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Introduction to Black Political Thought, Topics in African-American Studies(380-0-20)


Herman Barnor Hesse
1860 Campus Dr Crowe 5-131

Meeting Info

Online: Mon, Wed, 2:00PM - 3:20PM

Overview of class

Between 2015 and 2020 the political movement Black Lives Matter emerged in the US and different parts of the world, concerned with the mobilizations against police violence towards Black populations and oppositions to structural white supremacy. In 2020 the scale and longevity of Black Lives Matter was such that the New York Times referred to it as the largest social movement in US history. Certainly, there had been nothing like it since the anti-colonial movements and civil rights movements of the late 1950s and mid-1960s or the Black power movement of the 1970s, all of which had reverberations and replications among different Black populations across the world (e.g. Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean). This course seeks to introduce students to the historical and political underpinnings of issues and questions raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, examining their meaning in relation to Black politics and as part of what Cedric Robinson famously referred to as the Black Radical Tradition. Students will be encouraged to think about the importance of the relation between history and theory in engaging with histories of Slavery, Reconstruction, Post-colonialism and Post-Civil rights; and in develop understandings of Black political thought in relation to movements that include, Anti-slavery, Pan-Africanism, Anti-Colonialism, Civil Rights, Black Power, Black Feminism, Black Lives Matter, Afropessimism and Afrofuturism.

Class Materials (Suggested)

Vincent Brown, 2020, Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War, Harvard University Press.

Adom Getachew, 2019, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination, Princeton University Press.

Saidiya Hartman, 1997, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America, Oxford University Press

Richard Iton, 2008, In Search of the Black Fantastic: Politics and Popular Culture in the Post-Civil Rights Era, Oxford University Press.

Class Attributes

Synchronous:Class meets remotely at scheduled time