In the Global Race and Ethnicity subfield students use the prevailing analytical tools and critical perspectives of African American studies to consider comparative approaches to groups, broadly defined. Students will examine the intellectual traditions, socio-political contexts, expressive forms, and modes of belonging of people who are understood to share common boundaries/experiences as either:
- Africans and the African Diaspora outside of the United States
- non-African-descended people of color within the United States
Other Futures: An Introduction to Modern Caribbean Literature
This course introduces students to major theories and debates within the study of Caribbean literature and culture with a particular focus on the idea of catastrophe. Reading novels and poetry that address the historical loss and injustices that have given shape to the modern Caribbean, we will explore questions of race, gender, and sexuality and pay considerable attention to the figure of the black body caught in the crosscurrents of a catastrophic history. We will analyze how writers and artists attempted to construct alternative images of the future from the histories of slavery and colonialism that haunt the Caribbean and its diasporas.
Growing up Global: Novels and Memoirs of Transnational Childhoods
What if the real answer to the question "Where are you from?" or "Where did you grow up?" is so complicated that you tend to give a convenient rather than honest answer? This course will explore narratives of youthful cultural and linguistic adaptation by those who have spent their childhood crossing national boundaries. Among the topics of discussion are how the narrators construct meaningful identities and produce a sense of belonging or alienation through narrative.
Modern Caribbean History
This course will explore the major issues that have shaped the Caribbean since 1791, including colonialism and revolution, slavery and abolition, migration and diaspora, economic inequality, and racial hierarchy. We will examine the Caribbean through a comparative approach--thinking across national and linguistic boundaries--with a focus on Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. While our readings and discussions will foreground the islands of the Greater Antilles, we will also consider relevant examples from the circum-Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora as points of comparison.
Reena N. Goldthree, Robert Karl
Model Memoirs: The Life Stories of International Fashion Models
Explores the life-writing of American, African, and Asian women in the fashion industry as a launching point for thinking about race, gender, and class. How do ethnicity and femininity intersect? How are authenticity and difference commodified? How do women construct identities through narrative and negotiate their relationships to their bodies, families, and nations? Includes guest lectures by fashion editors and models; discussions of contemporary television programs, global fashion, and cultural studies; and student self-narratives about their relationships with cultural standards of beauty, whether vexed or not.
Caribbean Women's History
This seminar investigates the historical experiences of women in the Caribbean from the era of European conquest to the late twentieth century. We will examine how shifting conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and the body have shaped understandings of womanhood and women's rights. We will engage a variety of sources - including archival documents, films, newspaper accounts, feminist blogs, music, and literary works - in addition to historical scholarship and theoretical texts. The course will include readings on the Spanish-, English-, and the French-speaking Caribbean as well as the Caribbean diaspora.
Islands In The Sun: Caribbean Literature
From the "Chigro" henchmen of James Bond's Jamaica to Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz's Haitian, Dominican Caribbean collusion, to the ethics of all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and offshore banking, this seminar explores the islands through their literature, films, photography, and the music of Mighty Sparrow and Bob Marley. More than simply a vacation paradise, at the center of the Caribbeanis the legacy of European colonialism, African enslavement, and Indian and Chinese indenture. Students will produce a seminar soundtrack, selecting relevant songs each week, which will be mixed into a collective track as part of the final.
Taigh Leigh Goffe
Afro-Diasporic Dialogues: Black Activism in Latin America and the United States
This course investigates how people of African descent in the Americas have forged social, political, and cultural ties across geopolitical and linguistic boundaries. We will interrogate the transnational dialogue between African Americans and Afro-Latin Americans using case studies from Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. We will explore how black activists and artists from the US have partnered with people of color in Latin America and the Caribbean to challenge racism and economic inequality, while also considering why efforts to mobilize Afro-descendants across the Americas have often been undermined by mutual misunderstandings.
Diversity in Black America
As the demographics of Blacks in America change, we are compelled to rethink the dominant stories of who African Americans are, and from whence they come. The seminar explores the deep cultural, genealogical, national origin, regional, and class-based diversity of people of African descent in the United States.
