One of the reasons I haven’t been posting as often is because I’ve begun teaching. After two years off I was literally dying to get into the classroom…and for good reason. My two classes (Black Politics–primarily for undergrads, Comparative Racial Politics–my team taught grad level course) are going extremely well, and my students are a joy to teach.

But on top of that, teaching gives me an opportunity to both dig into familiar territory (Black Politics) and grapple with an entire new subject (Comparative Racial Politics). A taste of the books we’re reading for Black Politics:

The World Of Marcus Garvey: Race and Class in Modern Society

Written by Judith Stein, she doesn’t spend much time talking about Garvey’s philosophy, but in this case that doesn’t hinder the work because it gives her more room to flesh out how the deep conservatism of both the UNIA and Garvey. Yes the UNIA was the largest group of diasporal blacks in all of history, but there is a reason for it that goes beyond its call for race pride.

Stirrings in the Jug

By my man Adolph Reed, this book is a collection of academic essays. Not for the timid, as Reed’s academic work is a lot harder to read than his more popular stuff, but it rewards re-reading. A professor’s bookshelves contain dozens upon dozens of books…but the average professor only turns to a few of those books more than once. There’s not a single project that I’m working on that doesn’t heavily rely on the arguments placed in this book. The thing about black politics is that even though white supremacy is a bitch, we’ve still got serious politics WITHIN black spaces. How, for example, does Affirmative Action get pitched as a policy that’s good for ALL blacks even though it only directly benefits a few? How did we get to the place where people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are viewed as leaders instead of reverends without real churches?

The Politics of Disgust

By Ange-Marie Hancock, a rising star in the field. I assigned this book in both classes actually, because it represents a concise argument about the way that the image of the welfare queen gets seared into the nation’s consciousness to the point that not only do WE not care about welfare anymore, the people who do can BARELY get up the political clout to put it on the agenda. Women on welfare are citizens, in that they have the right to vote, the right to free speech, etc. But they have absolutely no juice in the realm of public opinion.

There are more–I actually assigned WAYY too much reading–but those are good to get you started.