Fall 2019 - 59225 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

The Black Power Movement

The Black Power Movement represents one of the most important and controversial social and political movements in postwar American history. This graduate readings course examines how the movement for black political self-determination during the 1960s and 1970s transformed American race relations, accelerated the pace of black elected officials nationally, erected new educational, social, political, and cultural institutions nationwide and redefined black politics, identity, and culture. We will also explore the movement’s critique of, and participation in, civil rights struggles; its reimagining of American Democracy; efforts to gain political and economic power within America society while redrawing the landscape of race relations.

Students interested in black politics, civil rights, social policy and the deep connections between the historical development of racial justice struggles and contemporary policy debates and challenges would find this course of interest.

A weekly three-paragraph response on the assigned reading is due by 5 PM the day before our seminar. Each student should read everyone’s essay before the start of class and provide comments, both positive and critical, that will be used for class discussion. Your responses should be submitted in the “Discussion” section of Canvas which will allow you to post your response as well as comment on the responses of others.

Each paragraph should be five sentences and consider the following:

How does the author approach Black Power? How does the history being explored connect to our contemporary understanding of black and Africana identity and what are the theoretic and political implications of the work, both historically and contemporaneously?
What’s the argument being laid out and how persuasive do you find it to be? Examine the sources in the bibliography and endnotes to consider the way in which the author has marshaled their evidence.
How does the work merit analytically and stylistically? Does the author’s analysis seem persuasive and insightful, even when you disagree?
Think about the readings in tandem, both thematically, chronologically, and theoretically. How does Black Power’s critique of American democracy play out in the work? What are some of the movement positive, negative, and unexpected or unanticipated outcomes, legacies?

Meetings with Professor Joseph: All students are required to meet with Professor Joseph one-on-one once during the semester.   

Midterm Assignment: Rough Draft of Final Historiographical Paper.

Final Assignment: Students are required to write a critical twenty-five-page historiographical essay examining the development, evolution, and impact of the Black Power Movement

This historiographical essay will chart the the historiographical contours of the burgeoning scholarship on the Black Power era; its relationship with the history of the Civil Rights Movement; its local, national, and global contours; the movement’s impact on policy, politics, culture, and society; its critique of American democracy and how its remembered in American history and popular culture; its impact on radical, liberal, feminist, conservative and other intellectual and political perspectives during the Black Power era and now; its resonance with contemporary social movements in the Age of Black Live Matter, Occupy, March For Our Lives, #MeToo, and LGBQT movements.

Students will be evaluated based on five criteria:

Weekly three-paragraph critical analysis of the readings.
Class participation and presentation
Research Progress Reports
Draft of Historiographical Paper
Final Historiography Paper