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Leah C. Schmalzbauer (Section 01)
The summer of 2020 will long be remembered for the racist killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmed Arbery among others, and the global uprisings this violence fueled. In this seminar we will apply a sociological lens to the anti-black racism and white supremacy underlying this violence, as well as to the long standing resistance accompanying it. Central to the seminar will be a deep engagement with historian Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of “antiracism”, which proposes that individuals and communities shift out of the neutral zone of “not racist” into daily life thinking and practices that contribute to dismantling systemic racism. We will use Kendi’s framework to explore texts focused on white fragility, reparations for slavery, and the criminal justice system. Throughout the seminar we will strive to bring our own experiences with race and racism into conversation with the course material and with each other. It can be extraordinarily difficult and uncomfortable to talk about race, especially among peers who occupy different racial identities. As such, we will work from day one to build a community of trust that will enable honest dialogue-based learning that promises to strengthen our relationships as well as deepen our intellectual understanding of this critical moment in history.
Fall semester. Professor Schmalzbauer.