Accueil > Black America: a History of Struggle and Freedom

DHUM 27A05 - Black America: A History of Struggle and Freedom

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This history course aims to introduce students to major elements of the African-American tumultuous journey in the United States. The African-American experience spans four hundred years, from the initial settlement of the American continent by Europeans and the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and down through the present day. This class contemplates Black America's history of struggle toward freedom from a multidisciplinary perspective (literature, sociology, political science…) along with an historical background. Central to our discussions will be a focus on the African-American voice since the 18th century. Through the development of their unique cultural and social traditions, black people have managed to sustain themselves as a « people » and as Americans in the face of racial oppression. This course also draws on popular culture (music, visual arts, television, sports…) as to explore the destiny of black people in the American contemporary cultural history, with particular attention to the interplay between “black” culture and political consciousness. From slave shipmates to the display of white supremacy under the presidency of Donald Trump, black America's history is an American history and somewhat, a counter-history of the United States. We will use visual arts, movies and various forms of images to grasp the extent to which African-Americans made their own history.


LAURENT, Sylvie E. (Docteur en Etudes anglophones (littérature américaine), auteur// Sylvie Laurent, PhD in Anglophone Studies (American literature), Author)

Course validation

Grading : One presentation (40%) 3 quizzes (40%) Participation in class and on Moodle (20%) We will discuss the readings in class and you are expected to prepare notes, comments, questions and substantive elements for a fruitful conversation.

Required reading

- Clayborne Carson et al., The Struggle for Freedom: A History of African Americans 2nd ed., (Prentice Hall, 2011).

Additional required reading

  • - Vincent Harding, There Is A River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America (New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1981).
  • Manning Marable and Leith Mullings, eds., Let Nobody Turn Us Around: Voices of Resistance, Reform and Renewal: An African-American Anthology (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000)
  • White, Deborah Gray, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., eds. Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans. Boston: Bedford St. Martin's, 2013.
  • Williams, Heather Andrea. American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University, Press, 2014.
  • Sylvie Laurent, Martin Luther King, une biographie intellectuelle et politique, Le Seuil, Paris, 2016. (available in paperback).
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Gift of Black Folks, Square One, New York, 2009 - James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time. New York: Dial Press, 1963.