Spring 21 Final Presentation and Papers/ Malcolm X Day events

First some logistical points:

  • Our Zoom meet for final presentations has been moved to Tuesday May 18 at 6 PM. Same Zoom info as previous meets.
  • Final papers due by Monday May 24. Please use the Dropbox link on the Paper Submissions page instead of emailing them.
  • See the Assignments Page for updated instructions for the final presentation and paper. There are alternative options for both for those who couldn’t successfully do work with an organization.

Malcolm X birthday events

May 19 is Malcolm X’s birthday and celebrated by two important community-wide events. Please consider sharing both on social media and watching the livestream with children if you can.

First, there’s an annual pilgrimage to his gravesite at Ferncliff Cemetery that’s organized by the Sons and Daughters of Afrika and the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee. There’s a powerful ceremony at the grave. Buses normally leave from the State Office Building in Harlem but this year the ceremony’s being streamed because of the pandemic. Details for the livestream from 11 AM -2:30 EST at the Facebook event page.

Later in the day, the December 12th Movement holds a rally at the Harlem State Office Building on 125th St. at 12 noon and then a march across 125th St to close local businesses in observance of Malcolm’s birthday from 1-4 PM. Details at their website.

Looking further ahead…

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual DanceAfrica street fair is usually held on Memorial Day weekend. Vendors with African clothing, crafts, and (hopefully) books and DVDs usually line the streets around their location close the the Atlantic Ave subway complex. It’s a good opportunity to get some things you need, buy some gifts and practice Ujamaa (cooperative economics). It’ll be online this year and much smaller than usual.

The annual International African Arts Festival usually returns to Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park (near downtown Brooklyn) over July 4 weekend with dozens of vendors selling clothing, books, art, furniture, and accessories from across the African world and daily/nightly performances, including some children’s-specific programming. Thanks to our own Satyn, whose work with them this semester helped the event move forward! Check their website for announcements of virtual programs on Zoom and updates on the outdoor festival pending developments with the pandemic.

Spring 21 Session 6: The Policy Formation Process

For our April 20 Zoom meet, 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
  • Look carefully at the connections on 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?

Spring 21 Session 5: Power Process of the Ruling Class

Read Chapter 8 (“The Power Processes of the Ruling Class”)  in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power for our 4/6 Zoom meeting.

Questions to think about as you read:

What does Wilson mean by the ruling class?

  • How does the ruling class use legislation to consolidate its power?
  • What role do special interests and lobbyists play?
  • What’s the “government within a government” and what’s its role?
  • What relationship do Blacks have (as a group) to government process?

Focus on:

  • The “Special Interest Process,” “Second Government Within a Government,” and “Blacks and Government” subsections of chapter 8

Think about this in relation to your chosen fieldwork assignment via their funding source and how it might impact their work if they’re getting grants from foundations.

Announcement:

  • The ASCAC (Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations) Conference is happening via Zoom this year from April 9-17! It’s a conference of academics from across the country working in the field of Africana Studies with an African-centered focus and it also has very strong cultural and spiritual elements–so it’s not just people talking at you all day. You should strongly consider attending if you have any interest at all in graduate school, teaching, or are wondering “what else can I do with my Africana degree?” Details here.

Spring 21 Session 4: Class, Race, Power

Announcements:

  • We’re now meeting bi-monthly until the last 2 classes
  • Look for an email from me to coordinate your fieldwork and for confirmation of your paired presentation

Highlights from 3/9 class: 

  • Signed up for in-class paired presentations
  • Reviewed chapter 31 (Crisis of Leadership)
    • Ideological leanings
    • Critique of Black institutions/organizations

For Tuesday March 23, Read Chapter 7, “Class, Race, and Power in America” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • How does race and social class connect, according to Wilson?
  • What is the role of class consciousness?
  • Pay close attention to the “Preparing for Power” subsection in chapter 7. What social institutions transmit power?
  • What 4 processes does the ruling class use to dominate government?

Think about the institutional structures that Wilson argues the ruling class uses to transmit power and how parallel structures could be created. Think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What are they doing (or could they do) to create structures to increase the Black community’s power in society? How might we want their approach to be different from that of the institutions that currently hold power?