Slavery and Emancipation in Latin America and the Carribean
This course explores the history of African slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean from the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade in the early sixteenth century to Brazilian emancipation in 1888. The course will focus on the lived experiences of enslaved Africans, while also examining the broader social, political, legal, and cultural contexts. The assigned materials will include a variety of written primary and secondary sources, films, and visual images.
AAS 332, REL 332
The Nation of Islam in America
This course will explore the various meanings attributed to the Nation of Islam (NOI) cultural and religious practices. Of particular concern will be the ways in which the NOI¿s ideological structure has allowed it to function both as a "black nationalist" and religious body. Students will spend time examining the lives of such figures as Wallace D. Fard, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan. Other themes covered include women and the NOI, the return to Orthodoxy, the NOI and black Christianity, and the NOI and political power. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
African Vampires, Zombies, and Other Political Phantoms
In this class, we will explore literature and films about African vampires, witches, zombies, mermaids, and ghosts as a way of thinking about how Africa is constructed in the global imagination as well as how African and African diasporic artists use magic to analyze the dynamics of power. In this interdisciplinary anthropology, political science, literature and history course, students will be introduced to several bodies of literature (twentieth-century African American and Francophone fiction; twenty-first-century African science fiction; West African popular film); as well as the latest in theorizing about magic, culture, and the state.
Enter the New Negro: Black Atlantic Aesthetics
This course traces the development of artistic modernisms in the African diaspora from the second half of the nineteenth-century into the mid-twentieth century. Incorporating visits to art collections, the course examines the aesthetic theories of Black artists and writers, their subjects and the expressive forms they sought to describe. Tracing the ways these artists engaged with the emerging debates and dialogues of Western modernism, the course uses these cross-cultural dynamics, what Kobena Mercer has termed “cosmopolitan modernisms,” to centralize the visionary, transnational, modernity of artists in the African diaspora.
Sisters' Voices: African Women Writers
In this class, we study the richness and diversity of poetry, novels, and memoirs written by African women. The course expands students' understanding of the long history of women's writing across Africa and a range of languages. It focuses on their achievements while foregrounding questions of aesthetics and style. As an antidote to misconceptions of African women as silent, students analyze African women's self-representations and how they theorize social relations within and across ethnic groups, generations, classes, and genders. The course increase students' ability to think, speak, and write critically about gender.
Seeing To Remember: Representing Slavery Across the Black Atlantic
The class explores the historical representation of slavery and its contemporary manifestations in artof the Black diaspora. It pays particular attention to the different ways that art objects, institutions andmonuments 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. Their final assignment will be the construction of a digital exhibition.
Law, Social Policy, and African American Women
Journeying from enslavement and Jim Crow to the post-civil rights era, this course will learn how law and social policy have shaped, constrained, and been resisted by black women's experience and thought. Using a wide breadth of materials including legal scholarship, social science research, visual arts, and literature, we will also develop an understanding of how property, the body, and the structure and interpretation of domestic relations have been frameworks through which black female subjectivity in the United States was and is mediated.
African American Literature: Origins to 1910
This introductory course focuses on black literature and literary culture from the mid-18th century to the early 20th; it will cover the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar; the political oratory of Sojourner Truth and David Walker; slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs; non- fiction prose by W. E. B. Du Bois and Anna Julia Cooper; and Frances Harper's and James Weldon Johnson's novels. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces that surround the production of an early African American literary tradition.
Race and the American Legal Process: Emancipation to the Voting Rights Act
This course examines the dynamic and often conflicted relationships between African American struggles for inclusion, and the legislative, administrative, and judicial decision-making responding to or rejecting those struggles, from Reconstruction to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. In tracing these relationships we will cover issues such as property, criminal law, suffrage, education, and immigration, with a focus on the following theoretical frameworks: equal protection, due process, civic participation and engagement, and political recognition.
African American History Since Emancipation
Offers an introduction to the major themes, critical questions, and pivotal moments in post emancipationAfrican 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.
