Race has played a central role in shaping American national identity, political institutions, and distribution of resources. Beginning with the perspective that race is constitutive of the U.S. social order, this course pays special attention to American political, economic, and cultural institutions as products and sources of racial formation. The goal of the course is to investigate the complex relationship between racial formation and foundational American values of liberalism, equality, and republicanism, and to explore how these relationships have changed over the course of United States history. Part I introduces core concepts of liberalism and racial formation. Part II explores the early historical development of black and white racial formation in the ages of slavery and Jim Crow. Part III explores the 20th century immigration policy as a mechanism of drawing racialized national boundaries. Part IV examines the dramatic changes in the American racial order after WWII, and considers the extent to which the struggle for civil rights and racial equality has been achieved. Part V of the course examines the racial reality of our contemporary moment by way of a special section on incarceration and detention.