Course: Collective Racial Violence

Reshaping global discussions on white nationalism

In 2002, Drexel University hosted a course on "Collective Racial Violence." This course was so profoundly disturbing to the students that the content had to be broken into three courses to manage its emotional impact.

 

In 2016, during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, public outcry following the death of Heather Heyer swept the globe. The next morning, I posted elements from the course on social media. Within twelve hours, millions of people engaged with the content repeatedly. Over two weeks, over 400 million individual interactions transformed the worldwide conversation about the threat of white nationalism.

 

The two most profound effects of this contribution was the sudden and immediate movement among scholars to bring more research into social media discourse. Thousands of experts now share cutting edge knowledge with the public on a daily basis. The second was the use of the narrative by legendary director, Spike Lee, in the creation of his Oscar-winning film, BlackKklansman. These breakthroughs continue to reshape public consciousness and policies in ways that were not possible five years ago.