Winter 2021

Black Lives Matter, Wikipedia Commons, 2020
W2021 Theme Statement

In its first two iterations, this course was structured in a way that pulled from various radical traditions within social movements that have influenced and been influenced by popular culture. Starting this term, I am experimenting with focusing on a specific theme. I’ve selected The Black Radical Imagination as the theme for a number of reasons: (1) Black political movements have been extremely influential to all mass movements in North America; (2) the current rebellions and uprisings create a setting that is rife with culture creation; (3) Blackness is made secondary by non-Black (particular white) scholars and I am seeking to centre Black political thought in this course.

Grace Lee Boggs, Artist Elina Tuomi, 2015
Course Information & Structure

The Detroit-based centenarian radical, Grace Lee Boggs, reflecting on lessons from her several decades of political activity suggests: “We need to connect visionary work with resistance work; one is not possible without the other. Both are essential parts of a more holistic movement for change.” This course is structured with this advice in mind. We will explore the Black Radical Imagination through the interplay between social movements that imagine new ways of being, movements that resist structures of power, and the popular culture that is created through these movements but also in conversation with these movements.

Two Row Wampum, People’s History Archive, 2015
Territorial Acknowledgement

With gratitude, we acknowledge that Renison University College is located on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples, which is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometres on each side of the Grand River.

Beyond Territorial Acknowledgements by Chelsea Vowel

An Indigenous View on #BlackLivesMatter by Leanne Simpson

The Black Radical Imagination

Image: Album Cover, SAULT, “Untitled (Black Is), 2020

She was their avenging angel. Only the wayward appreciated her riotous conduct and wild habits and longing to create a life from nothing; only they could discern the beautiful plot against the plantation that she waged each and every day.

Saidiya Hartman
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (2019:34)



Dr. Craig Fortier, Assistant Professor Social Development Studies, Renison University College (University of Waterloo)

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