CVA2033 - RADICAL POLITICS TODAY
RADICAL POLITICS TODAY
CVA2033 Radical Politics Today: Black Lives Matter, Indigenous Activism, and Anarchism in Thought, Action, and Culture
This Intermediate Liberal Arts course examines the theory, actions, claims, and artistic and cultural representations of radical political movements in our time. Radical political movements seek major transformations in the way we live together. Radical movements tend to work outside and even at odds with the mainstream political process that involves political parties and elections. Radical politics pushes from below by taking to the streets to blockade and confront those it opposes and to compel the public to pay attention. This form of politics also sets out radical critiques and solutions, such as abolishing policing and incarceration, decolonizing and returning territory to Indigenous peoples, dismantling capitalism in favor of more equitable form of economic relations that will also help us deal with climate change. These movements inspire artists to represent and speak to these causes, such as with the music of Rage Against the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and a Tribe Called Red, the poetry of Leanne Simpson, and films such as Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Fruitvale Station. Through an interdisciplinary approach, this course will look at the modern history and contemporary forms of radical politics, in theory, in action, and in culture. For the Spring 2017, the three major radical political movements we will examine will be, i) Black Lives Matter, ii) Indigenous people’s decolonizing activism, such as the Standing Rock Sioux’s effort to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, and iii) contemporary anarchist politics. We will examine these movements on their own and with regard to how their concerns, critiques and efforts intersect, possibly conflict, and generally raise questions and possibilities about how to radically critique and act against white supremacy, settler colonialism, capitalism, and climate change. The class will read and listen to the voices of theorists and commentators analyzing and critiquing these movements, the people directly involved in the movements, and the work of artists inspired by or engaging with these movements. As we do so we will ask such questions as: What makes radical politics radical and what sort of actions does that require of those who are involved? Does radical politics ever succeed, or does it always either fail, get coopted, or lead to comprise and small steps? To what degree does art and culture contribute to, capitalize upon or get inspired by and represent the aims of these radical movements? While these three movements will be the focus of this course, students will be encouraged to work on projects that examine other radical movements in our time. The course will focus on the North American context, but student projects and our discussions do not need to be limited to that context. The materials for this class will include historical and political scholarly analyses, journalism, documentaries, film, literature, music, public commentary, and the narratives of activists themselves.