Spring 2018 - 60718 - PA 388K – Advanced Topics in Public Policy

African American Intellectual History


This graduate seminar focuses on black intellectual, political, cultural and literary and historical figures during the course of the long twentieth century. 

The course examines the evolution, conflict, and debate surrounding the development of political and intellectual ideologies in pursuit of racial justice, citizenship, and equality, (ranging from liberal-integrationist, feminist, conservative, black nationalist and beyond) within the black community from the Great Migration to the present. 

Students interested in black politics, civil rights and 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. 

Students will be evaluated on the basis of three criteria.

1. We will generally read one book per week. Students will write a weekly three paragraph response paper that will serve as a basis for class discussion. 

2. Class participation in discussion, which will provide each student an opportunity to lead an interactive conversation about the reading. 

3. The final paper will be a 25 page historiographical essay exploring the contours of the black intellectual tradition, paying special attention to the way in which history informs contemporary social justice dialogue, debates and policy.