• University of Michigan logo

Black Performance as Social Protest

Understand artistic protest from the African Diaspora, and how Black performance impacts social justice movements today.

511 enrolled on this course

Black Performance as Social Protest
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $23.33/monthLearn more

Explore the history of social protest through Black performance

Black performance and social activism have been a model for protest globally. It has enriched and activated cries for justice in multiple contexts.

This course will help you expand your understanding of Black performance as social protest and its active effects on performance and protest today.

Engage with artistic protests across key historical frames

The arts are a potent way of responding to issues of injustice. From slavery and lynching to incarceration and disenfranchisement, Black performance has resisted oppression across several historical frames.

On this course, you’ll read, watch, and listen to performances that illustrate various forms of artistic protest from the African Diaspora. You’ll cover chants of the enslaved and dances of heritage, before moving on to look at early 20th century migrations and United States protests.

Discover the role of performance in the Black Lives Matter movement

You’ll identify ways in which patterns of resistance from the past contribute to ongoing social justice movements, such as Black Lives Matter.

After investigating the history of Black performance as social protest, you’ll produce a reflective manifesto for achieving racial equity through performance.

Learn from experts in African American studies from the University of Michigan

This course is led by three professors at the school of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the University of Michigan, all of whom teach performance history as well as having lived experiences as Black performers.

They’ll each guide you through the importance and impact of Black performance in social protest, highlighting the intersections between the arts and social justice.

What topics will you cover?

  • Week 1: Black Representation (Slavery) - Covers protest chants of the enslaved and dances of heritage
  • Week 2: Early 20th Century Migrations and United States Protests (Jim Crow) - Explores lynching plays, protest songs and the Great Migration.
  • Week 3: Civil Rights Struggles for Justice (Equality) and Black Nationalism - Explores music and theatre of the Civil Rights movement and Black Revolutionary Arts forms.
  • Week 4: Social Justice Now: Black Lives Matter and the Performing Arts (Police Brutality) - Discusses the importance of performance past contributions to the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Week 5: Call to Action - The course culminates in a reflective manifesto

Through these specific examples, participants will identify patterns of resistance against slavery, lynching, incarceration, and disenfranchisement while analysing ways in which they contribute to ongoing social justice movements.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. 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...

  • Describe how Black performance resists oppression across several historical frames.
  • Engage with performance content which illustrates various forms of artistic protest from the African Diaspora.
  • Compare patterns of resistance against slavery, lynching, incarceration, and disenfranchisement.
  • Identify ways in which patterns of resistance from the past contribute to ongoing social justice movements.
  • Produce a manifesto for achieving racial equity through performance.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone looking to understand the social, political, and historical contexts of the African American experience.

It will be of special interest to global artists and performers looking to develop a social justice lens for their work, as well as for activists seeking to incorporate the arts into their social justice work.

Who developed the course?

University of Michigan

As the #1 public research university in the United States, U-M has been a leader in research, learning, and teaching for more than 200 years, with 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019).

  • Established

    1817
  • Location

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  • World ranking

    Top 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020
Recommended

Ways to learn

Upgrade this course

Unlimited

Basic access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$49

$23.33/month

Billed at $279.99 for a year

Free

Unlock your expertiseEndless possibilities!Try before you upgrade
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 5 weeks
Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a yearcrosstickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Join and Upgrade

Ways to learn

Buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year or Upgrade just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with basic access.

Unlimited

$23.33/month

Billed at $279.99 for a year

Endless possibilities!

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Upgrade this course

$49

Unlock your expertise

  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

*Excludes access to all eligible short courses with additional benefits for a year

Basic access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 5 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • 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

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...