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Black Panther, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Panther - Spring 2017 Library Book Discussion, sponsored by ISU Library's Committee on Diversity & Inclusion

Black Panther


Library Book Discussion Series, Spring 2017


-Sponsored by Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, ISU Library


Welcome! This Guide was originally developed for a Spring 2017 book discussion series sponsored by the ISU Library's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.  The Guide remains useful for its content, structure, and syllabus of additional relevant readings.  Want to host your own discussion series? Feel free to use / adapt our materials here for your own group discussions on Ta-Nehisi Coates's Black Panther.  Just link, cite, and let us know how it goes! 

For questions or comments on this Guide, please contact Harrison Inefuku.


To coincide with the University Library's co-sponsorship of Ta-Nehisi Coates' lecture, "A Deeper Black: Race in America," at Iowa State University in February 2017, the University Library Committee on Diversity is hosting a discussion group. This group will be using Coates' run of the Marvel comic Black Panther as a springboard to introduce, explore and discuss concepts and issues surrounding blackness.

The discussion group will meet weekly, and each week will explore a different topic area. The topics to be covered include:

  • An introduction to Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Black Panther character Geneaology and Black superheroes
  • Superheroes, Black stereotypes, and tokenism
  • Superheroes and gender
  • Superheroes, race, and film

Each session will include a presentation on the topic by a library staff member, followed by discussion. This LibGuide is available to provide information on each topic to supplement the presentation and discussion. Throughout the discussion group, we will also be compiling a #BlackPantherSyllabus, an annotated bibliography of resources related to each topic covered by the group.

The Ground Rules

We will be using these ground rules for our discussion group. They are adapted from the UNEION (UCAR|NCAR Equity and InclusiON) Ground Rules and Tools for Productive Discussions ,  the ISU Principles of Community, University of Michigan's Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and ROPES.

We can modify these as a group to meet our own needs.

  1. Recognize: We recognize that we must strive to overcome historical and divisive biases, such as racism and sexism, in our society.
  2. Acknowledge: We acknowledge that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups. This is true for everyone, regardless of our group(s).
  3. No Blame: We agree not to blame ourselves or others for the misinformation we have learned, but to accept responsibility for not repeating misinformation after we have learned otherwise.
  4. Respect: We agree to listen respectfully to each other without interruptions. Only one person speaks at a time.
  5. Individual Experience: We agree that no one should be required or expected to speak for their whole race or gender. We can't, even if we wanted to.
  6. Trust: We will trust that people are always doing the best they can. Everyone has come to the table to learn, grow, and share.
  7. Share the Air: Allow everyone the chance to talk. If you have much to say, try to hold back a bit; if you are hesitant to speak, look for opportunities to contribute to the discussion.
  8. Not Experts: The facilitators are not experts. They are here to help facilitate the process.
  9. Ask for help: It's okay not to know.