Fall 2007

Critical Debates in Black Studies

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-12


John E. Drabinski (Sections 01 and 03)
Jeffrey B. Ferguson (Sections 02 and 04)


(R) In this course students will focus closely on major debates that have animated the field of Black Studies, addressing a wide range of issues from the slave trade to the present. Each week will focus on specific questions such as: What came first, racism or slavery? Is African art primitive? Did Europe underdevelop Africa? Is there Caribbean History or just history in the Caribbean? Should Black Studies exist? Is there a black American culture? Is Affirmative Action necessary? Was the Civil Rights Movement a product of government action or grass roots pressure? Is the underclass problem a matter of structure or agency? The opposing viewpoints around such questions will provide the main focus of the reading assignments, which will average two or three articles per week. In the first four weeks, students will learn a methodology for analyzing, contextualizing, and making arguments that they will apply in developing their own positions in the specific controversies that will make up the rest of the course. Limited to 30 students. First semester. Professor Ferguson and Visiting Lecturer Drabinski.