Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. is offering a course devoted to helping students realize “The Power of Black Self-Love.” Developed by the university’s Interdisciplinary Exploration and Scholarship program, the class was for one credit and was first offered during the Fall 2016 semester, according to the Emory News Center.
The class was created by Dianne Stewart, an associate professor of religion and African American studies, and Donna Troka, an adjunct assistant professor in Emory’s Institute for the Liberal Arts and associate director for the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence. Stewart taught an existing course titled “Black Love,” while Troka taught “Resisting Racism: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter.” The new course combined some of the subject matter from each of their classes, and, according to both the professors and the students, it started some great conversations.
"The challenges racial justice activists confront today mirror the obstacles activists faced during the U.S. civil rights movement and earlier periods," Stewart told the Emory News Center. "Across such movements, the emphasis on love, or the lack thereof, deserves interrogation and reflection."
Troka learned about the new class from a student who mentioned it after a class discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement. When Troka approached Stewart with the idea of collaborating to teach the course, Stewart agreed to work together. Both professors say that they have enjoyed the experience of teaching the course together and learning from each other in the process.
Students from both classes enrolled in the new class, which discussed social media as part of the curriculum, including Twitter’s effect on the Black Lives Matter movement and the Black Girl Magic hashtag.
Each student in the class presented a research presentation showcasing the power of black self-love. Topics included a collection of photos exhibiting Black Girl Magic on campus, the impact of social media on young black students, the “policing” of blackness, studies of music and dance, and personal reflections on self-love and self-care.
These presentations and more information about the class are available to the public at an Emory scholarblog website dedicated to the course.