Week 7: Black Religion

Image: Ethel Shariff in Chicago, 1963. By Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

First, a few housekeeping details:

  • Remember that this class doesn’t use Blackboard. Check the course website every week for updates and detailed reading instructions which will appear on this page
  • Get a copy of the required course book if you haven’t done so already. You will need it to do the reading assignments for the rest of the semester. No more PDFs of chapters will be posted. Lehman’s bookstore claims to now have rental copies in stock: check with them.

On the weekly Zoom sessions:

  • Audio of the weekly classes is on the  Zoom archive page. Same password as everything else to access.
  • Sign-up info for weekly Zoom sessions is on the Zoom meet info page. I recommend saving the meeting ID and password in your calendar or elsewhere to easily join

Announcement:

Lehman’s pre-graduate advising program offers weekly office hours for the graduate school application process and is having two sessions via Zoom. Wednesday March 24 addresses admissions interviews. Details and Zoom link at their website.

For Wednesday 3/17, there are two things to read.

  • Selections from Chapter 5 in Introduction to Black Studies
  • Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Image and Mind Control in the African World.” (PDF on Readings page.) Read this first to gain a conceptual understanding for Karenga’s approach in the textbook chapter

For chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-222, 225 (Black Christian Womanist Theology) and the section on the Nation of Islam/Malcolm X (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on:
    • The Dogon Tradition,
    • Maat,
    • Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
    • Black Liberation Theology
  • Read for the following:
    • How central tenets (beliefs) of the Dogon and Maat shape the worldview of African people
    • How Dr. King and Malcolm X’s interpretations of Islam and Christianity form a challenge to the US

For Dr. Clarke’s “Image and Mind Control in the African World.”

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images
  • What role does Clarke suggest religion should play?
  • How does religion shape people’s view of the world, according to Dr. Clarke?

Quick highlights from Week 6 (3/10):

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-168).
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Malcolm X: the Genesis of His African Revolution” (pp. 139-159) in Notes for an African World Revolution.
  • See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Zoom wait music: Sarah Webster Fabio: “Together to the Tune of Coltrane’s Equinox”–on YouTube here
  • Intermission music: Jackie McLean’s “Melody for Melonae” from Let Freedom Ring–on YouTube here
  • Resource/for further reading: Peniel E. Joseph’s Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour a narrative history of the Black Power movement. In the CUNY library system here, the NYPL here, and you can buy it used online starting at about $5.

RESPOND to one idea in the textbook chapter or Dr. Clarke’s essay and DISCUSS it with classmates and myself with the comment board at the bottom of this post

ATTEND the weekly Zoom session @ 6 PM EST on Wednesday March 17

General reading strategies:

  • Underline/highlight key points in the text
  • Use the reading questions at the back of chapters to focus you: read those first
  • Try to understand the definitions of the key concepts listed at the back of the chapter
  • Make a note to ask the instructor to clarify anything you don’t understand
  • Note key issues, approaches, and dilemmas/challenges Dr. Karenga outlines

Discussion questions

  • See chapter/essay highlights above

What’s Next?

First half of Chapter 6 in Introduction to Black Studies

Comments on posts:

Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post for the “Leave a Comment” button below. Here’s how it works: you can use this to discuss points raised here.  A few points:

  • Your first comment will have to be approved by me: after that, you can comment without approval
  • Comments section will only be open to enrolled students
  • You have to leave your name (enter as first name and last initial only) so a) I can make sure only people in the class are commenting and b) you get credit for the comment
  • Remember to be respectful, especially when responding to classmates
  • The comments section closes 14 days after a post goes live

To ‘participate’ in the class, I’d like to see everyone 1) post a substantive comment of their own based on either the reading or my lecture using some of the questions raised or conversation prompts, and 2) to respond thoughtfully to someone else’s comment—not just agree/disagree, but add on evidence or ask a follow-up question. You can also ask a question–for me or others–but that doesn’t count toward your comment and reply needed for the grade. It’s fine with me if conversation continues in a thread as long as it does, but two responses showing a clear engagement with the reading will count for being ‘present.’ Does that make sense? You have two weeks to write those two comments for credit.

