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Courses

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.

The following information is from the 2017-18 Vassar College Catalogue.

Africana Studies: I. Introductory

100a. Introduction to Africana Studies 1

What is Africana Studies? This course proposes an overview of the field of Africana Studies, emphasizing the historical and cultural connections between Africa and its global diasporas. It covers subjects and themes drawing from disciplinary traditions within the humanities and the social sciences. Articulated on distinct geographical spaces and historical time periods, it focuses on the activities of African peoples and their descendants around the world. Topics include: colonialism, slavery, nationalism and transnationalism, civil and human rights, conflict, and culture. The particular subjects and themes explored vary with each faculty teaching the course. Quincy Mills.

Prerequisite(s): The course is required for all majors and correlates.

Two 75-minute periods.

101b. Martin Luther King Jr. 1

(Same as HIST 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. Quincy Mills.

Two 75-minute periods.

104 Religion, Prisons, and the Civil Rights Movement 1

(Same as RELI 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?

Not offered in 2017/18.

105 Issues In Africana Studies 1

Not offered in 2017/18.

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. Tagreed Al-Haddad, Mootacem Mhiri.

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

Yearlong course 106-AFRS 107.

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. Tagreed Al-Haddad, Mootacem Mhiri.

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

Yearlong course AFRS 106-107.

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. Mootacem Mhiri.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

112 An Introduction to Islam 1

(Same as RELI 112) This course introduces students to Muslim cultures, beliefs, and practices through the lens of journey, migration and quest. Voyage and migration have characterized Muslim communities ever since Muhammad sent a group of his followers to seek refuge with the Christian king of Abyssinia. Over the centuries, Islamic legal, literary, and philosophical traditions have reflected deeply on migration and journeying, and Muslim communities have settled around the world. We explore Muhammad's miraculous journey to Jerusalem, the event of migration to Medina, the role of travel in the expansion of the Islamic world, Muslims as religious minorities in the 20th century, and the place of Islam in the contemporary global refugee crisis. Sources include scripture, theology, history, poetry and literature, ethnography, autobiography, and film. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Two 75-minute periods.

141 Tradition, History and the African Experience 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

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

Not offered in 2017/18.

175 Mandela: Race, Resistance and Renaissance in South Africa 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

185 Incarcerating Philosophies 0.5

(Same as PHIL 185 and URBS 185) This course is at the intersection of ethics, social philosophy, and political philosophy. It examines: (1) how certain individuals, groups, and philosophies are marginalized and incarcerated, and (2) the response and responsibilities towards such forms of incarceration. The first topic deals with philosophies of incarceration, that is, the philosophical approaches used in order to incarcerate. Quite simply: what are reasons for incarceration? The second topic addresses how various philosophies can be used to oppose and interrogate such methods. Questions addressed will be: how does the physical and psychical act of incarceration operate? What modes of life and thoughts are rendered as 'criminal', and how? Finally: what are the means by which individuals, groups, and philosophies can respond to such methods of incarceration.

Readings include: Plato, Jeremy Bentham, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, Angela Davis, Frank Wilderson III, Michelle Alexander. Required work includes reading, short weekly writing assignments, class participation, and attendance. Osman Nemli.

Second six-week course.

Two 75-minute periods.

Africana Studies: II. Intermediate

202a. Black Music 1

(Same as MUSI 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. Justin Patch.

205b. Arab Women Writers 1

(Same as WMST 205) 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. Mootacem Mhiri.

Two 75-minute periods.

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. Mootacem 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. Tagreed 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.

211 Islam in Europe and the Americas 1

(Same as INTL 211 and RELI 211) Various processes of migration and conversion have contributed to the development of Muslim minority communities in Europe and the Americas, dating back to the 17th century. From enslaved Muslims in the Americas, to the Nation of Islam, to colonial and post-colonial migrations, to the debates over whether and how to define "European," "American," and "Latin@" Islams, this course covers the history of these religious communities and movements, their relationships with European and American states, and how contemporary European and American Muslims have described and theorized the experience of being a religious minority or diaspora. Key themes include race & ethnicity, gender & sexuality, transnational media, political resistance, ethics, and spirituality. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Two 75-minute periods.

212 Arabic Literature and Culture 1

This reading, writing and conversation course is designed to familiarize students with various genres of classical and modern Arabic prose and poetry from the pre-Islamic period to the present. We read, discuss, and write about themes and topics which have been central to the cultural discourses in various periods of the region's history. These topics include:  religious diversity, Muslim and Arab scientists and their contribution to world culture, the arts and musical genres, among many others. Students taking this course form a more in-depth understanding of the texts examined and their significant contribution to the formation of an Arabic cultural ethos and an Arab system of values. The course also enhances students' oral and writing skills through weekly presentations on the readings and writing assignments. Tagreed Haddad.

