Courses

The following is from the 2013/14 catalogue. View the 2014/15 Vassar College Catalogue.

To see the schedule of classes, go to Ask Banner Schedule of Classes, select AFRS Africana Studies in the "Department Menu," and choose the semester you are interested in for a complete listing of courses offered.

I. Introductory

101. Martin Luther King Jr. (1)

(Same as History 101) This course examines the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. We immediately rethink the image of King who liberals and conservatives construct as a dreamer of better race relations. We engage the complexities of an individual, who articulated a moral compass of the nation, to explore racial justice in post-World War II America. This course gives special attention to King’s post-1965 radicalism when he called for a reordering of American society, an end to the war in Vietnam, and supported sanitation workers striking for better wages and working conditions. Topics include King’s notion of the “beloved community”, the Social Gospel, liberalism, “socially conscious democracy”, militancy, the politics of martyrdom, poverty and racial justice, and compensatory treatment. Primary sources form the core of our readings.

Two 75-minute periods.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Not offered in 2013/14.

104a. Religion, Prisons, and the Civil Rights Movement (1)

(Same as Religion 104) African American citizenship has long been a contested and bloody battlefield. This course uses the modern Civil Rights Movement to examine the roles the religion and prisons have played in theses battles over African American rights and liberties. In what ways have religious beliefs motivated Americans to uphold narrow definitions of citizenship that exclude people on the basis of race or moved them to boldly challenge those definitions? In a similar fashion, civil rights workers were incarcerated in jails and prisons as a result of their nonviolent protest activities. Their experiences in prisons, they exposed the inhumane conditions and practices existing in many prison settings. More recently, the growth of the mass incarceration of minorities has moved to the forefront of civil and human rights concerns. Is a new Civil Rights Movement needed to challenge the New Jim Crow? Mr. Mamiya.

105. Issues In Africana Studies (1)

Not offered in 2013/14.

106a. Elementary Arabic (1)

This course is an elementary level course offered during fall semester only. The course builds basic skills in Modern Standard Arabic, the language spoken, read, and understood by educated Arabs throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and other parts of the world. No prior experience in Arabic is necessary. The course focuses on building students’ abilities to (1) communicate successfully basic biographical information: name, place of residence, family members, and daily life activities, using memorized material; (2) understand speech dealing with areas of practical need such as highly standardized messages, phrases, or instructions, such as memorized greetings, pleasantries, leave taking, very basic questions and answers related to immediate need or personal information; (3) derive meaning from short, non-complex texts that convey basic information for which there is contextual or extra-linguistic support; (4) manage successfully a number of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations, such as giving basic personal information, and describing basic objects, a limited number of activities, preferences, and immediate needs. Ms. Al-Haddad and Mr. Mhiri.

Yearlong course 106-107.

Students who did not complete AFRS 106 may take enroll in AFRS 107, if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

107b. Elementary Arabic (1)

This is an elementary level course offered during spring semester only. The course focuses on building students’ abilities to (1) create statements and formulate questions based on familiar material in short and simple conversational-style sentences with basic word order; (2) understand basic information conveyed orally in simple, minimally connected discourse that contains high-frequency vocabulary; (3) understand fully and with ease short, non-complex texts that convey basic information and deal with personal and social topics of immediate interest, featuring description and narration; (4) ask simple questions and handle a straightforward survival situation by producing sentence-level language, ranging from discrete sentences to strings of sentences, typically in present time. Ms. Al-Haddad and Mr. Mhiri.

Yearlong course 106-107.

Students who did not complete AFRS 106 may enroll in AFRS 107, if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

109a. Beyond the Veil and Islamic Terrorism: Modern Arabic Literature (1)

This course introduces students to major themes, authors, and genres in modern Arabic literature from the late nineteenth century to the present. Readings include autobiography, fiction, drama, and poetry representing the rich Arabic literary heritage of the Middle East and North Africa. We also read various secondary materials and watch several documentary and feature films that will anchor our discussion of the literary texts in their socio-historical and cultural context(s). Some of the major themes (foci) of the course include (1) tradition and change; (2) the colonial and postcolonial encounters with the other; (3) changing gender roles and the politics of (Islamic) Feminism; (4) religion and politics, among others. Mr. Mhiri.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

122. Tradition, Religion, Modernity: A History of North Africa and the Middle East (1)

(Same as International Studies 122) This course provides an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa covering the period from the end of the eighteenth century until the present. The aim is to trace the genealogy of sociopolitical reform movements across this period of the history of North Africa and The Middle East. The course is designed to familiarize students with major themes spanning the colonial encounter, the rise of nationalisms, and postcolonial nation-building.

Our inquiry includes an examination of the rise of political Islam as well as the contemporary popular revolutions sweeping through the region at the moment.

Our goal is to achieve a better understanding of the culmination and collision of the historical trends of tradition religion and modernity and their manifestation in the ongoing Arab Spring. Mr. Hojairi.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

141. Tradition, History and the African Experience (1)

(Same as History 141) From ancient stone tools and monuments to oral narratives and colonial documents, the course examines how the African past has been recorded, preserved, and transmitted over the generations. It looks at the challenges faced by the historian in Africa and the multi-disciplinary techniques used to reconstruct and interpret African history. Various texts, artifacts, and oral narratives from ancient times to the present are analyzed to see how conceptions and interpretations of African past have changed over time. Mr. Rashid.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

Not offered in 2013/14.

