All AAS Courses & Approved Cognates

AAS 201, PHI 291 (CD or 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, Imani Perry

AAS 210, MUS 253 (LA)

Introduction to African American Music


What is African American music? Is it a set of genres, sound characteristics, or musical approaches? Is it based on who creates, or who receives the music? How has an African American musical tradition undergone continual re-definition, and how might we understand these developments within a historical context? This course will address these questions by studying African American music from a variety of perspectives, drawing from historical and critical readings, and sound and visual media.

Courtney Bryan

AAS 212, ENG 212 (LA)

What's So Funny? Forms of African American Humor


This course examines resources for and strategies of African American humor from the early 20th century to the present. We will survey a wide range of cultural expression, including folk poems, literary satire, and stand-up comedy, and we will consider the historical circumstances under which African American humor has flourished. Supplemental reading in the philosophy of comedy will allow us to reflect on the cognitive and affective pleasure that is realized in laughter.

Kinohi Nishikawa

AAS 230 

Topics in African American Studies

This topics course explores the complex interplay between political, economic, and cultural forces that shape our understanding of the historic achievements and struggles of African-descended people in the United States and their relation to others around the world.



This course explores various ways that Americans have imagined, remembered, and forgotten two cases of racial violence in American history-enslavement and lynching-to uncover the political commitments underlying various, often competing, cultural memories of violence in US history. Students critically analyze a variety of memory projects from memorials and memoirs to films, art, music, photographs, and literature to not only understand how racial violence has been inscribed onto American identity and culture, but to imagine new strategies, steeped in a commitment to justice, to contend with these historical traumas and their legacies.

Mari Crabtree


The Fire This Time — Reading James Baldwin (ALSO eng 231) (LA)


This course examines the selected non-fiction writings of one of America's most influential essayists and public intellectuals: James Baldwin. Attention will be given to his views on ethics, art, and politics - with particular consideration given to his critical reflections on race and democracy. 

Eddie S. Glaude

AAS 235, SOC 236 (SA)

Race is Socially Constructed: Now What? 


The truism that "race is socially constructed" hides more than it reveals. Have Irish Americans always been white? Are people of African descent all Black? Is calling Asian Americans a "model minority" a compliment? Does race impact who we date or marry? In this course, students develop a sophisticated conceptual toolkit to make sense of such contentious cases of racial vision and division as the uprising in Ferguson. We learn to connect contemporary events to historical processes, and individual experiences to institutional policies, exercising a sociological imagination with the potential to not only analyze but transform the status quo. [Open to Freshmen and Sophomores only]

Ruha Benjamin

AAS 244, ART 262, LAS 244 (CD or LA)

Introduction to Pre-20th Century Black Diaspora Art


This course focuses on the networks, the imaginaries and the lives inhabited by Black artists, makers, and subjects from the 18th through 19th centuries. It revolves around the Caribbean (particularly the Anglophone Caribbean), North America and Europe. We will reflect on how pre-twentieth century Black artists are written into history or written out of it. We will explore the aesthetic innovation of these artists and the visionary worlds they created, and examine their travels, their writings, along with the social worlds and communities they formed. The course incorporates lectures and readings and, if possible, museum visits. [This course fulfills the Core Survey Requirement for concentrators and certificate students.]

Anna Arabindan Kesson


AAS 245, ART 245 (LA)

Introduction to 20th Century African American Art


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 for concentrators and certificate students.]

Chika Okeke-Agulu

AAS 247, POL 363 (SA)

The New Jim Crow - US Crime Policy from Constitutional Formation to Ferguson


This course explores the political development of America's racially disparate punishment regime. We trace the history of US crime policy, moving through US constitutional formation, Reconstruction and lynch law, and Jim Crow punishment in the South and urban North. We focus on punishment in post-civil rights America, and we devote special attention to policing, the death penalty, and the interconnected wars on crime, drugs, immigration, and terror. Our overarching goal is to understand the political construction of crime, colorblindness, and legitimate state violence. 

Naomi Murakawa

AAS 274, COM 274 (LA)

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.

Wendy Laura Belcher

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.

AAS Core Faculty

AAS 301, SOC 367 (SA)

Black to the Future: Science, Fiction, and Society


Designer Babies. Ancestry Tests. Organ Regeneration. Biometric Surveillance. These and more comprise our 21st-century landscape. This interdisciplinary course examines the values and politics that shape science, medicine, and technology, asking who bears the risk and who reaps the benefit of innovations? Social inequality is legitimized, in part, by myths about human difference. And while course participants grapple with past and present stories that shape science and technology, we also apply a sociological imagination to the future, exploring how contemporary hopes and fears may give rise to "real utopias" that are more equitable and just. [Open to Juniors and Seniors only] 

Ruha Benjamin

AAS 302, SOC 303, ANT 378, GHP 302 (SA)

Political Bodies: The Social Anatomy of Power and Difference


In this seminar, students will learn about the human body in its social, cultural and political contexts. The framing is sociological rather than biomedical, attentive to cultural meanings, institutional practices, politics and social problems. The course explicitly discusses bodies in relation to race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, health, geography and citizenship status, carefully examining how social differences come to appear natural. Analyzing clinics, prisons, border zones, virtual realities and more, students develop a conceptual toolkit to analyze how society "gets under the skin", producing differential exposure to premature death.

Ruha Benjamin

AAS 303

Topics in Global Race and Ethnicity 

This seminar uses the prevailing analytical tools and critical perspectives of African American Studies to consider comparative approaches to groups, broadly defined. Students will examine the intellectual traditions, socio-political contexts, expressive forms, and modes of belonging of people who are understood to share common boundaries/experiences as either (1) Africans and the African diaspora outside of the United States; and/or (2) non-African-descended people of color within the United States.

From haiti to ferguson: The Global Black Freedom Struggle (HA)


This seminar surveys the global and historical dimensions of the Black freedom struggle beginning with the Haitian Revolution. Course readings challenge students to reflect on the contingent nature of identity and power as experienced by people of African descent living on different continents over the course of two centuries. Meanwhile, class assignments facilitate practice with critical thinking, civic engagement, and different forms of communication, including oral history, blog posts, and exhibit design.

Jessica Ann Levy


the post-colonial imagination and africana thought (EM)


What does the "post-colonial" mean? In this course, we will engage the literary and theoretical production of formerly colonized subjects from parts of Africa and the Caribbean, as we seek to determine what the post-colonial imagination might look like. The emphasis will be on close readings of works that emerge from the crucible of the Black Atlantic's "encounter" with European and American colonialism, as we question how the identities of formerly colonized subjects inform their views of the world.

Kevin Wolfe


scientific racism: then and now (HA)


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 the 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 304, GSS 325, HUM 303 (HA)

History of Black Captivity


This course explores the intellectual history of Black captivity. We begin by analyzing how Black political prisoners have been understood as symbols, while also paying close attention to how scientific racism not only legitimized Black captivity, but also modern captivity in general. Students then concentrate on examining the transition from the notion of slave captivity to the premeditated containment of Black bodies through criminalization, exploitation, human experimentation, and alienation. Lastly, we address how Black social movements have used "captivity" as a trope within discourses of resistance and restorative justice.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

AAS 305, REL 391, MUS 354, AMS 355 (LA)

The History of Black Gospel Music


This course will trace the history of Black gospel music from its origins in the American South, to its modern origins in 1930s Chicago, and into the 1990s mainstream. Critically analyzing various compositions and the artists that performed them, we will explore the ways the music has reflected and reproached the extant cultural climate. We will be particularly concerned with the four major historical eras from which Black gospel music developed: the slave era; Reconstruction; the Great Migration, and the era of Civil Rights. 

Wallace D. Best

AAS 306

Topics in Race and Public Policy

This seminar uses and interrogates social science methodologies in examining the condition of the American state and American institutions and practices. With an analysis of race and ethnicity at the center, students will examine the development of institutions and practices, with the growth and formation of racial and ethnic identities, including changing perceptions, measures and reproduction of inequality.

Radical Subjects - Race and Deportation (also AMS 305) (HA)


This seminar critically explores the historical practice of deportation in the United States both past and present, looking at how our ideas of human rights, freedom, and belonging intersect with racial and national ideologies. We will work through a wide archive of literature, theory, and art, drawing important connections between the political geographies, experiences, and responses of Indigenous Americans, Black dissidents and Mexican deportees. This study of removal will help us to reflect on the contemporary moment of global mass migrations when humans are increasingly managed through preventative policing, detention, and deportation.

Olivia Mena

AAS 313, LAS 377, HIS 213 (HA)

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

AAS 314, COM 396 (LA)

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.

