Past Courses - Spring 2008
Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices
Eddie S. Glaude; Lecture L0110:00 am - 10:50 am T Th.
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 209/ENG 209
Introduction to African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
Herman Beavers; Lecture L01: 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm T Th.
During the Harlem Renaissance, the poet Countee Cullen famously asked "What is Africa to me?" and Langston Hughes wrote verse affirming, "I, too, am America" even as he critiqued the nation's oppression of its "darker brother. In this introductory course, we will analyze how these and other twentieth century African American writers have explored racial and national identity as defined by and negotiated in relation to the ideas of both America and Africa. To engage these questions, we will consider aesthetic forms and locate literary texts in social and political contexts.
DAN 211/AAS 211
The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices
Dyane Harvey Salaam; Studio U01 : CLOSED 2:30 pm - 4:20 pm M W. No Audit
A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practices, with a focus on how its evolution has been influenced by African American choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies.
NES 238/REL 233/AAS 236
Muslims in America
Juliane Hammer; Lecture L01 : 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm M W.
This course introduces students to the historical, religious, political and social dimensions of Muslim presence in the United States. It is framed by methodological discussions about the study of Islam and Muslims in America and by the question whether we can speak of the emergence of a specifically American Islam over the last century. The course addresses themes such as religious practice, political participation, gender issues, Muslim everyday culture and Islamic Law, as well as the historical and contemporary differences and convergences between African American and immigrant Muslim communities and their descendants.
WWS 317/SOC 312/AAS 317
Race and Public Policy
Douglas S. Massey; Lecture L01 : 1:30 pm - 2:20 pm M W. Precept P01 : TBA. No Audit
This course analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era. One three-hour seminar.
REL 320/AAS 320
African American Religious History
Judith L. Weisenfeld; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am T Th. Precept P01 : TBA
Reading, reflection, discussion, and writing upon the religious history and culture of African-Americans with particular attention to ritual, music, literature, and creative expression. Folktales, blues, spirituals, gospel music, the chanted sermon, worship traditions, magical-medicinal practices among black Americans will be examined through literary texts, visual presentation, public performances, and film.
ENG 388/AAS 324
Race, Sex, and the Marriage Plot in American Film Comedies
Anne A. Cheng; Film F01 : 7:00 pm - 9:50 pm W. No Audit
This course examines how comedy in American cinema has been enlisted to stage race, sexuality, and their conjunctions in twentieth-century America. Taking the marriage plot as the communal narrative through which sexual, racial, and national tensions negotiate their conflicts, this course analyzes films made by, and sometimes about, Jewish Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as movies from mainstream Hollywood that do not, on first sight, seem to thematize race but in fact are struggling with the racial and sexual troubles haunting the formation of the nation.
AAS 325/ENG 325
African American Autobiography
Noliwe M. Rooks; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm M
This course will highlight the autobiographical tradition of African- Americans from the 19th Century to the present time.
AAS 328/LAS 328/POR 328
Race Relations and Black Identities in Post-Emancipation Brazil
Antonio Sérgio Alfredo Guimarães; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W.
This seminar offers an extensive review of the sociological literature on race relations and Black movements in Brazil, from Abolitionism to present-day debates on affirmative action and the place of Blacks in the Brazilian academy. Our goal is to strengthen the theoretical background of students in the social sciences interested in doing field research in Brazil or in race politics.
ENG 336/AAS 341
The South in American Literature and Culture
Jennifer R. Greeson; Lecture L01 : 1:30 pm - 2:20 pm T Th. Precept P01 : TBA
What is it that we talk about when we talk about the "South"? Sin in a nation of innocence; poverty in a land of plenty; race in a color-blind society? Chivalry and sexual deviance; strong family ties and incest; authentic folk culture and social retardation? This imaginative realm of trouble and paradox, so central to modern and postmodern American identity, has been the subject of some of the most breathtaking literary experimentation of the 20th century. We'll survey a range of extraordinary fiction, using images, film, and music in order to think about the literature of the South as part of a broader popular culture field.
