This Guide was developed as part of a Spring 2020 Library discussion series on the book How To Be An Antiracist. This is a work in progress! The syllabus portion of the guide includes additional works by the author, as well as lists of related books, articles, and films for further learning. Access the syllabus and its chapter resources via the menu on the left side of the guide.
This graduate seminar will explore the foundations and central tenets of Critical Race Theory, from its origins in Critical Legal Studies, to current applications, debates, and evolutions, with particular attention to CRT’s intersections with the field of American Studies. We will also bring in CRT “offshoots” such as TribalCrit, LatCrit, AsianCrit, and DisCrit. CRT posits that racism is endemic to society, but that we must also remain committed to social justice and praxis. How do we navigate these tensions, use CRT to provide a toolkit for navigating scholarship, and work toward social change in the realms of race and racism?
This syllabus is not meant to provide an exhaustive list of sources on reparations–this is an evolving document and we welcome suggestions for additional sources to add. Reparations demands can be material, as in demands for land or money, symbolic, as in public apologies, or cultural, as in the replacement of public monuments tied to violence or injustice. Recognizing the diverse ways in which individuals and groups reckon with the aftermath of collective trauma, this syllabus is meant to provide an introduction to some of the major debates and texts in the field.
The following videos are available to stream via York Library, and will require you to sign in using your CUNY login if you are off-campus:
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book was to be a revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends--Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin's death in 1987, he left behind only thirty completed pages of his manuscript. Filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished in a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin's original words and flood of rich archival material. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.
In this two-part video, bell hooks extensively illustrated with many of the images under analysis, she makes a compelling argument for the transformative power of cultural criticism. In Part One, bell hooks discusses the theoretical foundations and positions that inform her work (such as the motives behind representations, as well as their power in social and cultural life). bell hooks also explains why she insists on using the phrase "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" to describe the interlocking systems of domination that define our reality. In Part Two, she demonstrates the value of cultural studies in concrete analysis through such subjects as the OJ Simpson case, Madonna, Spike Lee, and Gangsta rap. The aim of cultural analysis, she argues, should be the production of enlightened witnesses - audiences who engaged with the representations of cultural life knowledgeably and vigilantly.
The division of the world's peoples into distinct groups - "red," "black," "white" or "yellow" peoples - has became so deeply embedded in our psyches, so widely accepted, many would promptly dismiss as crazy any suggestion of its falsity. Yet, that's exactly what this provocative, new three-hour series by California Newsreel claims. Race: The Power of Illusion questions the very idea of race as innate biology, suggesting that a belief in inborn racial difference is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth. Yet race still matters. Just because race doesn't exist in biology doesn't mean it isn't very real, helping shape life chances and opportunities.
In 1965, when three women walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C., they had come a very long way. Neither lawyers nor politicians, they were ordinary women from Mississippi, and descendants of African slaves. They had come to their country’s capital seeking civil rights, the first black women to be allowed in the senate chambers in nearly 100 years.
A missing chapter in our nation’s record of the Civil Rights movement, this powerful documentary reveals the movement in Mississippi in the 1950’s and 60’s from the point of view of the courageous women who lived it – and emerged as its grassroots leaders. Their living testimony offers a window into a unique moment when the founders’ promise of freedom and justice passed from rhetoric to reality for all Americans.
White Like Me, based on the work of acclaimed anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise, explores race and racism in the US through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. In a stunning reassessment of the American ideal of meritocracy and claims that we've entered a post-racial society, Wise offers a fascinating look back at the race-based white entitlement programs that built the American middle class, and argues that our failure as a society to come to terms with this legacy of white privilege continues to perpetuate racial inequality and race-driven political resentments today.