Department of Political Science

PSC 227 The Black Arts Movement

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Old Political Science Field: Associated Courses

This course is archived. It will not be offered again.

Fall 2004

Course Syllabus

Students in this course will encounter the black freedom struggle through the literature, music, art, and political activism of the Black Arts Movement. The artistic corollary to Black Power, the Black Arts Movement flourished in the 1960s and 1970s as artists/activists sought to put a revolutionary cultural politics into practice around the country. Though short-lived, the Black Arts Movement had far-reaching consequences for the way artists and writers think about race, history, identity, and the relationship between artistic production and liberation. We'll read the work of Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez and other artists who created the traditionally-defined Black Arts Movement in Harlem and trace the movement's extension across the country through protest, local political battles, and the emergence of black studies programs. We'll explore the overlap of the Black Arts Movement with other political currents in the late 1960s and early 1970s and delve into the long-running debates over class, gender, and ideology that concerned both Black Arts circles and the larger Black Power Movement. We'll consider the ways in which the Black Arts Movement lived on in hip-hop and film, as well as the ways in which it was co-opted or distorted.