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

Three 50-minute periods.

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.

Not offered 2017/18.

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 ENGL 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?

228b. African American Literature 1

(Same as DRAM 228 and ENGL 228) Topic for 2016/17b: From the Page to the Stage: Turning Black Literature to Black Drama. This course explores the dramatic possibilities of 20th century canonical black literature by means of critical reading, critical writing, and critical performance. Students examine key novels in their historical context paying attention to the criticism and theory that have shaped their reception. They then attempt to transform parts of these texts into scenes as informed by past and present theories of performance and theatre making. Their work culminates in a public performance of the pieces they have conceived. Tyrone Simpson and Shona Tucker.

Two 75-minute periods and one 2-hour lab.

229 Black Intellectual History 1

(Same as SOCI 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. Diane Harriford.

Not offered in 2017/18.

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). Mia Mask.

Prerequisite(s): FILM 210 and permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

234 Creole Religions of the Caribbean 1

(Same as LALS 234 and RELI 234) The Africa-derived religions of the Caribbean region---Haitian Voodoo, Cuban Santeria, 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. Lisa Paravisini-Gebert.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

235 The Civil Rights Movement in the United States 1

(Same as AMST 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. Lisa Collins.

Not offered in 2017/18.

236 Imprisonment and the Prisoner 1

(Same as SOCI 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. Carlos Alamo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

240 Cultural Localities 1

(Same as ANTH 240) Topic for 2017/18b: Atlantic World(s). To speak of the Atlantic World is to speak of the peoples who inhabit the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and its marginal seas, and who are interconnected by histories of imperial expansion, enslavement, commerce, and migration. Imperial conquest led to the displacement and decimation of indigenous peoples, while slavery, indenture, and trade led and the creation of African, European, and Asian Diasporas in the Americas. These processes gave rise to the very idea of globalization, as well as the ideals of freedom, decolonization, and universal rights. This course introduces the diasporas, networks, and economic flows that integrate the Caribbean, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Using ethnographies, histories, narratives, music, and film, we explore the processes of migration, imperial expansion, and economic integration that continue to shape the peoples, languages, and cultures of the Atlantic World. We also critically examine the strengths and limitations of concepts and theoretical frameworks used to produce knowledge about the peoples and histories of the Atlantic world. Topics include imperialism and its legacies, (de)colonization, capitalism, slavery, indenture, marronage, piracy, revolution, abolition, creolization, race, class, and gender. Louis Römer.

Two 75-minute periods.

242b. Brazil in Crisis: Continuity and Change in Portuguese America 1

(Same as GEOG 242, INTL 242 and LALS 242) Brazil, a giant of Latin America and the Global South, has long been known as the "land of the future." Yet frustrating political-economic crises have repeatedly followed periods of rapid growth and social progress. Taking current crises as a point of departure, 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 world system. 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 devastation and sustainability; controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long-run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Brian Godfrey.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

244 Indian Ocean 1

(Same as ANTH 244) This course re/introduces alternative modalities of belonging through a focus on multiple cultures and peoples interacting across the Indian Ocean. Using historical works, ethnographies, travel accounts, manuscript fragments, and film, we explore the complex networks and historical processes that have shaped the contemporary economies, cultures, and social problems of the region. We also critically examine how knowledge about the peoples and pasts of this region has been produced. Although the course concentrates on northern Africa, eastern Africa, southwest India, the Arabian Peninsula, and islands are included in our consideration of the region as a cultural, economic, and political sphere whose coastal societies were especially interconnected. Topics include: imperialism, globalization, temporality, cosmopolitanism, labor and trade migrations, religious identification, and gender. Candice Lowe Swift.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

245a. Making Waves: Topics in Feminist Activism 1

(Same as SOCI 245 and WMST 245) Topic for 2017/18 a: Black Women in Feminism. This course explores the role Black women played in the development and growth of feminism in the U.S. from the 19th Century to the present. We will pay particular attention to the work of Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde and bell hooks. Film, poetry, music, novels as well as articles and books will be among the texts for the course. Diane Harriford.

Two 75-minute periods.

246 French Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the Caribbean 1

(Same as FREN 246)

Prerequisite(s): FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

247a. The Politics of Difference 1

(Same as POLI 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. Luke Harris.

Not offered in 2017/18.

