I’m thinking of teaching The Clansman by Thomas Dixon next semester. Dixon was a white supremacist, an admirer of the Confederacy, and a staunch supporter of Jim Crow. The Clansman, the second installment of a trilogy about the post-Civil War South, became the basis of one of the most influential films in cinema history, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. The novel is replete with racist invective and celebrates the KKK. It is also a historically significant text that provides insight into the ideology of white supremacy and the political uses of the genre of historical romance. Do you think this kind of fiction belongs in the classroom? Would you be interested in reading such a book in one of your courses? If you have any thoughts on this matter please share them, either in the comments field of this post or via email. I appreciate your feedback.
I don’t get to take your class again, so maybe my opinion doesn’t matter but: I think you would be good as long as you have a solid intro. Why, who, and where you stand personally on the ideology/subject; just to be clear on the goals of the educational mission?
What about The Marrow of Tradition instead?
That’s a good one. It has the benefit of dramatizing not only white supremacy but resistance against it.