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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST2442 Black Politics from Emancipation to Obama

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Professor Kate Dossett

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines black political and cultural leadership in the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries. - What strategies did African Americans employ to negotiate and resist segregation and lynching in the South in the aftermath of the Civil War? - How did leadership emerge and develop over the course of the twentieth century? How was the 1920s Garvey movement able to make black Americans proud to be African?- Why and how did hip hop and television series such as The Cosby Show become such important sites for the negotiation of black identity and how did a black man get to the White House just 43 years after the federal government passed a Voting Rights Act enforcing African Americans right to vote? This module explores these questions by examining a range of cultural and political texts including speeches, autobiographies, newspapers, films and the records of black freedom organisations.Content note: this module focuses on African Americans' political ambitions from the late nineteenth century onwards. It is not primarily a history of what white people thought or a history of white racism, however you will encounter ideas and historic language which are offensive and which would not be acceptable to use today. We will discuss these issues at the outset and consider them throughout the module. The module explores contested ideas about gender, race, class and sexuality from the immediate aftermath of enslavement to the present. To discuss these themes effectively it is necessary for us to read and discuss material which covers some topics including racial and sexual violence and uses language which may be challenging for you. If you know that it will be unsettling for you to encounter this or other particular themes then please make the tutor aware of this so that we can identify the best way to support you through this part of the module.


On completion of this module students should be:
- able to understand the major trends in African American political and cultural life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
- familiar with key political and cultural texts of black America.
- able to analyse a range of cultural and political texts including autobiographies, speeches, newspapers and film
- able to apply an interdisciplinary approach to the study of American History.

Learning outcomes
- understanding of the relationship between politics and culture in the U.S.
- new ways of thinking about leadership
- ability to draw on different types of primary source material.

Skills outcomes
- High-level skills in oral and written communication of complex ideas.
- Independence of mind, self-discipline and self-direction to work effectively under own initiative
- Ability to locate, handle and synthesize large amount of information
- Capacity to employ analytical and problem-solving abilities
- Ability to engage constructively with the ideas of peers, tutors and published authorities
- Empathy and active engagement with new cultural contexts.


This module examines black political and cultural leadership in the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics include:

- The legacy of the Black Leadership in the Anti-Slavery movement
- Early Twentieth Century debates on segregation and lynching
- leadership offered by Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey
- The Garvey movement
- Black Women's alternative models of leadership
- Gender, Respectability and the Oratory of Martin Luther King
- Malcolm X , Stokely Carmichael and the Masculine Rhetoric of Black Power
- After Civil Rights: Paths to Political Power
- Bill Cosby, Hip Hop and middle class black America
- The Rise and Rhetoric of Barack Obama
- The Promise and Pitfalls of Post-racism.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours10.00
Private study hours167.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Researching, preparing and writing group project report
- Undertaking set reading for seminars and lectures
- Self-directed reading around the subject

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

-Contributions to class discussion
-Group project with individual reflective report

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayA 3000 word essay60.00
ProjectGroup project and individual reflective report40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/08/2023 16:30:28


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