This course is an introduction to existentialism. "Existentialism" is both a philosophical tradition and a term that is central to the intellectual history of western thought. The term was explicitly adopted self-descriptively by Jean-Paul Sartre, and was widely disseminated both by his own literary and philosophical contributions and those of his intellectual interlocutors--notably Simone de Beauvoir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Albert Camus. Existentialism became identified with a cultural movement that flourished in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s. In this course, we will begin by exploring the root and intellectual origins of this tradition through the work of philosophers and authors like Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Soren Kierkegaard. We will spend a considerable time on some of this philosophical tradition's central tenets like "freedom," "the absurd," "existence precedes essence," "facticity," "authenticity," and "despair." Because existentialism also resonated widely with anti-colonial thinkers across the globe, we will end the course by reading important figures in this movement like Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin, in order to understand the ways in which existentialism gradually became an intellectual and political tool of contestation against racism and imperialism.