Talkin’ Shit: The History of African-American Culture
Bonus Course Included — Talkin’ Shit: The History of Hip-Hop
Instructors: Kamasi Hill and Thaddeus Russell
Each session will run between 2 and 2.5 hours
This course examines the origins and ascendancy of the most loved, hated, and powerful popular culture in American history.
Over the last two centuries the cultural forms created by American slaves and their descendants have been welcomed and often worshipped in nearly every country in the world. Outside the United States the most famous and popular Americans have always been black. No president or general has commanded more international attention and admiration than black minstrel and vaudeville performers of the 19th century. No American politician has been more influential or beloved globally than Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, or Beyoncé. Authoritarian regimes in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and the Middle East outlawed African-American culture because its libidinal and liberating nature was often more popular among their populations than the repression required by fascism, communism, and sharia law.
In the United States, black culture has been simultaneously derided by elites—including black elites—who often see it as a threat to foundational, puritanical American norms, and envied and emulated by masses of ordinary Americans of all colors. The music and comedy of slaves became the most popular form of entertainment in the world. Black fashion became American fashion. Black dialect became American slang. In lower-class saloons in early America, in the jazz clubs of the 20th century, and at the hip-hop concert arenas of the 21st century, black popular culture has integrated more people through voluntary desire than the coercive measures of affirmative action or school bussing ever could.
This is a course other universities wouldn’t dare to offer: a politically incorrect, renegade history of black America.
Session 1: Tuesday, November 3, 8:30 PM Eastern
The World the Slaves Made
Session 2: Tuesday, November 10, 8:30 PM Eastern
Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Armed Resistance, Mutual Aid
Session 3: Tuesday, November 17, 8:30 PM Eastern
The Great Migration and the Making of Urban America
Session 4: Tuesday, November 24, 8:30 PM Eastern
Racial Liberalism and “Blackness”