History Department
History Department

Nicole Burrowes

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., 2015, History,

Assistant Professor; Fellow of Lee and Joseph D. Jamail Chair in African American Studies
Nicole Burrowes



AFR 374D • Freedom Summer

30155 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BIO 301
(also listed as WGS 340)

Course Description:

This course examines one of the most radical moments in civil rights history—the 1964 Mississippi Project. Widely known as “Freedom Summer,” this civil rights campaign organized a multi-faceted program that challenged white supremacy in one of the nation’s most racially oppressive and violent states through the development of Freedom Schools, voter registration drives, and an alternative political party called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Even more, Freedom Summer called on Black women and men from the community, many of whom were poor and disenfranchised, to lead their own movement.

It was during the Freedom Summer campaign that activists debated the merits of non-violence vs. self-defense; the limits of charismatic male leadership; and the role of white allies in the struggle for Black freedom. In the face of extraordinary violence and economic deprivation, Black Mississippians waged one of the most powerful, yet understudied, movements in civil rights history, and they modeled the maxim that “ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.”

Using scholarly texts, primary sources, film and music, students will explore the 1964 Freedom Summer Project in order to understand diverse struggles, leadership styles, and competing interpretations of what it means to be free. Borrowing directly from the original Freedom School curriculum, students will contemplate the “myths of society” as well as theoretical and conceptual frameworks necessary for the creation of a just society. This course also seeks to draw connections through a roaming classroom format in which we will gather at various sites in our surrounding community on occasion.



  • Faith S. Holsaert, ed., Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012);
  • Payne, Charles M. I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 
  • McGuire, Danielle L. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance: A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. 
  • Hale, John. The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. 
  • Umoja, Akinyele Omowale We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. 
  • Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. 
  • Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. 
  • Cobb, Charles. This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed. 
  • Hamlin, Françoise. Crossroads At Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II.
  • Barbara Ransby, Making All Black Lives Matter

HIS 363K • Race/Rebellion/Rev Caribbean

38389 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 303
(also listed as AFR 374E, LAS 366)



AFR 375 • Community Internship

30715 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 310

Internship in a community organization that facilitates the economic, political, and social development of Austin's African American community. Students participate in research projects under the supervision of a faculty member.

HIS 363K • Race/Rebellion/Rev Caribbean

39166 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as AFR 374E, LAS 366)


From the Berbice Rebellion of 1763 led by enslaved Africans, to the fight led by the Saramaka people for land rights in Surinam, the peoples of the Caribbean have challenged the status quo.  The Caribbean is also home to the Haitian, Cuban and Grenadian Revolutions.  In this course, students will critically examine classic and recent works that represent these struggles. We will also engage Caribbean thinkers who have wrestled with questions of race, gender, labor, culture, violence, desire and memory to inform our understanding of these moments and movements. 

This course is multimedia, interdisciplinary and organized from the vantage point of Black Studies.  In addition, one of the goals will be for students to learn the historian’s craft.  Students will engage with key themes in Caribbean history, historiography and primary sources, and explicitly think about evidence, context, problem-spaces, representations, and change over time. 

Sample texts include:

  • Eller, Anne. We Dream Together: Dominican Independence, Haiti, and the Fight for Caribbean Freedom. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
  • Finch, Aisha. Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba: La Escalera and the Insurgencies of 1841-1844. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
  • Guerra, Lillian. Visions of Power in Cuba: Revolution, Redemption & Resistance, 1959-1971. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.
  • James, C.L.R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage Books, 1963.
  • James, Marlon. Book of Night Women. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.
  • Lewis, Patsy, Gary Williams and Peter Clegg. Grenada: Revolution & Invasion. Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2015.
  • Palmer, Colin. Freedom’s Children: The 1938 Labor Rebellion and the Birth of Modern Jamaica. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.
  • Price, Richard. Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.
  • Viotti da Costa, Emilia. Crowns of Glory: Tears of Blood: The Demerara Slave Rebellion of 1823. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.


Participation: 30%

Short Writing Assignments: 30%

Research Project: 40%

HIS 366N • Black Lives In The Archives

39232 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 308
(also listed as AFR 374E)


How do we construct representations of the Black past? How do we understand the sources and evidence that scholars and artists use to enhance our understanding of the experiences of people of African descent? Who has the power to shape the historical record, and whose voices are silent?  We will engage critical debates about the nature of “the archive”* as a mechanism for exclusionary power, violence, surveillance, and silencing, on one hand, and the uses of archives for liberation, recovery, collectivity, and voice, on the other.  As literary scholar Brent Hayes Edwards asks, “is there a black practice of the archive?”

Archives are being created everyday.  For example, if we tried to collect materials about the Movement for Black Lives, what would we collect, who would we focus on, what could we access, how would we present it and for who? How would our answers to these questions reflect our biases and vision as producers of knowledge and cultural creators?  Students in this course will engage the current debates about the politics of archives for the Black Atlantic world. They will produce original research projects that demonstrate creative approaches to archival materials here at the University of Texas, Austin. 

*NOTE: What is an archive? It is a collection and categorization of materials, documents, art and artifacts. 


Tentative reading list:

  • Special Issue: “The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive.” Social Text v.125(December 2015).
  • Edwards, Brent Hayes.  “Black Radicalism and the Archive.” W.E.B. DuBois Lecture Series, Hutchins Center, Harvard University, Cambridge: MA, March 24, 2015.
  • Fuentes, Marisa J. Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.
  • Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.
  • Scott, David. “Introduction: On the Archaeologies of Black Memory.” small axe 12, no. 2 (June 2008): v-xvi.
  • Mitchell, Michele. “Silences Broken, Silences Kept: Gender and Sexuality in African-American History.” Gender and History 11, no.3 (November 1999): 433-444.
  • Morrison, Toni. “The Site of Memory.” In What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction, edited by Carolyn C. Denard, 65-82. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008.
  • Alexander, Elizabeth. The Black Interior: Essays. Minneapolis: Greywolf Press, 2004.
  • Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Chaudhuri, Nupur, Sherry J. Katz, and Mary Elizabeth Perry. Contesting Archives: Finding Women in the Sources. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010.



Participation: 35%

Short Assignments: 35%

Independent Research Project: 30%


Curriculum Vitae

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