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Signature Courses

American Topics: Black Lives Matter

SC Writing after the end of the World

American Topics: Black Lives Matter
01:512:264 (3 credits)  Core: CCD
Professors Erica Dunbar and Tiffany Gill, History

In the summer of 2020 centuries of frustration and rage spilled into the streets of large cities and small towns across America and the globe. What was known as a movement to protest police killings in the United States has become a global reckoning with racism, white supremacy, and settler colonialism. In this course we will explore the development of the #BlackLivesMatter movement beginning with the colonial era and ending with the contemporary moment. We will be inviting an array of prominent scholars and activists as guest speakers who will speak directly to the theme of Black Lives Matter through different historical moments and geographies.  

Topics explored will include enslavement, racial violence, forced labor and extraction, criminalization of Black, Brown and Indigenous others, the take off of mass incarceration in the 1970s, and the war(s) on drugs and gangs. This class will focus not only on top down repression, but also on the manifold forms of black resistance and collective mobilization throughout US history from slave rebellion and self-emancipation to Black Power, Black Feminism and the "the herstory" of the Movement for Black Lives. 

This course is recommended for students who intend to pursue all majors.  Students intending majors in Africana studies; American studies; anthropology, comparative literature; criminal justice; economics; English; history; Latino and Caribbean studies; political science; sociology; and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies will find this course critical to study in their discipline. This course carries credit toward the major and minor in history.  American Topics: Black Lives Matter at Rutgers meets the SAS Core Curriculum goals in Contemporary Challenges: Diversities and Social Inequalities (CCD). 

Students may also want to consider the many compelling courses exploring the Black experience offered through the Department of Africana Studies. Click here to see those descriptions. For additional courses addressing race offered this semester, please do a keyword search in the Schedule of Classes using keywords such as “race,” “black,” “African,” and “Afro.”

Photo credit: Ieshia Evans, 28, a mother and licensed practical nurse from New York, was attending the Baton Rouge protest, in Louisiana, over the fatal shooting of a black man by police, when she was arrested. Photographer Jonathan Bachman was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize for capturing this now iconic image.