British Black Politics: From Anti-Colonialism to Abolitionism
What is the history of radical black politics in Britain, and how has it helped shape contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter? Why is it so important to understand blackness in Britain as a global concept and part-history of black internationalism? In this course, we will examine the connections between anti-colonial struggles against the British Empire, Britain’s Black Power Movement, the urban rebellions of the 1980s, and Black Lives Matter. We will uncover how international networks of activists and movements made Britain an important focal point for radicals organising against racism and imperialism. This will include case studies of black political movements in former British colonies such as Trinidad, as well Britain’s Black Power movements. Vitally, we will also explore how black radical ideas and identities were formed in Britain throughout the 20th century, drawing on thinkers such as Darcus Howe, Ambalavaner Sivanandan, and Paul Gilroy. Finally, we will ask: how have these radical black movements influenced our contemporary moment? In what ways do the contemporary politics of abolition draw tactically and theoretically from the anti-colonial and black power politics of previous decades? What lessons are there to learn, and what are the future points of black struggle, both in Britain and in former imperial territories abroad?
Course ScheduleWednesday, 6:30-9:30pm GMT
March 17 — April 07, 2021