English - Free topic 6: Introduction to African American Women’s Studies

Course content

Using biographies, journal articles, and documentary films, this course will provide students with an overview of the field of African American women's studies including black feminist theory. We will investigate the historical, cultural and social roles of African American women in the United States from slavery, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power until the present.

Class plan:

  • Week 1: Chapter 2. The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am I?” from: Tatum, Beverly Daniel. "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria?": and Other Conversations About Race. New York: Basic Books, 2003. pp. 18-28 and Audre Lorde, “There is No Hierarchy of Oppressions,” in I am your sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde. Edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • Week 2: Reflections on the Black Woman's Role in the Community of Slaves. Angela Davis The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 13, No. 1/2, Woman: An Issue (Winter - Spring, 1972), pp. 81-100 and “The Nature of Female Slavery,” in Ain’t I a Woman? Female Slaves in the Plantation South, by Deborah Gray White, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999, pp. 62-90.
  • Week 3: Elsa Barkley Brown, “To Catch the Vision of Freedom: Reconstructing Southern Black Women’s Political History, 1865-1880,” in African American Women and the Vote 1837 – 1965, ed. Ann D. Gordon et al. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1997), 66-99 and Hunter, Tera W. "Domination and Resistance: The Politics of Wage Household Labor in New South Atlanta." Labor History 34, no. 2-3 (1993): 205-220.
  • Week 4: Film: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice and Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America (1984), Chapter 1 “Ida B. Wells and the First Anti-Lynching Campaign,” pp. 17-31.
  • Week 5: Anne Meis, Knupfer. ""If You Can't Push, Pull, If You Can't Pull, Please Get Out of the Way": The Phyllis Wheatley Club and Home in Chicago, 1896 to 1920." The Journal of Negro History 82, no. 2 (1997): 221-31 and Film: The Heart of Bassett Place: W. Gertrude Brown and the Wheatley House and Darlene Clark Hine, “’We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible’: The Philanthropic Work of Black Women,” in Hine Sight: Black Women and The Re-Construction of American History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 109 – 128.
  • Week 6: Cheryl A. Wall. Women of the Harlem Renaissance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. Chapter 1. One Being Young—A Woman—and Colored, When Harlem was in Vogue, pp. 2-32.
  • Week 7: Ethelene Whitmire, Regina Anderson Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian (University of Illinois Press, 2014) paperback edition
  • Week 8: Jeanne Theoharis, "A life history of being rebellious": the radicalism of Rosa Parks” in Want to Start a Revolution? : Radical Women In the Black Freedom Struggle, ed. Dayo F. Gore et al. (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 115 – 137 and Film: Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock
  • Week 9: Film: Vel Phillips: Dream Big Dreams and Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, “’The Struggle Continues’: Women in Congress in the 1990s,” in Gender in the Civil Rights Movement, ed. Peter J. Ling et al. (New York: Garland Pub., 1999), 239 –
  • Week 10: Film: Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed and Joshua Guild, “To Make That Someday Come: Shirley Chisholm’s Radical Politics of Possibility,” in Want to Start a Revolution? : Radical Women In the Black Freedom Struggle, ed. Dayo F. Gore et al. (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 248 - 270.
  • Week 11: Film: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners and Joy James, “Framing the panther: Assata Shakur and Black female agency,” in Want to Start a Revolution? : Radical Women In the Black Freedom Struggle, ed. Dayo F. Gore et al. (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 138 – 160.
  • Week 12: Film: Out in the Night
  • Weeks 13+ 14: Projects and summary
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • English
  • 204,75