Black Panthers, Brown Berets: Radical Social Movements of the Late-20th Century

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 21, 2021 - July 21, 20216/21 - 7/214 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineJonathan Cortez

Course Description

Between 1950 and 1980, the United States witnessed a mobilization of radical social movements led by Black, Latinx, Asian American , and Native American communities. In addition to these racial movements, gender and sexuality were themselves having parallel and intersecting calls for equality. The legacy of this activism lives on in popular memory, as names like Malcolm X and the Black Panthers have become iconic – even controversial – in the American mainstream. Still, others remain lesser known but equally important in shifting the course of history and challenging racial politics in the U.S.

This course examines the histories of radical social movement organizations and individuals from the Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Native American communities as well as women of color feminisms and the Gay liberation movement. We will explore their greatest achievements along with their deepest pitfalls, and ponder the teachings these experiences can offer us today. Topics range from free school lunch programs and mobile healthcare facilities to FBI shootouts and international decolonizing alliances. Students will utilize primary sources – film, theater, photography, paintings, and manifestos – to learn about this history from the perspective of those who took part in the movements. We will conclude by considering representations of the radical social movements in the contemporary moment.

Students will leave the class having developed skills in historical investigation, arts and media analysis, and cultural studies. Everyone is invited to join – no prerequisites required! This course will be particularly suitable for those interested in the fields of history, ethnic studies, and 20th Century US history.

Prerequisites: This course has no prerequisites--all are welcome!

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEAC0919

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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