A new course at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia aims to teach students about the importance of valuing one’s blackness and one’s self. “The Power of Black Self-Love” takes a critical look at history, current affairs, and social movements. The course is taught by Dr. Dianne M. Stewart, Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies, and Dr. Donna Troka, associate director at the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, as part of Emory’s Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship (IDEAS) program.
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.
“The Power of Black Self-Love” course was created with input from students as well as educators. For their final project, students created a series of presentations, which included photography exhibitions, an interview series, and a project that focused on the music of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Meet the students and check out more of the projects on Emory’s Scholarblog Site.