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Course notes for Monday, November 23

jschlosser's picture


[EDIT: We'll start with brief committee check-ins in preparation for the final event, with twofold goals: (1) to nail down a title; and (2) to select times for the events. Then we'll turn to the Coates quote.]

A quotation cum prompt for reflecting on Thursday and Friday at RCF as well as what we've been doing. This is from Ta-Nehisi Coates' recent book Between the World and Me. (He also wrote the piece on reparations that y'all read).

"The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books." (48)

And the question: How does this speak to your experiences at RCF and as learners both there and in this 360?



I'm going to let our experimental essayists guide inquiry and discussion of Black Lives Matter, but here are a few themes and questions that I have rolling around in my mind:

  • What exactly is "direct action"? Was this happening during the Freedom Struggles in the 1960s and 1970s? How is it different in BLM?
  • What kind of organizing does BLM use? How does this draw on the previous tradition and how does it depart from it? (Here I'm thinking about Tocqueville as well.)
  • What political vision seems to animate BLM? What do you think of this vision?
  • What understanding of freedom underlies this political vision? 
  • What is the role of the state in advancing this freedom and its corresponding political vision?

I hope too that we can connect these discussions to what's been happening not just at Bryn Mawr but around the country around issues of equity, voice, racism, and inclusion.



If we have time, I'd like to return to Michelle Alexander's call for a new social movement as we start to connect BLM to Prison Abolitionism.