175a. Mandela: Race, Resistance and Renaissance in South Africa (1)

(Same as History 175) This course critically explores the history and politics of South Africa in the twentieth century through the prism of the life, politics, and experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Nelson Mandela. After almost three decades of incarceration for resisting Apartheid, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa in 1994. It was an inspirational moment in the global movement and the internal struggle to dismantle Apartheid and to transform South Africa into a democratic, non-racial, and just society. Using Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, as our point of departure, the course discusses some of the complex ideas, people, and developments that shaped South Africa and Mandela’s life in the twentieth century, including: indigenous culture, religion, and institutions; colonialism, race, and ethnicity; nationalism, mass resistance, and freedom; and human rights, social justice, and post-conflict reconstruction. Mr. Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

II. Intermediate

202a. Black Music (1)

(Same as Music 202) An analytical exploration of the music of certain African and European cultures and their adaptive influences in North America. The course examines the traditional African and European views of music performance practices while exploring their influences in shaping the music of African Americans from the spiritual to modern times.

203b. Arab Women Writers: A Literature of their Own? (1)

This course examines a selection of literary works by modern and contemporary Arab women writers in English translation. We will read fiction, poetry, autobiographies, short stories, and critical scholarship by and about Arab women, from North Africa and the Middle East, in order to develop a critical understanding of the social, political, and cultural context(s) of these writings, and to form an enlightened opinion about the issues and concerns raised by Arab women writers throughout the Twentieth Century, at different historical junctures, and in different locations. Our class discussions will focus—among other themes—on: (1) Arab women writers and feminism. (2) Arab Women and Islamism. (3) Arab women and the West. (4) Arab Nationalism(s), Arab Modernity(s), and Arab women. (5) Arab Women writing in the Diaspora: hyphenated identities and different routes of homecoming. The authors to be read include Assia Djebar (Algeria); Fatima Mernissi (Morocco); Nawal Sadaawi (Egypt); Hanan Al-Shaykh (Lebanon); and Sahar Khalifeh (Palestine); and many others. Mr. Mhiri.

Two 75-minute periods.

204. Islam in America (1)

(Same as Religion 204) This course examines the historical and social development of Islam in the U.S. from enslaved African Muslims to the present. Topics include: African Muslims, rice cultivation in the South, and slave rebellions; the rise of proto-Islamic movements such as the Nation of Islam; the growth and influence of African American and immigrant Muslims; Islam and Women; Islam in Prisons; Islam and Architecture and the American war on terror. Ms. Leeming.

Prerequisite: one unit in Religion or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

205. Arab American Literature (1)

(Same as American Studies 205) This course examines issues of identity formation, including race and ethnicity, gender, religion, and multiculturalism in the literary production of at least four generations of American writers, intellectuals and journalists of Arab and hybrid descent. We will read autobiographies, novels, short stories and poetry spanning the twentieth century, as well as articles and book chapters framing this literature and the identity discourse it vehicles within the broader cultural history of the American mosaic. Authors and works studied may change occasionally and include: Khalil Gibran, Elia Abu Madi, Gregory Orfalea, Joseph Geha, Diana Abu Jaber, Naomi Shihab Nye, Suheir Hammad, Betty Shamieh, Moustafa Bayoumi, and others. All texts are originally written in English. Mr. Mhiri.

Open to all students.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

206b. Social Change in the Black and Latino Communities (1)

(Same as Religion and Sociology 206) An examination of social issues in the Black and Latino communities: poverty and welfare, segregated housing, drug addiction, unemployment and underemployment, immigration problems and the prison system. Social change strategies from community organization techniques and poor people's protest movements to more radical urban responses are analyzed. Attention is given to religious resources in social change. Mr. Mamiya.

One 2.5-hour period.

207a. Intermediate Arabic (1)

This is an intermediate level course offered during fall semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students’ abilities to (1) create with the language and communicate personal meaning effectively; (2) satisfy personal needs and social demands to survive in an Arabic speaking environment; (3) understand information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics. (4) understand short, non-complex texts that convey basic information and deal with personal and social topics. (5) build intercultural competence through exposure to authentic Arabic expressions, proverbs, and similar linguistic and cultural idioms. Mr. Mhiri.

This course is designed for students who have completed AFRS 107 or its equivalent successfully as demonstrated by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

208b. Intermediate Arabic (1)

This is an intermediate level course offered during spring semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students’ abilities to (1) write short, simple communications, compositions, and requests for information in loosely connected texts about personal preferences, daily routines, common events, and other personal topics; (2) understand simple, sentence-length speech in a variety of basic personal and social contexts and accurately comprehend highly familiar and predictable topics; (3) understand short, non-complex texts, featuring description and narration, that convey basic information and deal with basic and familiar topics; (4) handle successfully a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations such as exchanges related to self, family, home, daily activities, interests and personal preferences, as well as physical and social needs, such as food, shopping, travel, and lodging; (5) develop their intercultural competence through increased exposure to authentic Arabic literary and journalistic audiovisual material. Ms. Al-Haddad.

Students who did not complete AFRS 207 may enroll, if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

209. From Homer to Omeros (1)

(Same as Greek and Roman Studies 209) No poet since James Joyce has been as deeply and creatively engaged in a refashioning of Homer than Derek Walcott, the Caribbean poet and 1992 Nobel Laureate. He has authored both a stage version of the Odyssey and a modern epic, Omeros, and in both of them he brings a decidedly post colonial and decidedly Caribbean idiom to Homer's ancient tales. In this course we devote ourselves to a close reading of these works alongside the appropriate sections of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Our aim is both to understand the complexities of Walcott's use of the Homeric models and to discover the new meanings that emerge in Homer when we read him through Walcott's eyes. Ms. Friedman.