Postblack: Contemporary African American Art
As articulated by Thelma Golden, postblack refers to the work of African American artists who emerged in the 1990s with ambitious, irreverent, and sassy work. Postblack suggests the emergence of a generation of artists removed from the long tradition of black affirmation of the Harlem Renaissance, black empowerment of the Black Arts movement, and identity politics of the 1980s and early 90s. This seminar involves critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art, and will provide an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade.
Art, Apartheid, and South Africa
Apartheid, the political doctrine of separation of races in South Africa (1948-1990), dominated the (South) African political discourse in the second half of the 20th century. While it lasted, art and visual cultures were marshaled in the defense and contestation of its ideologies. Since the end of Apartheid, artists, filmmakers, dramatists, and scholars continue to reexamine the legacies of Apartheid, and the social, philosophical, and political conditions of non-racialized South Africa. Course readings examine issues of race, nationalism and politics, art and visual culture, and social memory in South Africa.
Chika O. Okeke-Agulu
African Radical Thought and Revolutionary Youth Culture
African thought continues to be marginalized, even though radical black intellectuals have shaped a number of social movements and global intellectual history. African youths are innovating new models they are revolutionizing the sciences, law, social and visual media, fashion, etc. In this class, we read classics of African thought and study contemporary African youth culture together to theorize what is happening in Africa today. This includes reading such African theorists as Frantz Fanon, V. Y. Mudimbe, and Achille Mbembe, and researching innovations in contemporary urban popular culture.
AAS 481, ENG 429
The African American Atlantic: Modernity and the Black Experience
Examines the formation and transformation of the Black Atlantic World from the 18th century to the present. Through an examination of a range of literary texts, historical documents, and visual media, the course will consider how the Atlantic Ocean, often associated with the violence and pain of slavery, also became the stage in which new black identities were constructed. How did blacks in the new world imagine themselves as modern subjects? How have African, African American, and Caribbean writers and intellectuals imagined global citizenship? There will be a visit to Ghana during the spring break.
Governing Post-Colonial Africa: Family, Religion, and the State
This seminar addresses today's post-colonial Africa. It examines structural responses and strategies developed by African nations and communities upon insertion into the global political and economic world. What are these structural strategies? What traditional and or modern resources have African nations and communities utilized? What state are they in now? Themes to be investigated include political, social and religious structures, global economic interaction and women in society. The character of Africa before modern nationhood will form the backdrop to discussions of Africa as we know it today.
The Resources Curse and Development in Africa
This course examines the relationship between natural resource wealth and development in Africa. The dominant discourse on resource wealth on the continent has largely been associated with the resource curse. The construction and reproduction of the resource curse thesis is explored, particularly against the backdrop of the recent resource boom and scramble on the continent, and the changes that have occurred in Africa's resource-rich economies. It seeks to address the following questions. Is resource endowment inimical to development in Africa? What causes the resource curse in Africa? How can the resource curse be overcome in Africa?
Conflict in Africa
Examines selected aspects on conflictin Africa. The concept"conflict" is used to mean organized and/or collective political violence that causes the death of about 1,000 people per year. The course will focus on the following issues: analytical debates about conflicts in Africa; actors/participants such as guerrillas, warlords, and child soldiers; continental politics about conflict; the politics of humanitarian intervention; wars in the Great Lakes Region; the war and warlords of West Africa; the genocide in Rwanda, and the aftermath of wars, especially those of Southern Africa.
Cross-Cultural Explorations of Gender in Film and Ethnographic Texts
Through visual and written ethnographies, this course will explore cross-cultural conceptions of gender. Specifically, this course will address the relationship between religion, sexuality, and social reproduction; and the salience of gender to issues of oppression, empowerment, and social change.
The Ethnographer’s Craft
What are social and cultural facts? And how do we identify these facts using anthropological research methods? This field methods course is for students interested in learning how to work with complex and often contradictory qualitative data. Students will examine how biases and beliefs affect the questions we ask, the data we collect, and our interpretations. Key topics include objectivism, interpretation, reflexivity, participant-observation, translation, and comparison.
A cross-cultural examination of collective action, power, authority and legitimacy. Topics will include the diversity of systems of leadership and decision making, the sociocultural contexts of egalitarianism and hierarchy, contemporary contests over power-sharing and state legitimacy, forms of power outside the state, and human rights struggles.