Imani Perry

AAS 318, REL 318 (LA)

Black Women and Spiritual Narrative


Analyzes narrative accounts of African American women since the 19th century. Drawing on the hypothesis that religious metaphor and symbolism have figured prominently in Black women's writing--and writing about Black women--across literary genres, the class explores the various ways Black women have used their narratives not only to disclose the intimacies of their religious faith, but also to understand and to critique their social context. Students will discuss themes, institutions, and structures that have traditionally shaped Black women's experiences, as well as theologies Black women have developed in response.

Wallace D. Best

AAS 319, LAS 368, GSS 356 (HA)

Caribbean Women's History


This seminar investigates the historical experiences of women in the Caribbean from the era of European conquest to the late 20th 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 French-speaking Caribbean as well as the Caribbean diaspora. 

Reena N. Goldthree

AAS 321, REL 321 (HA)

Black Rage and Black Power 


This course examines the various pieties of the Black Power era. We chart the explicit and implicit utopian visions of the politics of the period that, at once, criticized established Black religious institutions and articulated alternative ways of imagining salvation. We also explore the attempt by Black theologians to translate the prophetic Black church tradition into the idiom of Black power. Our aim is to keep in view the significance of the Black Power era for understanding the changing role and place of Black religion in Black public life. 

Eddie S. Glaude

AAS 322, LAO 322, LAS 301, AMS 323 (HA)

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.

Reena N. Goldthree

AAS 323, AMS 321 (SA)

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.

Imani Perry 

AAS 325, ENG 393, REL 366 (LA)

African American Autobiography


Highlights the autobiographical tradition of African Americans from the antebellum period to the present as symbolic representations of African American material, social, and intellectual history and as narrative quests of self-development. Students will be introduced to basic methods of literary analysis and criticism, specifically focusing on cultural criticism and psychoanalytic theory on the constructed self.

AAS 326 

Topics in African American Culture and Life

In this seminar, students encounter the theoretical canon and keywords, which shape the contemporary discipline of African American Studies. Accessing a range of interdisciplinary areas, situated primarily in the united States, students will learn to take a critical posture in examining the patterns and prat order and transform Black subjects and Black life.

black-ish and the black american middle class (SA)


Since 2014, Black-ish, the popular ABC sitcom about a Black suburban family, has entertained and educated millions of viewers about the complexities of race and racism in American society. This course uses this series as a pedagogical tool to explore the social situation of the Black middle class more deeply. It incorporates scholarship from African American studies, sociology, and political science to discuss the privilege and peril of the 21st-century Black middle-class.

James R. Jones


Early African American Literature (LA)


This introductory course focuses on African American literature and literary production from the mid-18th century to the early 20th. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces surrounding the production of an early African American literary tradition. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar, the political oratory of Sojourner Truth and David Walker, slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Wilson, and non-fiction writing by W.E.B. DuBois, and fiction by Frances Harper. [This course fulfills the pre-20th Core Survey Requirement for concentrators. This course fulfills the core survey requirements for certificate students.]

Autumn M. Womack

AAS 327 

Masters of the 20th Century

This special topics course will focus on artists and intellectuals whose corpus reflects and illuminates 20th-century African American life.

Lorraine Hansberry (also ENG 379, GSS 368) (LA)


Lorraine Hansberry, the first African American female playwright to have a play open on Broadway, explored a series of critical themes in her work, including race, migration, colonialism, gender and social class. In addition to having a distinguished career as a playwright, Hansberry was an activist and advocate for gender and racial justice. Students will study her published and unpublished plays, essays and poetry, as well as relevant social and cultural history and literary criticism.

Imani Perry

AAS 328, LAS 352 (HA)

Slavery and Emancipation in Latin America and the Caribbean


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 16th 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. 

Reena N. Goldthree

AAS 330 (HA)

Black Metropolis: African American Urban History


In this seminar, we will examine historically the transformation of African Americans from a population rooted in the rural South to one overwhelmingly located in the cities of the North and West. Beginning in the period following the Civil War, and spanning the course of the 20th century, we will explore critically the impact of urbanization on African American social relations, political expression, family life, and cultural production. Throughout the course we will be concerned not only with the "where" and "who" of the migration narrative but the "how" and the "why" as well. [Not open to Freshmen]

Joshua B. Guild

AAS 332, REL 332 (LA)

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 Farrahkan. Other themes covered include: women and the NOI, the return to Orthodoxy, the NOI and Black Christianity, and the NOI and political power.

Wallace D. Best

AAS 337, GSS 388 (SA)

Black Feminist Theory


In this course students will read and analyze history of social and critical theory produced by women thinkers of the African diaspora from the late 19th century to the present. Students will explore how race, gender, sexuality, and the political economy shape ethical and social precepts and critique. Key concepts will include: freedom, autonomy, embodiment, identity, and sociality.

Imani Perry

AAS 338, AFS 338 (LA)

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 (20th-century African American and Francophone fiction; 21st-century African science fiction; West African popular film); as well as the latest in theorizing about magic, culture, and the state.

Wendy Laura Belcher

AAS 339, EGR 339 (CD or SA)

Black Mirror: Race, Technology, and Justice


Are robots racist? Is software sexist? Are neural networks neutral? From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed up, and even deepen discrimination. Using the Black Mirror TV series as a starting point, we will explore a range of emerging technologies that encode inequity in digital platforms and automated decision systems, and develop a conceptual toolkit to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. Students will apply design justice principles in a collaborative project and learn to communicate course insights to tech practitioners, policymakers, and the broader public.

Ruha Benjamin

AAS 341, ART 375 (LA)

Enter the New Negro: Black Atlantic Aesthetics 


Born in the late 1800s, the New Negro movement demanded political equality, desegregation, and an end to lynching, while also launching new forms of international Black cultural expression. The visionary modernity of its artists not only reimagined the history of the Black diaspora by developing new artistic languages through travel, music, religion, and poetry but also shaped modernism as a whole in the 20th-century. Incorporating field trips and sessions in the Princeton University Art Museum, this course explores Afro-modern forms of artistic expression from the late 19th century into the mid-20th century. [This course fulfills the pre-20th century core survey requirement for concentrators.]

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

AAS 342, COM 394, AFS 342 (LA)

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.

Wendy Laura Belcher

AAS 346, REL 367 (HA)

The American Jeremiad and Social Criticism in the United States


An examination of the religious and philosophical roots of prophecy as a form of social criticism in American intellectual and religious history. Particular attention is given to what is called the American Jeremiad, a mode of public exhortation that joins social criticism to spiritual renewal. Michael Walzer, Sacvan Bercovitch, and Edward Said serve as key points of departure in assessing prophetic criticism's insights and limitations. Attention is also given to the role of Black prophetic critics, such as James Baldwin, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cornel West.

Eddie S. Glaude

AAS 347, VIS 337 (LA)

Art School @ African American Studies: Process, Discourse, Infrastructure


Combining actual making with art criticism and an examination of the circulation of contemporary art, particularly the of work of Black artists, this seminar is structured around fundamental art concepts such as line, color, illustration, abstraction, multiples, beauty, and meaning. Given the historical centrality in African American art of representations of Black bodies, the course pays special attention to figuration and portraiture. Its aim is not to make skilled artists, but to provide a materials-based, tactile experience of art-making and its evaluation.

Nell Painter

AAS 348 (LA)

Black Popular Music Culture


An introduction to major historical, theoretical, performative, and aesthetic movements and trends in Black popular music culture from the 19th century through the present day.

Joshua B. Guild

AAS 349, ART 364 (LA)

Seeing To Remember: Representing Slavery Across the Black Atlantic


The class explores the historical representation of 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. Their final assignment will be the construction of a digital exhibition. 

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

AAS 350, SOC 362 (HA)

Rats, Riots and Revolution: Housing in the Metropolitan United States


This class examines the history of urban and suburban housing in the 20th century US. We will examine the relationship between postwar suburban development as a corollary to the "underdevelopment" of American cities contributing to what scholars have described as the "urban crisis" of the 1960s. Housing choice and location were largely shaped by discriminatory practices in the real estate market, thus, the course explores the consequences of the relationship between public policy and private institutions in shaping the metropolitan area including after the passage of federal anti-housing discrimination legislation in the late 1960s.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

AAS 351, GSS 351 (SA)

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.

Imani Perry

AAS 353, ENG 352 (LA)

African American Literature: Origins to 1910


This introductory course focuses on African American literature and literary production from the mid-18th century to the early 20th. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces surrounding the production of an early African American literary tradition. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar, the political oratory of Sojourner Truth and David Walker, slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Wilson, and non-fiction writing by W.E.B. DuBois, and fiction by Frances Harper. [This course fulfills the pre-20th Core Survey Requirement for concentrators. This course fulfills the core survey requirements for certificate students.]