Prerequisite: any 100-level Greek and Roman Studies course or one unit of related work or special permission.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

211a. Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World Liberation Movements (1)

(Same as Religion 211) A comparative socio-historical analysis of the dialectical relationship between religion and the conditions of oppressed people. The role of religion in both suppression and liberation is considered. Case studies include the cult of Jonestown (Guyana), Central America, the Iranian revolution, South Africa, slave religion, and aspects of feminist theology. This course is taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility. Mr. Mamiya.

Special permission of the instructor.

212. Arabic Literature and Culture (1)

This course covers the rise and development of modern literary genres written in verse and prose and studies some of the great figures and texts. It touches on the following focuses on analytical readings of poetry, stories, novels, articles, and plays. The students gain insights into Arabic culture including religions, customs, media, and music, in addition to the Arabic woman's rights and her role in society.

The course is open to any student who has taken Arabic 207 or 208.

Not offered in 2013/14.

217b. Prisons, Community Reentry, and Critical issues in the Criminal Justice System (1)

This course examines the prison experience in the United States and critical issues in the criminal justice system in a prison setting with Vassar students and incarcerated men. The course provides historical overviews of the role of prisons in society and critical examinations of some relevant contemporary issues in criminal justice such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, juveniles in adult prisons, children of incarcerated parents, and immigrants in prison.

The course meets on Thursday evenings for two hours. A number of field trips are scheduled to local and New York City agencies usually on Fridays. Special permission required.

227. The Harlem Renaissance and its Precursors (1)

(Same as English 227) This course places the Harlem Renaissance in literary historical perspective as it seeks to answer the following questions: In what ways was "The New Negro" new? How did African American writers of the Harlem Renaissance rework earlier literary forms from the sorrow songs to the sermon and the slave narrative? How do the debates that raged during this period over the contours of a black aesthetic trace their origins to the concerns that attended the entry of African Americans into the literary public sphere in the eighteenth century?

Not offered in 2013/14.

228. African American Literature: "Vicious Modernism" and Beyond (1)

(Same as English 228) In the famous phrase of Amiri Baraka, "Harlem is vicious/Modernism." Beginning with the modernist innovations of African American writers after the Harlem Renaissance, this course ranges from the social protest fiction of the 1940s through the Black Arts Movement to the postmodernist experiments of contemporary African American writers.

Not offered in 2013/14.

229b. Black Intellectual History (1)

(Same as Sociology 229) This course provides an overview of black intellectual thought and an introduction to critical race theory. It offers approaches to the ways in which black thinkers from a variety of nations and periods from the nineteenth century up to black modernity engage their intellectual traditions. How have their perceptions been shaped by a variety of places? How have their traditions, histories and cultures theorized race? Critics may include Aimé Césaire, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Paul Gilroy, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Ida B. Wells, and Patricia Williams. Ms. Harriford.

230. Creole Religions of the Caribbean (1)

(Same as Religion 230) The Africa-derived religions of the Caribbean region—Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santería, Jamaican Obeah, Rastafarianism, and others—are foundational elements in the cultural development of the islands of the region. This course examines their histories, systems of belief, liturgical practices, and pantheons of spirits, as well as their impact on the history, literature, and music of the region. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

Not offered in 2013/14.

232. African American Cinema (1)

(Same as Film 232) This course provides a survey of the history and theory of African American representation in cinema. It begins with the silent films of Oscar Micheaux and examines early Black cast westerns (Harlem Rides the Range, The Bronze Buckaroo, Harlem on the Prairie) and musicals (St. Louis Blues, Black and Tan, Hi De Ho, Sweethearts of Rhythm). Political debate circulating around cross over stars (Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Harry Belafonte) are central to the course. Special consideration is given to Blaxploitation cinema of the seventies (Shaft, Coffy, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones) in an attempt to understand its impact on filmmakers and the historical contexts for contemporary filmmaking. The course covers "Los Angeles Rebellion" filmmakers such as Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, and Haile Gerima. Realist cinema of the 80's and 90's (Do the Right Thing, Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society, and Set it off),is examined before the transition to Black romantic comedies, family films, and genre pictures (Coming to America, Love and Basketball, Akeelah and the Bee, The Great Debaters). Ms. Mask.

Prerequisite: Film 210 and permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

Not offered in 2013/14.

235. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States (1)

(Same as American Studies 235) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of the modern Civil Rights movement. We explore how the southern based struggles for racial equality and full citizenship in the U.S. worked both to dismantle entrenched systems of discrimination—segregation, disfranchisement, and economic exploitation—and to challenge American society to live up to its professed democratic ideals. Ms. Collins.

Not offered in 2013/14.

236. Imprisonment and the Prisoner (1)

(Same as Sociology 236) What is the history of the prisoner? Who becomes a prisoner and what does the prisoner become once incarcerated? What is the relationship between crime and punishment? Focusing on the (global) prison industrial complex, this course critically interrogates the massive and increasing numbers of people imprisoned in the United States and around the world. The primary focus of this course is the prisoner and on the movement to abolish imprisonment as we know it. Topics covered in this course include: racial and gender inequality, the relationship between imprisonment and slavery, social death, the prisoner of war (POW), migrant incarceration, as well as prisoner resistance and rebellion. Students also come away from the course with a complex understanding of penal abolition and alternative models of justice. Mr. Alamo.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

242b. Brazil, Society, Culture, and Environment in Portuguese America (1)

(Same as Geography, International Studies, and Latin American and Latino/a Studies 242) Brazil, long Latin America's largest and most populous country, has become an industrial and agricultural powerhouse with increasing political-economic clout in global affairs. This course examines Brazil's contemporary evolution in light of the country's historical geography, the distinctive cultural and environmental features of Portuguese America, and the political-economic linkages with the outside world. Specific topics for study include: the legacies of colonial Brazil; race relations, Afro-Brazilian culture, and ethnic identities; issues of gender, youth, violence, and poverty; processes of urban-industrial growth; regionalism and national integration; environmental conservation and sustainability; continuing controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long-run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Mr. Godfrey.

