The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


A #BlackLivesMatter course would give the students the advantage of studying the movement as it’s happening. 

Credit: Tiffany Pham

#BlackLivesMatter is now more than just a twitter trend. The social movement is here to stay whether or not it’s still on your timeline.

Dartmouth College is the first school to turn the social movement into a class this spring. The class is interdisciplinary and has experienced popularity among the student body.

Here at Penn, there has been much activism surrounding the protests over the allegations of police brutality in Ferguson and Staten Island last year. However, now that some of the tension has subsided, it is a question of whether the social impact will last.

Currently, in Africana Studies there are some classes that touch on the current, local protests surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter movement. There are broad courses for social change, but a #BlackLivesMatter course would give the students the advantage of studying the movement as it’s happening.

“I think having a course on #BlackLivesMatter with everything that’s been happening in the country over the past six to seven months is a profound opportunity to really unpack what is happening,” Chaplain Chaz Howard, a professor in Africana Studies who teaches a class called “The Heart of Social Change,” said.

Students who participated in the #BlackLivesMatter protests would be obvious prospects for the course. But attracting students outside of the movement could prove more challenging. “I think more students would be interested in taking the course if it was able to fill a requirement,” said Jane Abell, a College graduate student and teaching assistant for many classes that involve race relations.

“Some people don’t really know why the black students on this campus are taking these cases and protests so seriously,” College freshman Samiza Palmer said. “And I think where the cultural bridge begins to grow is where there is information.”

Students who were interviewed expressed optimism about the potential of the class similar to the one at Dartmouth. “I think that it would be beneficial to both graduates and undergraduates and could even contain a community component. We could learn a lot from the community members. Even though we are highly educated, we haven’t had their experiences,” Abell said.

For students interested in creating a similar course, the possibility might not be too far out of reach. Howard explained that for the course to become reality, students could propose the idea to a professor who could construct a syllabus to present to the department for approval.

“This is going to be our generation’s Civil Rights Movement,” College freshman Taylor Allen said. “I feel as though with the Ivy Leagues being such elite institutions, and the demographics that they attract having a class like this says a lot about the University in terms of their commitment to making the #BlackLivesMatter movement have relevance and importance.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.