248 Racial and Ethnic Group Politics in Popular Culture 1

(Same as POLI 248) Popular culture often affects and depicts public opinion on prominent social and political issues, and attitudes towards racial and ethnic groups. In this course, students think critically about the ways popular culture influences and reflects U.S. racial and ethnic group politics. Students consider how popular culture portrays and provides insights into government actions and policies toward various racial and ethnic groups, race relations and prospects for political coalitions, group responses to discrimination, and Americans' perceptions and attitudes on a number of cultural, political, social and policy dimensions. Among the topics studied are the following: aspects of the political histories of various groups in the U.S., anti-miscegenation and anti-interracial relationship attitudes, 20th and 21st century race relations, immigration and citizenship, political resistance, mobilization, empowerment and participation, and racial group membership, identity and consciousness. These topics are examined throughout the semester by reading scholarly texts, and analyzing music videos, television shows, motion pictures, and documentaries. Taneisha Means.

 

Not offered in 2017/18.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

249 Latino/a Formations 1

(Same as LALS 249 and SOCI 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. Carlos Alamo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

251 Topics in Black Literatures 1

(Same as ENGL 251) 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.

Topic for 2017/18b: Monsters, Zombies and Time Travelers in African American Fiction​. While many believe African American literature is bound by the generic and political expectations of American literary realism, black Americans have lived and imagined the "un-real" from the moment of their enslavement in the Americas. This course considers how black creatives have used and continue to use speculative fiction/afrofuturism/sci-fi to critique forms of racial difference and imagine alternatives to the here-and-now of the American experience. Over the semester, we explore narratives that feature time travel, texts that craft racial utopias only to plot their deterioration, and tales of monsters and zombies to explore key themes associated with black speculative fiction and black literary production. Questions of genre, its limits and expectations, are also central to this course. This course may include writings by Octavia Butler, Kiese Laymon, Victor LaValle, Colson Whitehead, and others. Eve Dunbar.

Two 75-minute periods.

252 Writing the Diaspora: Verses/Versus 1

(Same as ENGL 252) Black American Culture expression is anchored in rhetorical battles and verbal jousts that place one character against another. From the sorrow songs to blues, black music has always been a primary means of cultural expression for Afirican Americans, particularly during difficult social periods and transition. Black Americans have used music and particularly rythmic 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.

Prerequisite(s): one course in literature or Africana Studies.

Not offered in 2017/18.

253a. Topics in American Literature 1

(Same as ENGL 253)

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

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."

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106, one course in Africana Studies, or permission of the instructor.

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

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

256 Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism 1

(Same as INTL 256 and POLI 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. Zachariah Mampilly.

Two 75-minute periods.

257b. Genre and the Postcolonial City 1

(Same as POLI 257 and URBS 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. Samson Opondo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

258 Environment and Culture in the Caribbean 1

(Same as ENST 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. Lisa Paravisini.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

259b. Settler Colonialism in a Comparative Perspective 1

(Same as POLI 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. Samson Opondo.

Not offered 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

260 International Relations of the Third World: Bandung to 9/11 1

(Same as INTL 260 and POLI 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 at the dawn of the 20th century with the rise of anti-colonial movements, we examine the trajectory of the Third World in global political debates through the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror. Zachariah Mampilly.

Two 75-minute periods.

264 African American Women's History 1

(Same as WMST 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. Lisa Collins.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

265b. Slavery and Freedom in the U.S. 1

(Same as HIST 265) This course explores the history of American slavery and freedom from the Atlantic slave trade through Reconstruction. We examine the history of African-descended people to understand key developments and regional differences in the making of race and slavery as a commodity form and foundation of an emerging nation-state in North America, resistance movements among enslaved and free Blacks (such as rebellions and the abolitionist movement), black institutional and economic development, and the multiple ways gender, race, and slavery informed the meanings of freedom. In addition to reading secondary sources, we analyze such primary sources as slave voyage records, legal records, slave narratives, and speeches and essays from free Blacks. Quincy Mills.

Not offered 2017/18.

266 Art, Urgency and Everyday Life in the United States 1

(Same as AMST 266 and ART 266) An interdisciplinary exploration of how a range of U.S. based creators--through their artistic practices, aesthetic choices, and expressive interventions--are grappling with urgent issues of our time. Lisa Collins.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106 or coursework in Africana Studies, American Studies, Women's Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

267 African American History, 1865-Present 1

(Same as HIST 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. Quincy Mills.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

270 The Black Power Movement 1

(Same as HIST 270) This course examines the Black Power Movement as a burgeoning social movement in the post World War II period, while also placing it in the long traditions of black political thought and radicalism within American democracy. In addition to studying black radicalism in the early twentieth century, the course explores the philosophies and tactics of civil rights activism; questions of feminism and masculinity; radicalism and conservatism; violence, nonviolence, and self-defense; and community control, nationalism, and internationalism. Major sites of inquiry include education, arts and media, police brutality, welfare rights, electoral politics, and economic empowerment. By engaging the ideologies, politics, and culture of the Black Power Movement, we gain a deeper understanding of how people claim their rights and personhood against seemingly insurmountable odds. Quincy Mills.