Two 75-minute periods.

246. French Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the Caribbean (1)

(Same as French 246) Topic for 2013/2014b: What Does Comic Art Say? African comic art comes in a variety of styles, languages, and formats. From the comic strip, found in newspapers and magazines, to developmental and political cartoons, it interfaces with journalism, painting, advertising, television, film and music. Having placed comic art in its theoretical context, we analyze the production of francophone 'bédéistes' (cartoonists) from and on Africa, such as Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie's Aya de Yopougon, Edimo-Simon-Pierre Mbumbo's Malamine, un Africain à Paris, Pahé's La vie de Pahé, Serge Diantantu's Simon Kimbangu, Arnaud Floc'h's La compagnie des cochons and Stassen Les Enfants. We also examine how cartoon characters such as Camphy Combo and Gorgooloo, respectively in Gbich! and Le Cafard Libéré, represent the complexities of francophone African urban society at the turn of the century. Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: French 212/213 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

247a. The Politics of Difference (1)

(Same as Political Science 247) This course relates to the meanings of various group experiences in American politics. It explicitly explores, for example, issues of race, class, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. Among other things, this course addresses the contributions of the Critical Legal Studies Movement, the Feminist Jurisprudence Movement, the Critical Race Movement, and Queer Studies to the legal academy. Mr. Harris.

249. Latino/a Formations (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Sociology 249) This course focuses on the concepts, methodologies and theoretical approaches for understanding the lives of those people who (im)migrated from or who share real or imagined links with Latin America and the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean. As such this course considers the following questions: Who is a Latino/a? What is the impact of U.S. political and economic policy on immigration? What is assimilation? What does U.S. citizenship actually mean and entail? How are ideas about Blackness, or race more generally, organized and understood among Latino/as? What role do heterogeneous identities play in the construction of space and place among Latino/a and Chicano/a communities? This course introduces students to the multiple ways in which space, race, ethnicity, class and gendered identities are imagined/formed in Latin America and conversely affirmed and/or redefined in the United States. Conversely, this course examines the ways in which U.S. Latina/o populations provide both economic and cultural remittances to their countries of origin that also help to challenge and rearticulate Latin American social and economic relationships. Mr. Alamo.

Not offered in 2013/14.

251. Topics in Black Literatures (1)

This course considers Black literatures in all their richness and diversity. The focus changes from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre. The course may take a comparative, diasporic approach or may examine a single national or regional literature.

Not offered in 2013/14.

252a. Writing the Diaspora: Verses/Versus (1)

(Same as English 252) Black American cultural expression is anchored in rhetorical battles and verbal jousts that place one character against another. From sorrow songs to blues, black music has always been a primary means of cultural expression for African Americans, particularly during difficult social periods and transition. Black Americans have used music and particularly rhythmic verse to resist, express, and signify. Nowhere is this more evident than in hip hop culture generally and hip hop music specifically. This semester's Writing the Diaspora class concerns itself with close textual analysis of hip-hop texts. Is Imani Perry right in claiming that Hip Hop is Black American music, or diasporic music? In addition to close textual reading of lyrics, students are asked to create their own hip-hop texts that speak to particular artists/texts and/or issues and styles raised.

Prerequisites: one course in literature or Africana Studies.

254b. The Arts of Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Africa (1)

(Same as Art 254) This course is organized thematically and examines the ways in which sculpture, painting, photography, textiles, and film and video function both historically and currently in relationship to broader cultural issues. Within this context, this course explores performance and masquerade in relationship to gender, social, and political power. We also consider the connections between the visual arts and cosmology, identity, ideas of diaspora, colonialism and post-colonialism, as well as the representation of the "Self," and the "Other." Mr. Leers.

The Non-Recorded Option is available to non-majors.

Prerequisites: Art 105-106, one course in Africana Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

255b. Race, Representation, and Resistance in U.S. Schools (1)

(Same as Education, Sociology and Urban Studies 255) This course interrogates the intersections of race, racism and schooling in the US context. In this course, we examine this intersection at the site of educational policy, media (particularly urban school movies) and K12 curricula- critically examining how representations in each shape the experiences of youth in school. Expectations, beliefs, attitudes and opportunities reflect societal investments in these representations, thus becoming both reflections and riving forces of these identities. Central to these representations is how theorists, educators and youth take them on, own them and resist them in ways that constrain possibility or create spaces for hope. Ms. Cann.

Two 75-minute periods.

256. Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism (1)

(Same as International Studies and Political Science 256) Conflicts over racial, ethnic and/or national identity continue to dominate headlines in diverse corners of the world. Whether referring to ethnic violence in Bosnia or Sri Lanka, racialized political tensions in Sudan and Fiji, the treatment of Roma (Gypsies) and Muslims in Europe, or the charged debates about immigration policy in the United States, cultural identities remain at the center of politics globally. Drawing upon multiple theoretical approaches, this course explores the related concepts of race, ethnicity and nationalism from a comparative perspective using case studies drawn from around the world and across different time periods. Mr. Mampilly.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

257b. Genre and the Postcolonial City (1)

(Same as Political Science and Urban Studies 257) This course explores the physical and imaginative dimensions of selected postcolonial cities. The theoretical texts, genres of expression and cultural contexts that the course engages address the dynamics of urban governance as well as aesthetic strategies and everyday practices that continue to reframe existing senses of reality in the postcolonial city. Through an engagement with literary, cinematic, architectural among other forms of urban mediation and production, the course examines the politics of migrancy, colonialism, gender, class and race as they come to bear on political identities, urban rhythms and the built environment. Case studies include: Johannesburg , Nairobi, Algiers and migrant enclaves in London and Paris. Mr. Opondo.

