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Black Studies 4 Week 1 Notes (Battle)


Black Studies 4 Week 1 Notes (Battle) Black Studies 4

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These notes cover all lecture and section material in week 1 of Black Studies 4 (Introduction to Race and Racism) with Professor Battle.
Critical Introduction to Race and Racism
Class Notes
UCSB, Black Studies 4, BLST 4, Battle, Introduction to Race and Racism




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by on Friday April 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Black Studies 4 at University of California Santa Barbara taught by Battle in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Critical Introduction to Race and Racism in Linguistics and Speech Pathology at University of California Santa Barbara.

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Date Created: 04/01/16
Monday, March 28, 2016 Week 1 Lecture 1 - March 28, 2016 - Review Syllabus Critical reflection papers (precis) should be submitted to by • 11:00 AM every Monday. Also bring a hard copy to section. - Less than two pages; more about quality, not quantity - Include: main ideas/concepts/arguments from the week’s readings, my personal reflections and critiques of the points made, material which is unclear or needs explanation, and the role of the reading within the general overall class theme (key concepts/theories/arguments linked to the class) - Do not disregard the films - will be used on midterm/final! Section - March 29, 2016 - TA emails: • For general course inquiries: (quicker response to something class related) • For submitting precis: Lecture 2 - March 30, 2016 - Film: “Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness” • Herskovits = white male who demonstrates that African Americans are connected to Africans • Social paradox figure: sets the terms for the understanding between Africa and African Americans, the son of Jewish immigrants trying to adjust his own position in America • Does the right to describe or characterize a people give you power over those people? • Herskovits in a nutshell? 1 Monday, March 28, 2016 • Herskovits - Can we be both Jews and Americans? Both Chinese and Americans? • Issue that the second generation grapples with • 1915-1935 = period of extreme anti-semitism in the United States - Powerful debate: what is the best way to achieve equality? best way to achieve democracy? • Measurement of facial structures - signified whites were superior race - Shows a biological and political issue… organizing race based on facial structure • Franz Boaz —> leading anthropologist in America. Discovered biological inheritance does not determine cultural behavior - Something Herskovits could speak to and/or fight against • Herskovits learns after Boaz to understand cultures from the inside/how they see themselves • Harlem Renaissance: embracing African heritage - Herskovits began wondering whether there was a connection between African and Black American culture… • Why was he so entangled in African and African American culture? - He was driven by the power that Africa gave him • Frances Shapiro becomes Herkovits’s major collaborator • Shapiro authors a book with him to demonstrate the great West African empires of the past - Put into play cultural relativism • Cultural relativism starts with the idea that you must try and understand each place in it’s own terms, without the framework of your own culture and way of life - Make sense of another culture in their own terms, not yours • Herskovits compares and contrasts cultural practices from Africans and its correlation with the rest of the world 2 Monday, March 28, 2016 - Specifically observes movements/dancing • Connections between Africa and African America • Idea that African cultures were completely lost when they came to the New World were gone was fought against - How could they simply have lost it? Not matter how traumatizing the Middle Passage was • African Americans are carriers of their culture • Issue with Herskovits and his identity: - His “reign” over Africa, as if he owned it • Why weren’t there more African and African American scholars at Northwestern (where he taught)? - One of the first Jewish professors at Northwestern • Issues with identity: did he want to be a Jewish-American scholar? Or just an American scholar? - Relationship with W.B. Dubois • Dubois began American sociology - Writing to change society and to make Black progress possible • Herskovits argued it wasn’t about changing society - condemned Dubois as a propagandist - Attempted to undermine him, doesn’t want to embolden African American activism - If you’re white you can talk about race objectively • “White professors can teach anything” • “The Myth of the Negro Past” - Best known and most controversial novel of Herkovits’s career • Engages in a type of social engineering himself - “If African Americans know this, their self-image will be increased” 3 Monday, March 28, 2016 • Contributes to African American sense of self, states they have a culture that can be traced back to Africa just like anyone else on earth - Herskovits had the actual data that Dubois did not when he stated the same thing 20 years before - E. Franklin Frazier critiques Herskovits’s work: • Frazier had written African culture had been destroyed, lost in the Middle Passion - Herskovits found things that weren’t there - Was concerned that if Herskovits’s idea was accepted, there would be further segregation and separation between Whites and Blacks - he was an integrationist • Disagreements over the Black family • Herskovits claims those who disagree with the idea of a distinct African American culture, they were ashamed of their own past - Basically, Frazier was offended by Herskovits insinuating he was ashamed of his past/culture/heritage - Africa was the platform upon which Herskovits stood • Was trying to convince decolonization in Africa - Argues that what the Nazis had done in Europe is exactly what has been going on in African for hundreds of years • Was a member of 17 communist organizations (with communist fronts) - Inspired black militance to create organizations similar to that of white organizations (African Studies Association) • Blacks didn’t want to be studied, they wanted to be participants in the discourse - Black activists find great hypocrisy… shouldn’t the people of that particular culture be the ones studying it? The ones participating? - Questions to consider: • 1. Do “races” exist? 4 Monday, March 28, 2016 • 2. Is “race” biological, social, and/or political? • 3. Is there a link between race and behavior? 5


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