Autumn M. Womack

AAS 358, REL 379, GSS 359 (CD or HA)

Sexuality and Religion in America


Sexuality has long been a contested and contentious issue within American religions, yet only recently have scholars begun to address it forthrightly. This course will explore the emerging literature on sexuality and religion as a way to understand how approaches to sex and sexuality within "sacred spaces" have shaped private behavior and public opinion. We will give particular attention to African American religious traditions and American evangelicalism and Catholicism more broadly for the way they have been especially influential in framing (and inhibiting) sexual discourse and practices in the United States.

Wallace D. Best

AAS 359, ENG 366 (LA)

African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present


A survey of 20th and 21st century African American literature, including the tradition's key aesthetic manifestos. Special attention to how modern African American literature is periodized and why certain innovations in genre and style emerged when they did. Poetry, essays, novels, popular fiction, stage production or two, and related visual texts. [This course fulfills the Core Survey Requirement for concentrators and certificate students.] 

Kinohi Nishikawa

AAS 362, SPI 497, POL 338 (SA)

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. 

Imani Perry

AAS 363, ENG 439, AMS 362 (LA)

Blackness and Media


Working across a range of sites (film, photography, literature, newsprint, music) this course thinks critically about media, Blackness, and social life. In the service of expanding our conceptions of media, we will draw together unlikely titles and works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. How, we will ask, has media has been the site where Blackness gets communicated, created, negotiated, and re-imagined? How does Blackness operate as both a media and medium? And, how do Black writers, thinkers, and artists negotiate the formal limits of media, and what might this reveal about Black aesthetics? 

Autumn M. Womack

AAS 365, REL 362 (LA)

Migration and the Literary Imagination


This course will explore the various meanings of The Great Migration and mobility found in 20th century African American literature. Through careful historical and literary analysis, we will examine the significant impact migration has had on African American writers and the ways it has framed their literary representations of modern Black life. 

Wallace D. Best

AAS 366, HIS 386 (HA)

African American History to 1863


This course explores African American history from the Atlantic slave trade up to the Civil War. It is centrally concerned with the rise of and overthrow of human bondage and how they shaped the modern world. Africans were central to the largest and most profitable forced migration in world history. They shaped new identities and influenced the contours of American politics, law, economics, culture and society. The course considers the diversity of experiences in this formative period of nation-making. Race, class, gender, region, religion, labor, and resistance animate important themes in the course. [This course fulfills the pre-20th century core survey requirement for concentrators. This course fulfills the core survey requirements for certificate students.] 

Tera W. Hunter

AAS 367, HIS 387 (CD or HA)

African American History Since Emancipation


This lecture offers an introduction to the major themes, critical questions, and pivotal moments in post-emancipation African American history. It 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, this course situates African American history within broader national and international contexts. [This course fulfills the core survey requirement for concentrators and certificate students.] 

Joshua B. Guild

AAS 368 

Topics in African American Religion:

Assesses the value of religion and its impartations of the historical, ethical, and political in African American life. Courses will also critique African American religion from a broader contextual basis by establishing commonalities and differences across historical and cultural boundaries.

Black Religion and the Harlem Renaissance (Also REL 368) (LA)


The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s is most often depicted as "the flowering of African American arts and literature." It can also be characterized as a period when diverse forms of African American religious expressions, ideologies, and institutions emerged. This course will explore the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, particularly the writings of Langston Hughes, to understand the pivotal intersection of race and religion during this time of Black "cultural production."

Wallace D. Best

AAS 370, AMS 374 (SA)

Policing Racial Order: The History of U.S. Police Power from Slave Patrols to Drones


This course investigates the role of police power in reinforcing or challenging racial order in all of its economic, spatial, and gendered manifestations. We pay particular attention to the ways in which commonplace notions of safety and security develop in relation to the history of territorial expansion, war, wealth accumulation, and the racialized distribution of private property. 

Naomi Murakawa

AAS 372, ART 374, AMS 372 (LA)

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. 

Chika Okeke-Agulu

AAS 380, AMS 382 (CD or HA)

Law and Public Policy in African American History (FKA Public Policy and 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 20th 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 381

Evict, Foreclose, Gentrify: Race and Housing in the U.S.


This course will explore the causes and manifestations of housing insecurity and instability in the United States today. It will look at the ways that his contemporary housing crisis affects race, class and gender dynamics in American cities and suburbs. This class will examine the barriers to sage sound and affordable housing. In doing so, we will also look at the ways in which social activism and movement have attempted to secure housing as a human right while rejecting its commodified status. We will examine how equitable housing policies can reconfigure urban spaces, combat climate change, and reimagine community governance. 

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

AAS 386, AMS 386 (SA)

Race and the City


Race and the City examines how the politics of race and racialization shaped the development of American cities over the course of the 20th century. The course cover a diverse array of topics including: ghettoization, urban renewal, the creation of public housing, popular music (Jazz, Motown, Hip Hop), public art and graffiti, literature of urbanity, the fair housing movement, deindustrialization and gentrification. We will have particular foci on the following cities: Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Imani Perry

AAS 392

Topics in African American Literature

A historical overview of Black literary expression from the 19th century to the present day. Will emphasize a critical and analytical approach to considering the social, cultural, and political dimensions of African American literature.



Fictions of Black Urban Life Description: This course considers the transformation of urban life in the 20th and 21st centuries through an exploration of selected works by African American and African diasporic writers, artists, and intellectuals. We will discuss sociological studies, novels, poems, music, and experimental works that interrogate fictions such as urban development, revitalization, and even gentrification. Here, "fiction" names the implicit narratives and imaginaries of the urban that animate both its policy and design. Ultimately, the course is concerned with the discourses of Black pathology and hidden forms of social life that have shaped the contemporary city.

Nijah Cunningham


Reading Toni Morrison (Also ENG 392) (LA)


This course we will undertake the deceptively simple question: how do we read Toni Morrison? In taking up this task, we will devote our attention to various scenes and sites of reading across Morrison’s oeuvre, asking how Morrison is encouraging us to read history, slavery, violence, geography, time, space, gender, and friendship? We will also engage with Morrison’s own status as a reader by considering her work as an editor and literary critic. Through regular engagement with the Toni Morrison Papers housed at Firestone we will consider what it means to be able to read Morrison in such close proximity to these archival materials.

Autumn M. Womack

AAS 404, GSS 419, POL 429 (SA)

Intersectional Activisms and Movements for Social Justice


This course examines intersectionality's roots as a political intervention growing out of and based on movement politics. It begins with early articulations of intersectional perspectives on the part of Black feminists and feminists of color, emphasizing its movement roots. We then examine empirical research about social movements and political activism, focusing on scholarship that considers both the potential of and the challenges to movements that try to address the imbrication of racial inequalities with other forms of marginalization and domination, including (though not limited to) heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, and the carceral state.

Dara Strolovitch

AAS 411, AFS 411, ART 371 (CD or LA)

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 Okeke-Agulu

AAS 426, HIS 426 (HA)

Memory, History, and the Archive 


Why are some events from the past widely recalled, memorialized, and taught in school, while others are consigned to obscurity? What role do acts of historical erasure play in processes of exclusion? How have acts of remembering figured in struggles for justice? Using historical scholarship, memoirs, visual art, and music, this course examines the relationship between "history" and "memory," focusing on the different ways that race and social power have shaped the relationship in the U.S. and across the African diaspora. We will link representations of the past to debate about issues such as public monuments, legal redress, and reparations.

Joshua B. Guild

AAS 442, AFS 442, COM 425 (LA)

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. 

Wendy Laura Belcher

AAS 477, HIS 477 (HA)

The Civil Rights Movement


This interdisciplinary course examines the evolution of African American social and political mobilization from World War II through the 1970s. Through an analysis of historical scholarship, oral history, sermons, works of literature, film and music, it explores the various ways that African Americans articulated their political demands and affirmed their citizenship using the church, grassroots organizations, workers' rights, feminism, education, war, the federal bureaucracy, and the law as tools for political action. The course also considers the ways these movements have been remembered, memorialized, and appropriated in more recent times.

Joshua B. Guild

AAS 481, ENG 429 (LA)

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? 

Simon E. Gikandi

AAS 500

African American Intellectual Tradition

This interdisciplinary seminar introduces graduate students to African American intellectual traditions. Reading across disciplines and genres, we will engage theories and histories of racial formation, racial capitalism, slavery and empire, social movements, and cultural representation. Particular attention will be paid to Black radicalism, to the ways various thinkers have imagined the relationship between theory and praxis, and to Black intellectual activity as a dynamic site of both critique and knowledge production.