258b. Environment and Culture in the Caribbean (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 258) The ecology of the islands of the Caribbean has undergone profound change since the arrival of Europeans to the region in 1492. The course traces the history of the relationship between ecology and culture from pre-Columbian civilizations to the economies of tourism. Among the specific topics of discussion are: Arawak and Carib notions of nature and conservation of natural resources; the impact of deforestation and changes in climate; the plantation economy as an ecological revolution; the political implications of the tensions between the economy of the plot and that of the plantation; the development of environmental conservation and its impact on notions of nationhood; the ecological impact of resort tourism; the development of eco-tourism. These topics are examined through a variety of materials: historical documents, essays, art, literature, music, and film. Ms. Paravisini.

Two 75-minute periods.

259b. Settler Colonialism in a Comparative Perspective (1)

(Same as Political Science 259) This course examines the phenomenon of settler colonialism through a comparative study of the interactions between settler and ‘native’ / indigenous populations in different societies. It explores the patterns of settler migration and settlement and the dynamics of violence and local displacement in the colony through the tropes of racialization of space, colonial law, production/labor, racialized knowledge, aesthetics, health, gender, domesticity and sexuality. Attentive to historical injustices and the transformation of violence in ‘postcolonial’ and settler societies, the course interrogates the forms of belonging, memory, desire and nostalgia that arise from the unresolved status of settler and indigenous communities and the competing claims to, or unequal access to resources like land. Case studies are drawn primarily from Africa but also include examples from other regions. Mr. Opondo.

Two 75-minute periods.

260a. International Relations of the Third World: Bandung to 9/11 (1)

(Same as International Studies and Political Science 260) Whether referred to as the "Third World," or other variants such as the "Global South," the "Developing World," the "G-77," the "Non-Aligned Movement," or the "Post- colonial World," a certain unity has long been assumed for the multitude of countries ranging from Central and South America, across Africa to much of Asia. Is it valid to speak of a Third World? What were/are the connections between countries of the Third World? What were/are the high and low points of Third World solidarity? And what is the relationship between the First and Third Worlds? Drawing on academic and journalistic writings, personal narratives, music, and film, this course explores the concept of the Third World from economic, political and cultural perspectives. Beginning shortly after the end of colonialism, we examine the trajectory of the Third World in global political debates through the end of the Cold War and start of the War on Terror. Mr. Mampilly.

Two 75-minute periods.

264. African American Women's History (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 264) In this interdisciplinary course, we explore the roles of black women in the U.S. as thinkers, activists, and creators during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism, and cultural expression of a diverse group of African American women, we examine how they have understood their lives, resisted oppression, constructed emancipatory visions, and struggled to change society. Ms. Collins.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

265. African American History to 1865 (1)

(Same as History 265) This course provides an introduction to African American history from the Atlantic slave trade through the Civil War. African Americans had a profound effect on the historical development of the nation. The experiences of race and slavery dominate this history and it is the complexities and nuances of slavery that give this course its focus. This course examines key developments and regional differences in the making of race and slavery in North America, resistance movements among slaves and free blacks (such as slave revolts and the abolitionist movement) as they struggled for freedom and citizenship, and the multiple ways race and gender affected the meanings of slavery and freedom. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary and secondary sources. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2013/14.

266a. African-American Arts and Artifacts (1)

(Same as American Studies and Art 266) An exploration of the artistic and material production of African Americans in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present day. We examine multiple influences on (African, European, American, diasporic, etc.) and uses for black creative expression. Working with an expansive conception of art, we pay close attention to the work of formally and non-formally trained artists in relation to their social, cultural, aesthetic, and historical contexts. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisites: Art 105-106 or permission of the instructor.

267. African American History, 1865-Present (1)

(Same as History 267) This course examines some of the key issues in African American history from the end of the civil war to the present by explicating selected primary and secondary sources. Major issues and themes include: Reconstruction and the meaning of freedom, military participation and ideas of citizenship, racial segregation, migration, labor, cultural politics, and black resistance and protest movements. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary sources, such as letters, memoirs, and similar documents. The course format, therefore, consists of close reading and interpretation of selected texts, both assigned readings and handouts. Course readings are supplemented with music and film. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2013/14.

268. Sociology of Black Religion (1)

(Same as Religion and Sociology 268) A sociological analysis of a pivotal sector of the Black community, namely the Black churches, sects, and cults. Topics include slave religion, the founding of independent Black churches, the Black musical heritage, Voodoo, the Rastafarians, and the legacies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. This course is taught to Vassar students and incarcerated men at the Otisville Correctional Facility. It will be taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility. Mr. Mamiya.

Special permission required.

Not offered in 2013/14.

271. Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800 (1)

(Same as History 271) A thematic survey of African civilizations and societies to 1800. The course examines how demographic and technological changes, warfare, religion, trade, and external relations shaped the evolution of the Nile Valley civilizations, the East African city-states, the empires of the western Sudan, and the forest kingdoms of West Africa. Some attention is devoted to the consequences of the Atlantic slave trade, which developed from Europe's contact with Africa from the fifteenth century onwards. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2013/14.

