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Black Agency: Resistance and Resilience

Explore the history of anti-Black racism and reflect on how Black and non-Black people can build resilience to confront prejudice.

1,079 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

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.

What topics will you cover?

  • History of Race and Racism
  • Shifting the Conversation: Anti-Black Racism
  • Art Imitates Life, Life Imitates Art – Art that Confronts Racism
  • Racial Identify Formation
  • Socialisation Messages
  • Black Pride
  • Resistance

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Recall how race, racism, and anti-Black racism conceptually connect to one another.
  • Recognize that Black Americans learn about race at a young age and are taught various strategies to effectively maneuver racism.
  • Discover how Black Americans consciously cope with systemic racism through various outlets including art, healing, cultural practices, community connections.
  • Recognize that Black Americans are agentic people and locate the various ways that the people learn how to withstand the difficulties of life with grace, dexterity, and pride in various ways.
  • Reflect on the material and assess how the course material intersects with knowledge, beliefs, and personal experiences.
  • Examine how people from non-Black racial groups play a role in confronting and subverting anti-Black racism.

Who is the course for?

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.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Shardé M. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut. Her research examines how Black women leverage communication in the sistah circle.

Dr. David G. Embrick is an Associate Professor with a joint position in Africana Studies Institute and the Department of Sociology at the University of Connecticut.

Who developed the course?

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is a national leader among public research universities, with more than 32,000 students seeking answers to critical questions in classrooms, labs, and the community. A culture of innovation drives this pursuit of knowledge through the University’s network of campuses and through UConn Online.

  • Established

  • Location

    Storrs, Connecticut
  • World ranking

    Top 300Source: ShanghaiRanking Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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