Eddie S. GlaudeJoshua B. Guild

AAS 506, REL 514, GSS 506

Sexuality and Religion in America

The course examines the crucial relationship between sexuality and American religion, particularly in Catholic and Protestant Christian traditions. We focus particularly on the way in which religiously informed notions of sex and sexuality have touched every area of American life, including popular culture, politics, and the law. Lastly, we interrogate issues of sexual policing, sexual freedom, race and sexuality ("the closet" and "down low" performance and practice), the limits of desire, Christian ethics, homosexuality, and the politics of sexuality. 

Wallace D. Best

AAS 510, REL 515

Race, Religion and the Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance (HR) of the 1920s is most often depicted as "the flowering of African American arts and literature." It can also be characterized as a period when diverse forms of African American religious expressions, ideologies, and institutions emerged. This course explores the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, particularly the writings of Langston Hughes, to understand the pivotal intersection of race and religion during this time of Black "cultural production.

Wallace D. Best

AAS 522, COM 522, ENG 504, GSS 503

Publishing Articles in Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

In this interdisciplinary class, students of race and gender read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication. This course enables students to leap forward in their scholarly writing through a better understanding of their fields and the significance of their work to them.  

Wendy Laura Belcher

AAS 555

Toni Morrison: Texts and Contexts

This course provides a critical overview of the writings of Toni Morrison. Close reading, cultural analysis, intertextuality, social theory and the African American literary tradition are emphasized.

Imani Perry

AFS 303  (SA)

Governing Post-Colonial Africa: Family, Religion, and the State


The seminar addresses the structural consequences and responses that African nations and communities developed upon their insertion into global political and economic practice and discourse. Africa's character prior to modern nationhood forms the backdrop to discussions of the development and utilization of social, political, and economic strategies for continued participation in global political and economic intercourse. Themes include: traditional religious practice and the church; global economic interactions; African interstate relations; governance, regime change, and elections; wars and displacement; and women in society.

Christiana Agawu

AFS 310 (SA)

Development Aid in Sub-Saharan Africa: Rogues, Benefactors and Recipients


Sub-Saharan Africa's record on the use of development aid has been at best mixed. It has received about $1 trillion in foreign assistance since 1960. In the early 1980s, three world regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia had over 50% of their populations living in extreme poverty. Thirty odd years later, Sub-Saharan Africa's figures have barely shifted; they went down from 53% to only 47% in 2011. East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia regions also received substantial assistance and have significantly reduced extreme poverty among their populations. Critics of foreign assistance decry such assistance.

Christiana Agawu

AFS 427

Conflict in Africa


Examines selected aspects on conflict in 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. 

Annette Seegers

AFS 470 (SA)

Health, Race, and Power in Africa in the Digital Age


This course looks at the ways in which digital technology shapes interactions and imaginations of Africa globally. Key themes that will be covered include societal transformations stemming out of the introduction and increasing use of the internet, mobile phones, and new media as well as gendered and racialized digital divides in relation to access to social services, such as health, education, housing, water, and sanitation. A particular attention will be given to the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the ways the digital space has been an arena on how Africans and their countries have responded to the pandemic.

Chambi S. Chachage

AMS 304, GHP 314 (SA)

Access to Health: Right, Privilege, Responsibility


What does it mean to be healthy and who should ensure that individuals and communities achieve health? This course will examine the meaning of public health in America exploring the role of government as a regulator, service-provider, and director of personal behaviors. We will consider the legal, ethical, economic and political foundations of government actions and the challenges of addressing societal ills that account for disparities in health outcomes. Students will investigate and analyze health issues seeking to translate academic inquiry into policy prescriptions that impact human health.

Leslie E. Gerwin

AMS 311 (SA)

Education and Inequality


In this course, students examine the relationship between inequality and schooling in the United States. We explore the educational practices and organizational structures through which social inequality is produced and reproduced inside schools and how social class, race, ethnicity, gender, and other social differences shape educational outcomes. Additionally, we examine students' responses to inequality and theories of resistance. We mainly consider theoretically grounded, qualitative research related to K-12 education. Several readings discuss the realities of urban schooling, and each week we connect the readings to current policy trends.

Kathleen Nolan

AMS 315, AAS 309, MTD 315, THR 344 (LA)

Race and the American Musical from Minstrelsy to Hamilton


This seminar explores how and why race is a key component of the Broadway musical theatre. From 19th-century minstrel shows, in which African American performers "blacked up" to play Black characters previously performed by whites in Blackface; to the mid-20th century "golden age" musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein, in which Asian characters were created to support a white liberal agenda; to the blockbuster Hamilton, which merges musical theatre conventions and hip-hop to re-tell the story of America, performances of race and ethnicity structure the American musical's aesthetic and political work. How did we get from there to here? 

Stacy Wolf

AMS 322, URB 322, ARC 326, AAS 320 (SA)

The Architecture of Race


This seminar explores the varied ways American architecture and design have lent themselves to processes of racialization, from embodied experiences of race within the built environment to racialized representations of architecture. How might the built environment change how we perceive, understand, and experience race? How does architecture not only reflect race but constitute a way of seeing and feeling race? To expand our understanding of architecture’s relationship to race, our approach will be interdisciplinary, including readings from fields such as but not limited to urban studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and performance studies.

Ashlie Sandoval

AMS 342, HIS 442 (HA)

Race, Racism and Politics in 20th Century America


In this seminar, we will explore the relationship between race, racism and politics throughout 20th-century America. Topics will include segregation; immigration and assimilation; the role of racial politics in World War II and the Cold War; the civil rights movement and white massive resistance; Black Power and the white backlash; and contemporary politics up to the election of Barack Obama.

Kevin Kruse

AMS 395, THR 395, AAS 395, HIS 296 (LA)

Performing the City: Race and Protest in 1960s Trenton and Princeton


Through original research and creative process, this seminar immerses students in overlapping histories of race, protest, political mobilization and violence in 1960s Trenton and Princeton. Students will contribute to an archive, conduct interviews and make maps, and then use their research to create performance walks on campus and in Trenton. By combining disciplines, the course addresses questions such as: How can we change a place by walking through it with new knowledge? How do the imprints of various, even conflicting histories, impact the built environment? After the semester, students' final project tours will be offered regularly. 

Alison E. Isenberg, Aaron Landsman

ANT 210 (SA)

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.

Carolyn Rouse

ANT 223, AMS 223, AAS 224, URB 224 (SA)

Policing and Militarization Today


This class aims to explore transnational issues in policing. Drawing heavily upon anthropological methods and theory, we aim neither to vindicate nor contest the police's right to use force (whether a particular instance was a violation of law), but instead, to contribute to the understanding of force (its forms, justifications, interpretations). The innovative transnational approach to policing developed during the semester will allow for a cross-cultural comparative analysis that explores larger rubrics of policing in a comprehensive social scientific framework. We hope that you are ready to explore these exciting and urgent issues with us.

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús, Laurence Ralph

ANT 301 (SA)

The Ethnographer’s Craft


This course introduces students to "doing" anthropology through the study and practice of fieldwork and helps them develop toolkits needed to define/design/conduct ethnographic research projects. We discuss and put into practice ethnographic techniques, exploring how ethnographers form their topics of study and deploy theoretical resources to develop research questions. We study different approaches to engaging with people, place and things in ethnographic fieldsites and examine social, political, epistemological and ethical dimensions of research methods, interpretations, and representations of the cultures/subjects that we study.

Ryo Morimoto

ANT 321 (SA)

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.

Isabelle Clark-Deces

ANT 350 (SA)

Desire and Repression: Economic Anthropology and Pop Culture


This course explores the idea of consumerism and commodities in cultural life, particularly as it affects various segments of the American population. Using as background the theory of exchange and the development of both pre-capitalist and capitalist economies, topics will include race and fashion, religion and materialism, and the social value of reciprocity. Students will also engage in a semester-long project aimed at understanding the cultural context of the American desire for things.

Carolyn Rouse

ANT 363, AAS 369 (SA)

Gangsters and Troublesome Populations


Since the 1920s, the term "gang" has been used to describe all kinds of collectives, from groups of well-dressed mobsters to petty criminals and juvenile delinquents. In nearly a century of research the only consistency in their characterization is as internal Other from the vantage of the law. This class will investigate how the category of "the gang" serves to provoke imaginaries of racial unrest and discourses of "dangerous," threatening subjects in urban enclaves. More broadly we will examine the methods and means by which liberal democratic governments maintain their sovereign integrity through the containment of threatening populations.

