CLA AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: BLACK LIVES MATTER

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here: https://cla.csulb.edu/black-lives-matter/

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Dr. Crystal Yin Lie
Course: CWL 213: Comics & Graphic Novels (renamed Comics & Graphic Narratives beginning Fall 2021)

In my CWL 213: Comics & Graphic Novels course, I always include a unit on Afrofuturist comics, centering work by Black authors and scholars. One of the key texts we read is John Jennings and Damian Duffy’s Eisner-winning graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred. Through this text, students discuss the history the enslavement in the U.S. and the affordances of comics in bearing witness to, and critically addressing, racial violence and legacies of injustice. Our secondary reading draws from Sami Schalk’s Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction, offering student’s additional context for thinking about the visual representation of bodily injury and disability in the comic. Furthermore, we explore the genre and notion of Afro-/Ethno-Gothic horror as a means to critique anti-Black violence and the horrors of white supremacy and xenophobia more broadly.

Reading comics at the intersection of Black Lives Matter is central to my commitment to showcasing a diversity of artists perspectives and drawing attention to issues of human and civil rights across global locations and historical period. Furthermore, addressing racial and anti-Black violence in the U.S. enables students to make empathetic connections across different geographic and temporal locations, as well as life experiences that might be very different from their own. As we traverse comics dealing with topics such as the bombing of Hiroshima, the Holocaust, tensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border, and the Iranian Revolution, it is my hope that students not only reflect on cross-cultural historical trauma and political violence, but also our shared humanity and struggles for social justice.

CLA AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: BLACK LIVES MATTER

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here: https://cla.csulb.edu/black-lives-matter/

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Dr. Crystal Yin Lie
Course: CWL 315: Literature & Medicine

My CWL 315: Literature & Medicine course thinks critically about the body and health along axes of identity categories like race, gender, sexuality, class, and nationality. As such, I’ve been committed to highlighting the voices of Black authors and the experiences of Black communities.

Beginning the course, students read Mary Louise Pratt’s “Airways” to examine the rhetoric of the “twin pandemics”: COVID-19 and systemic racism. Our discussion of contemporary state violence, morality, and the pandemic are augmented by reading Albert Camus’ critique of capital punishment in The Plague. The following week, students read Audre Lorde, renown Black feminist, lesbian, poet, and civil rights activist. Lorde’s The Cancer Journals enables students to reflect on intersectional identities, the representational ethics around illness, and the reclaiming power of personal narrative.

Our mid-semester conversation pivots on biopower, race, and medical science, drawing from a range of works from Black scholars including Harriet A. Washington’s Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Bettina Judd’s Patient. poems, and bell hooks’s reflections on the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks. Interrogating the history of violence toward Black bodies in medicine continues in our reading of Victor LaValle’s graphic novel, Destroyer—which tackles police violence, racial and gender inequality in STEM fields, and bioethics in a reimagining of Frankenstein. LaValle also offers an entry way into discussing the possibilities of Afro-/ethno-gothic horror and Afrofuturism.

Dovetailing on creative explorations of inclusive futures, we conclude with a unit on disability poetry and culture. This week includes the work of Leroy Moore, Krip-Hop Nation founder and co-founder of Sins Invalid, a disability justice performance project that centers BIPOC and LGBTQ/gender-variant artists.

Addressing BLM in the context of literature and medicine aims to facilitate anti-racist reflection and actions in students, many of whom desire careers in healthcare-related fields. Reading about Black lives, students not only augment their understanding of health inequities and legacies of racism in modern medicine, but also gain a broader understanding of power dynamics across different embodiments. As such, these conversations add to our other explorations of topics such as colonial violence, ableism, biopiracy, and environmental racism.

CLA AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: BLACK LIVES MATTER

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here: https://cla.csulb.edu/black-lives-matter/

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Dr. Kevin Johnson
Course: COMM 441: Freedom of Communication

This course studies the First Amendment generally, and also has a long tradition of covering historical and contemporary issues of (anti-)racism in the United States. For example, the course covers many cases that explicitly discuss the relationship between free speech and (anti-)racist speech in the United States. Cases include Virginia v. Black (cross burning), NAACP v. Alabama (whether NAACP must disclose its membership list), Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (concerning a white supremacist rally on MLK’s birthday), Brandenberg v. Ohio (concerning KKK members brandishing weapons accompanying racist speech), Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (concerning religious hostility, but also the upholding of race based anti-discrimination laws), Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (concerning Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, but also upholding  the compelling government interest to prohibit racial discrimination), Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (concerning membership requirements for student organizations, but also whether anti-discrimination policies may be constitutionally interpreted as an “accept all comers” policy or make permissible membership restrictions based on status/conduct distinctions including race), Elonis v. United States (involving threatening speech, but also whether an “intent to threaten”  standard is constitutionally permissible for racist hate speech), and more. Students are assigned to engage in oral arguments about these cases, and are required to study the range of constitutional interpretations necessary to negotiate the relationship between law and anti-racist policymaking. We also unpack a complex episode of black lives in the judiciary, including issues of race and sex that were manifest in replacing America’s first African American Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall with Justice Clarence Thomas; including Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations that Justice Thomas “spoke about such matters as women having sex with animals and films showing group sex or rape scenes” and graphically describing “his own sexual prowess” and the details of his anatomy, and Justice Thomas’ defense that the entire episode was a “high-tech lynching for uppity-blacks…unless you kow-tow to an old order, this is what will happen to you, you will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate, rather than hung from a tree.”

CLA and Social Justice: Black Lives Matter

BLACK LIVES MATTER

In light of the recent protests and statements in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist organizing efforts, the College of Liberal Arts is highlighting how its courses incorporate issues related to Black Lives Matter. We will highlight one course each month.  You can view all of our courses here: https://cla.csulb.edu/black-lives-matter/

See the description below detailing how CLA faculty advance the anti-racist messaging of Black Lives Matter through assignments, readings, and pedagogical practices that affirm the lives, history, and culture of Black people across the globe. Descriptions fall into one of three categories—Long-Standing Practices, Recent Changes, and Future Plans—designed to demonstrate the ongoing nature of anti-racist efforts:

Instructor: Emily Berquist Soule
Course: HIST 460: Slavery in Latin America

This course ties the history of slavery and the slave trade in Latin America (ca. 1500-1900) into the broader history of structural oppression and racism in the Western world, linking the beginnings of racialized discourses of discrimination to contemporary phenomena, like the prison-industrial complex in the U.S. and its overwhelming focus on preying on people of color. Students study not only how slavery was justified, operated, and sustained, but also how slaves and free people of color fought against it, both ideologically and with violence.