This course introduces students to the intellectual history and methods of the academic discipline of Black Studies. Over the course of the semester, we will explore the philosophical and political debates that laid the intellectual foundation for Black Studies, examine the social movements that resulted in the institutionalization of Black Studies, and interrogate how approaches to Black Studies have changed over time. We will begin with the work of eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth-century intellectuals such as Phillis Wheatley, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, and James Baldwin. During the second half of the semester, we will focus on the modern institutionalization of Black Studies, including the San Francisco State student revolt of 1968, and the Mellon and Ford Foundation funding of college and university programs and departments. Throughout the semester we will consider the ways that intellectuals of African descent theorized race, debated the boundaries and significance of Black identity, and conceptualized freedom and liberation for those in the African Diaspora.
- Professor: Erica Ball