Laurence Ralph

ANT 379, AMS 379, HUM 379, AAS 375 (HA)

Making History: Museums, Monuments, and Cultural Heritage


This course contends with how shared histories are collectively made and remade in contemporary society. We will interrogate the meaning of history, memory, heritage, and "the past." What is at stake in how we represent the past? What do we mean when we make a claim on history as "ours"? What role do museums, monuments, and memorials play in the formation and maintenance of collective identities? Can practices like public history and archaeology promote collective healing?

Tiffany Cain

ANT 389, AAS 333, AMS 339 (SA)

Religion and Culture: Muslims in America


The course is an introduction to Muslim cultures in the US. We will read texts from anthropology, sociology, history and other fields to develop an understanding of the historical and present diversity of Muslim communities in America. The first half provides a survey of Muslim communities in this country from the 17th century onward. The second half is a thematic approach to various topics: 9/11, women and gender, religious conversion, interfaith relations, youth, mosques as institutions, and Islamophobia. In addition to scholarly materials, we will learn from multimedia sources (films, news, cartoons), visitors, and a visit to local mosque.

Aly Kassam-Remtulla

ANT 403, AAS 403, GHP 403  (EM)

Race and Medicine


Why do certain populations have longer life expectancies? Is it behavior, genes, structural inequalities? And why should the government care? This course unpacks taken-for-granted concepts like race, evidence-based medicine, and even the public health focus on equalizing life expectancies. From questions of racism in the clinic to citizenship and the Affordable Care Act, "Race and Medicine" takes students on a journey of rethinking what constitutes social justice in health care. 

Cecilia Rouse

ANT 419, AMS 417, GSS 423, LAS 419 (SA)

Race, Gender, Empire


How is empire made? How is it imagined and reimagined, mutating and creating new global relations? What are its social, political and material signatures? In this seminar we will explore how empire's derivative manifestations and entrenched mechanisms (e.g. race, gender or capitalism) influence our understandings of history and the structuring of our social relationships. Engaging transdisciplinary works we will focus on how empire constructs contradictory logics of belonging in localized contexts through the formation of intimate, biopolitical and ecological relationships between people, territories and collective institutions of governance.

Tiffany C. Cain

ANT 421, AFS 320 (SA)

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?

Godwin Onuoha

ANT 461, AAS 364, GHP 461, GS3 461 (EM)

Disability, Difference, and Race


While diseases are often imagined to be scientific or medical conditions, they are also social constructs. In the 19th century the condition of Dysaesthesia Aethiopis (an ailment that made its sufferers "mischievous") was considered nearly universal among free Blacks. Today AIDS and tuberculosis are often associated with personal attributes, while the social forces at work to structure risk for acquiring these illnesses are glossed over. We will examine work from anthropologists, sociologists, historians, queer studies scholars and scientists who work on issues of disability to investigate how people challenge contemporary visions of society.

Laurence Ralph

ARC 396, SAS, 396, URB 396 (SA)

Comparing the Urban in the Americas and South Asia


This course bridges the gap between pedagogy on Western cities, and that on cities of the so-called Global South, to compare urbanization and social movements across the Americas and South Asia. Specific course units will examine the development of informal settlements, urban segregation, enclave urbanism, privatization of public spaces, evictions, gentrification, homelessness, and the criminalization of the urban poor. Attention will also be paid to social movements focused on the right to the city. It asks how these processes and phenomena are similar, different, and / or interconnected across contexts.

Priti Narayan

ARC 556, AAS 557

Microhistory: Toward an Architecture of Slavery

Microhistory is a specific methodological approach to the study and writing of history. It applies an extremely detailed scale of investigation to any object of inquiry, including a particular person, community, infrastructure, building, map, plan, law, protocol, record, and event. The seminar scrutinizes this methodology, challenges teleological narratives, and examines microhistories around the world and from different historical periods. The aim is to anchor seemingly insignificant circumstances and untapped spaces in order to unravel macro historical tendencies.

Samia Henni

ART 237, AAS 237 (LA)

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. 

Chika Okeke-Agulu

ART 242, ARC 242 (LA)

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. 

Esther da Costa Meyer

ART 260, AAS 260, AFS 260 (LA)

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. 

Chika Okeke-Agulu

ART 261, AAS 261, AFS 261 (LA)

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? 

Chika Okeke-Agulu

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 as well as from other areas of inquiry such as cultural studies, critical race theory, and the 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 378, AAS 377, AMS 372 (LA)

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. 

Chika Okeke-Agulu

ART 472, AAS 472 (LA)

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.

Chika Okeke-Agulu

ART 473, AAS 473, AFS 473 (LA)

Kongo Art


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.

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

ART 560, AAS 560

Art and the British Empire

This seminar proceeds through a series of thematic and case studies ranging from Britain's early colonial expansion to the legacies of empire in contemporary art and museum practice. Topics include science and ethnography; the colonial picturesque; curiosity and collecting; slavery and visual representation; art and nationalism and readings are drawn from a range of disciplines. 

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

ASA 360, AAS 360 (SA)

Black and Asian in America


Debates over policing, immigration, and affirmative action routinely position Black and Asian communities on opposing sides, while the model minority myth has been redeployed in the 21st century in the form of the Tiger Mom. How did we get here, and what do these trends mean for our daily lives? We respond to these questions by looking at fiction, film, and foodways from the last 30 years of Black-Asian relations in America. Using a comparative race and ethnic studies approach, we identify ways of thinking and talking about interracial difference that forge new paths for social, cultural, and political engagement.

Kinohi Nishikawa


CLA 225, MED 225, AAS 263, HLS 225 (HA)

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

CLA 310, CHV 314, AAS 311, POL 310 (SA)

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 course we 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, AFS 239, AAS 239 (LA)

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.

Wendy Laura Belcher

COM 241, AAS 241 (LA)

The Golden Rhinoceros: Histories of the African Middle Ages


Many assume that pre-20th-century Africa has no history. Rather, it has so much history that communicating all its richness can be a challenge. In this class, therefore, we focus on particular instances that speak to the tremendous diversity of the period from 300 to 1500 in Africa - its political systems, religious communities, and dynamics of cultural and economic conversation. We also address Africa's interconnectedness within and to the rest of the world as a vital part of the global middle ages. Primary sources include letters, treatises, and chronicles but also maps, archeological layouts, frescos, inscriptions, and rock art.

Wendy Laura Belcher


COM 434, AAS 434 (LA)

Gender and Sexuality in African History


This course explores the history of gender and sexuality in Africa. By reading an eclectic range of historical sources (including films, novels, and anthropological works) alongside recent secondary literature, students will explore several important questions. How have African cultures, religions, experiences of colonialism, political formations, medicines, and youth, shaped, and been shaped by, understandings of gender and sexuality? What link is there between contemporary LGBTQ activism and African history? Why do debates about Africa often center on issues of gender and sexuality? Is "queer" a meaningful method for African studies?

Wendy Laura Belcher

COM 376, AAS 371, GSS 381 (LA)

Crafting Freedom: Women and Liberation in the Americas (1960s to 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.

Susana Draper

CWR 316, LAO 316, AAS 336, AMS 396 (LA)

Special Topic in Poetry: Race, Identity, and Innovation


This workshop explores the link between racial identity and poetic innovation in work by contemporary poets of color. Experimental or avant-garde poetry in the American literary tradition has often defined itself as "impersonal," "against expression" or "post-identity." Unfortunately, this mindset has tended to exclude or downplay poems that engage issues of racial identity. This course explores works where poets of color have treated racial identity as a means to destabilize literary ideals of beauty, mastery and the autonomy of the text while at the same time engaging in poetic practices that subvert conceptions of identity or authenticity.

Monica Y. Youn

DAN 211, AAS 211 (LA)

The American Dance Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora


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.

Dyane Harvey-Salaam


DAN 215, ANT 355, GSS 215, AMS 215 (CD or SA)

Introduction to Dance Across Cultures


Bharatanatyam, butoh, hip hop, and salsa are some of the dances that will have us travel from temples and courtyards to clubs, streets, and stages around the world. Through studio sessions, readings and viewings, field research, and discussions, this seminar will introduce students to dance across cultures with special attention to issues of migration, cultural appropriation, gender and sexuality, and spiritual and religious expression. Students will also learn basic elements of participant observation research. Guest artists will teach different dance forms. No prior dance experience is necessary.

