Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Rhetoric & Comm Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Armond Towns


In this thesis, using my own experiences and research, I will map out a rhetorical history of Black studies and its relationship with the Black Power Movement in the late 1960s. Using Foucault’s method of genealogy, I will highlight the distinct epistemological assumptions that inform Black studies as a discipline by looking at the material conditions and moment in which the discipline was created. In order to do this, my thesis will interrogate three interrelated discourses of Black studies at the university level: first, the larger history of student activism and its relation to Black studies; second, my own approach to Black studies at the University of Richmond; and lastly, the trajectory that Black studies should turn to for the future. The rest of this introduction will be broken into three sections: first, I will give a historical overview of what Black studies is, where it comes from, and why it is important. In particular, this introductory chapter provides the historical overview of Black studies necessary to understand the discipline’s importance to transforming Western knowledge. Second, I will explain my rhetorical approach to Black studies, using the work of Michel Foucault and rhetorical theory. I will conclude with an overview of the sections in the thesis.