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.
York Library Videos
The following videos are available to stream via York Library, and will require you to sign in using your CUNY login or the York VPN:
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.
Temporary Free Videos
Various film distributors are temporarily providing free access to the following films and documentaries highlighting racial injustice in America. In some cases, you may be required to create a free account to access the content.