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HMS-302 Black Liberation

3 Credits

This interdisciplinary course is about the art, politics, and social and cultural formations of people of African descent. The focus is transnational, encompassing the black Diasporan world. Students read, view and listen to an exciting range of material-essays, poetry, documentaries, films and music. Students consider slavery, colonialism, and continued forms of oppression and exploitation as well as the long history of liberation movements, including slave revolts, protest and resistance movements, independence movements and revolutions. They also consider the history of black feminism, black queer liberation, and black labor struggles. We will read from personal stories of escape, fugitivity, dislocation, migration, and exile, as movement is the key trope of Diaspora. Students will also learn about other central cultural tropes and aesthetic philosophies within black culture, including the trope of transformation and the use of alternative cosmologies. The course asks about the various strategies of resistance black people develop and why. We will think about approaches to change, including pacifism, non-violent direct action, and armed resistance. We will be aware of the masculinist tendencies in black history, as we consider the presence of black women and alternatively gendered black peoples, of feminists and queer activists, as well as the ways doing so makes us rethink what we know about black history, culture, and politics. Reading and watching and listening to African and Caribbean art, literature, students will learn about the central cultural formations, particularly the importance of the expressive arts.