Does the idea of a "post-racial society" hold true when we examine the complex nature of social and cultural life at the University of Virginia? How and to what degree have the individual and collective experiences of African American undergraduates transformed since the late 1960's? Is there still a need for the Black Student Alliance, the Office of African American Affairs, and the Office of Diversity and Equity? Is Black Studies still an intellectual necessity in the 21st century academy? Have these entities been successful in bringing about meaningful change in the experiences of underrepresented minorities? And if not, how can future efforts to make the University a more inclusive institution benefit from a critical engagement with past struggles for social justice and racial equality? Moreover, how might we find a way to more effectively bring the many segments of UVa's black community(Athletes, black Greeks, second generation immigrants, Christians, Muslims, etc) together?
To facilitate critical thinking and exchange on these and other important questions, this hybrid course grounds contemporary debates on the state of race relations at UVA within the larger, historical context of the "black Wahoo" experience. In addition to exploring contemporary issues affecting academic, cultural, and social life on grounds, our classroom and online activities draw attention to an important yet insufficiently explored chapter in the history of "Jefferson's University" by examining the varied ways in which various student-led movements have transformed the intellectual culture and social fabric of everyday life at the University. How those transformations continue to shape our experiences on grounds will be a topic of frequent discussion. Though the focus of this course is local, we will explore topics that have and continue to engage college students across the nation: the Integration of African Americans into the post-civil rights, historically white university, the political potential of Greek organizations, the status of the black athlete, the viability of the African American Studies program and departments, and the impact of Affirmative Action on higher education.