Past Courses - Fall 2008
Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices
Cornel R. West; Lecture L01 : 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm M W
This course examines the past and present, the doings and the sufferings of Americans of African descent from a multidisciplinary perspective. It highlights the ways in which serious intellectual scrutiny of the agency of black people in the United States help redefine what it means to be American, new world, modern and post modern
AAS 207/ENG 207
Introduction to African-American Literature
Simon E. Gikandi; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am M W
This introductory course focuses on texts from the mid-eighteenth century through the early 20th century; it will cover early texts such as poetry by Phillis Wheatley & Paul Laurence Dunbar; oratory by David Walker, Sojourner Truth; slave narratives by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs; spirituals; black theatre by Pauline Hopkins, Bert Williams; fiction by Charles Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson; & non-fiction by W.E.B.DuBois, Anna Julia Cooper, Booker T. Washington. The course explores how black literature engages with the politics of cultural identity formation, notions of freedom, citizenship, and aesthetic forms.
AAS 305/REL 391
The History of Black Gospel Music
Wallace D. Best ; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am T Th
This course will trace the history of black gospel music from its origins in the American South to its modern origins in 1930s Chicago and into the 1990s mainstream. Critically analyzing various compositions and the artists that performed them, we will explore the ways the music has reflected and reproached the extant cultural climate. We will be particularly concerned with the four major historical eras from which black gospel music developed: the slave era; Reconstruction; the Great Migration, and the era of Civil Rights.
AAS 308/AMS 338
Great Moments in Black Existentialism
Colson Whitehead; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W
Using novels, plays, essays, and occasional forays into film and music, we'll examine shifting concepts of black male identity in 20th century pop culture. The people in these texts are outlaws, exiles, and iconoclasts, gangsters, hipsters and reluctant heroes. How do these different versions of the outsider tackle ideas of North and South, the city,and the role of the artist in society? How does the face of rebellion change in the 1920's, the 1950s and the 1990s?
AAS 309/AMS 359
From Negro to Black: African Americans and the 1970s
Noliwe M. Rooks; Seminar S01 : 7:30 pm - 10:20 pm M
Using film, primary documents, literature, art, and secondary sources, this course explores the ten-year period between the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and the 1978 Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke,which upheld the constitutionality of affirmative action. This decade marks one of the most turbulent periods in American history -- one marked by radical changes impacting the political, religious, artistic, legal and educational cultures of Black people.
AAS 321/REL 321
Black Power and Its Theology of Liberation
Eddie S. Glaude; Lecture L01 : 10:00 am - 10:50 am M W
This course examines the various pieties of the Black Power Era. We chart the explicit and implicit utopian visions of the politics of the period that, at once, criticized established black religious institutions and articulated alternative ways of imagining salvation. We also explore the attempt by black theologians to translate the prophetic black church tradition into the idiom of black power. Our aim is to keep in view the significance of the Black Power era for understanding the changing role and place of black religion in black public life.
AAS 322/POL 300
Black Women's Political Activism
Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W
This course uses the history of African American women's political activism to illuminate questions of participation in American politics. Examining the intersection and interaction of gender, race, sexuality, and class with politics in the United States, this course reconceptualizes both politics and political science. By moving black women from their historically marginal position in the curriculum to the center of our attention, we will begin to explore ways of transforming knowledge about American politics. Specific readings, discussion, and writing will explore topics such as feminism, labor activism, and the civil rights movement.
AAS 326/ENG 391
The Foreigner's Home: Studies in the Literature of Dispossession
Toni Morrison; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T
( Download & Complete Application for enrollment consideration)
This course examines the literary strategies employed in select mid- to late-20th-century fictional representations of the gaze of 'the foreigner' in narratives of dispossession. The primary sources include: a) novels driven by characters defined as 'foreign' in their own homes; b) those estranged and/or excluded within their chosen countries; and c) those mediating their status between longing subjects to belonging objects, transforming ideas of 'self'. By close examination of the language, imagistic and structural choices and their consequences in these narratives, the course will solicit meanings of and agendas for embodying foreignness.
AAS 329/ENG 415
Anne A. Cheng; Lecture L01 : 10:00 am - 10:50 am M W
This course registers the tension between the domestic and the foreign that has long since haunted the ideal of American integration. We will look at the construction of "Chinatown" -- as historic reality, geographic formation, cultural fantasy, even architectural innovation -- in the making of the American nationalism. We will study novels, plays, films, and photography that focus on or use Chinatown as a central backdrop in ways that highlight the complex relationship between material history and social imagination when it comes to how America incorporates (or fails to digest) its racial or immigrant "other".
AAS 330/HIS 455
Black Metropolis: African American Urban History
Joshua B. Guild; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T
In this seminar, we will examine the historical transformation of African Americans from a population rooted in the rural South to one overwhelmingly located in the cities of the North and West. Beginning in the period following the Civil War, and spanning the course of the twentieth century, we will explore critically, the impact of urbanization on African American social relations, political expression, family life, and cultural production. Throughout the course we will be concerned not only with the "where" and "who" of the migration narrative, but the "how" and the "why" as well.
