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Under the Influence of X: The Revolutionary Politics and Poetry of Malcolm X

Semester and Year FA 2014
Course Number IDSEM-UG1784
Section 001
Instructor Bryonn Bain
Days Wed
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement HUM


The life of Malcolm X represents an extraordinary personal and political evolution that has moved millions around the world. The man born Malcolm Little was at different points in his life described as a foster child, shoeshine boy, street hustler, convicted criminal, Muslim minister, black separatist, revolutionary nationalist and human rights activist. His words and worldview offer meaningful insight into compelling and contradictory aspects of power, politics, and possibilities for social change in America. This course critically examines the institutional and cultural forces—the poetry, the movements, the sociological contexts—that shaped the path by which Malcolm Little became Detroit Red, Malcolm X, and finally El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. At the same time we carefully analyse his theorizing, strategizing, and self-representations. Our focus on this outspoken revolutionary will expose the contradictory impulses of a nation that both demonized and deified him. In turn, tracing his narrative and his reception by black and white worlds will illuminate politics at national and global scales, and provide a critical perspective on race, class, gender, and the state.



Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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