Ritual, Myth and Worldview
An exploration of classic and modern theories of religion (belief, ritual, myth, worldview) as they pertain to a cross-cultural understanding of these phenomena.
This seminar closely reads descriptive and fictive works replete with cross-cultural representations and juxtaposed histories. What makes a given comparative account--whether colonialist or postcolonialist--compelling? Various genres--ethnographic essays, intense travel narratives, translated tales and myths, and novels--receive concerted attention.
ART 237, AAS 237
Modern and Contemporary African Art
This course examines the range of work by African artists from the colonial period to the era of post-independence. It seeks to familiarize students with modern and contemporary art from Africa by studying forms, ideas, and subject matter that have preoccupied African artists since the mid-20th century. It is also interested in the critical practices that have helped set these artists on the global stage, as well as theoretical structures that might help our understanding of these processes.
The Experience of Modernity: A Survey of Modern Architecture in the West
An analysis of the emergence of modern architecture from the late 19th century to World War II, in light of new methodologies. The course will focus not only on major monuments but also on issues of gender, class, and ethnicity to provide a more pluralistic perspective on the experience of modernity. For department majors, this course satisfies the Group 3 distribution requirement.
Esther da Costa Meyer
Introduction to African Art
An introduction to African art and architecture from prehistory to the 20th century. Beginning with Paleolithic rock art of northern and southern Africa, we will cover ancient Nubia and Meroe; Neolithic cultures such as Nok, Djenne and Ife; African kingdoms, including Benin, Asante, Bamun, Kongo, Kuba, Great Zimbabwe, and the Zulu; Christian Ethiopia and the Islamic Swahili coast; and other societies, such as the Sherbro, Igbo, and the Maasai. By combining Africa's cultural history and developments in artistic forms we establish a long historical view of the stunning diversity of the continent's indigenous arts and architecture.
Art and Politics in Postcolonial Africa
This seminar examines the impact of the IMF'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?
Post-1945 African Photography
This course examines the role and status of photography in different phases of Africa's political, cultural and art historical experience since 1945. We explore how African photographers used the photographic medium in the service of the state, society and their own artistic visions during the colonial and post-independence eras. Photography's relationship with art and its social function in Africa will underlie our discussion.
ART 472, AAS 472
Igbo and Yoruba Art
This seminar focuses on the classical and traditional arts of the Yoruba and Igbo peoples of Southern Nigeria. Through readings on key aspects of the groups' philosophies, ritual practices, aesthetics and socio-cultural formations, we examine the conceptual bases and formal conditions of the arts of the two groups, and rethink earlier scholarship on Igbo and Yoruba art, politics and visual cultures.
Easily recognized as among the most important examples of canonical African art, Kongo sculpture, textiles, and ritual design are famous for their conceptual density, stylistic variety and rigorous abstraction. The course examines the role of art in the life of the Kongo Kingdom and related peoples, from the arrival of Spanish explorers and missionaries in the 15th century, through the era of Belgian colonization from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries, to the period since political independence in 1960. The seminar coincides with and will explore the Kongo Across the Waters exhibition at the Princeton University Museum.
Bondage and Slaving in Global History
Ranging from the Neolithic to the 21st century, this course will survey the history of human bondage. Topics to be explored include the role of slavery in the rise of the first Neolithic states; the institutionalization of slavery in ancient Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman Mediterranean, and ancient China; the proliferation of slave systems elsewhere in Eurasia and on the African continent; the economic and political transformation of the Old and New Worlds through the commodification of African and Native American bodies; and the feedback loops linking ancient slave systems to modern ones.
Dan-El Padilla Peralta
Citizenships Ancient and Modern
Recent developments in the United States and throughout the world have exposed fault lines in how communities design and regulate forms of citizenship. But current debates over the assignment, withholding, or deprivation of citizen status have a long and violent history. In this coursewe will attempt to map a history of citizenship from the ancient Mediterranean world to the 21st century. Questions to be tackled include: who/what is a citizen? (How) are exclusion and marginalization wired into the historical legacies and present-day practices of citizenship?
