Fall 2019 Courses

AAS 201 (EC)

African American Studies and the Philosophy of Race


This course introduces students to the field of African American Studies through an examination of the complex experiences, both past and present, of Americans of African descent. Through a multidisciplinary perspective, it reveals the complicated ways we come to know and live race in the United States. Students engage classic texts in the field. All of which are framed by a concern with epistemologies of resistance and of ignorance that offer insight into African American thought and practice.

Eddie S. Glaude

AAS 245, ART 245 (LA)

Introduction to 20th Century African American Art (fka "Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movements")


This surveys history of African American art during the long 20th-century, from the individual striving of late 19th century to the unprecedented efflorescence of art and culture in 1920s Harlem; from the retrenchment in black artistic production during the era of Great Depression, to the rise of racially conscious art inspired by the Civil Rights Movement; from the black feminist art in the 1970s, to the age of American multiculturalism in the 1980s and 1990s; and finally to the turn of the present century when ambitious "postblack" artists challenge received notions of black art and racial subjectivity. [This course fulfills the core survey requirement]

Chika Okeke-Agulu

AAS 300 (SA)

Junior Seminar: Research and Writing in African American Studies

As a required course for AAS concentrators, this junior seminar introduces students to theories and methods of research design in African American Studies. Drawing on a wide-ranging methodological toolkit from the humanities and social sciences, students will learn to reflect on the ethical and political dimensions of original research in order to produce knowledge that is intellectually and socially engaged. This is a writing-intensive seminar with weekly essay assignments. [Open to AAS Juniors Only]

Joshua B. Guild, Tera W. Hunter

AAS 303, HUM 306, GSS 406 (HA)

Topics in Global Race and Ethnicity: Scientific Racism: Then and Now


This course explores the intellectual history of scientific racism, paying close attention to how its theories influence power and institutions today. Reading primary sources from the history of science, each class will trace the reverberations of scientific racism in media, education, politics, law, and global health. Our conversations will consistently analyze their intersections of race, gender, sexuality, age, and disability in the legacies of scientific racism. We will also examine the impact of scientific racism in public discourse about the Black Lives Matter Movement and collectively brainstorm for activism towards restorative justice.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

AAS 349, ART 364 (LA)

Seeing to Remember: Representing Slavery Across the Black Atlantic


The class explores the historical representation fo slavery and its contemporary manifestations in art of the Black diaspora. It pays particular attention to the different ways that art objects, institutions and monuments narrate these histories and considers why slavery remains relatively invisible in public art, in public monuments, and as a subject for national institutions in the US. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with objects held in collections at Princeton, go on field trips and learn from visiting artists and curators.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

AAS 367, HIS 387 (HA)

African American History Since Emancipation


Offers an introduction to the major themes, critical questions, and pivotal moments in post emancipation African American history. Traces the social, political, cultural, intellectual, and legal contours of the black experience in the United States from Reconstruction to the rise of Jim Crow, through the World Wars, Depression, and the Great Migrations, to the long civil rights era and the contemporary period of racial politics. Using a wide variety of texts, images, and creative works, the course situates African American history within broader national and international contexts. [This course fulfills the core survey requirement]

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

AAS 380, AMS 382 (HA)

Public Policy in the U.S. Racial State


This course explores how ideas and discourses about race shape how public policy is debated, adopted, and implemented. Black social movements and geopolitical considerations prompted multiple public policy responses to racial discrimination throughout the twentieth century. Despite these policy responses, discrimination persists, raising theoretical concerns about the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, political representation, the role of the state (meaning government or law) in promoting social justice, and the role of social movements and civil society in democratizing policymaking and addressing group oppression.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

AAS 426, HIS 426 (HA)

Memory, History and the Archive (fka "Memory, History, and the African Diaspora")


This course uses historical scholarship, memoir, visual art, fiction and music to examine the relationship between "history" and "memory" and the different ways that race and social power have shaped that relationship in the U.S. and across the African diaspora. It considers the role played by acts of remembering in struggles for justice and self-determination, as well as the place of forgetting and erasure in processes of exclusion. We will link representations of the black past to debate on such issues as public memorials, legal justice, reparations, and affirmative action.

Joshua B. Guild

ART 373, AAS 373 (LA)

What is Black Art: Art History and the Black Diaspora


This course introduces students to the art and visual culture of the Black diaspora from the colonial period to the present. Artists and works of art will be considered in terms of their social, intellectual, and historical contexts and students will be encouraged to consider artistic practices as they intersect with other cultural spheres. Topics and readings will draw from the field of art history of the Atlantic world, and the course will incorporate regular museum visits and dialogue with artists and curators in the field.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

ART 474, AAS 474, AFS 474 (LA)

Art and the Politics in Postcolonial Africa


This seminar examines the impact of the International Monetary Fund's Structural Adjustment Program, military dictatorships, and political crises on artistic production in the 1980s, and the dramatic movement of African artists from the margins of the international art world to its very center since the 1990s. How familiar or different are the works and concerns of African artists? What are the consequences, in Africa and the West, of the international success of a few African artists? And what does the work of these Africans at home and in the West tell us about the sociopolitical conditions of our world today?

