Course Listings - Fall 2009
Our roster of cross-listed courses is updated frequently; students should visit individual department sites for the most current listings.
Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices
Lecture L01: 11:00 am – 11:50 am MW
Eddie S. Glaude
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 329/ENG 415
Lecture L01: 10:00 am – 10:50 am MW
Anne A. Cheng
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 332/REL 332
The Nation of Islam in America
Lecture L01: 11:00 am – 11:50 am TTh
Wallace D. Best
This course will explore the various meanings attributed to Nation of Islam (NOI) cultural and religious practices. Of particular concern will be the ways its ideological structure has allowed the NOI to function both as a "black nationalist" and religious body. Since the movement has historically been characterized by its charismatic leadership, we will spend time examining the lives of such figures as Wallace D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. Other themes covered in the course will include: women and the NOI, the return to Orthodoxy, the NOI and black Christianity, and the NOI and political power.
AAS 353/ENG 353
African American Literature: Origins to 1910
Lecture L01: 12:30 pm – 1:20 pm MW
Daphne A. Brooks
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 356/AMS 356
Migration, Urban Space, and African-American Culture
Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm M
The period between 1900 and 1970 ushered in a tremendous growth in the numbers of African Americans in America's urban cities. During that time, unprecedented numbers of African Americans migrated from rural to urban areas and most significantly, from southern to northern locales. This interdisciplinary course will focus on cultural geography, or more precisely how the resulting changes and realignments of place and space have and continue to shape American society and affect understandings of African American identity and culture.
Encounters of a Close Kind: Interracial Sex in the Colonial World Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm T
In this seminar we will analyze the similarities and differences that characterize histories of interracial sexual relations in different political, social, economic, and legal contexts. We will focus on historical works that deal with interracial sexual relations in areas as diverse as colonial Zimbabwe, Cuba, Indonesia, and the U.S.A. Close attention will be paid to the methodological approaches our authors take and to the theoretical insights we can draw from our diverse case studies to help us better discern the common and singular threads running through this expansive field of inquiry.
Black, Yet American: An Exploration of Law, Policy, and Culture
Lecture L01: 11:00 am - 12:20 pm TTh
This course examines the dynamic and often conflicted relationships between African American struggles for inclusion, and the legislative, administrative, and judicial decision-making responding to or rejecting those struggles from Reconstruction to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. In tracing these relationships we will cover issues such as property, criminal law, suffrage, education, and immigration, with a focus on the following theoretical frameworks: equal protection, due process, civic participation and engagement, and political recognition.
AAS 374/COM 394
Growing Up Global: Novels and Memoirs of Transnational Childhoods
Lecture L01: 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm TTh
Wendy L. Belcher
What if you grew up with a passport from one country, a face from another continent, an accent from yet another, and live somewhere related to none of them? What if the real answer to the question "Where are you from?" or "Where did you grow up?" is so complicated that you tend to give a convenient rather than honest answer? In this course, we will explore narratives of youthful cultural and linguistic adaptation by those who have spent their childhood crossing national boundaries. Among the topics of discussion will be how the narrators construct meaningful identities and produce a sense of belonging or alienation through narrative.
AAS 445/ANT 445
The Post Colonial Subject
Seminar S01: 7:30 pm – 10:20 pm T
Power is often represented as a "top-down" phenomenon, meaning that those who have the most power control what we do, what we know, and even how we feel. That is particularly the case in the study of marginalized people (e.g. African Americans) who are often not seen as creative agents, but as victims of the powerful. Contemporary cultural studies challenge the "top-down" understanding of power and look instead at the role of the individual in creating, recreating, and resisting power. This course will challenge both approaches from the perspectives of race, class, and gender.
ENG 337/AAS 361/LAS 337
The Literary South
Seminar S01: 1:00 pm – 2:50 pm T Th
Alexandra T. Vazquez
The American South is not only a geographical place, but is also a condition of living. Given its idiosyncrasies, the region has long been understood as a problem for a cohesive United States. This interdisciplinary seminar will reflect on the South as an actual and imagined place. Through attention to legacies of conquest, slavery, and empire, students will engage the region both as a site of historical violence and a generative literary milieu. Key readings in U.S. Southern literature, and, recognizing the region's porousness, also from Latin America.
LIN 270/AAS 230
African American English and Syntactic Variation
Seminar C01: 1:30 pm – 2:50 pm TTh
This introductory course considers empirical data from African American English (AAE) in addressing ways that formal approaches in linguistics can account for inter- and intra-speaker variation in the dialect. This course will be in three parts: (1) a general overview of linguistic variation and a review of traditional approaches to the study of variation in AAE; (2) an exploration of the ways variation in AAE and other English dialects can be analyzed using methods in syntax; and (3) an examination of the ways in which AAE-speaking children learn the linguistic variations in their speech communities.
MUS 262/AAS 262
Evolution of Jazz Styles
Lecture L01: 1:30 pm – 2:50 pm TTh
Anthony D. Branker
An introductory survey examining the historical development of jazz from its African origins through the present. The course will place emphasis on the acquisition of listening skills and explore related musical and social issues.
POL 411/AAS 412/AMS 411
Seminar in Political Theory – Punishment and Prisons
Seminar S01: 1:30 pm – 4:20 pm T
Beth K. Jamieson
This course is about power and the ways it is used to punish. We will examine the uses of law to describe and legitimate the uses of force and will consider the threat of violence in the rule of law. We will explore several justifications for punishment. We will examine prisons from many angles — the history of incarceration; the architecture of institutions; the effects on those who imprison, those who are imprisoned, and those outside. We will pay particular attention to the politics and policy of race and racialized analysis in an American context. Conceptual themes include justice, authority, and legitimacy.