 

Spring 21 Session 3: The Crisis of Leadership

Announcements:

  • We’ll be back to our bi-monthly schedule starting with the next class
  • Look for an email from me to coordinate your fieldwork and for confirmation of your paired presentation

Highlights from 2/23 class: 

  • Signed up for in-class paired presentations
  • Reviewed chapter 3 (Social and Cultural Origins of Power)
    • Role of the church as an institution
    • Role of the family as a structure for building power
    • Role of socialization

For Tuesday March 9, Read Chapter 31, “The Crisis of Leadership” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power: pages 824-859. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • What are the key ideological orientations of leadership Wilson identifies?
  • What are the weaknesses/strengths of each?
  • How does Wilson define nationalism and what type does he call for?
  • Why the need (in Wilson’s mind) for Black Nationalist-oriented leaders?

Pay particular attention to Wilson’s critique of and analysis of nationalism at the end of the chapter in the section “Contemporary Black Nationalism: Absence of Organization, Creed, and Plans.” Think about (if?) this relates to the current situation more broadly and examples/evidence of these issues. Focus on this part and think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What parts of this do they do well? What do they do poorly? What might they do better?

 

Spring 21 Session 2: Power’s Social and Cultural Origins

Announcements:

  • Send me an e-mail to have your organization approved if you haven’t done so already.

Highlights from 2/16 class: [coming soon]

For Tuesday February 23, Read chapter 3 (Social and Cultural Origins of Power) in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power. 

Questions to think about as you read:

  • How is power developed and transmitted socially and culturally?
  • How does Wilson argue that these methods can be used by the Black community?
  • What is the importance of consciousness to power?
  • What institutions does Wilson highlight as transmitters of power?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses Wilson presents about the church as an institution?
  • What is the role of the Nation of Islam in his view?
  • What’s the solution Wilson presents at the end of the chapter?

Week of May 6: Consciousness and Power

Important announcements!

Fall Course: I’ll be teaching AAS 245: History of African Americans in the Wednesday 6-8:40 PM time slot if anyone’s interested. Section H81, course code 57646. It meets the “US Experience in its Diversity” core requirement. It is not writing intensive.

Final assignments are posted on the assignments page. There are two options: one assignment for those doing fieldwork from home or who did enough to write about their organization. The second option is the alternate assignment, which uses the Black Panther Party as a case study.

Next week (May 11) will be reserved for phone conferences/ questions/ work on your final papers.

Instructions for this week: Watch the short clip from Dr. Marimba Ani then listen to my lecture (it’s about 23 minutes long) then comment on Wilson’s chapter. In chapter 4 Wilson analyzes the importance of individual and collective consciousness for building power in the black community. Take some time to carefully read, think about, and comment on it.

Watch to the following 49-second clip by Dr. Marimba Ani (Go to the direct link on Youtube if you don’t see the video embedded below.) Think about how her explanation of  collective consciousness relates to Wilson’s vision in the chapter.

No student presentation this week

This week’s audio lecture:

It’s approximately 22 minutes long. Play it in your browser by pressing the arrow below. Try it in a different browser or on a laptop/desktop computer if it doesn’t play–especially on mobile devices–and please report any problems to me.

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Leave a Comment” button is now active below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use these to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either Wilson’s chapter, the presentation, or my lecture using some of the questions raised. conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have until next Wednesday to write those two comments for credit. The comment section closes after 14 days.

 

Week of April 29: The Candidate Selection Process

Important announcements!

Fall Course: I’ll be teaching AAS 245: History of African Americans in the Wednesday 6-8:40 PM time slot if anyone’s interested. Section H81, course code 57646. It meets the “US Experience in its Diversity” core requirement. It is not writing intensive.

Final assignments are posted on the assignments page. There are two options: one assignment for those doing fieldwork from home or who did enough to write about their organization. The second option is the alternate assignment, which uses the Black Panther Party as a case study.

Next week’s assignment will be to read chapter 4 (Consciousness and Power) in Wilson. The final week (May 11) will be reserved for phone conferences/ questions/ work on your final papers.

LAPTOP AND TABLET LOANS

  • Lehman has a loaner program for computers/tablets if you don’t have a reliable one. Fill this form (link) out immediately to get on the list!

Instructions for this week: Watch to the following interview with NY State Assemblyman Charles Barron, then view the presentation by your classmates and listen to my lecture (it’s about 22 minutes long) then comment on Wilson’s chapter. In chapter 10 Wilson analyzes the process that potential candidates for political office go through to get themselves on the ballot and then elected and why it so often doesn’t result in more power for the black community. Take some time to carefully read, think about, and comment on it.

