From #BlackLivesMatter to #RhodesMustFall, from the demonstrations against the Silent Sam monument to the endeavor to remove Julian Carr’s name from the history department building at Duke University, we have witnessed a global/local resurgence of political activism and energy in the “streets” and on college campuses. In addition, we are in a moment where black studies is generating exciting ideas in response to coloniality, the after-life of slavery, the violence of settlement, and the cross-cutting relationships between blackness, gender, sexuality, and class.
The time for black (radical) theory is now! This course introduces students to a series of thinkers connected less by any particular canon, tradition, or genealogy and more so by a set of moments and locations that demand black radical theorizing. Conjoining black radical traditions in the US and South Africa, students are asked to think about contemporary political deadlocks on campuses, in campus struggles, in the extension of those politics to the streets in the Movement for Black Lives, #FeesMustFall, #RhodesMustFall, and varied organizing around the removal of monuments to colonialism, imperialism, slavery, and the Confederacy. Together such moments and locations make evident the linkages between the US and South Africa and the parallel sets of demands being made in each, in the face of their convergent-divergent histories of black struggle.