272b. Modern African History (1)

(Same as History 272) Africa has experienced profound transformations over the past two centuries. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Africans lost and regained their independence from different European colonial powers. This course explores the changing African experiences before, during, and after European colonization of their continent. Drawing on primary sources, film, memoirs, and popular novels, we look at the creative responses of African groups and individuals to the contradictory processes and legacies of colonialism. Particular attention will be paid to understanding how these responses shape the trajectories of African as well as global developments. Amongst the major themes covered by the course are: colonial ideologies, African resistance, colonial economies, gender and cultural change, African participation in the two world wars, urbanization, decolonization and African nationalism. We also reflect on some of the contemporary developmental dilemmas as well as opportunities confronting post-colonial Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

273b. Development Economics (1)

(Same as Economics 273) A survey of central issues in the field of Development Economics, this course examines current conditions in less developed countries using both macroeconomic and microeconomic analysis. Macroeconomic topics include theories of growth and development, development strategies (including export-led growth in Asia), and problems of structural transformation and transition. Household decision-making under uncertainty serves as the primary model for analyzing microeconomic topics such as the adoption of new technology in peasant agriculture, migration and urban unemployment, fertility, and the impact of development on the environment. Examples and case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and transition economies provide the context for these topics. Ms. Jones.

Prerequisites: Economics 100 and 101, or 102.

275b. Caribbean Discourse (1)

Study of the work of artists and intellectuals from the Caribbean. Analysis of fiction, non-fiction, and popular cultural forms such as calypso and reggae within their historical contexts. Attention to cultural strategies of resistance to colonial domination and to questions of community formation in the post-colonial era. May include some discussion of post-colonial literary theory and cultural studies.

Not offered in 2013/14.

277. Sea-Changes: Caribbean Rewritings of the British Canon (1)

Not offered in 2013/14.

289. Islam in History (1)

(Same as International Studies 289) This course is designed to introduce students to key moments in the history of Islam. It will cover the period from the end of the sixth century AD, eve of the rise of Islam, until the early sixteenth century and the demise of the Mameluke Sultanate. The course is designed to familiarize students with major themes from the sociopolitical as well as the intellectual history of Islam in the period spanning from the rise of Islam until the modern era. The course will explore the emergence of Islam as a world religion and the forces it set in motion; it will also address Islamic civilization and its characteristic political, social, and religious institutions and intellectual traditions. The readings will include a cross section of intellectual production, a myriad of cultural expressions as well as primary and secondary historical sources from the sixth century AD to the present. We will be examining a multitude of sources such as pre-Islamic poetry from the Arabian Peninsula, Quranic script, as well as theological, philosophical and scientific productions from the Medieval Islamic Empire. Mr. Hojairi.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual or group field projects or internships. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the academic year or during the summer.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual or group project of reading or research. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the academic year or during the summer.

299a. Research Methods (1)

An introduction to the research methods used in the disciplines represented by Africana Studies. Through a variety of individual projects, students learn the approaches necessary to design projects, collect data, analyze results, and write research reports. The course includes some field trips to sites relevant to student projects. The emphasis is on technology and archival research, using the Library's new facilities in these areas. The course explores different ideas, theories and interdisciplinary approaches within Africana Studies that shape research and interpretation of the African and African diasporic experience. Students learn to engage and critically utilize these ideas, theories and approaches in a coherent fashion in their own research projects. They also learn how to design research projects, collect and analyze different types of data, and write major research papers. Emphasis is placed on collection of data through interviews and surveys as well as archival and new information technologies, using the facilities of Vassar libraries. The course includes some field trips to sites relevant to student projects. Required of majors and correlates, but open to students in all disciplines.

III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Essay or Project (1)

307a. Upper-Intermediate Arabic (1)

Upper-intermediate language and culture course in Modern Standard Arabic. Designed to consolidate students' reading and listening comprehension, and their oral skills at the intermediate-mid level of proficiency; and to help them reach intermediated- high level proficiency by the end of the course. Ms. Al-Haddad.

308b. Upper-Intermediate Arabic (1)

Upper-intermediate language and culture course in Modern Standard Arabic. Designed to consolidate students' reading and listening comprehension, and their oral skills at the intermediate-mid level of proficiency; and to help them reach intermediated- high level proficiency by the end of the course. Ms. Al-Haddad.

310. Politics and Religion: Tradition and Modernization in the Third World (1)

(Same as Religion 310) An examination of the central problem facing all Third World and developing countries, the confrontation between the process of modernization and religious tradition and custom. Along with the social, economic, and political aspects, the course focuses on the problems of cultural identity and crises of meaning raised by the modernizing process. Selected case studies are drawn from Africa and Asia. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Sociology/Religion 261 or Africana Studies 268, or two units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200-level, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

311a. Advanced Arabic (1)

This is an advanced level course offered during fall semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students’ abilities to (1) Read and understand various types of discourses, such as newspaper articles (descriptive, narrative, argumentative, etc.), essays and short stories on various topics; (2) Listen to and understand the main ideas of a speech, lecture or news broadcast; (3) Present personal opinion and construct a nuanced argument about a range of topics about literature, history, politics, culture and society in various parts of the Arab World; (4) Write cohesive and articulate summaries and critical reports about the same topics. Students will continue to develop their communicative skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading) in Modern Standard Arabic through different types of course assignments aimed at helping them reach advanced levels of proficiency. Ms. Al-Haddad.

This course is designed for students who have successfully completed two courses in upper intermediate Arabic or its equivalent as demonstrated by a placement test.