AAS 342/ENG 397/MUS 364
Mendi L. Obadike, Meredith A. Martin; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm M.
What do we mean when we say something has "rhythm"? What happens when we identify with a nation? What part does "rhythm" play in our identification with nations or what Benedict Anderson calls "imagined communities"? This class will question and expand conceptions and re-conceptions of location, listening, mediation, performance, identification, and culture in the interdisciplinary crossroads of music, literature, cultural studies, performance studies, and sound theory. Our approach will be both historical and theoretical with an emphasis on independent research.
REL 367/AAS 346
The American Jeremiad and Social Criticism in the U.S.
Eddie S. Glaude; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm M.
This course examines the religious and philosophical roots of prophecy as a form of social criticism in American intellectual and religious history. Particular attention is given to what is called the American Jeremiad, a mode of public exhortation that joins social criticism to spiritual renewal. Michael Walzer, Sacvan Bercovitch, and Edward Said serve as key points of departure in assessing prophetic criticisms, insights and limitations. Attention is also given to the role of black prophetic critics such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cornel West.
AAS 347/ENG 391
Introduction to African American Film Studies
Miriam J. Petty; Lecture L01 : 1:30 pm - 2:20 pm T Th. Precept P01 : 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm This course examines films made by and about African Americans from the 1910s to the present. We will consider whether "Black Film" constitutes a distinct genre and the ways that casting, content, and mode of production influence this question. The class will consider definitions of "Black Film" from a historical perspective, taking into account the changing meaning and significance of Black cinematic production over the last hundred years.
AAS 350/ENV 350/POL 338
African American Studies: Environmental Justice
Kimberly K. Smith, Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell; Lecture L01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W. Precept P01 : TBA This seminar will explore the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship, with particular attention to issues of environmental justice. We will focus on New Orleans as a key case study. Course goals include: learning about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and the political and ethical issues involved in rebuilding; developing the ability to reflect on and reason about issues of environmental justice; becoming familiar with the social science literature and methods used to study environmental justice; understanding how studying the social sciences can help you become a more effective citizen.
Law, Social Policy, and African American Women
Imani Perry; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am T Th. Precept P01 : 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm T.
Journeying from enslavement and Jim Crow to the post-civil rights era, this course will learn how law and social policy have shaped, constrained, and been resisted by black women's experience and thought. Using a wide breadth of materials including legal scholarship, social science research, visual arts, and literature, we will also develop an understanding of how property, the body, and the structure and interpretation of domestic relations have been frameworks through which black female subjectivity in the United States was and is mediated.
AAS 357/ENG 393
Hoodwinked and Bamboozled: Racial Masquerade in American Culture
Daphne A. Brooks, Anne A. Cheng; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W
Ralph Ellison once wrote: "When American life is most American it is apt to be most theatrical." Tracing the genealogies of historical/cultural forms of racial masquerade in America, this course studies the spectacularization of race in various modes of theatrical performances: in dance, music, theater, film, and literature. What are the seduction, efficacy, and utility of such performances? Our goal is to generate some new terms for understanding racial visibility and for addressing the notion of agency in relation to racialized experiences beyond the binary assumptions of essence versus performance.
HIS 387/AAS 367
African American History from Reconstruction to the Present
Joshua B. Guild; Lecture L01 : 11:00 am - 11:50 am M W
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.
ENG 375/AAS 376
Topics in Comedy and Satire: African American Satire
Daphne A. Brooks; Lecture L01 : 12:30 pm - 1:20 pm T Th
This course offers a study of major and influential literary and cultural texts in the tradition of Afro-American satire. We will examine major historical themes, cultural tropes, and landmark texts that have informed the genre, and it will trace the evolution of the form in relation to critical aesthetic movements and historical periods from the 19th c. to the present day. Special emphasis will be placed on the post-Civil Rights black satire phenomenon in novels, films, sketch comedy programs, visual art, political cartoons, theatre, and popular music culture.
Precept P01 : TBA
REL 377/AAS 377
Race and Religion in America
Judith L. Weisenfeld; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W.