Dan-El Padilla Peralta
COM 239, AAS, AFS 239
Introduction to African Literature and Film
African literature and films have been a vital (but often unacknowledged) stream in and stimulant to the global traffic in invention. Nigerian literature is one of the great literatures of the 20th century. Ethiopian literature is one of the oldest in the world. South Africans have won more Nobel Prizes for Literature in the past forty years than authors from any other country. Senegalese films include some of the finest films ever made. In this course, we will study the richness and diversity of foundational African texts (some in translation), while foregrounding questions of aesthetics, style, humor, and epistemology.
COM 376, AAS 371, GSS 381
Crafting Freedom: Women and Liberation in the Americas (1960sto the present)
This course aims to explore different forms that the question of liberation has taken in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 1960s, we will go through the limits and potentialities of texts that have built a poetics and politics of liberation, paying special attention to the role played by language and imagination when ideas translate onto social movements -and vice-versa. Focusing on four concepts -abolition, education, care, and the commons- the course touches upon key moments that have shaped women's struggles (intersectionality, black, third world, postcolonial, and decolonial'feminisms'). Readings include Angela Davis, Gloria Anzaldúa, Silvia Federici, Diamela Eltit, Audre Lorde, Fernanda Navarro, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Gayatri Spivak, Zapatista among others.
The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices
A studio course introducing students to American dance aesthetics and practices, with a focus on how its evolution has been influenced by African American choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies.
This course will explore the works of contemporary authors of the African and Caribbean diaspora in Europe and North America in relation to the changing historical and cultural context of migration and globalization. The course will consider how these writers have represented the process of relocation, acculturation, and the transnational moment. What is the role of the imagination in the rethinking of identities lived across boundaries? Why and how do these authors use the term diaspora to describe their experiences? How do the works of a new generation of writers from Africa and the Caribbean transform theories of globalization?
Haiti: History, Literature, and Arts of the First Black Republic
This course will offer an overview of the history and culture of Haiti, the world's first black republic. In 1804, the former slaves of French St. Domingue under the leadership of Toussaint Louverture defeated the most powerful army in the world, Napoleon's to become the world's first post-slavery, black republic. The course will sample the rich history, novels, Afro-caribbean religion (Vodun), plays, music, film, and visual arts of this unique postcolonial nation.
F. Nick Nesbitt
Japan and Black America: A Long Road to Discovery
According to popular imagery, there are hardly two cultures that are more different than those of the Japanese and Black Americans. And yet, despite these perceived differences, for over a century there has been abundant and complex cultural sharing, borrowing, and exchange between them. This interdisciplinary course will explore this tradition from the early 20th century to the present. In addition to investigating creative cultural pairings, we will explore vexing issues that frequently appear when people with distinct histories and traditions imagine each other.
Pleasure, Power andProfit: Race and Sexualities in a Global Era
Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial, compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence.
Asian American History
This course introduces students to the multiple and varied experiences of people of Asian heritage in the United States from the 19th century to the present day. It focuses on three major questions: (1) What brought Asians to the United States? (2) How did Asian Americans come to be viewed as a race? (3) How does Asian American experience transform our understanding of U.S. history? Using newspapers, novels, government reports, and films, this course will cover major topics in Asian American history, including Chinese Exclusion, Japanese internment, transnational adoption, and the model minority stereotype.
Beth Lew-Williams, Olivier Burtin
The course follows the major themes and issues surrounding the history of Mexican Americans in the United States. It seeks to explain the historical origins of the continuing debates over land ownership, assimilation expectations, discrimination, immigration regulation, and labor disputes. The course focuses primarily on the US citizens created after the Mexican American War and Mexican immigrants to the US. It looks transnationally at Mexico's history to explain US shifts in public opinion and domestic policies. While the course examines the impact of Mexican Americans in many regions of the country, it will focus on those in the Southwest.
A survey course that begins with an overview of the continent at the end of the third century A.D. and ends with the death of Moshoeshoe in the 19th century. Focuses on several great themes of African history: long-distance trade, state formation, migration, religious conversion to either Islam or Christianity, forms of domestic slavery, and the impact of the slave trade.
