Jack Turner Iii
AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT: FREEDOM, GENDER, AND POLITICAL ACTION. African American political thought brings the texts of figures ranging from Frederick Douglass to Toni Morrison into conversation with the abiding concerns of political theory: the meanings of justice, freedom, and equality; the nature of power, obligation, and “the good life.” Out of this encounter comes deeper understanding of African American intellectual traditions as well as enhanced understanding of political theory’s core concepts. Douglass’s autobiographies (1845, 1855, 1893), for example, change our understanding of freedom by giving us a detailed portrait of freedom’s destruction, then its realization. The meaning of freedom emerges against the backdrop of slavery’s horror, providing a vantage point on freedom unavailable in the traditional canon. At the same time, reading Douglass in light of traditional political theory expands our sense of Douglass’ significance.
Offered in conjunction with the conference “African American Political Thought: Past and Present,” taking place May 2-3 at the Simpson Center, this short course gives students an opportunity to engage major texts considered at the conference, and to distill lessons from the conference after it is held. The course will focus on the interrelation between freedom, gender, and political action; readings will include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Marcus Garvey, Toni Morrison, and Angela Davis.
All students are required to attend at least two of the six conference sessions on May 2 and 3.
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