Course Detail
Course Components:
This is an upper-division course focusing on Black Political Thought in the U.S. context. The course focuses on a distinctive intellectual tradition developed in relation to institutionalized slavery – a regime of “propertized human life” – and its “afterlife.” We will closely read and reflect on work by thinkers including David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, and Saidiya Hartman, among others. We will tend to both the critical and visionary dimensions of these theories, recognizing that African- American political philosophy is not only forged in response to domination but also constructively reimagines the terms of American public life. Our engagement will probe how different thinkers understand struggles for freedom and equality in the Antebellum, post-Emancipation and post-Civil Rights eras, paying special attention to whether and how these struggles are seen as connected to other emancipatory projects, particularly concerning class and gender. The course treats U.S. Black Political Thought not as a specialized or niche enterprise but as a theoretical canon that rethinks the foundations of contemporary democracy.