PSCI 361
Black Political Thought Spring 2024
Division II
Cross-listed AFR 364 / PSCI 361

Class Details

This seminar will introduce students to the study of Black Political Thought as a set of critical normative and diagnostic gestures that help theorize the Black experience. By thrusting students into the “problem space” of Black Political Thought, students will examine the historical and structural conditions, normative arguments, theories of action, ideological conflicts, and conceptual evolutions that help define African American political imagination. Students will take up the central philosophical questions that shaped the tradition from the early nineteenth century to the present by engaging historical thinkers like Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Ella Baker and contemporary theorists like Saidiya Hartman, Charles Mills, bell hooks, and Frank Wilderson–among others. Guided by a Black diasporic consciousness, students will explore the canon’s structural and ideological accounts of slavery, colonialism, patriarchy, racial capitalism, Jim Crow, and state violence and, subsequently, critique and imagine visions of Black liberation. With a theoretical grounding in the “Black radical tradition,” students will leave this course with the conceptual resources and philosophical tools needed to realize political theory’s potential as an instrument they can employ in their daily lives to normatively and diagnostically evaluate political, economic, cultural, and social institutions.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 16
Expected: 16
Class#: 3906
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly discussion questions; two (1-2 pages) short reading responses; and three essay-style writing assignments, including one short (3-4 pages), one medium (5-6 pages), and one longer (10-12 pages)
Prerequisites: at least one prior course in political theory or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preferences: political theory concentrators, Political Science majors, Africana majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 364 Division II PSCI 361 Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
AFR Theories, Methods, and Poetics
PSCI Political Theory Courses

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