Judith Hamera

DAN 222, AAS 222 (LA)

Introduction to Hip-Hop Dance


This introductory survey course gives equal weight to the scholarly study and embodied practice, using both approaches to explore a range of hip-hop dance techniques, as well as the cultural and historical contexts from which these dances emerged. Special attention will be given to breaking - the most prominent hip-hop form - as a foundation for exploring other forms of movement. By critically exploring these physical and historical connections, individuals will adapt and apply their own philosophies to dance in order to develop a personalized style.

Joseph Schloss

DAN 223, AAS 223, VIS 224 (LA)

An Introduction to the Radical Imagination: Imagery, Poetics, Theory and Performance


Using an interdisciplinary visual and performance studies approach to explore various sites of contemporary art practices, this course will provide an introduction to radical performance practices through which artists consider the gendered and racialized body that circulates in the public domain, both onstage and off. We will query the kinds of political questions that performers raise with their work. Our texts will include live and recorded performances, as well as historical and theoretical secondary sources. Every other week the class hosts a public performance/speaking series featuring radical artists and curators.

Jaamil O. Kosoko

DAN 322, AAS 312 (LA)

Special Topics in Urban Dance: Improvisational Approaches to Hip-Hop Practices


This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of hip-hop dance, history and culture. We will explore the various dance styles and folk art traditions that preceded and influenced hip-hop dance and its essential elements. With a focus on Breaking and its deconstruction of body movements and choreographic forms, the course will emphasize the creative tools inherent in Breaking techniques and improvisational structures to support students to develop and find their own individual style. Viewings and readings videos will contextualize students' investigations.

Raphael X. Williams

DAN 323, AAS 308, LAO 323 (LA)

The Politics of Hip-Hop Dance


Hip-Hop is one of the most important cultural movements of the last half-century. But although hip-hop culture comprises a wide range of artistic practices - including music, dance, theater and graphic arts - its cultural politics are almost always analyzed through the lens of rap music. This seminar, by contrast, will explore the social and historical implications of hip-hop culture through its dance forms.

Joseph Schloss

DAN 350, AAS 329, CWR 350 (LA)

Creating Your Biomythography Workshop


Coined by the poet and essayist Audre Lorde, the term "biomythography" combines history, biography, and myth-making. Using an interdisciplinary workshop approach to explore the concept of the biomyth, this course will provide an introduction to various sites of contemporary art practices situating literature, design, and dance within a social and historical context. Zami will serve as a point of departure into the creation of our memoir narratives. Additional texts will include live and recorded performances, historical, theoretical secondary sources, as well as guest writers, poets and artists.

Jaamil O. Kosoko

ECO 351 (SA)

Economics of Development


This course is divided into two parts. The first examines why some countries are so much richer than others, and critically evaluate different explanations for this phenomenon on theoretical and empirical grounds. The second part deals with selected microeconomic issues related to life in the developing world, examining theories and data on education, health, credit, and other topics.

Thomas Fujiwara


ENG 353 (LA)

Melodrama: From Uncle Tom's Cabin to Grey's Anatomy


From 18th-century fallen woman tales to 20th-century soap operas, melodrama has always offered exaggerated plot swings and wallowing emotions. Modern aesthetics often demands that writing be understated, that it show instead of tell; melodrama refuses to do these things. This course will examine a variety of sensational and emotive texts. Along the way we will consider distinctions between "high" and "low" art, we will examine morality tales about "good" and "bad"  omen, and we will interrogate the racial politics of sympathy.

Jocelyn A. Rodal

ENG 379, AAS 379, AMS 389, ART 380 (LA)

Black Aesthetics: Art, Literature, and Politics in the African Diaspora


This course introduces students to Black aesthetics as a historically grounded concept that stages questions of the social, cultural, political and philosophical meaning of Blackness. We'll explore various 'flashpoints' during the 20th century where Black art serves both as a site of contestation and a platform for interrogating topics of race, gender, sexuality, the body, objecthood, slavery and colonialism. We'll consider how various generations of Black artists/intellectuals across the African diaspora turned to the aesthetic realm to imagine new political possibilities and generate different ways of seeing, feeling, sensing, and thinking.

Nijah Cunningham

ENG 391A, AAS 391 (LA)

Experimenting in Dark Times 19th Century African American Literature and Culture


This interdisciplinary course explores the intersecting worlds of late 19th century African American literature, technology, aesthetics, and politics. Although this period is commonly theorized as the "Nadir," or "dark point," of Black life, it was in fact a moment of artistic and social experimentation, as Black artists and intellectuals traversed a range of media to imagine new futures. We will investigate this overlooked cultural moment and develop an understanding of Black experimental writing's roots. In design studio, students will design historically experimental urban projects around the text's investigated in the weekly seminar.

Autumn Womack, V. Mitch McEwen

ENG 397, AAS 397, COM 339 (LA)

New Diasporas: African & Caribbean Writers


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? 

Simon E. Gikandi

ENG 408, GSS 415, AMS 418 (CD or LA)

Queer Literatures: Theory, Narrative, and Aesthetics


This course will read from various trajectories of queer literature and engage "reading queerly" across race, gender, ability, class, and geography. We will consider the etymology of queer and think through its affiliate terms: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans. How are such narratives encounters with power that are historically situated in relation to the national formations, carceral states, and racial capitalism?

Christina A. Leon, R.L. Goldberg

ENG 411, AAS 413 (LA)

Major Author(s): Mourning America: Emerson and Douglass


This course focuses on the literary and political writings of these two "representative men" of the 19th century. Suggesting that the promise of America has yet to be realized, they argue that democracy can be furthered through acts of writing. The course stages an encounter that may revise our understanding of both of these writers, especially in relation to issues of slavery, racism, and capital. Demonstrating that Douglass' strategies of writing have relays with Emerson's points to the political and historical character of Emerson's writings but also to the profoundly literary elements of Douglass' political writings.

Eduardo L. Cadava


ENG 414, AAS 455 (LA)

Major Author(s): Toni Morrison and the Ethics of Reading


In the opening lines of her 2006 novel "A Mercy" Toni Morrison confront her readers with an ethical challenge: "One question is who is responsible? Another is can you read?" But how is Morrison asking us to read? And what does it mean to read responsibly? This course traces the relationship between reading, politics, and aesthetics in the work of Toni Morrison. Working across her published oeuvre and personal archive -- from the "Bluest Eye" to "God Save the Child" we will explore Morrison as a critical reader, as a theorist of reading, and her novels as sites that interrogate reading practices.

Autumn Womack

ENG 415, JRN 415 (EM)

Topics in Literature and Ethics: Imagining Human Rights


This course is an invitation for us to think about literature as an ethical and political project, one that raises enduring questions about the uniqueness of the human being, the relation of the self to the other, and the possibility of human understanding across cultural, ethnic, racial and national boundaries. Moving across different periods and traditions, the course will consider how literature, film, and photography have played a crucial role in establishing the meaning of human rights and of enriching our understanding of what it means to be a human being entitled to freedom, life, and liberty.

Simon E. Gikandi

ENG 556, AAS 556

African American Literature

A survey of African American narrative and critical traditions in the context of social and cultural change. Attention is also given to the changing status of Black literature in the curriculum of American colleges and universities. 

Kinohi Nishikawa

ENG 573, AAS 572

Problems in Literary Study: The Present Moment

How do critics, writers, and readers approach the work of the present moment? Engaging literary and cultural objects produced over the last calendar year, this seminar interrogates the field of 21st century literature and culture in English, and the contemporary role of critique in academic and popular culture. We examine primary texts that undertake their own projects of social, political, and formal critique alongside experiments in theoretical writing from academics and non-academics alike. As creators and critics in the present moment, what audiences are we writing for? What forms can that writing take?

Sarah A. Chihaya, Kinohi Nishikawa

FRE 335, COM 365, ECS 347 (LA)

Laughing with the Other: Humor and Alterity in French and Francophone Modern Literature and Culture


From colonization to civil war, Francophone Africa and the Caribbean are little understood beyond such grave issues of urgency and violence. However, no society, its people or their realities are homogenously desolate. Through the study of novels, graphic novels, films, and stand-up, this course explores the place of humor in French literature and the culture of Francophone Africa and the Caribbean. By the end of the seminar, students will have engaged with different forms of humor and will have acquired the skills to think critically about the capacity of humor in decolonizing French constructions of racial, gender and ethnic alterity.