Week of October 23: Midterm Exam [Updated!]

Image: The 135th St Branch (Now the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture) of the NYPL. Courtesy of the NYPL Digital Collections.

Class doesn’t meet on Wednesday 10/9 and 10/16 for Yom Kippur and a scheduled Monday. We meet next on Wednesday 10/23.

For Wednesday 10/23, we have our Midterm Exam in the first half of class then a guest lecture by saxophonist Tyrone Birkett in the second half. You’re expected to stay for the entire class!

Midterm format will be as follows: several short answer questions (approx 8) and one essay. You will have a choice of essay topics.

The midterm exam will focus on chapters 3,4, and 5.
Know: Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey. Be familiar with their political positions, organizations, the differences between them. (Re-reading Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay will help here in addition to the textbook chapters.) Think of how you might write an essay on them.
Know: The 3 Modal Periods in Africana history from chap 4
Know: Tendencies of the Black Power era from chap 4: Religious, Cultural, Political, Economic thrusts
Know: Legacy of nationalist influence on the Black Power era from chap 4
Know: Similarities in African religious traditions from chap 5
Know: Basic tenets of Maat/role of service from chap 5
Know: Basic tenets of Dogon/role of complementarity from chap 5
Know: Social ethics of MLK, NOI, Malcolm X from chap 5

To prepare for it, do the following:

READ the weekly updates on the course website! They point you to the specific sections of book chapters to focus on
Read the slide presentations on the Lecture Notes page
Read the sections of the book the notes are pulled from! The slides only give you an outline; you need the full discussion from the book for this to make sense!

In short, you have to spend some time and read/process/ understand the info!

Student hours: I’ll be on campus on the following Tuesdays and Thursdays if you can’t figure something out and want to meet: 10/10, 10/15, 10/17, 10/22. See the contact info for my email and office location. You can drop in on Thursdays from 5-6; email me for an appointment for Tuesdays

Quick highlights from 10/2 class:

  • Reviewed selections from chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies. See last week’s post for specific sections.
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Image and Mind Control in the African World” (pp. 329-364) in Notes for an African World Revolution.
  • See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Musical intro: John Coltrane: “Acknowledgement” from A Love Supreme–on YouTube here or listen to the entire album here.

Announcements:

  • Lecture notes (my slide presentations) are posted on the Lecture Notes page
  • NY State’s voter registration deadline is approaching for the November elections. Download an application here (PDF). New applications must be postmarked by 10/11 and received by 10/16. Changes in political party affiliation deadline is 10/11. Address change deadline is 10/16. You can also register/change info in person. Full details at the Board of Elections website.

11TH+ANNUAL_+POSTER+IMAGE.jpg

Head of Temple University’s Africology department (and author of Afrocentrocity) Molefe Asante will be in New York this weekend:

 

Week of October 2: Black Religion

Image: Ethel Shariff in Chicago, 1963. By Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

For Wednesday 10/2, we’ll go to chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-222, 225 (Black Christian Womanist Theology) and the section on the Nation of Islam/Malcolm X (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on: The Dogon Tradition, Maat, Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Black Liberation Theology
  • Read for the following:
    • How central tenets (beliefs) of the Dogon and Maat shape the worldview of African people
    • How Dr. King and Malcolm X’s interpretations of their religious traditions form a challenge to the US

Also read pages 329-364 in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for an African World Revolution, “Image and Mind Control in the African World.” Read this first to gain a conceptual understanding for Karenga’s approach above

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images
  • What role does Clarke suggest religion should play?
  • How does religion shape people’s view of the world, according to Dr. Clarke?

Please Bring both books (or copies) with you to class next week. We’ll be doing some in-class work that you’ll need to look at the book to follow–and do productively.

