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Malcom, Martin, and Masculinity

The Civil Rights and Black Power movements (narrowly defined) were principally struggles for racial equality and economic justice. The public ministries of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X have come to signify these movements respectively and have remained at the center of debates concerning competing trajectories of response. But though the philosophies of Malcolm and Martin are often portrayed as incommensurate, their philosophical and theological commitments led them to a similar place of aligning with the poor and oppressed on a global scale. This is not their only similarity. Both Martin and Malcolm extend from religious traditions where notions of social respectability and hyper-masculinity are inextricably linked to gendered conceptions of racial progress. The aim of this course, then, is to engage the theological, philosophical and social thought of these men while unmasking normative assumptions about race, domesticity and sexuality that informed their outlooks and animated their gendered moral frameworks and masculinist organizing strategies.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Jonathan L. Walton

Harvard Divinity School

Private College or University, Seminary
Institution Type

Resource Type

Graduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Theology

Islam, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Class/Power, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Race/Ethnicity, Theology/Liturgy

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