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Black Lives Matter: Race, Resistance and Popular Protest

Semester and Year FA 2016
Course Number IDSEM-UG1849
Section 001
Instructor Frank Roberts
Days R
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC



The age of the Obama Presidency has been burdened by a number of highly publicized police cases involving the killings of unarmed black citizens at the hands of law enforcement and/or local vigilantes. In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and others, the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement has emerged largely in response to histories of state sanctioned violence against black and brown bodies. This seminar links the #blacklivesmatter” movement to four broader phenomena: 1) the rise of the U.S. prison industrial complex and the increasing militarization of inner city communities, 2) the role of media in influencing national conversations about race and racism, 3) the state of racial justice activism in the purportedly “post-racial” Obama Presidency, and 4) the increasingly populist nature of decentralized protest movements in the U.S. We will debate and engage with a variety of topics, including the moral ethics of “looting” and riotous forms of protest; violent vs. nonviolent civil disobedience; the media myth of “black on black” crime; coalitional politics and the black feminist and LGBTQ underpinnings of the #blacklivesmatter movement; and comparisons between the blacklivesmatter movement and the U.S. civil rights movement. Our course will likely include in-person visits from any prominent activists in the movement such as Dr. Cornel West, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Alicia Garza, mayoral candidate Deray McKesson, and members of the New York City chapter of Black Lives Matter.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)