Black Agrarian Traditions
Students will need a computer (with a microphone and speakers and preferably with a camera) and internet access. This course will (in the words of Native scholar and activist Eve Tuck) take a "desire-centered" lens in our studies of Black cooperative and agrarian traditions. Mainstream histories and current-day narratives typically erase the contributions of Black farmers in the fields of regenerative and sustainable agriculture; indeed, Black communities' relationship to the land is often singularly defined by oppression and enslavement. In this course, we will challenge this 'single story' (a la Chimamanda Adichie) by examining the ways in which Black agrarian traditions and freedom dreams have not simply contributed to but have actually laid the foundations of movements for the solidarity economy, cooperative development, and food and environmental justice today. We will further examine these intersections with social movements, for instance, through understanding the roles that Black farmers have played in Black movements for freedom.
Students will further uncover the ways in which Black movements have been in solidarity with other historically marginalized groups and served to inspire social movements in areas like labor struggles, gender equality, queer rights, and Indigenous sovereignty. We will study various Black-led urban and rural farm projects and learn about historical figures in the Black agrarian and cooperative traditions such as George Washington Carver, W.E.B. DuBois, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Ella Baker.
Readings will include selections from Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement by Monica White, We Are Each Other’s Harvests: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacy edited by Natalie Baszile, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Barbara Ransby and Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Jessica Gordon Nembhard.
This course will have one online synchronous meeting and then will be taught fully online and asynchronously. Students will interact through collaborative annotation assignments, discussion boards, and regular video presentations.
Course Reference Numbers
social work, nonprofit, community food systems, racial justice