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Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of Protest, 1968-Present

Since the 2016 presidential election, many have described our current moment in terms of uncertainty and upheaval. The U.S. has entered a political climate regarded as producing especially heightened vulnerability for many marginalized communities. And the politics of race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration, and religion have been integral to recent national debates. In this course, we turn to histories of radical organizing since the Civil Rights movement—especially queer, feminist, and antiracist movements—to consider what these traditions of resistance might have to offer our current conjuncture. Questions in this class will include: what, exactly, should we understand as new or exceptional about a post-Trump America, and what issues have longer, more systemic contexts? How should we approach social justice work when the state has become more boldly hostile towards marginalized groups? And how should we locate “identity politics” (like race, sexuality, gender, religion, etc) in relation to each other, and in relation to the politics of capitalism—especially in recent decades? Topics include: progressive critiques of rights-based and other reform frameworks; theories of violence and safety; policing and the prison industrial complex; nonprofits and other forms of institutionalization; and the cultural politics of neoliberalism.