Course Readings

Please note this is a self-study, 18-lecture, reparations-based course. This course is always free to Black and Indigenous folks. Tuition from white folks and non-Black folks of color who have the means is paid in the form of supporting Black student loan debt, and/or The Smith Caring Circle, which supports the labor of Black feminist scholar and writer, Barbara Smith. A generous sliding scale reparations/tuition payment is also available, when needed. 

Week 1: Barbara Smith 

Key Text:

"The Combahee River Collective Statement" (1977, co-written by Barbara Smith, Beverly Smith, and Demita Frazier). You can read it here.
Supplementary Texts:

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (2017) 

Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983, republished 2000)

Week 2: Barbara Smith

Key Text:

 "Towards a Black Feminist Criticism" (1978, PDF included in the class)

Supplementary Text:
Yours in the Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism 
(1984, co-written by Barbara Smith, Elly Bulkin, and Minnie Bruce Pratt)

Week 3: Audre Lorde

Key Text:

Select essays from her book Zami, Sister Outsider, Undersong 

Week 4: Octavia Butler

Key Text:

Kindred (1980 science fiction novel)

Week 5: Kimberlé Crenshaw 

Key Text:

"Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color" (1989). You can read it here.

Supplementary Text:

The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor by Patricia Williams (1991)

Week 6: Saidiya Hartman

Key Text:

Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Trade (2007)

Supplementary Text:

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals (2019)

Please contact Feminism School for enrollment.

In the summer of 2020, we witnessed and participated in a global uprising for racial justice. These uprisings not only celebrated Black life, art, and joy, but also made a clarion call for justice: that we must, collectively, name and dismantle systems of white supremacy, including anti-Black police violence.  

In this course, we turn to the teachings and contributions of Black feminist foremothers in order to study how they prepared the way for today's transformations and Black Lives Matter movements. Through readings, lectures, and contemplative writing exercises, participants connect the power of the contemporary moment to the lineage of Black feminist foremothers, whose creative, intellectual, spiritual, and artistic power is the foundation of the changes rising up today.

Please note that course tuition is not paid to Feminism School. Rather tuition is made in offerings to pay down Black student loan debt, an act of reparations we invite of participants who are not Black or Indigenous to the land this course was made on. (This course is free to Black and Indigenous participants. Sliding scale is available as needed for those paying tuition/reparations for the course.) 

Study revolutionary texts of Black feminist history to learn:

  • An expanded intellectual history

    Why is a Black feminist analysis of interlocked systems so critical to real transformation? Who are the Black feminist foremothers who contributed the theory that emerged with the concept of intersectionality?

  • The components of transformational education

    How did feminist foremothers model birthing new language out of silence? What can we learn about the very meaning of education and cultural change through their texts?

  • Action steps needed for today

    For white folks especially, what is the role of reparations in the process of learning from the intellectual, creative, activist, and spiritual labor of Black feminist foremothers?

Course Details

  • An introduction to the field of Black feminist studies—an intellectual history not taught in most white and male centered education systems.

  • 18 scholarly, contemplative lectures by Dr. George on how key texts of U.S. Black feminist history, from 1977 onward, helped build the contemporary social movements for Black Lives Matter.

  • Prompts within the lectures for contemplative writing practices so that you can reflect in creative and personal ways on the transformative insights from Black feminist foremothers.

  • Full transcriptions for each audio lecture to support visual learners.

Tuition Payment

Contact us for enrollment within The Mentor-Scholar Program. Tuition for this course is $397 to Dr. Giavanni Washington's fund; free tuition to Black and Indigenous folks. Sliding scale payment is available to those for whom $397 would affect access to secure housing or food.

Tuition for this course follows a reparations model of redistributing resources, which we learned from Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body Is Not An Apology and her call to #buybackblackdebt. Our desire at Feminism School is to co-create a feminist economy that supports the work of dismantling patriarchy and white supremacy. We believe that as we dismantle hierarchies, we release abundance into the world (this concept is borrowed from the teachings of Amanda Flaker).

In order to honor the labor of the generations of Black feminist foremothers and release abundance, we ask that white students with material security, as well as non Black and non Indigenous students with material security, pay their tuition through a payment to the student loan debt of Dr. Giavanni Washington. Black and Indigenous students receive this course freely.

Thank you for being part of co-creating a feminist economy!

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