André Benhaïm

FRE 376, AAS 378 (LA)

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, Robert W. Decker

FRE 403 (LA)

Topics in Francophone Literature, Culture, and History : Slavery and Capitalism in the Francophone World


This course will study the interrelation of slavery and capitalism in the francophone Caribbean, from the Haitian Revolution to the present. The course will examine a series of classic works that contest French Caribbean colonialism and slavery, from the perspective of the historical transition from late imperialist feudalism to industrial and post-industrial capitalism. Writers addressed will include C.L.R. James, Karl Marx, Aimé Césaire, Suzanne Césaire, Eric Williams, Edouard Glissant, and Maryse Condé.

F. Nick Nesbitt

GHP 409, AAS 410 (SA)

Mortality at the Margins: Race, Inequality and Health Policy in the United States


This course will critically examine the unequal distribution of disease and mortality in the United States along the axes of race, ethnicity, class and place. Through in-depth engagement with case studies, critical historical texts and public health literature we will explore why individuals from some race/ethnicities, class backgrounds, and geographies are more vulnerable to premature death and adverse outcomes than others. Student work will culminate in a policy memo and a presentation, allowing them to hone valuable skillsets for future participation in the research and policy processes. 

Alecia McGregor


GLS 311, AFS 311 (SA)

African Cities: Their Pasts and Futures


Focusing on three Ghanaian cities--Accra, Cape Coast, and Kumasi--the seminar traces the development of these urban centers from the earliest times to the present and explores the cultural encounters that have given them distinct identities. Using theories from history and anthropology, literature and cultural studies, political economy and urban studies, the seminar explores central questions in the study of the urban experience. Based in Accra, students will immerse themselves in the life of the city, mapping its social and cultural geography, trying to understand the structures that define it.

Simon E. Gikandi

GLS 331, AAS 334 (SA)

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.

Imani Perry

GLS 332, AFS 319, ANT 372 (HA)

African Modernities: Culture, Politics and Citizenship


For most of the 20th century, modernity and the terms associated with it, including modernization in politics and modernism in literature and art, were central to debates about African pasts, presents, and futures. Debated and disputed for most of the postcolonial period, modernity has either been condemned because of its association with European colonialism on the continent, or welcomed as essential to the economic development of Africa. Modernity sits at the center of a range of African debates on issues ranging from the culture of human rights, claims to citizenship, and entitlement to social and cultural goods.

Simon E. Gikandi

GLS 334, ART 390, AAS 315 (LA)

Visualizing Australia: Art, Land, Identity


This seminar focuses on the representation of human and non-human relationships to the land as a site of meaning making, identity formation and cultural expression. The state's geography will form the backdrop to the course as we examine how the regions' communities-First National owners to contemporary immigrants-have encountered, related to and depicted their relations to place. We'll delve deeply into the layers embedded in art-making and draw out the different critical frameworks that have shaped Australian art. Representations of the landscape form the core course theme, and we will examine these sources using different approaches.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

GSS 207, AAS 207 (HA)

Intersectional History of Sexual Violence


This course explores the intellectual history of the intersections of race and sexual violence. We analyze the evolution of legal frameworks about sexual violence in different jurisdictions, while also exploring the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in the history of sexual violence in the Atlantic slave trade and contemporary carceral systems. Students will examine case studies of sexual violence against trans youth of color and the racialization of intimate partner sexual violence, genocidal rape, post-catastrophe sexual violence, and sex trafficking, including forced marriage and child sexual exploitation.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

GSS 208, AAS 208 (HA)

Media, Sex, and the Racialized Body


This course explores the intellectual history of media, sex, and the racialized body. We will analyze the representation of the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in film, advertisements, the fashion industry, reality TV, animation, and music videos. This course will closely examine the predominance of white heteronormativity in media, the representation of gender in K-pop and K-dramas, the media conceptualization of the "intimacy of the Arab woman," and the sexualization of Blackness and Latinx bodies in blaxploitation films and telenovelas.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

GSS 218, AAS 218 (HA)

The Racialization of Beauty


This course explores the intellectual history of the racialization of beauty. We will begin by analyzing how the history of Atlantic slavery and scientific racism set precedents for the contemporary dominant conceptualization of beauty in the body, art, and nature. Students will then concentrate on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in beauty pageants, advertising, and the plastic surgery industry. This course will also closely examine racialized fat phobia, the racial politics of hair, transnational colorism, and racialized exploitation in beauty service work.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

GSS 219, AAS 219 (SA)

Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Contemporary States of Unfreedom


This course explores the recent history of ideas about contemporary unfreedom, focusing on the influence of discourses about race, gender, and sexuality. We will study how scientific racism, structural violence, and climate change fuel contemporary slavery. Students will analyze how the silencing of the pervasiveness of contemporary slavery is tied to the narrative of "abolition" and the globalization of economic dynamics based on the exploitation of predominantly people of color. This course will also examine the racialization of child exploitation, survivor criminalization, and representation of unfreedom in the annual U.S. TIP Report.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero

GSS 345, AAS 355, ENG 399, AMS 373 (EM)

Pleasure, Power and Profit: 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.

Anne McClintock 

GSS 502, AAS 502, POL 514 (SA)

Gender and Sexuality in American Politics and Policy

This course examines the ways in which gender and sexuality shape and are shaped by U.S. politics and public policy, emphasizing intersections with other categories, identities, and forms of marginalization including race, ethnicity, class, ideology, and partisan identification. We examine the history, approaches, and controversies in research about gender and sexuality in U.S. politics from a range of theoretical and methodological approaches. We also explore feminist, queer, and intersectional theories and methodologies, related work from other disciplines, and research that does not fit neatly into traditional disciplinary categories.

Dara Z. Strolovitch

HIS 270, AMS 370 (HA)

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

HIS 306, LAO 306, LAS 326 (HA)

Being Latino in the U.S


History 306 studies all Latinos in the US, from those who have (im)migrated from across Latin America to those who lived in what became US lands. The course covers the historical origins of debates over land ownership, the border, assimilation expectations, discrimination, immigration regulation, intergroup differences, civil rights activism, and labor disputes. History 306 looks transnationally at Latin America's history by exploring shifts in US public opinion and domestic policies. By the end of the course, students will have a greater understanding and appreciation of how Latinos became an identifiable group in the US.

Rosina Lozano 

HIS 314, AFS 313 (HA)

Precolonial Africa


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. 

Emmanuel Kreike

HIS 315, AFS 316 (HA)

Colonial and Postcolonial Africa


This course is an examination of the major political and economic trends in 20th century African history. It offers an interpretation of modern African history and the sources of its present predicament. In particular, we study the foundations of the colonial state, the legacy of the late colonial state (the period before independence), the rise and problems of resistance and nationalism, the immediate challenges of the independent states (such as bureaucracy and democracy), the more recent crises (such as debt and civil wars) on the continent, and the latest attempts to address these challenges from within the continent.

Jacob Dlamini

HIS 316 (HA)

South African History, 1497 to the Present


South Africa's past and present were and are closely intertwined with those of its neighbors, including Angola, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. South Africa's industrial expansion, for example, relied on thousands of migrant laborers from its neighbors. The course will highlight a variety of themes, including the rise and fall of African empires (Great Zimbabwe and the Zulu kingdom), the effects of European colonization, and the repression caused by the Apartheid system. The course will also focus on the dramatic political changes that occurred in the 1990s, including the end of the wars in the region and the rise of democracy.

Emmanuel Kreike

HIS 333, AAS 335 (HA)

Modern Brazilian History


This course examines the history of modern Brazil from its independence in the 1820s to the present day. The lectures, readings, and discussions chart conflict, change, and continuity within Brazilian society, highlighting the role played by disenfranchised social actors in shaping the country's history. Topics include the meanings of political citizenship; slavery and abolition; race relations; indigenous populations; uneven economic development as well as Brazil's experiences with authoritarianism and globalization.

Isadora Mota

HIS 376 (HA)

The American Civil War and Reconstruction


Surveys the causes, issues, and consequences of the nation's bloodiest conflict. Topics include slavery and antislavery, Manifest Destiny, the growing sectional conflict, the clash of arms, the transforming impact of the Civil War, the transition from slave to free labor in the South, and postslavery race relations.

Matthew Karp

HIS 388, URB 388, AAS 388, AMS 380 (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 how cities in U.S. history have brokered revolution, transformation and renewal, focusing on class, race, gender, immigration, capitalism, and the built environment.

Alison Isenberg

HIS 390, AAS 394, GSS 390 (HA)

African American Women's History


This is a lecture course that explores the role and impact of African American women in U.S. history, beginning with the era of the Atlantic slave trade and proceeding up to the 21st century. It will address broad themes such as labor, family, community, sexuality, politics, popular culture, and religion. It will examine the social, political, cultural, and economic diversity of Black women. Students will engage primary and secondary texts, as well as audio and visual material. The course will enhance critical thinking and writing skills.

