By Zoe Fripp
The University of Hertfordshire has introduced a new module as part of their MA in Literature at Culture, inspired by the political activist movement #BlackLivesMatter.
The one of its kind in the UK module, entitled ‘US Culture and #BlackLivesMatter’ means that students can now learn about the significance and contexts of the internationally recognised movement.
Students will be able to examine and study contemporary cultural texts, which forms part of the movement, such as music by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, and popular films like Get Out, 13th and Moonlight which address the cultural issues concerned in the activist movement. They will also study prize-winning authors Colson Whitehead and Jesmyn Ward.
The programme is designed to allow students to develop real-world social and global perspectives, and the module will engage with various cultural texts that focus on topics such as violence, identity, love, politics and queerness among others – themes that are also explored elsewhere in the MA Literature and Culture module, like the ‘Reading the Vampire’ and ‘Networks of Modernism’ modules.
Christopher Lloyd, Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “This module is significant because learning about black culture, rights and social justice is vital to our understanding of the contemporary world. The University is committed to both international perspectives and addressing the BME attainment gap in higher education. We see this module as part of that larger project.”
Black Lives Matter originated in 2013 as a hashtag, after George Zimmerman was acquitted for the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. The movement started on social media but was eventually taken to the streets, and people have been protesting in the United States and around the world ever since.
The course will be available from September 2018 at the University of Hertfordshire.
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