Two 75-minute periods.

271 Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 Modern African History 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

275 Caribbean Discourse 1

(Same as ENGL 275 and LALS 275) 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 2017/18.

277 Crossings: Literature without Borders 1

(Same as ENGL 277) This course explores themes, concepts, and genres that span literary periods and/or national boundaries. The focus varies from year to year.

Topic for 2017/18a: Victorian Revenants in Contemporary Caribbean Literature: Cultures in Dialogue. The ongoing multidisciplinary dialogue between Caribbean literature and Victorian culture has been one of the most dynamic catalysts for the development of the novel in the region. The course examines a number of trans-Atlantic/Caribbean interchanges that include the exploration of the ghost story in M. R. James (Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, 1904) and Edgar Mittelholzer (My Bones and My Flute, 1955); the critique of Kew Gardens and its biota exchanges in Jamaica Kincaid (My Garden Book, 1999); the re-writing of British canonical texts in Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) and Caryl Phillips' The Lost Child (2015); Florence Nightingale, the Crimean War and the Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857); the Morant Bay rebellion (1865) and the Eyre Affair (1866) seen through H.G.  de Lisser's Revenge (1918) and V. S. Reid's New Day (1949); British iconography (postage stamps and the Union Jack) in Derek Walcott's Omeros (1992) and Austin Clarke's Growing Up Stupid under the Union Jack (1980); and Michelle Cliff's  reversing of Marlow's journey in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1899) in Into the Interior (2010). Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.

283 Gender, Sexuality and Abolitionist Activism 1

(Same as SOCI 283 and WMST 283) This course arrives at the study of Abolition by way of questions of gender and sexuality often disappeared by both mainstream antislavery and anti-prison movements. We engage firsthand accounts of resistance to slavery, human trafficking, convict leasing, lynching, prisons, solitary confinement, and torture as movements out of racial injustice, labor exploitation, and gender violence and towards new imaginations of collective identity, class, ability, nationality and sexuality -- movements that begin with captivity but do not end with emancipation. Readings train students in interdisciplinary methods of research and grassroots analysis scholars and activists have amassed to theorize the complex intersections of public safety and social justice that converge on the lives of racially profiled and gender non-conforming bodies. Jasmine Syedullah.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 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 0.5 to 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.

Africana Studies: III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Thesis 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. Tagreed Al-Haddad.

Not offered in 2017/18.

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. Tagreed Al-Haddad.

311 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. Tagreed 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.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

319 Race and its Metaphors 1

(Same as ENGL 319) 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.

Topic for 2017/18a: "Blacks and Blues: Blues as Metaphor in African American Literature"  Ralph Ellison wrote of the blues that it is "an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one's aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-comic lyricism." This course takes the blues as a metaphor and follows it through canonical African American writing to consider multiple themes: black sonics, black vernacular traditions, sexuality and freedom, social critique, joy, pain, and futurities of blackness. Students interested in this course need not have a musical background, but interest in the links between sound and black literature is expected. Eve Dunbar.      

One 2-hour period.

326b. Challenging Ethnicity 1

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

Topic for 2016/17b: Racial Melodrama. Often dismissed as escapist, predictable, lowbrow or exploitative, melodrama has also been recuperated by several contemporary critics as a key site for the rupture and transformation of mainstream values. Film scholar Linda Williams argues that melodrama constitutes "a major force of moral reasoning in American mass culture," shaping the nation's racial imaginary. The conventions of melodrama originate from popular theater, but its success has relied largely on its remarkable adaptability across various media, including print, motion pictures, radio, and television. This course investigates the lasting impact of such fictions as Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Fannie Hurst's Imitation of Life, the romanticized legend of John Smith's encounter with Pocahontas, and John Luther Long's Madame Butterfly. What precisely is melodrama? If not a genre, is it (as critics diversely argue) a mode, symbolic structure, or a sensibility? What do we make of the international success of melodramatic forms and texts such as the telenovela and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain? How do we understand melodrama's special resonance historically among disfranchised classes?  How and to what ends do the pleasures of suffering authenticate particular collective identities (women, the working-class, queers, blacks, and group formations yet to be named)? What relationships between identity, affect and consumption does melodrama reveal? Hiram Perez.

