Week of Tuesday, April 29th: Think Tanks and the Crisis of Leadership

Media citations of think tanks. Source: Institute for Research in Mid East Policy

We next meet the week after spring break ends. As usual, we’ll start the next class with discussion of important news stories in the current Amsterdam News, so have a paper version with you and be prepared to discuss an important story of the week.

Read Chapter 9 (“The Policy Formation Process”) in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power slowly and carefully. Only one chapter this week, as it is longer than most. This chapter lays out the process by which public policies are formed and the views of people in influential positions are shaped by various forces. Pay special attention to the following chapter sections:

  • Think Tanks
  • The Need for Afrikan centered Information and Strategy Centers
  • On the Black Hand Side: Black Power Networks and Institutions of Higher Learning
  • Study Wilson’s diagram on page 170

    Questions to think about as you read:

  • How do foundations and think tanks influence public policy?
  • How does this process aid those already in power?
  • How has corporate and private funding shaped the role of Black higher education?
  • How might Afrikan centered think tanks/policy centers intervene?
  • Also Read the last 10 pages (the Black Nationalist Leadership section) in Chapter 31 (“The Crisis of Leadership”) in Wilson. Here, Wilson argues for the type of leadership and intellectual orientation of leaders that he thinks need to be developed.

    I think all of you have the assignments for the final paper and presentation, but they’re now on the Assignments page as PDF downloads just in case. Start looking at your fieldwork and begin taking notes. Begin reflecting on your experiences and organizing ideas.

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