Why is this such a familiar scene in US history? Why have official responses been so ineffective? How can Americans achieve real social change?
L98 3520: Topics in AMCS: Racial Unrest and Commission Politics: Ferguson and Beyond, is taught by AMCS Postdoc Joe Bartzel and it’s about how to understand the ineffective policy responses to Ferguson via riot commissions that are supposed to help but become another bureaucratic tool to avoid any meaningful social change. In this class you will assess how to actually further social justice initiatives within and beyond policy. See below for times, how this course counts for AMCS major and minor requirements, and course description.
L98 3520: Topics in AMCS: Racial Unrest and Commission Politics: Ferguson and Beyond (Bartzel)
Counts as MD and Race and Ethnicity, STSP, and Policy Concentration Areas
For over a century, officially convened commissions (commonly called "riot" commissions) and the reports they produce have been a standard response to high-profile incidents of racial unrest, protest or tragedy. Despite their prevalence, though, these commissions have largely proved ineffective at securing enduring structural change. Many scholars who have studied riot commissions have concluded that their true purpose is actually not to spur structural change, but the exact opposite: Riot commissions allow government executives to appear to be taking decisive action, without actually having to take any action at all. In this course, we will investigate the peculiar American phenomenon of riot commissions: how they were conceived, why they have not worked as agents of social change, and how they might be reconfigured to become more effective catalysts of racial justice.