Not offered 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

330 Religion, Critical Theory and Politics 1

Advanced study in selected aspects of religion and contemporary philosophical and political theory. May be taken more than once for credit when content changes.

Topic for 2017/18a: Islam, Decolonization, and Reform​. (Same as INTL 330 and  RELI 330)This course surveys the development of Islamic movements in French, British, and Dutch colonial territories and the subsequent post-colonial states. We focus on the various projects of religious, moral, societal, and political reform that developed during this period. We ask how political projects of revolution and resistance related to projects of theological and moral revival in Islam. Theories of sexuality are a central part of these movements, and the seminar focuses in large part on how new (normative and descriptive) accounts of gender and sexuality emerged in Islamic discourses in this period, responding to and shaping the political dynamics of decolonization. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Topic for 2017/18b: Race and Political Theology. (Same as RELI 330) In recent years, "political theology" has emerged as a crucial notion in the humanities. Most narrowly, political theology refers to Carl Schmitt's claim that all "significant political concepts" of the modern nation-state have theological and religious roots. Until very recently, theorists of political theology have ignored the ways in which race functions as a significant political concept of the state. This seminar explores the intersection between race and political theology. We examine multiple conceptions of political theology. And we ask most centrally: In what ways are constructions of race rooted in theological concepts and histories? We ask this question both from the perspective of the state as well as from accounts of African American experience in historical and literary texts. We consider writings by Carl Schmitt, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, Albert Raboteau, and Toni Morrison. Jonathon Kahn

One 2-hour period.

346 Race and Gender in Judicial Politics 1

(Same as POLI 346) This seminar explores the centrality of race/ethnicity and gender in the American judicial process and system. The course is designed to promote and facilitate healthy discussions and debates about the level, nature, and importance of judicial diversity in the American justice system. After examining the diversity levels on the state and federal bench and how those levels have changed over the last century, students consider factors that improve and/or limit judicial diversity such as the selection process and evaluations of judicial performance. Afterwards, students explore the value of judicial diversity. Special attention is given to judicial decision-making behavior, and the extent to which the courts protect minority rights and provide redress for historical injustices. The course concludes with students considering the issues presently facing our legal system such as mass incarceration, the proliferation of for-profit prisons, racial and gender bias in the criminal justice system, and demands for criminal justice reform. Taneisha Means.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor. 

One 2-hour period.

351a. Africana Studies Seminar 1

(Same as POLI 351) This seminar explores both historical and contemporary debates within the field of Africana Studies. Students examine a variety of subjects and themes encompassing different disciplinary and interdisciplinary works drawn from the humanities and social sciences. The critical perspectives that the seminar engages draw attention to the political, representational and explanatory value of a variety of genres of expression and knowledge practices. By delving into philosophical, historical, aesthetic and political analyses of Africa and African Diaspora societies, subjects and practices, students acquire a deep understanding of Africana research methods culminating in a substantive research project. The particular subject and themes explored vary with the faculty teaching the course. Samson Opondo.

Prerequisite(s): AFRS 100 or permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

352 Redemption and Diplomatic Imagination in Postcolonial Africa 1

(Same as POLI 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.' Samson Opondo.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

360 Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth Century 1

(Same as HIST 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. Quincy Mills.

One 2-hour period.

362 Text and Image 1

(Same as ENGL 362)

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

365a. Race and the History of Jim Crow Segregation 1

(Same as HIST 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. Quincy Mills.

Not offered 2017/18.

366b. Art and Activism in the United States 1

(Same as AMST 366, ART 366, and WMST 366)

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

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 2017/18.

373 Slavery and Abolition in Africa 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

Prerequisite(s): standard department prerequisites or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

374b. The African Diaspora 1

(Same as HIST 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. Ismail Rashid.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

378 Black Paris 1

(Same as ENGL 378 and FREN 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.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

382 Race and Popular Culture 1

(Same as LALS 382 and SOCI 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. Carlos Alamo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

384 Prophetic Praxis of Liberation 1

(Same as SOCI 384) In the West, teachings of liberation have transcended their geographic, religious, and cultural origins. Liberation theology, nonviolence, sustainability, yoga and mindfulness emerge out of intersections between American and African indigenous traditions, Eastern and Western religious traditions, and secular visions of liberation. In the face of strident demagogues, desperate fundamentalist takeovers, massive cultural disruption, human displacement, faceless wars, and planetary crisis prophetic traditions give voice to new imaginations of power and justice. This course draws on literatures from across several prophetic traditions, from the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter, from struggles for tribal sovereignty to national decolonization to trace the prophetic tradition from the roots of its contemplative social imagination of power through its many movements for justice and liberation. Jasmine Syedullah.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

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