Fall 2012

Black Marxism

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-491  |  History, as HIST-418

Formerly listed as: BLST-51  |  HIST-89


J. Celso Castro Alves (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 418 [C] and BLST 491 [CLA/D].) The seminar traces in historical perspective the relationship between Black radicalism and Marxist thought. Since the late nineteenth century, Black diasporic intellectuals have found in Western Marxism, particularly its internationalist discourse, theory of class formation, and historical materialist analysis, the recipes for critical inquiry and radical politics. Their engagement with Marxism and socialist theory, however, has not precluded tensions and new theoretical resolutions. Black intellectuals from various generations have questioned “classical” Marxism’s economic reductionism, simplistic understanding of peasant politics, and dismissal of political struggles outside metropolitan regions. For writers such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Frantz Fanon, and C.L.R. James, Western Marxism has failed to account for the racial character of capitalism or to provide a historical narrative of blacks’ emancipatory politics. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of Marxist theory, and a historical understanding of Black Marxism by analyzing the works from two generations of intellectuals: the modernist and Pan-Africanist generation (Du Bois, Wright, James, Oliver Cromwell Cox, and Eric Williams), and the New Left generation (Frantz Fanon, Amiri Baraka, Amilcar Cabral, Walter Rodney, Stuart Hall, Angela Davis, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o). One class meeting per week.

Limited to 15 students. Not open to first year students. Fall semester. Professor Castro Alves.

If Overenrolled: Preference will be given to Black Studies and History majors.

Cost: $$26.00 ?

HIST 418 - L/D

Section 01
Tu 02:30 PM - 05:00 PM COOP 101

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
An Introduction to Karl Marx Cambridge University Press Jon Elster Amherst Books TBD
Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha: Queer Black Marxism and the Harlem Renaissance University of Florida Press Gary Edward Holcomb Amherst Books TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


2024-25: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2011, Fall 2012