POL 334/AAS 335
The Politics of Race and Health in America
Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell; Lecture L01 : 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm T Th
Racial disparities in US health are persistent and widening. African Americans are more likely to develop cancer, to suffer from diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and to contract and die from HIV-AIDS. The infant mortality rate for African Americans is more than twice the rate for white infants. From birth to old age, race marks the quality of life and access to health insurance and care for Americans. This course will explore the structural and political reasons for these racial disparities. The course will analyze important trends in the contemporary US and to explore the ways that race and health intersect in the modern world.
HIS 387/AAS 367
African American History from Reconstruction to the Present
Joshua B. Guild; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am T Th
This course presents an overview of the major themes, pivotal moments, and critical questions in African American history from Reconstruction to the present. It analyzes the social, political, cultural, intellectual, and legal dimensions of the black experience in the United States during Reconstruction,suffrage, the Great Migration, the World Wars,the Depression, the long civil rights era, and the contemporary period of racial politics. Using a wide variety of texts, images, and creative works, the course situates African American history within broader national and international contexts.
Contemporary African American Poetry
Mendi L. Obadike; Seminar S01 : 7:30 pm - 10:20 pm W
What questions and answers do 21st century black poets inherit from black poetry at the middle of the 20th century? After racing through the timeline of twentieth century poetry at break-neck speed, we will truly begin our study with Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Hayden at the middle of the 20th century, when the politics of black form and content came to a head. We will continue on to the present day, landing on persistent themes and forms -- including those found in poems of war and survival, praise poems, poems on the politics of love and sex, poems of place, and poems about music and language.
ENG 370/AAS 370
History of Criticism
Daphne A. Brooks; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T
A survey of literary works in the field of popular music cultural criticism. We will examine a variety of critical and popular music texts from diverse genres ("classic aor" rock, hip hop, R&B, country, techno, indie rock, jazz). Readings include journalistic essays, as well as musician interviews, album liner notes and scholarly articles. The course traces the evolution of rock music criticism from the late 1960s to the present day. It explores the aesthetics of popular music writing, as well as the ways in which racial, gender, class and sexual identity politics radically shape and influence the form as well as the content of the genre.
Africa in the African American Literary Imagination
Wendy Belcher; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th
In this course, we will explore how African Americans have written about and imagined Africa in their work, with a particular focus on writing about Ethiopia. Africa has appeared in African American literature in a variety of forms: as origin, possible homeland, longed-for utopia, and synecdoche of African American freedom and identity. We will explore the use of Africa to construct and question African American identity as well as representations of African music, art, literature, religion, sexuality, community, and family.
ENG 387/AAS 387
Topics in Black Literature: Toni Morrison
Valerie A. Smith; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W
We will read Morrison's fiction (short story and children's books as well as novels) in relation to her cultural and literary criticism. We will consider how Morrison exposes the power of language both to fracture our sense of common humanity and bind us into a shareable existence.
AAS 411/ART 471
Art, Apartheid, and South Africa
Chika Okeke-Agulu; Lecture L01 : 10:00 am - 10:50 am T Th
Apartheid, the political doctrine of separation of races in South Africa (1948-1990), dominated the (South) African political discourse in the second half of the 20th century. While it lasted, art and visual cultures were marshaled in the defense and contestation of its ideologies. Since the end of Apartheid, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, and scholars continue to reexamine the legacies of Apartheid, and the social, philosophical, and political conditions of non-racialized South Africa. Course readings examine issues of race, nationalism and politics, art and visual culture, and social memory in South Africa.
AAS 428/ENG 428
Latina/o Performance (LA)
Alexandra T. Vazquez ; 1:30 - 4:20PM T
This interdisciplinary seminar examines U.S. Latina/o performance from the 1960s to the present. Students will engage the creative traditions that have emerged from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the post-colonial aesthetic concerns shaped by Caribbean migration, and the social preoccupations that have defined urban and suburban life. The class will learn to put formal motifs in conversation with a set of conceptual terms, including mestisaje, borderlands, transculturation, choteo, and disidentification. We will alternate between plays, critical readings, live performances, videos, and music.
Introduction to African-American Intellectual Tradition:
Eddie S. Glaude, Cornel R. West ; Seminar S01 : 7:30 pm - 10:20 pm T
This interdisciplinary seminar introduces graduate students from many departments to the African-American intellectual tradition. The perspective concentrates on African-America and the African Diaspora, with attention to issues of class and gender as well as race. A broad set of topics, including race, racism, religion, and slavery are discussed. The course presupposes a familiarity with issues in African-American studies.
HIS 577/AAS 577
Readings in African American History
Tera W. Hunter; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the literature of African-American History, from the colonial era up to more recent times. Major themes and debates will be highlighted. The course should help students to define interests within the field to pursue further study and research and also to aid preparation for examinations.