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Prison Abolition Syllabus

Black Perspectives On September 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, prisoners from at least twenty-one states began striking against what they called “modern-day slavery.” The strike stands as one of the largest in U.S. history (figures are difficult to verify and the California prison hunger strike in 2013 involved at least 30,000 people) and several prisoners have lost their lives in this struggle. Prison strikers’ language is not hyperbolic. As Ava DuVernay’s new documentary on the 13th Amendment highlights, the very amendment that abolished slavery and guaranteed the legal emancipation of nearly four million enslaved people also carved out space for the continuation of slavery “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The current prison strike’s struggle to achieve visibility (organizers have alleged a “mainstream-media blackout”) has been a central obstacle since the origins of prison organizing. In light of the dangerous implications of…

Slavery, Race, Capitalism

Historians’ recent investigations of the centrality of racialized chattel slavery to the origins of capitalism — along with activists’ efforts to expose the ongoing legacy of New World slavery — inspire a broad reconsideration of the connections between capitalism, race, and coerced labor across time and around the world. This course ranges across different disciplines and regions to survey how race and capitalism have been — and continue to be — conjoined both theoretically and empirically. This is a collaborative course offering from the Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies, co-designed and co-taught by Julia Ott, Mia White, Alana Lentin, Kris Manjapra, Fred Cooper, Janet Roitman, Darrick Hamilton, Terry Williams, Nathan Connolly, Shirley Thompson, Ujju Aggarwal, Natasha Iskander, and Nicholas Fiori. View Syllabus

“What to the Slave is 4th of July?” “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

Black Womens Narratives From Slavery to the Harlem Renaissance

This course, heavily dependent upon Hazel Carby’s Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (Oxford, 1987), is intended to explore the parameters of the literature produced by Black women in the Americas between slavery and the Harlem Renaissance. The goal is to provide students with knowledge of the historical and social roots of Black womens writing during the 19th and early 20th century in order that they may better contextualize more recent and popular works. Throughout the class, the uses of fiction to borrow Pauline Hokpins phrase, frames our discussion of the literature. Dr. Heather Hathaway Marquette University View Syllabus

African American History- Slavery, Emancipation, & Reconstruction

What does it mean to engage “Slavery, Emancipation, and Reconstruction “ within a specifically historical framework? First and foremost, it means that we must be attentive to change over time. How did slavery begin? What culture and experiences did Africans bring with them into the fulcrum of slavery in the New World? How did slavery change as the economy, polity, and society developed? How did it change as “the colonies” became the United States and shifted geographically from the upper south to the southwest? We must also pay attention to context. How did, first, the transatlantic slave trade, and, then, the domestic slave trade shape and reshape the lives, communities, and culture of slaves? How did the growing of tobacco shape slavery (and, of course, how did slavery shape the growing of tobacco)? How did the growing of rice, indigo, hemp, cotton, and sugar cane shape life differently? How were…