The Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship (IDEAS) Fellowship, in conjunction with the Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) offered a side car course entitled “The Power of Black Self-Love.” The course is an overlap of the courses “Black Love” and “Resisting Racism” respectively taught by Dr. Dianne Stewart, Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies and Dr. Donna Troka, adjunct faculty in the ILA. The class had two IDEAS Fellows: Tenia Miles and Namrata Verghese serving as Teaching Assistants. Students from both courses met for this side car course, bringing perspectives from each and creating a final project engaging the topics discussed. This website is a way to showcase their work.
The side car course is located at the overlap of our two courses. While Dr. Stewart’s course spoke directly to the theory and practice of Black Love, Dr. Troka’s course looked at how Black people have celebrated Blackness (Black is Beautiful, Black Power) and demanded recognition of Black humanity (I am a Man, #BlackLivesMatter) over the last sixty years. Students were asked to consider not only theories of Black Love and histories of Black social movements, but also to interrogate contemporary cultural products of these areas. More specifically we were interested in topics such as the power and force of Black Twitter over the last decade, the impact of social media on BlackLives (#BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName), and/or the creation and continued support of Black Girl Magic (both generally but also looking at the success of Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay, and more recently, many African American female athletes). With this focus, we hoped to raise awareness and bring attention to the power of Black (Self) Love amidst continued efforts at Black destruction through individual and structural anti- Black racism.