Afrofuturism in School: Teacher Creates Wakanda Curriculum

A middle school teacher in Chicago was so touched by the Marvel’s Black Panther movie that she decided to make something unusual out of it. The movie influenced her to create a new curriculum which she named Wakanda Curriculum. Her goal was to devise a better way to make her students understand the themes contained in the movie.

The sixth grade teacher, Tess Raser, who is 28 years old, works with the Dulles School of Excellence, Chicago. During her interview with a media outlet Blavity, she mentioned how the Black Panther movie had a great effect on her and seemed to touch on a number of important issues. Some of these issues are the history of Africa and afrofuturism

Consequently, she decided to create systematic lessons to share with her students. These lessons begin from colonialism and its legacy, global anti-blackness and African cultural representation as shown in Black Panther. She also added other areas such as the examining of characters depicted in the film, together with the role women play in the fictional Wakanda Kingdom.

afrofuturism_Black Panther movie_Chadwick Boseman_Lupita Nyongo_Danai Gurira
Marvel Studios

Inside The Wakanda Curriculum

With all her love for the movie, she said she created the curriculum from her critique of the movie and a friend’s personal analysis of the film. She was so excited and believed it would create the same excitement if she shared it with her students. Though she designed the curriculum for fifth to eight grades students, she observed that students in higher levels were showing equal interest in studying the curriculum.

The curriculum is designed to make students relate thoughtfully and critically with the movie. Her intention is to encourage black children to become involved in reading and writing literature and with the media in matters affecting black people. 

According to her, there are many meaningful topics in the movie Black Panther which she intended to critically examine with her students. Such topics include black feminism, colonialism effects and slavery effects, the tensions and relationships among black people across the Diaspora, black elitism, the complexities of characters and what actually defines a villain, and what it means to be a revolutionary.

Above all, the enthusiastic teacher hoped the curriculum deepens students’ understanding of the movie, the characters and the relationship they have on their blackness. She is optimistic that the lessons will make students feel confident enough to fully accept being black. It will encourage them to view themselves as people who have all it takes to lead and build their dream “Wakanda.” In addition, she expects the students to understand the connection the black race has with other people all over the world and appreciate and honor the obvious differences among all races.

Raser’s Wakanda Curriculum is currently available online.

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