palin. HarperCollins.
• America by Heart: Reflections on Faith, Family, Flag (2010/11) by Sarah Palin. HarperCollins.
• New York Times/Major Daily. Read the news with a view to how political stories implicate and/or illustrate the discourse and staying power of right wing movements like the Tea Party and the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the presidency.
• Articles and Handouts. Links to various articles will be posted on Collab and certain handouts will be distributed in class. It is your responsibility to request prior materials if you miss class.
Discussion: It is certainly the case that professors are as intellectually stimulated by students as students are intellectually stimulated by their professors. Class discussion facilitates such beneficial interchange. Thus, students are strongly encouraged to contribute thoughts, ideas, and opinions on the topics and issues covered in class. The quality of a student’s contributions is as important as the quantity of a student’s contributions. Discussion will account for a portion of the Participation grade.
• Reading Insights: Twice during the semester, each student will be required to submit three insights (no more and no less) gleaned from the readings and to lead class in discussion. You should integrate all assigned readings for the class period associated with your insights. Finally, you will help lead discussion during that class period. Submit to Collab by 11:59 pm on Tuesday evening.
• Original Research: A research project with both group and individual components will comprise a significant component of the course grade. Research will revolve around topics and methodologies of significance to course themes. Various components of the paper will be due during the semester.
• Thematic Review: Each student will choose from a list of books associated with broad themes of the course. Each student is to submit a six-to-seven-page analysis of the book and share a synopsis during class. Papers should be submitted to Collab by Monday at midnight on the day of class. Consider the following: what fundamental insight does the book contribute to the understanding of the politics of the Tea Party through the lenses of American Political Development; how convincing is the author’s thesis; how does the book square with current realities of the Trump era; what considerations does the author seem to omit? Critically analyze the book relative to the goals and texts of the course.
• Research Review: Each student will choose from a list of books associated with specific themes of the research group. Each student is to submit a six-to-seven-page analysis of the book (no class presentation is required). Papers should be submitted to Collab by Monday at midnight on the day of class. Consider the following: what fundamental insight does the book contribute to the understanding of the politics of the Tea Party through the lenses of American Political Development. How does the book illuminate your co research project?
• Reading Insights/Presentation 20%
• Thematic Review 20%
• Research Review 20%
• Original Research/Presentation 40%
Students will be penalized one-half of a letter grade per day for late assignments.