Two 75-minute periods.

319. Race and Its Metaphors (1)

Re-examinations of canonical literature in order to discover how race is either explicitly addressed by or implicitly enabling to the texts. Does racial difference, whether or not overtly expressed, prove a useful literary tool? The focus of the course varies from year to year.

Prerequisite:Open to juniors and seniors with 2 units of 200-level work in English; or, for juniors and seniors without this prerequisite, 2 units of work in allied subjects and permission from the associate chair of English.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

326a. Challenging Ethnicity (1)

(Same as English and Urban Studies 326) An exploration of literary and artistic engagements with ethnicity. Contents and approaches vary from year to year.

Topic for 2013/14a: Gay Harlem. This course explores Harlem’s role in the production of sexual modernity and in particular as a space of queer encounter. We will consider what conditions may have increased opportunities for interclass and interethnic contact in Harlem and examine how such encounters helped to generate the sexual subcultures more commonly associated with other parts of Manhattan, such as Greenwich Village, Chelsea or Times Square. Although cultural production from the Harlem Renaissance will feature centrally in our discussions, we will also consider the longer history of Harlem, from slavery to the Great Migration and through to the present day, taking into special account the relationship of space to erotics. While much of our investigation will be devoted to the intersection of race and sexuality in African American life, we also consider Harlem’s history as an Italian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican neighborhood as well as its discrete micro-cosmopolitanism within the larger global city. Mr. Perez.

One 2-hour period.

352a. Redemption and Diplomatic Imagination in Postcolonial Africa (1)

(Same as Political Science 352) This seminar explores the shifts and transformations in the discourse and practice of redemptive diplomacy in Africa. It introduces students to the cultural, philosophical and political dimensions of estrangement and the mediation practices that accompany the quest for recognition, meaning and material well-being in selected colonial and postcolonial societies. Through a critical treatment of the redemptive vision and diplomatic imaginaries summoned by missionaries, anti-colonial resistance movements and colonial era Pan-Africanists, the seminar interrogates the ‘idea of Africa’ produced by these discourses of redemption and their implications for diplomatic thought in Africa. The insights derived from the interrogation of foundational discourses on African redemption will be used to map the transformation of identities, institutional forms, and the minute texture of everyday life in postcolonial Africa. The seminar also engages modern humanitarianism, diasporic religious movements, Non-Governmental Organizations and neoliberal or millennial capitalist networks that seek to save Africans from foreign forces of oppression or ‘themselves.' Mr. Opondo.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

353b. Pedagogies of Difference: Critical Approaches to Education (1)

(Same as Education 353) Pedagogies of difference are both theoretical frameworks and classroom practices- enacting a social justice agenda in one's educational work with learners. In this course, we think deeply about various anti-oppressive pedagogies- feminist, queer and critical race- while situating this theory in our class practicum. Thus, this course is about pedagogies of difference as much as it is about different pedagogies that result. We will address how different pedagogies such as hip hop pedagogy, public pedagogy and Poetry for the People derive from these pedagogies of difference. The culminating signature assessment for this course is collaborative work with local youth organizations. Ms. Cann.

Prerequisite: Education 235 or permission of the instructor.

360. Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth Century (1)

(Same as History 360) From movies to music, bleaching cream to baseball, black entrepreneurs and consumers have historically negotiated the profits and pleasures of a "black economy" to achieve economic independence as a meaning of freedom. This seminar examines the duality of black businesses as economic and social institutions alongside black consumers' ideas of economic freedom to offer new perspectives on social and political movements in the twentieth-century. We explore black business activity and consumer activism as historical processes of community formation and economic resistance, paying particular attention to black capitalism, consumer boycotts, and the economy of black culture in the age of segregation. Topics include the development of the black beauty industry; black urban film culture; the Negro Baseball League; Motown and the protest music of the 1960s and 1970s; the underground economy; and federal legislation affecting black entrepreneurship. Mr. Mills

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

362a. Text and Image (1)

Explores intersections and interrelationships between literary and visual forms such as the graphic novel, illustrated manuscripts, tapestry, the world-wide web, immersive environments, the history and medium of book design, literature and film, literature and visual art. Topics vary from year to year.

Topic for 2013/14a: Because Dave Chappelle Said So. (Same as English 362) The course will explore the history and movement of black, mostly male, satirical comic narratives and characters. From Hip Hop to Paul Beatty’s White Boy Shuffle to Spike Lee’s Bamboozled to Dave Chappelle to Aaron McGruder’s Boondocks to Sacha Cohen’s Ali G character, black masculinity seems to be a contemporary site of massive satire. Using postmodernism as our critical lens, we will explore what black satirical characters and narratives are saying through “tragicomedy” to the mediums of literature, film, television and politics. We will also think about the ways that black archetypes (coon, mammy, sapphire, uncle tom, pickaninny, sambo, tragic mulatto, noble savage, castrating bitch) have evolved into cutting edge comedy on the internet like Awkward Black Girl. We start to see the beginnings of this strategic evolution taking place in the Civil Rights movement when black leaders use television and visual expectations of blackness to their national and global advantage. How did black situation comedies and black comedians of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s speak to and/or disregard that history. Are contemporary comic narratives, narrators and characters, while asserting critical citizenship, actually writing black women’s subjectivities, narratives and experiences out of popular American History? Does satire have essentially masculinist underpinnings? How are these texts and characters communicating with each other and is there a shared language? Is there a difference between a black comic text and a black satirical text? Have comic ideals of morality, democracy, sexuality, femininity and masculinity changed much since the turn of the century? Did blaxploitation cinema revolutionize television for black performers and viewers? How has the internet literally revolutionized raced and gendered comedy? These are some of the questions we will explore in Because Dave Chappelle Said So. Mr. Laymon.