Chika Okeke-Agulu

ART 529, AAS 529, CLA 528

Ancient Egyptian Kingship in Image, Architecture & Performance

The institution of kingship was central to the ancient Egyptian worldview.  Kings and their administrations sought to express the complex nature of a strong leader with access to the gods and secret knowledge, exceptional skill as a warrior and diplomat, and unrivaled power over and sacrifice to his people by using both mystery and overwhelming display.  In this seminar we consider the nature of Egyptian kingship and how a vast body of material and visual culture shaped and expressed this essential concept from its origins in the beginning of the 4th millennium to the era of Roman rulers.

Deborah Vischak


DAN 211, AAS 211 (LA)

The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices


A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practice, with a focus on how American dance has been influenced by African American choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies.

Dyane Harvey Salaam

ENG 556, AAS 556

African American Literature: Black Arts Criticism

Black arts criticism addresses the contradictions of cultural production while expanding what it means to read a work of art. It’s become an essential part of our contemporary discourse. From a longer view, this dissemination may be traced to the Black Arts movement, whose own body of criticism questioned just whom “black art” was being produced for. We will survey the development of Black Arts criticism into Black arts criticism, touching on music, literature, and the visual arts. In the process, we will explore criticism’s role in the academy by learning how scholarly writing can inform online and magazine work.

Kinohi Nishikawa

ENG 573, AAS 573

Problems in Literary Study: On Modernisms and Blackness

At the beginning of the twentieth century, European writers and artists used blackness as a mechanism for creating new forms of art and the aesthetic of modernism. At about the same time, black writers and artists adopted modernism as the aesthetic that would best represent their lives in a world defined by racial violence. This course has two aims: The first one is to question received accounts of global modernism's relation to blackness and the affirmative claims made from primitivism and exoticism. The second one is to closely examine how black writers and artists in Africa and the African diaspora adopted and transformed global modernism.

Simon Gikandi

HIS 388, URB 388, AMS 380, AAS 388 (HA)

Unrest and Renewal in Urban America


This course surveys the history of cities in the United States from colonial settlement to the present. Over centuries, cities have symbolized democratic ideals of immigrant "melting pots" and cutting-edge innovation, as well as urban crises of disorder, decline, crime, and poverty. Urban life has concentrated extremes like rich and poor; racial and ethnic divides; philanthropy and greed; skyscrapers and parks; violence and hope; center and suburb. The course examines course in U.S. history have brokered revolution, transformation and renewal, focusing on class, race, gender, immigration, capitalism and the built environment.

Alison E. Isenberg

HIS 423, AAS 423, AFS 423 (HA)

Africa: Revolutionary Movements and Liberation Struggles


At the tip of every political activist's tongue in the twentieth century was a word: Revolution. African activists did not lag behind in this age of revolution. These African activists saw their political projects as part of a global revolutionary wave to uproot the old world and bring about a new socio-political dispensation - chief among them: the liberation of their countries from colonial domination. This course explores the social roots of Africa's revolutionary movements and the liberation struggles that were carried out between the 1950s and 1970s.

Benedito L. Machava

HIS 577, AAS 577

Readings in African American History

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the literature of African-American History, from the colonial era up to more recent times. Major themes and debates are highlighted. The course should help students to define interests within the field to pursue further study and research and also to aid preparation for examinations.

Tera W. Hunter

NES 316, HIS 299, AAS 324, JDS 316 (HA)

Muslims, Jews and Christians in North Africa: Interactions, Conflicts and Memory


This has been as one of the main events of the modern times in North Africa: from the 1950s onwards, the Jewish local communities and the European settlers started to leave Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. We will study the various interactions between Muslims, Jews and Christians in this part of the Islamic world. How did Europeans transform North African Islam and local societies? We will as well explore the reasons why the local Jews and Europeans left en masse after the colonial period and how North African Muslims, Jews and former European settlers developed either a strong memory of a shared past or a mutual distrust even today.

M’hamed Oualdi

REL 250, AAS 250 (EM)

Religion in the African American Political Imagination


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the historically complex relationship between "religion" and "the political" in African American life. For instance, is there a non-political religious identity? And, how does the "religious" identity of an African American atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, or naturalist affect their "political" imagination? These questions will guide us as we engage in close readings of texts from a variety of genres (historical, theoretical, and literary) that capture the dynamics of African American experiences, religion, and thought.

Kevin A. Wolfe

POL 319, AAS 316, AMS 391 (EM)

History of African American Political Thought


This course explores central themes and ideas in the history of African American political thought: slavery and freedom, solidarity and sovereignty, exclusion and citizenship, domination and democracy, inequality and equality, rights and respect. Readings will be drawn, primarily, from canonical authors, including Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Ralph Ellison, Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton, and Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an introductory course, which emphasizes both thematic and historical approaches to political theory. 

Desmond Jagmohan

WWS 331, SOC 312, AAS 317 (SA)

Race and Public Policy


Analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era. 

Douglas Massey

WWS 345, PSY 384, AAS 384 (EC)

Prejudices: Its Causes, Consequences, and Cures


Prejudice is one of the most contentious topics in modern American society. There is debate regarding its causes, pervasiveness, and impact. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the psychological research relevant to these questions. We will review theoretical perspectives on prejudice to develop an understanding of its cognitive, affective, and motivational underpinnings. We will also discuss how these psychological biases relate to evaluations of, and behavior toward, members of targeted groups. In addition, research-based strategies for reducing prejudice will be discussed.

Stacey Sinclair