Black Performance as Social Protest

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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.

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.