Quick highlights from 9/25 class:

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-168).
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Malcolm X: the Genesis of His African Revolution” (pp. 139-159) in Notes for an African World Revolution. See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Watched the last part of the Dr. Clarke documentary film A Great and Mighty Walk: watch it on YouTube here
  • Musical transition: Traci Chapman: “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”–on YouTube here
  • Resource/for further reading: Peniel E. Joseph’s Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour a narrative history of the Black Power movement. In the CUNY library system here, the NYPL here, and you can buy it used online starting at about $5.

Announcements:

  • Lecture notes (my slide presentations) are posted on the Lecture Notes page
  • NY State’s voter registration deadline is approaching for the November elections. Download an application here (PDF). New applications must be postmarked by 10/11 and received by 10/16. Changes in political party affiliation deadline is 10/11. Address change deadline is 10/16. You can also register/change info in person. Full details at the Board of Elections website.

11TH+ANNUAL_+POSTER+IMAGE.jpg

 

Week of October 17: Black Religion

Image: Ethel Shariff in Chicago, 1963. By Gordon Parks (1912-2006)

For Wednesday 10/17, we’ll go to chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-220 and the section on the Nation of Islam/Malcolm X (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on: The Dogon Tradition, Maat, Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Also read pages 329-364 in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for an African World Revolution, “Image and Mind Control in the African World.” Read this first to gain a conceptual understanding for Karenga’s approach above

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images
  • What role does Clarke suggest religion should play?

Please Bring both books (or copies) with you to class next week. We’ll be doing some in-class work that you’ll need to look at the book to follow–and do productively.

Quick highlights from 10/10 class:

  • Reviewed sections of Chapter 4 on Civil Rights-Black Power in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 150-165).
  • Reviewed Dr. John Henrik Clarke’s essay “Malcolm X: the Genesis of His African Revolution” (pp. 139-159) in Notes for an African World Revolution. See the Lecture Notes page for a copy of my presentation with highlights from the text
  • Handed out assignment for the midterm essay: see below
  • Musical transition: Blues legend Muddy Waters’s “Mannish Boy, on YouTube here. (Koko Taylor’s “I’m a Woman” response is on Youtube here.) Waters’s song is symbolic of the struggle in Civil Rights-Black Power era: an escalating fight for full human rights under the law, here framed as a demand to be called/treated as a man.
  • Resource/for further reading: mentioned in class is Peniel E. Joseph’s Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour a narrative history of the Black Power movement. In the CUNY library system here, the NYPL here, and you can buy it used online starting at about $5.

Announcements

  • The Midterm essay is due in two weeks on Wednesday 10/24. Get the assignment sheet on the assignments page if you don’t have/have lost it and start working on it, especially if you need to visit the ACE Center for writing assistance. Plan to visit them now.

Week of November 1: Black Religion

First, thanks to Dr. Karanja Keita Carroll for his visit to class! You can find (and follow) him on Twitter as @KaranjaKeita

For Wednesday 11/1, we’ll go to chapter 5 in (Black Religion) Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies.

  • Read pages 189-222 and the section on the Nation of Islam (232-239) only.
  • Focus on the sections on: The Dogon Tradition, Maat, and Social Ethics of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

Also read pages 329-364 in Dr. Clarke’s Notes for an African World Revolution, “Image and Mind Control in the African World”

  • Pay attention to how Dr. Clarke frames religion and religious images

You do not need the Amsterdam News this week. We will not be covering it.

Quick highlights from 10/25 class:

  • Reviewed Chapter 10 (Black Psychology) in Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies (pages 397-421).
  • Reviewed Joseph A. Baldwin’s “African (Black) Psychology: Issues and Synthesis” (PDF on the Readings page).

Announcements

  • The first essay is due on Monday 11/6 (Yes, this is before the class meeting for the week.) Get the assignment sheet on the assignments page if you don’t have/have lost it and start working on it, especially if you need to visit the ACE Center for writing assistance. Plan to visit them now.
  • Save the date: Black Solidarity Day program in Brooklyn NY. See flyer below.