Colonial and Postcolonial Africa
The impact of European colonial rule on the traditional societies of Africa in the 19th and 20th centuries. One of the dominant themes will be the emergence of the intelligentsia in colonial areas as proponents of nationalism.
Memory, History, and the African Diaspora
This course uses historicalscholarship, memoir, visual art, fiction andmusic 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 debates on such issues as public memorials, legal justice, reparations, and affirmative action.
Comparative Environmental History
Examines the processes, causes, and effects of environmental change. Drawing on different historical periods and world regions, including Africa, the Americas, and Asia, class readings expose participants to different models and approaches to the study of environmental change. The course focuses on such themes as environmental determinism, ethno-ecology, biological imperialism, deforestation and desertification, the history of famine and food, and the impact of war, technology, population growth, market forces, and globalization on earth's ecosystem.
Utopias of Yesteryear: Socialist Experiments in Africa
This seminar explores the contours of Africa's embrace and engagement with the most influential ideology of the twentieth-century. Why, and through which channels, were Africans attracted to socialism? Did particular forms of colonialism and decolonization push African political actors in that direction? Is it legitimate, as some scholars have suggested, to speak of genuinely African socialisms? We will discuss the contexts in which specific countries adopted and implemented socialism. Our goal is to place Africa in the mainstream of conversations about socialism.
Caribbean Revolutions: From Plantation Slavery to Global Tourism
The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the history of the Caribbean from the arrival of its first human inhabitants to the present. During the first half of the semester we will examine the dual role of plantation slavery and European colonialism in the historical development of the region up until the opening of the Panama Canal. On the second half we will discuss how the Caribbean interacted with the United States and the world at large during the long Twentieth Century.
Projects in African Dance Drumming
A performance course in African dance drumming with a focus on music from the West African Manding Empire (Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Senegal.) Taught by master drummer Olivier Tarpaga, exponent of the Mogo Kele Foli drumming technique, the course provides hands-on experience on two main instruments, the Djembe and the Dun dun. Students will acquire performance experience, skills, and techniques on the Také and Diansa and develop an appreciation for the integrity of drumming in the daily life of West Africa.
Music of Africa
Introduction to the vocal and instrumental music of Africa south of the Sahara. Topics include the place of music in society, the influence of language on musical composition, principles of rhythmic organization, urban popular music, "art" music as a response to colonialism, and the impact of African music on the earliest forms of African American music.
V. Kofi Agawu
NES 238, AAS 236, REL 233
Muslims in America
This course introduces students to the historical, religious, political and social dimensions of Muslim presence in the United States. It is framed by methodological discussions about the study of Islam and Muslims in America and by the question whether we can speak of the emergence of a specifically American Islam over the last century. The course addresses themes such as religious practice, political participation, gender issues, Muslim everyday culture and Islamic Law, as well as the historical and contemporary differences and convergences between African American and immigrant Muslim communities and their descendants.
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.
Human Trafficking and its Demise: African and European Slaves in Modern Islam (16th - 21st century)
What did slavery represent for Islamic societies, and what does human trafficking mean in the Middle East and North Africa nowadays as Salafist groups such as ISIS restore practices of enslavement in Syria and Iraq? After a presentation of the issues related to slavery in Muslim societies today, we will ask ourselves if there was even such thing as Islamic slavery: Did Muslim societies organize a specific type of slave trade? To what extent was slavery a pivotal institution? We will see that various experiences of slavery shaped discourses about race and gender, and we will assess the main legacies of slavery in current Muslim societies.
Politics in Africa
A comparative approach to African political systems. The meanings of the concepts of modernization, national integration, and development are explored. Topics include the inheritances of colonial rule, independence and the newtasks, political patterns in the postindependence period, prospects for political change, and African interstate relations.
Topics in Brazilian Cultural and Social History
Through the analysis of literary texts, films, and music, the course will consider cultural responses to the construction of a Brazilian national identity. Possible topics include the Brazilian modernist tradition; contemporary culture and media; the city and literature; poetry and song.
