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Black Listed: Evolving Student-Designed Syllabus

Black Listed: Evolving Student-Designed Syllabus


Below is the evolving syllabus that students are creating for "Black Listed." 

Please see the "Syllabus" in this Group for the method and details of this course.

To summarize: Profs Shelly Eversley and Cathy Davidson wrote a syllabus and description of the course, with many ideas and sample topics, and then, instead of deciding what books and articles would be read and what engaging, active pedagogical techniques would be used, left the room and allowed students to self-organize into Groups.  Each student Group would take a topic, discuss it, reshape it, assign readings to the class, and then lead two class discussions.    (Spoiler alert:  it's amazing, ambitious, and everyone has been learning, including Profs Eversley and Davidson.)   


Course Schedule:  An Evolving, Student-Designed Syllabus

COURSE SCHEDULE--Designed by the Students in "Black Listed" over the course of the semester

On the first day of class, the profs leave and the students self-organize into Groups. Each Group chooses and refines a topic, selects  and assigns the readings, and creates challenging exercises and assignments that enrich and deep our experience of two class periods.

Tentative Schedule:  Details to be decided by students in “Black Listed.”
Tuesdays  630-830PM

Jan 30  First day of class.   This is a student-centered, student-designed class that puts equal emphasis on original research and pedagogical innovation.  After carefully reading the syllabus together, students will design the class, select groups, and take responsibility (in the group) for two class sessions that both focus on the topic and use an innovative pedagogical approach to ensure that everyone in the class engages with the topic in a meaningful way.  Students who are teaching this semester are urged to try this approach in their undergraduate classrooms, gain feedback from their students, and report back to the class.
–Distribute hard copy of preliminary syllabus
–Leave room 645-745.  Students self-organize, divide up into groups, choose topics, design work plan.
–Rejoin at 745 and populate the syllabus on

Feb 6  Overview of the "Black Listed" (Prof. Shelly Eversley); Overview of pedagogy and introduction of symposium plans (March 28; Prof. Cathy Davidson)

Feb 13 Group 1 (Tyler, Amrit, and Kashema) Topic:   Print Culture, Editing, Censorship, Rebellion, Incarceration 

- Simone Brown, Dark Matters: Introduction (1-29), Racializing Surveillance (50-62) -

- Katherine McKittrick: Freedom is a Secret

- Mary Helen Washington, The Other Blacklist: Introduction

No class Feb 20 (GC classes follow a Monday Schedule)

- Please also visit Maxwell's archive of the FBI files on African-American writers:[] and select one to look closely at, using the readings as a framework for approaching the file.   Please bring any questions, thoughts and takeaways from this encounter to class on Tues, to share and discuss.  

Feb 27:  Yesterday Will Make You Cry, by Chester Himes   and 400 word blog on the Word Press site about this book

Mar 6  Group 2 (Chelsea, Damele, Charlene, Flora)  Topic: Black Feminism and Intersectional Critical Theory

Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959)

Available via CUNY libraries, NYPL, Brooklyn Public Library

Mar 13 “The Bronx Slave Market” (1950)

Mar 20 Group 3 (Dan, Luis)  Topic:  Race, Racism, Sexuality, Interracial Relations, and Queer Sexualities.

"Color Blind” by Margaret Halsey

“Strange Love” by Leisa D. Meyer

“The Liberal 1950s?” by Joanne Meyerowitz

Portfolio of 1950s Popular Black Literature and Essays, including from Tan Confessions, Jet, and other popular magazines owned, edited, and for Black post-War audiences as well as critical essays on this topic

Choose one article from the “1950s Periodical” folder

Mar 27 Novel:  The Narrows, by Ann Petry

Available via CUNY libraries, NYPL, Brooklyn Public Library

Suggested 1st week reading: Chapters 1-7; full discussion will be in 2nd week, based upon the remainder of the book.

“White Pervert” by Tyler T. Schmidt

Mar 28   Futures Initiative Conference:  "Publics, Politics, and Pedagogy: Rethinking Higher Education for Turbulent Times" KELLY SKYLIGHT ROOM   9-5

Full Conference Recap, with videos:

Panel by "Black Listed" Class with video on censorship, "Censorship in Real Time: The Case of Chester HImes," a stop-motion animated video by Dan Carlson and members of the class: )

Apr 10   Professor Shelly Eversley presents new work on The Narrows  

April 17   Group 4 (Arelle, Charles, Pedro)  Topic: International Black Activism

Penny Von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957

Introduction and Chapter 8

"Let Paul Robeson Sing" by Manic Street Preachers

"Here I Stand" documentary on Paul Robeson's life

April 24 Richard Wright, "I Choose Exile"

Tumblr version:; Manuscript Version from Kent State University

Richard Wright, "Tradition and Industrialization"

May 1  Assisting Instructor Allison Guess will distribute a draft of part of her dissertation prospectus focusing on Archives; Prof Shelly Eversley discusses The Equality Archive. 

Think about how much of this course has required a return to the archive, a recreation of an era in literary history, civil rights, and American politics that is often forgotten or sapped of its actual historical tensions, contradictions, radicalism, and repressive reaction. In returning to the archive, we are "making" a history, making new connections, new associations, new forms of critique. This is "participatory history."

May 8  Intro and Chp 8, Conclusion (recommended Chps 1 and 2) Cathy N Davidson, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (students have been given copies of the book)

Why do all progressive social movements also focus on school reform (Freedom Schools, etc)? Why do all reactionary movements also focus on schools, including in recent times on the privatization of public schools?  Prof Eversley will talk about the Jefferson School in the 1950s.

May 15   LAST DAY OF CLASS  Big wrap up.  “Reflection” and “connection” are the two most important cognitive activities for replication, retention, and applicability of knowledge. This class will be about connecting our methodology (student-centered learning) to theories of participatory democracy, resistance to repressive political regimes, historical canonization that excludes minority and radical voices, intersectional perspectives across race, gender, and sexuality, and other important threads we have woven, together, all semester.

May 22  Final projects due.  Post to "Black Listed" Group on



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