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Ebony & Ivory Towers: Black Experiences with the American University

African And African-american Studies 445 - Spring 2020

Black people in America have historically held a deep reverence for education. Whether formal or informal, they have understood education to be brimming with great power, promise and possibilities. These beliefs have not only cause them to establish an array of educational institutions, but they also lay at the very core of what some scholars have referred to as "the Black educational tradition." At the same time, the inequalities of America have often caused Black people to develop a deeply fraught relationship with educational institutions; often being denied access, marginalized or exploited once inside, or subject to the will of what at times can feel like incredibly influential yet distant silos occupying prime space in a given community. This course explores the many ways Black people have engaged with the American university/college. Its starts by interrogating the intertwined histories of the institution of American slavery and the establishment of American higher education institutions. It then looks at the establishment of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU's) just before, but mostly after, the Civil War. Within this early period the course will introduce students to American discourses about race (particularly Black and White identity), education, and aptitude. It then shifts to the 1920s and 1960s - two historic moments when Black students (and Black people, more generally) sought to rethink the meaning and mission of the American university. Keeping Black experiences at the center, the course will then delve into more contemporary questions confronting the American university, including issues of institutional diversity, student debt, (in)visible labor, the racial economy of collegiate sports, university-community relations, and the business of higher education.
Course Attributes: BU BAAS HUMFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

Ebony & Ivory Towers: Black Experiences with the American University
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