Black Radicalism (Gen Ed 1016)





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Robert Reid-Pharr

“Black Radicalism” is a course designed to introduce students to the main currents of black radical thought in the period stretching from the close of World War II until roughly 1980 and the advent of the Reagan Era.  The course will be divided into three sections: Anti-Colonialism; Black Nationalism; and Black Feminism and will focus on key works of fiction, theory, and criticism by especially prominent black intellectuals including Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth); Richard Wright (White Man Listen!); George Jackson (Soledad Brother); Huey Newton (Revolutionary Suicide); Angela Davis (If They Come for Me in the Morning); and the members of the Combahee River Collective (The Combahee River Statement).  The goals of the course are to help students understand the ideological roots of some of the most significant social movements of their own time (Black Lives Matter; Me Too).  Indeed the course will be built on the idea that the vexed struggles around race, class, and gender in which we are all now involved are part of a long history in which the efforts of a radical black intellectual class have been at once challenged and adopted by more mainstream actors.  At the same time, students will be pushed to develop both their critical and communicative skills.  To that end, course participants write at least two short essays during the semester.  They will also complete final group projects that utilize “alternative” platforms—including digital platforms—that reach beyond both the classroom and the campus in order to draw attention to the ways that the ideas and methods of individuals like Fanon, Wright, Jackson, Newton, and Davis operate in contemporary society.  

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