African American Studies and the Philosophy of Race
Professor/InstructorEddie Steven Glaude Jr., Imani Perry
This course introduces students to the field of African American Studies through an examination of the complex experiences, both past and present, of Americans of African descent. Through a multidisciplinary perspective, it reveals the complicated ways we come to know and live race in the United States. Students engage classic texts in the field, all of which are framed by a concern with epistemologies of resistance and of ignorance that offer insight into African American thought and practice.
Introductory Research Methods in African American Studies
The purposes of this course are to assist the student in developing the ability to critically evaluate social science research on the black experience and to do research in African studies. To accomplish these goals, the course will acquaint students with the processes of conceptualization and basic research techniques, and some of the unique issues in conducting research on the black experience. A variety of appropriate studies will be utilized.
The American Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora
Professor/InstructorDyane Harvey Salaam
A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practice, with a focus on how American dance 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. Two two-hour classes.
Projects in Vocal Performance
Guides students in extended projects in performance. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.
Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender
Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and lifestyles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Topics in African American Studies
This topics course explores the complex interplay between political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in the United States and their relation to others around the world.
Introduction to African Literature and Film
Professor/InstructorWendy Laura Belcher
African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the 20th century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest in the world. South Africans have won more Nobel Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, and epistemology.
Introduction to 20th-Century African American Art
Professor/InstructorChika O. Okeke-Agulu
This surveys history of African American art during the long 20th-century, from the individual striving of late 19th century to the unprecedented efflorescence of art and culture in 1920s Harlem; from the retrenchment in black artistic production during the era of Great Depression, to the rise of racially conscious art inspired by the Civil Rights Movement; from the black feminist art in the 1970s, to the age of American multiculturalism in the 1980s and 1990s; and finally to the turn of the present century when ambitious "postblack" artists challenge received notions of black art and racial subjectivity.
Jazz History: Many Sounds, Many Voices
An introduction 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.
Junior Seminar: Research and Writing in African American Studies
As a required course for AAS concentrators, this junior seminar introduces students to theories and methods of research design in African American Studies. Drawing on a wide-ranging methodological toolkit from the humanities and social sciences, students will learn to reflect on the ethical and political dimensions of original research in order to produce knowledge that is intellectually and socially engaged. This is a writing-intensive seminar with weekly essay assignments.
Topics in Global Race and Ethnicity
This seminar uses the prevailing analytical tools and critical perspectives of African American Studies to consider comparative approaches to groups, broadly defined. Students will examine the intellectual traditions, socio-political contexts, expressive forms, and modes of belonging of people who are understood to share common boundaries/experiences as either (1) Africans and the African Diaspora outside of the United States; and/or (2) non-African-descended people of color within the United States.
Topics in Race and Public Policy
This seminar uses and interrogates social science methodologies in examining the condition of the American state and American institutions and practices. With an analysis of race and ethnicity at the center, students will examine the development of institutions and practices, with the growth and formation of racial and ethnic identities, including changing perceptions, measures, and reproduction of inequality.
Special Topics In Urban Dance
This advanced studio/seminar topics course explores the artistic, social, and cultural implications of hip-hop dance through an intensive focus on the concept of style. Using master classes, academic study, and embodied practice in the studio to develop a physical understanding and detailed social analysis of four specific hip-hop dance genres, we will explore the distinctive cultural influences that shaped each of these diverse forms, as well the deeper movement principles that they share. These principles will then be placed in the larger historical, political and performative context of the Afro-Diasporic experience in the Americas.
Race and Public Policy
Professor/InstructorDouglas S. Massey
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.
Black Rage and Black Power
Professor/InstructorEddie Steven Glaude Jr.
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.
African American Autobiography
Highlights the autobiographical tradition of African Americans from the antebellum period to the present as symbolic representations of African American material, social, and intellectual history and as narrative quests of self-development. Students will be introduced to basic methods of literary analysis and criticism, specifically focusing on cultural criticism and psychoanalytic theory on the constructed self.
20th Century Masters
This special topics course will focus on artists and intellectuals whose corpus reflects and illuminates 20th century African American life.
The American Jeremiad and Social Criticism in the United States
An examination of 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 criticism's 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. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Law, Social Policy, and African American Women
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.
Topics in the Politics of Writing and Difference
A course analyzing various Latin American literary and written traditions produced by, in dialogue with, or on behalf of subjects who have an ambiguous relationship with dominant forms of written expression, for example: indigenous people, black people, and women. Special attention will be given to slave narratives, testimonio, autobiography, and the indigenista novel. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: a 200-level Spanish course or instructor's permission.
African American Literature: Origins to 1910
Professor/InstructorAutumn M. Womack
This introductory course focuses on African American literature and literary production from the mid-18th century to the early 20th. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces surrounding the production of an early African American literary tradition. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar, the political oratory of Sojourner Truth and David Walker, slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Wilson, and non-fiction writing by W.E.B. DuBois, and fiction by Frances Harper.
African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
A survey of 20th- and 21st century African American literature, including the tradition's key aesthetic manifestos. Special attention to how modern African American literature is periodized and why certain innovations in genre and style emerged when they did. Poetry, essays, novels, popular fiction, a stage production or two, and related visual texts.
Race and the American Legal Process: Emancipation to the Voting Rights Act
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.
African American History to 1863
Professor/InstructorTera W. Hunter, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
This course explores African American history from the Atlantic slave trade up to the Civil War. It is centrally concerned with the rise of and overthrow of human bondage and how they shaped the modern world. Africans were central to the largest and most profitable forced migration in world history. They shaped new identities and influenced the contours of American politics, law, economics, culture, and society. The course considers the diversity of experiences in this formative period of nation-making. Race, class, gender, region, religion, labor, and resistance animate important themes in the course.
African American History Since Emancipation
Professor/InstructorJoshua B. Guild, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
This course offers an introduction to the major themes, critical questions, and pivotal moments in post emancipation African American history. Traces the social, political, cultural, intellectual, and legal contours of the black experience in the United States from Reconstruction to the rise of Jim Crow, through the World Wars, Depression, and the Great Migrations, to 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.