What began in July of 2013 as an online platform to organize protests against state violence and police brutality in black communities in the US, #BlackLivesMatter, has become a powerful global movement seeking to dismantle systems of racial inequality and advance restorative justice. BLM UK, based in London, is one such example. Although the BLM UK movement has been visibly active since at least 2016, when it shut down London City Airport to protest the racist effects of the country’s climate crisis, it wasn’t until the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, and at the onset of a global pandemic and a devastating economic downturn, that BLM UK emerged as a critical front in the effort to make the West address its part in slavery, colonial violence and growing wealth inequality.
Students will explore the connections between BLM UK and previous critiques of racial and economic injustice in the UK. We will discuss internationalist critiques of racial capitalism based on the experiences of UK’s black and immigrant communities, including meeting with a London-based scholar working in the field. Very often those critiques are reflected in the work of black and immigrant writers and artists such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Warsan Shire and Deanna Rodgers, John Akomfrah, Hurvin Anderson, Sonia Boyce and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. In reading their works and in visits to museums and galleries, we will immerse ourselves in the renewed synergy between theoretical writing and creative practice in the time of BLM-UK.
Students will live in home-stays with local families. Breakfasts and dinners will be provided by host families and are included in the program fee.
- CHID 390 / GWSS 496A: Race, Art and Activism in London, or Why the Tate is too Late (5 credits, I&S)
- CHID 471 / GWSS 496B: Black London, Queer London: Race, Colonialism, and Empire (5 credits, I&S, W, VLPA)
- CHID 499 / GWSS 499: Independent Projects (2 credits, I&S, VLPA)
*Note that the fees stated above do not include some additional costs, including, but not limited to: airfare, Study Abroad Insurance ($1.72/day), and personal spending money. These costs will differ by program. Be sure to read our Fees, Financing, and Withdrawal information for details about the fee structure and payment schedule.