One 2-hour period.

365. Race and the History of Jim Crow Segregation (1)

(Same as History 365) This seminar examines the rise of racial segregation sanctioned by law and racial custom from 1865 to 1965. Equally important, we explore the multiple ways African Americans negotiated and resisted segregation in the private and public spheres. This course aims toward an understanding of the work that race does, with or without laws, to order society based on the intersection of race, class and gender. Topics include: disfranchisement, labor and domesticity, urbanization, public space, education, housing, history and memory, and the lasting effects of sanctioned segregation. We focus on historical methods of studying larger questions of politics, resistance, privilege and oppression. We also explore interdisciplinary methods of studying race and segregation, such as critical race theory. Music and film supplement classroom discussions. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2013/14.

366. Art and Activism in the United States (1)

(Same as American Studies, Art, and Women's Studies 366) Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women's Art Movements in the United States. Focusing on the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions,and ideas of the Black Arts movement and Women's Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Analyzing paintings, photographs, posters, quilts, collages, murals, manifestos, mixed-media works, installations, films, performances, and various systems of creation, collaboration, and display, we explore connections between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

370. Transnational Literature (1)

This course focuses on literary works and cultural networks that cross the borders of the nation-state. Such border-crossings raise questions concerning vexed phenomena such as globalization, exile, diaspora, and migration—forced and voluntary. Collectively, these phenomena deeply influence the development of transnational cultural identities and practices. Specific topics studied in the course vary from year to year and may include global cities and cosmopolitanisms; the black Atlantic; border theory; the discourses of travel and tourism; global economy and trade; or international terrorism and war.

Not offered in 2013/14.

373. Slavery and Abolition in Africa (1)

(Same as History 373) The Trans-Saharan and the Atlantic slave trade transformed African communities, social structures, and cultures. The seminar explores the development, abolition, and impact of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the twentieth century. The major conceptual and historiographical themes include indigenous servitude, female enslavement, family strategies, slave resistance, abolition, and culture. The seminar uses specific case studies as well as a comparative framework to understand slavery in Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Prerequisite: standard department prerequisites or permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

374. The African Diaspora (1)

(Same as History 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and the political forms of Pan-Africanism from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It explores how disaffection and resistance against slavery, racism and colonial domination in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, and Africa led to the development of a global movement for the emancipation of peoples of African descent from 1900 onwards. The seminar examines the different ideological, cultural, and organizational manifestations of Pan-Africanism as well as the scholarly debates on development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James, and Kwame Nkmmah. Mr. Rashid.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2013/14.

375a. Seminar in Women's Studies (1)

Topic for 2013/14a: Gender and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. (Same as American Studies and Women's Studies 375) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the modern civil rights movement in the U.S. by foregrounding the roles and experiences of women, particularly African American women. Attentive to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, we study the various constraints on--and possibilities for--women activists during the movement, and theorize the impact of women's activism on U.S. society. Ms. Collins.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 130.

One 2-hour period.

378. Black Paris (1)

(Same as English and French 378) This multidisciplinary course examines black cultural productions in Paris from the first Conference of Negro-African writers and artists in 1956 to the present. While considered a haven by African American artists, Paris, the metropolitan center of the French empire, was a more complex location for African and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals and artists. Yet, the city provided a key space for the development and negotiation of a black diasporic consciousness. This course examines the tensions born from expatriation and exile, and the ways they complicate understandings of racial, national and transnational identities. Using literature, film, music, and new media, we explore topics ranging from modernism, jazz, Négritude, Pan-Africanism, and the Présence Africaine group, to assess the meanings of blackness and race in contemporary Paris. Works by James Baldwin, Aime Césaire, Chester Himes, Claude McKay, the Nardal sisters, Richard Wright. Ousmane Sembène, Mongo Beti, among others, are studied. Ms. Célérier and Ms. Dunbar.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2013/14.

382a. Race and Popular Culture (1)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies and Sociology 382) This seminar explores the way in which the categories of race, ethnicity, and nation are mutually constitutive with an emphasis on understanding how different social institutions and practices produce meanings about race and racial identities. Through an examination of knowledge production as well as symbolic and expressive practices, we focus on the ways in which contemporary scholars connect cultural texts to social and historical institutions. Appreciating the relationship between cultural texts and institutional frameworks, we unravel the complex ways in which the cultural practices of different social groups reinforce or challenge social relationships and structures. Finally, this seminar considers how contemporary manifestations of globalization impact and transform the linkages between race and culture as institutional and intellectual constructs. Mr. Alamo.

One 2-hour period.

388. Peninsular Seminar (1)

A seminar offering in-depth study of topics related to the literary and cultural history of Spain. This course may be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Topic for 2013/14a: Africa Begins in the Pyrenees: Race and Ethnicity in Spain. (Same as Hispanic Studies 388) This course aims to deepen our understanding of how racialization, and specifically the idea of Africa, have manifested in the Spanish national imaginary through literary, visual and socio-political discourses from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Course discussions map out the contradictory social and aesthetic discourses that have attempted to define the Spaniard, and by extension, its Other. Our theorizations probe residual ethno-religious notions of race from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim co-habitation, the logics of assimilation used to discipline people of Roma descent, and the racial ideologies and practices employed to frame regional separatism, political groups, colonization in Africa and immigration. Course discussions and all written work are in Spanish. Ms. Woods.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Senior independent study program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.