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Topics in African-American Studies (380-0-21)


Black Political Thought


Herman Barnor Hesse
1860 Campus Dr Crowe 5-131

Meeting Info

Kresge Centennial Hall 2-425: Mon, Wed 3:30PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

Between 2015 and 2020 the political movement Black Lives Matter emerged in the US and in 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 spread of the Black Lives Matter movement 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 political and cultural ideas underpinning the historical issues and social questions raised by the Black Lives Matter movement and asks why these are repeatedly part of Black social life. In particular, it examines different meanings of Black resistance and Black political identities as part of what Cedric Robinson famously referred to as the Black Radical Tradition. The course will discuss various Black political ideas ranging from Black Marxism and Black Feminism to Afropessimism and Afrofuturism.