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Political Research Seminar (395-0-25)


Black Political Thought


Alvin Bernard Tillery

Meeting Info

Kresge Centennial Hall 2-430: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

This course traces the evolution of the concepts of race, gender, class, and nation through the writings of African American intellectuals. It begins with a theoretical overview of these constructs. It then moves on to the following questions: Have African Americans historically seen race, gender, class, and nation differently than their white counterparts? How has the existence of America's system of racial classification and exclusion shaped African American ideas about these constructs? How do African American intellectuals see racial equality? Do African American intellectuals believe that a "post-racial" society is possible?

Learning Objectives

By the end of the quarter, students will have a deep understanding of canonical texts in Black political thought from the colonial era to modern times.

Teaching Method


Evaluation Method

1.) Regular class attendance: 20% 2.) Four (4), two-page reflection papers: 30% 3.) Final term paper: 50%

Class Materials (Required)

(1.) David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (Black Classic Press Reprint, 1993); (2.) W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk (New York: Random House, 1990); (3.) John Staufer and Henry Louis Gates, The Portable Frederick Douglass (New York: Penguin: Random House, 2016); (4.) Mia Bay and Henry Louis Gates, The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader (New York: Penguin, 2014); (5.) Kevin K. Gaines, Uplifting the Race (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998); (6.) Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. (New York: Haper Collins); (7.) Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York: Routledge, 2000); (8.) Derrick Bell, Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (New York: Basic Books, 2018).