Watch to the following 8-minute interview with Charles Barron (Go to the direct link on Youtube if you don’t see the video embedded below.) Think about how Barron approaches the electoral process and how it relates to Wilson’s vision in the chapter.

This week’s  student presentation by: Emma, Lyssette, José, and Hadijah

PDF Download: Chapter 10 The Candidate Selection Process

This week’s audio lecture:

It’s approximately 22 minutes long. Play it in your browser by pressing the arrow below. Try it in a different browser or on a laptop/desktop computer if it doesn’t play–especially on mobile devices–and please report any problems to me.

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Leave a Comment” button is now active below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use these to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either Wilson’s chapter, the presentation, or my lecture using some of the questions raised. conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have until next Wednesday to write those two comments for credit. The comment section closes after 14 days.

 

Week of April 22: The Policy Formation Process

Important announcements!

Fall Course: I’ll be teaching AAS 245: History of African Americans in the Wednesday 6-8:40 PM time slot if anyone’s interested. Section H81, course code 57646. It meets the “US Experience in its Diversity” core requirement. It is not writing intensive.

[UPDATE:] Final assignments are finally posted on the assignments page. There are two options: one assignment for those doing fieldwork from home or who did enough to write about their organization. The second option is the alternate assignment, which uses the Black Panther Party as a case study.

LAPTOP AND TABLET LOANS

  • Lehman has a loaner program for computers/tablets if you don’t have a reliable one. Fill this form (link) out immediately to get on the list!

Instructions for this week: Listen to the following NPR segment on think tanks, then Read the presentation by your classmates and listen to my lecture (it’s about 48 minutes long) then comment on Wilson’s chapter. In chapter 9, Wilson analyzes the process that the ruling class uses to influence public policy and people’s perceptions of ideas through the use of think tanks and foundations. This chapter is one of the most important ones of the whole book. Take some time to carefully read, think about, and comment on it.

Listen to the following 15-minute segment from NPR’s On the Media: “Jayne Mayer on the Rise of Conservative Orthodoxy.” (Go to the direct link if you don’t see the player below.) Mayer does an excellent job of charting the history of foundations and think tanks that Wilson describes in the chapter for this week’s lesson.
https://www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/wnycstudios/#file=/audio/json/754579/&share=1

This week’s  presentation:

Student Presentation by Renée, Ashleigh, and Michael.

PDF Download:  Wilson_Chapter_9_Spring2020

This week’s audio lecture:

It’s approximately 48 minutes long. Play it in your browser by pressing the arrow below. Try it in a different browser or on a laptop/desktop computer if it doesn’t play–especially on mobile devices–and please report any problems to me.

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Leave a Comment” button is now active below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use these to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either Wilson’s chapter, the presentation, or my lecture using some of the questions raised. conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have until next Wednesday to write those two comments for credit. The comment section closes after 14 days.

 

Week of April 15: Power Process of the Ruling Class

Important announcements!

Fall Course: I’ll be teaching AAS 245: History of African Americans in the Wednesday 6-8:40 PM time slot if anyone’s interested. Section H81, course code 57646. It meets the “US Experience in its Diversity” core requirement. It is not writing intensive.

UPDATE ON FIRST WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT:

  • If you were able to complete it, please send it via email. (See the contact info on the right.)
  • For those unable to complete it because your assigned fieldwork spot is closed–hang on. There will be an alternate assignment instead
  • See the revised schedule on the syllabus page
  • ALTERNATE ASSIGNMENTS COMING BY FRIDAY 4/16

LAPTOP AND TABLET LOANS

  • Lehman has a loaner program for computers/tablets if you don’t have a reliable one. Fill this form (link) out immediately to get on the list!

Instructions for this week: Read the presentation by your classmates and listen to my lecture (it’s about 22 minutes long) then comment on Wilson’s chapter. In chapter 8, Wilson outlines a framework for how the ruling class uses its influence over governmental processes to its advantage in running the society.

This week’s  presentation:

Student Presentation by Esme, Bereket, and Janette

PDF download:

This week’s audio lecture:

It’s approximately 22 minutes long. Play it in your browser by pressing the arrow below. Try it in a different browser or on a laptop/desktop computer if it doesn’t play–especially on mobile devices–and please report any problems to me.

Comments on posts:

You’ll notice the “Leave a Comment” button is now active below. Here’s how it’ll work: you can use these to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either Wilson’s chapter, the presentation, or my lecture using some of the questions raised. conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have until next Wednesday to write those two comments for credit. The comment section closes after 14 days.