This course examines the ways in which constructions of race have shaped how varied Americans have constructed religious identities and fostered religious experience, as well as made meaning of the religions of others. Topics addressed include American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, religious constructions of whiteness, and religious resistance to notions of race. Readings are drawn from a range of primary and secondary sources.
REL 380/AAS 380
The American Sermon: Homiletics in the Mainstream and on the Margins
Wallace D. Best; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th. No Audit
The sermon is one of the most unique contributions to the American literary and oral tradition. This course examines sermonic texts and recordings from the late 18th century to the present. We will explore written and recorded homilies, placing both sermons and sermonizers in historical context. In this way we want to discover not only the theological perspectives contained in the sermons but also the cultural, social, economic, and political situations in the U.S. that helped shape them. Rather than a concern for the "practice" of preaching, our course focuses on sermons as literature and historical narratives.
ENG 387/AAS 387
Topics in Black Literature: Race and Writing
Simon E. Gikandi; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm M.
In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Du Bois wrote that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line." In this course, we will explore the relationship between the idea of race, forms of literary expression, and the contradictions of racial identity in the works of a diverse group of black writers. What is race and how does it inform the creative imagination? What role does literature play in exploring questions of racial identity and the struggle for social justice? How do writers challenge racial categories and perceptions? How is race understood by black writers outside the United States?
AAS 403/ANT 403
Race and Medicine
Carolyn M. Rouse; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T. na, npdf.
In 1998, then-President Clinton set a national goal that by the year 2010 race, ethnic, and gender disparities in six disease categories would be eliminated. While the agenda, called Healthy People 2010, is a noble goal there, is one major hurdle. No study has definitively determined the cause of health disparities. This course examines the role culture plays in reproducing health inequalities in the United States. For a final project, students will be asked to propose their own solutions for eliminating health disparities.
AAS 407/SOC 407
Race, Social Inequality, and Education
Angel L. Harris; Lecture L01 : 2:30 pm - 3:20 pm T Th.; Precept P01 : 3:30 pm - 4:20 pm Th.
Education is becoming increasingly important for upward social mobility in the U.S. and abroad. Education has been linked to societal inequalities in health, income, and other life-chance measures. This course will focus on the role of education in both the production and amelioration of social inequality. Particular attention is given to racial achievement gaps. By engaging both quantitative and qualitative studies, you will acquire 1) knowledge of the historical trends and understanding of racial differences in achievement, and 2) a broad understanding of the current issues/debates in the literature.
AAS 409/HIS 485
History of African American Families
Tera W. Hunter; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T.
This course covers the history of African-American families. It traces the development of family life, meanings, values, and institutions from the period of slavery up to recent times. The course engages long-standing and current debates about black families in the scholarship across disciplines and in the society at large. The course will look at the diversity of black family arrangements and the way these have changed over time and adapted to internal and external challenges and demands. It will also situate the history of black families within a broader cross-cultural context.
HIS 464/AAS 464
The Idea of American Rights: 17th-19th Centuries
T.K. Hunter; Seminar S01 : 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm W. No Audit
This is a course about a particularly American intellectual frontier--the place where the Enlightenment idea of liberty/natural rights and the American people intersect over time in the early modern period. We will examine the notion of rights as it began to be expressed during the Enlightenment. How were rights conceived? Who did rights refer to? How "natural" were natural rights? Were there limits on rights? Through the study of numerous primary documents, along with a variety of secondary readings, we will examine some of the questions surrounding the ideological underpinnings, the arc, and the application of rights.
AAS 502/ENG 575
W.E.B Du Bois and Antonio Gramsci
Gayatri Spivak; Seminar S01 : 9:00 am - 11:50 am F
Du Bois and Gramsci belonged to relative privilege within underprivileged groups. They worked to transform their race or ethnicity of origin within a commitment to Marxism, which also they transformed. They thought that no change would last without epistemic change. Gramsci¿s lived 46 years, 9 of them in prison. DuBois lived twice as long, in the world, active upon many different terrains, an international intellectual, devoted to African unity, and to anti-colonialism in general. We will look at their theories of culture, politics, and education. In conclusion, we will consider their work through the prism of gender.