Black Self-Love

New course, “The Power of Black Self-Love” offered at Emory University

“The Power of Black Self-Love” is a new course being offered at Emory University in Atlanta. This course is a combination of “Black Love” and “Resisting Racism”, courses taught by Dr. Dianne Stewart, Associate Professor of Religion and African American Studies and Dr. Donna Troka, associate director at the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence, respectively.

Dianne M. Stewart, PhD

Dr. Stewart’s course explores the theory and practice of Black Love, while Dr. Troka’s course examines how Black people have celebrated Blackness and demanded recognition of Black humanity over the last six decades.

Donna Troka, PhD

“The Power of Black Self-Love” combined students from both courses and tasked them with creating a final project related to the topics discussed.

Here are the final student research presentations:

Aiyanna Sanders, a sophomore in political science and African American studies, presented a photo exhibit that explored what Black Girl Magic looks like on the Emory campus.

Gretel Nabeta, a junior in interdisciplinary studies and film who is from Uganda,  interviewed Emory students from West and East Africa to examine how African cultures influence and promote self-love and the empowerment of women.

Nellie Hernandez, a junior in media studies and African American studies, created a video about the power of social media in the lives of Black youth to bring awareness to diversity issues and create community.

River Bunkley, a junior majoring in African American studies and political science, presented a personal perspective on black masculinity, self-love and the cultural importance of hair care.

Amanda Obando, a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies, presented research on the sense of sisterhood and support created through Ngambikaa non-Greek service oriented, female stepping organization for first year students.

Shameya Pennell, a senior majoring in religion and anthropology, examined the music of three sociopolitical movements in black American history to analyze how self-love and affirmation are expressed.

Julia Feldman, a sophomore majoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, drew from the poetry, prose and biomythography of Black feminist poet Audre Lorde to create a short play that explores her life, love and commitment to justice.

Lynette Dixon, a senior majoring in women’s, gender and sexuality studies and political science, kept a journal of personal reflection on self-love and examined the theme of suicide indicates a failure of self-love or the supreme act of self-love.

Morgan Mitchell, a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies, explored ways in which she learned and is learning to love herself through self-care.

McKayla Williams, a freshman majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, interviewed other students about how they’ve experienced the “policing” of Blackness while also exploring “things that black people love about themselves.”

Both Dr. Stewart and Dr. Troka, agree that co-teaching the class has been an enlightening, rewarding, such a powerful experience. According to Dr. Stewart, “Rich conversations have emerged, and I really learned a lot about where students are and how much critical, revolutionary conversation is happening within social media around the topic of Black self-love.”


-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson



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