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Black Agency: Resistance and Resilience

University of Connecticut via FutureLearn


Understand how agency can give Black people an empowering sense of control

In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement exploded onto the global stage, shedding light on the sheer scale of institutional anti-Black racism the world over.

Following on from U.S. Anti-Black Racism, on this course you’ll explore Black agency – Black people’s sense of free will and individual power – learning what it is and why it’s so important in the face of injustice and anti-Blackness.

Study the history of race and racism

Alongside Dr Shardé M. Davis – a world-leading expert on Black resistance and resilience – you’ll explore how race, racism, and anti-Blackness intersect and feed into each other.

You’ll get a refresher overview of the history of racism, exploring how Black Americans are taught about racism from a young age, and how racial identity is formed via socialisation.

Examine the impact of Black art and culture

Looking at art, community, and culture, you’ll discover the methods by which Black people consciously cope with systemic racism.

Identifying the structural barriers that exist to hold Black people back, you’ll consider the dextrous and creative ways in which Blacks have used their sense of agency to fight back and take back control of their lives.

Learn how to build resilience and why it matters

You’ll discuss how the course material reflects your own lived experience of racism and prejudice, as well as how it challenges your knowledge and belief systems.

Ultimately, you’ll emerge with a deeper appreciation of Black Pride and grace, able to understand how Blacks, people of colour, and allies alike can resist everyday oppression.

This course is directed to learners who have completed U.S. Anti-Black Racism and anyone else interested in furthering their education about anti-Black racism by considering how Black Americans contend with it in their everyday lives, including their acts of resistance, coping strategies, and ways that they cultivate pride.

This two course series was developed collaboratively by Dr. Sharde Davis and Dr. David Embrick. Each faculty educator brings their expertise and areas of focus to both courses, supporting one another in course development and content delivery. The primary course objective is to expose learners to foundational research and concepts related to Black history, Black consciousness and Black resistance while developing learners’ understanding and potential capacity for disrupting anti-Black racism.

Taught by

Dr. Shardé M. Davis

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