The Wakanda Syllabus

Influencing race and the media

 In 2003, Drexel University hosted a course on "Race and the Media." This course was the first in the nation to teach students about Christopher Priest's vision of the Marvel Comics' character, Black Panther.

 

In 2007, this work expanded in conjunction with author and filmmaker, Reginald Hudlin, in defining the specifics of the character's nation and culture. In 2016, following the release of the blockbuster film, Captain America: Winter Soldier, international interest in the Black Panther surged. The African American Intellectual History Society featured my column on "The Wakanda Syllabus" which brought two decades of artistic and intellectual work into a global discussion about black superheroes and science fiction.

 

Over the next two years, hundreds of scholars expanded this discussion in anticipation of Marvel's Black Panther film. The global phenomenon was the definitive cinematic success of 2018, winning hundreds of major creative awards around the world. The first academic resource to explain the deep resonance of the moment was a edited collection compiled by noted scholar, Julian Chambliss and I over the previous year.