AUC 110

Sources of Power



University of Hartford

Spring, 2001

1:30-2:45, T-Th

Michael Clancy

Office: Hillyer 123a

Hours: 1:30-3:30 Monday; by appt.

Email me

Phone: 768-4284



Power is a problematic concept. It is frequently said to be everywhere in society but how do we really know? What is power? What is its opposite? Can we always see it? Where does power come from? Why are some forms of power considered to be okay while others are not? These are among the questions we will deal with in this class. As an AUC course students are not expected to have had any background in the study of this concept. In addition we will come at the questions from a number of angles, utilizing insights from political science, sociology, history, economics and anthropology, for instance, but also novels and film.

Expectations of Student Conduct

Students are expected to come to class regularly and come prepared. This is an electronic syllabus and it will change. Be sure to keep up with any changes by consulting on a regular basis.To the extent possible, this will be a discussion oriented class that depends upon motivated, well-prepared students. I will take regular attendance and this will form part of the participation grade. Students will 6 unexcused absences will be administratively dropped from the course. In addition, students are to treat fellow class members and the professor with every respect at all times. Finally, students will be held accountable for academic honesty. Any episode of cheating will be met with a severe response. Students caught will automatically fail the course.

Note on Written work

Assigned work is due in class on the proper due date. Extensions are almost never given. Late work will be penalized 1/3 of one grade per day. After 10 days students receive a grade of zero.



Required Materials

The following materials are required and available in the University Bookstore:

Michael Parenti: America Besieged. City Lights Books, 1998

Toni Morrison: Beloved. Plume, 1987

Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor"

Bertolt Brecht, Galileo

Mary Geske and Michael Clancy, "Sexploitation? Sex Tourism in Cuba," Pew Case Study, Georgetown University


Students will be graded based on the following assignments. Note the due dates and respective weights of each grade:



% of Final Grade





Case Paper


Final Exam









Week 1: 1/25

    Introduction: No Reading

Part 1: Power, Resistance and Freedom

Week 2: 1/30-2/1

    Prelude: Power in Contemporary America

   Parenti: pp. 7-13

    Bugliosi, None Dare Call it Treason, The Nation

    Palast, "Florida's Disappeared Voters: Disenfranchised by the GOP", The Nation

    (R) Issac, "Beyond the Three Faces of Power"

    (R) Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, excerpts

    Parenti, pp. 23-39



Weeks 3-4: 2/6-13


    Resistance and Freedom:


    (R) Mill, On Liberty, excerpts

    Dostoevsky, "The Grand Inquisitor"

    (R) Scott, "Everyday Forms of Resistance"

    Navarro, "The Personal is the Political: Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo"

    (R) King, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"


Weeks 4-5: 2/15-22


    Oppression and Escape


   (R) O'Shaughnessy, Pinochet: The Politics of Torture, chs. 2, 5

   Morrison, Beloved

   (R) Tutu, "No Future Without Forgiveness"

   (R) Ndebele, "South Africa: Quandaries of Compromise"


Week 6: 2/27-3-1


    Power and Freedom in America I


    (R) Sklaar, Imagine a Country

    Parenti, pp. 55-85



Week 7: 3/6-8


    Power, Freedom and Gender


    (R) Pateman, "Women and Consent"

    (R) Reynolds, "Rape as Social Control."

    Geske and Clancy, "Sexploitation?: Sex Tourism in Cuba"


Week 8: 3/13-15


    Midterm Exam


Week 9: 3/20-22


    Spring Break: No Class



Week 10: 3/27-29

    Race and Class


    (R) Mantsios, "Class in America: Myths and Realities"

    (R) Omi and Winant, "Racial Formations"

    (R) Moore, Downsize This!, excerpts

    (R) McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" 

    (R) Berry, The Pig Farmer's Daughter and Other Tales of American Justice, introduction

        ch. 1


Week 11: 4/3-5


    Organized Persuasion


   (R) Lee and Solomon, "The Media Cartel: Corporate Control of the News"

    Parenti, pp. 149-76

   (R) Manning, "How Corporations are Buying Their Way into America's Classrooms"

   (R) Jhally, "Image-Based Culture: Advertising and Popular Culture

   (R) Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves: Walt Disney World and America, ch. 4


Week 12: 4/10-12


    International Power


   (R) Nye, "Soft Power"



Week 13: 4/17-19