Rethinking Malcolm X and the Black Arts Movement: Imagination and Power


This seminar examines the old and new scholarship on the life and legacy of Malcolm X. Since Malcolm X was not only a political leader but also a spoken-word artist, the audio-visual recordings of speeches and interviews are central to the seminar. Students will also examine the controversies surrounding not only the Manning Marable biography but also the joint authorship of the Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley. Rethinking Malcolm X involves complicating one-dimensional caricatures by studying several dimensions of the man who propelled himself from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X to El Hajj Malik El Shabazz: dimensions such as the political, cultural, spiritual, intellectual, and symbolic, as well as private and public. Students will also pay attention to the legacy of Malcolm X on the Black Arts Renaissance that changed African American identity, purpose, and direction.