This activity provides students with an introduction to sociologist Orlando Patterson’s theory of social death and historian Saidiya Hartman’s (2008) analytic of the afterlife of slavery to identify social problems impacting Black Americans. Sociologist Orlando Patterson’s (2020) pathbreaking historical sociological study of...
- Subject Area(s):
- Race, Class and Gender, Racial and Ethnic Relations, Theory
- Resource Type(s):
- Class Activity
- Class Level(s):
- College 300, College 400
- Class Size(s):
The activity is designed for undergraduate classes on race and ethnicity in the U.S. One could perform this activity after first teaching the history of slavery and also after a discussion of post-Civil Rights race relations in the U.S. This timing will allow students to have more historical references to draw upon when engaging with the activity...
Learning Goals and Assessments
- Students will deepen their understanding of the significance of slavery and utilize and apply new frameworks to analyze racial disparities impacting Black Americans. This will provide them with tools to think more critically about how the afterlife of slavery shapes the contemporary conditions of Black Americans
Apply both the theory of social death and the analytics of the afterlife of slavery to contemporary racial dynamics in the U.S.
- Students will answer a question based on statistical information on the topic
and will use group-based collective approaches to critically think about how slavery currently impacts Black Americans.
- Through questions, group work, and film clips, students will be asked to connect the tenets of social death and an analytic of the afterlife of slavery to forms of anti-Black violence in the United States.