Art in the Age of Black Lives Matter

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Black Lives Matter and the Movement for Black Lives have figured prominently in the American public imaginary since 2012. These activist organizations, committed to counteracting anti-black violence in order to realize democracy’s full potential, have been called extensions of the modern Civil Rights Movement. But what does art have to do with it? What role do artists play in black freedom struggles of the past and present? Can art teach us about social histories, the practice of democracy, and envisioning alternative futures? In this class, students formulate answers to these pressing questions by contemplating the place of art within contemporary social life. Broadly, this class focuses on depictions of blackness in visual culture. Specifically, it covers artworks—visual, literary, and sonic—that directly address social unrest and protest within the context of contemporary anti-black violence and its effects.

View students’ digital archives on Tumblr here and here