Brazilian History: Slavery, Race and Citizenship in Modern Brazil
This course will introduce students to the history of slavery and race relations in modern Brazil and will explore how it resonates in present-day debates about citizenship. Students will read classical and recent historical works as well as primary sources in order to gain a critical and comparative understanding of slavery as an institution in the Americas, and its adaptability to local realities. Students will be introduced to methods of historical research, with a particular focus on digital history. Students will write papers tackling how the history of slavery has distinctively shaped ideas of democracy, human rights and social justice.
Pentecostalism is the fastest growing religious movement in the world, spreading especially in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, having a major impact on the religious, social, and economic practices in those regions. This course looks into the religious and cultural sources of the movement from its birth in Los Angeles in 1906, focusing on such distinctive features as healing, expressive bodily worship, "speaking in tongues," and its special appeal to people on the margins of society.
Women and Gender in Islamic Societies
This seminar focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in Islamic societies, past and present. Topics include women's lives, women's writings, changing perceptions of male vs. female piety, marriage and divorce, motherhood and fatherhood, sexuality and the body, and the feminist movement in the Middle East. Course materials include a wide range of texts in translation, including novels and poetry, as well as contemporary films.
Urban Sociology: The City and Social Change in the Americas
By taking a comparative approach, this course examines the role of social, economic, and political factors in the emergence and transformation of modern cities in the United States and selected areas of Latin America. The class considers the city in its dual image: both as a center of progress and as a redoubt of social problems, especially poverty. Special attention is given to spatial processes that have resulted in the aggregation and desegregation of populations differentiated by social class and race.
This course will examine the ghetto as a social form and as a "concept" in the United States. We intend to explore the phenomenon as it moved from European cities to American communities and became what might be described as a hyper-ghetto today. We intend to pay close attention to both the macro social forces that make a ghetto a place of contempt and the everyday aspects that makes it not only a livable space but one that thrives and survives in a multitude of micro-social ways. We will explore how the social form came to exact such a distinct imprint on our collective imaginations.
Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender
Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and lifestyles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today.
Bonnie Thornton Dill
Race and Ethnicity
An introduction to the sociological study of race and ethnicity which begins by encouraging students to exercise some critical distance from the core concepts of race and ethnicity. Topics will include comparative racism, immigration, the experiences of the second generation, whiteness, the culture of poverty debate, slums and ghettos, and the debate over the "underclass."
Race, Ethnicity, and the Nationalism in Latin America
Examines a wide range of issues regarding race, ethnicity and nationalism in Latin America. We will explore the basic sociological, political and cultural concepts of nation, race and ethnicity, emphasizing how they are used in the region. Race and ethnicity have taken on special meanings in Latin America that are disctinct from other regions. Much of the course will focus on how that came about and how race is manifested. We will emphasize comparisons to the U.S. as well as across countries within Latin America. The course will cover populations of African and indigenous origins.
Latino Global Cities
This seminar focuses on the comparative study of Latino urban cultures in U.S., Caribbean and Spanish cities (mainly New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Madrid). Topics include the 2008 Financial Crisis, Occupy-like movements, global migratory flows, popular culture, memory, debt, visuality and citizenship. Paying close attention to their political and cultural contexts, flamenco, hip-hop, graffiti, visual culture, poetry, documentary films and political performances will be analyzed. Guest speakers and musicians will be part of the conversation.
German Labrador Mendez
Topics in the Politics of Writing and Difference
A course analyzing various Latin American literary and written traditions produced by, in dialogue with, or on behalf of subjects who have an ambiguous relationship with dominant forms of written expression, for example: indigenous people, black people, and women. Special attention will be given to slave narratives, testimonio, autobiography, and the indigenista novel.
Readings in Kiswahili Literature and East African Culture
This course is an introduction to the basics of literature and their application to literature in Kiswahili. Content will focus on understanding the basic vocabulary and concepts used in describing literary theory and criticism in Kiswahili language. Students will read selected materials on literary theory and criticism written in Kiswahili as well as sample Swahili texts from the various genres (novel, drama, and poetry) to gain understanding of the nature of literature written in Kiswahili.