Tera W. Hunter

HIS 393, AAS 364, SPI 389 (HA)

Race, Drugs, and Drug Policy in America


From "Chinese opium" to Oxycontin, and from cocaine and "crack" to BiDil, drug controversies reflect enduring debates about the role of medicine, the law, the policing of ethnic identity, and racial difference. This course explores the history of controversial substances (prescription medicines, over-the-counter products, Black market substances, psychoactive drugs), and how, from cigarettes to alcohol and opium, they become vehicles for heated debates over immigration, identity, cultural and biological difference, criminal character, the line between legality and illegality, and the boundaries of the normal and the pathological.

Keith Wailoo

HIS 402, AAS 402, AMS 412 (HA)

Princeton and Slavery


Research seminar focused on Princeton University's historical connections to the institution of slavery. The class will work toward creating a report that details the slave-holding practices of Princeton faculty and students, examines campus debates about slavery, and investigates whether money derived from slave labor contributed to the early growth of the school. Class will meet in Mudd Library. 

Martha Sandweiss

HIS 423, AAS 423 (HA)

Africa: Revolutionary Movements and Liberation Struggles


At the tip of every political activist's tongue in the 20th 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 Machava

HIS 431, ENV 433 (HA)

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.

Emmanuel Kreike

HIS 456, AAS 456, URB 456, HUM 456 (HA)

New Orleans at 300: Invention and Reinvention in an American City


As it commemorates its tercentennial, this course explores the history of what has been described as an "impossible but inevitable city" over three centuries. Settled on perpetually shifting swampland at the foot of one of the world's great waterways, this port city served as an outpost of three empires and a gateway linking the N. American heartland with the Gulf Coast, Caribbean, and Atlantic World. From European and African settlement through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we will consider how race, culture, and the environment have defined the history of the city and its people.

Joshua B. Guild

HIS 474, AMS 474 (HA)

Violence in America


This course considers the history of collective violence in America. We will define "collective violence" broadly to encompass people acting on behalf of the U.S. government (i.e., police, soldiers, militiamen, and immigration officers) and people acting as civilians (i.e., slaveholders, vigilantes, terrorists, and protestors). A series of case studies (drawn primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries) will introduce disparate forms of violence, including vigilantism, slavery, massacre, imperialism, riot, segregation, and terrorism.

Beth Lew-Williams

HIS 483, AAS 483 (HA)

Race in the American Empire


This seminar takes a comparative, relational, and intersectional approach to the history of race in the American Empire. We will begin with two structuring contexts: European colonialism and transatlantic slavery. Over the semester, we will travel from the Atlantic Coast to Puerto Rico, the Lumbee Nation in North Carolina, Hawaii, and the Philippines. We will end in Ferguson, Missouri; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and at the U.S. - Mexico border. Course readings draw from a range of fields and engage diverse histories to examine the pervasiveness of race in the United States. Themes include labor, migration, violence, science, law, and resistance.

Bernadette Perez

HIS 485, AAS 409 (HA)

History of African American Families


This course covers the history of African American families. It traces the development of family life, meanings, values, and institutions from the period of slavery up to recent times. The course engages long-standing and current debates about Black families in the scholarship across disciplines and in the society at large. The course will look at the diversity of Black family arrangements and the way these have changed over time and adapted to internal and external challenges and demands. It will also situate the history of Black families within a broader cross-cultural context.

Tera W. Hunter

HIS 488, AAS 488 (SA)

Law, Social Difference, and the Sustenance of Health


The tumult of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, or "Obamacare," revealed anew the uncertainty of the healthcare social safety net. Efforts like Obamacare, however, emblematize the U.S. welfare state's incremental expansion. While high-technology and pharmaceuticals mark a celebratory facet of U.S. healthcare, another side is riven by social differences rooted in racism. The politics of citizenship, class, gender, illness, sexuality, and taxation also form the edifice of social difference in the U.S. This course asks how social difference in statutory and case law codified inequality and stratified the means to preserve health.

George Aumoithe

HIS 492, AAS 492, AFS 492 (HA)

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 20th 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.

Benedito Machava

HUM 310, COM 371, URB 311, ARC 330 (LA) 

Camp/Prison/ Border


From the 19th century colonial era to the current border/migration crisis, camps and prisons have managed surplus and racialized populations through zones of confinement and exception. It is literature, and particularly the novel, that provides the compelling encounters with questions of confinement and movement. This course approaches the "border crisis" through a combination of readings in political theory/history and global literature, situating it in the longer history of population management and equipping students with the methodological tools for thinking about it across the social sciences/humanities divide.

Nasser Abourahme  

HIS 443, AAS 443 (HA) 

Black Worldmaking: The African Diaspora since 1945


This course explores the social, political, and cultural history of the African diaspora in the period spanning national independence and decolonization; civil rights, Black Power, and Black consciousness; postcolonialism, migration, and transnational cultural exchange. It considers the ways Africans and African descended peoples in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe helped bring about the fall of the old colonial order and responded to the various developments that arose in its wake. Topics will include racial formation, nationalism, pan-Africanism, anticolonialism, anti-apartheid, and popular culture.

Joshua B. Guild

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

HIS 578, AAS 578

Topics in African Diaspora History: Emancipation, Migration, Decolonization

This readings course considers the dispersals, political movements, cultural production, social bonds, and intellectual labors that together have constituted and continually re-configured the modern African diaspora, from the emergence and collapse of the Atlantic slave system through the late 20th century. The course tracks the evolution of diaspora as an idea and analytical framework, highlighting its intersections with concepts of Pan-Africanism, Black nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and citizenship. 

Joshua B. Guild

JRN 260, GSS 260 (SA)

The Media in America: Black Women and the 2020 Election


This seminar will focus on Black women and the roles-voter, organizer, influencer, candidate--they have played and will play in the national conversation and upcoming U.S. presidential election. We will also explore why and how the press can and should better report on the political priorities of this consequential constituency. Students will learn about the roots of the political journey of Black women in America, including the pioneering journalists who first wrote on this subject, while acquiring the skills, perspective, and context to cover news at the intersection of race, gender, and politics today.

Errin Whack

LAS 217, POR 217, AFS 217, ANT 339 (SA)

Brazil-Africa: Critical Perspectives on South-South Networks


This course explores the Brazil-Africa nexus in history and today. It combines perspectives from the social sciences, the humanities and the arts, and focuses on dynamics of exchange, domination and resistance. We will critically examine the place of Brazil and Africa in European imperialism and assess the impact of the South Atlantic slave trade. We will also consider decolonization struggles and solidarities. The course ends with a critique of Brazil's recent venture into the global stage and a reflection on China as an increasingly powerful, potential geopolitical partner for both Brazil and Africa.

Miqueias Mugge

LAS 313, LAO 313, AAS 331 (SA)

Locked Up in the Americas: A History of Prisons and Detainment


This course explores the history of incarceration, detention centers, and internments camps in the Americas from the 1800s to the present. It addresses a range of issues, including political suppression, inmate labor, immigration, and the architectures of confinement, to show how penal colonies, convict transport, exile, and international policing have been evolving endeavors of state and social control since independence. We will look at a series of case studies, from detainment on the US-Mexico border and a panopticon in Cuba to the famed escapes at Devil's Island and the Chilean penal island that inspired the story of Robinson Crusoe.

Ryan Edwards

LAS 395, AAS 396 (HA)

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 20th century.

Adrian Lopez-Denis

LCA 213, AAS 213, ENG 213, HUM 213 (LA)

The Lucid Black and Proud Musicology of Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka


This class will focus on the career-long writing about jazz, blues, rock and R&B of Amiri Baraka (nee Leroi Jones) and the significant impact it has had on cultural politics, scholarship and esthetics from the early 1960s to the present. Baraka's work as an activist and his gifts as a poet/novelist/playwright/political essayist allowed him to inject considerable lyricism, eloquence, learning and passion into the previously moribund fields of African American music history and journalism. His music writing also affected the tenor of future public advocacy for jazz via the NEA 's Jazz Masters awards and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

Gregory Tate

MPP 214, AAS 214 (LA)

Projects in Vocal Performance : Vocal Styles in African American Music


This course will study African American composers and vocal musical styles from post-Civil War to the present. Includes a survey of the origins of spirituals, blues, art song, jazz, gospel and R&B, exploring the vocal styles, vocal production, repertoire, and cultural context of each genre. Course will involve both lecture and performance, culminating in a written project and public vocal performance. Non-singers are welcome.

Rochelle Ellis, Trineice Robinson-Martin

MUS 214 (LA)

Projects in Vocal Performance: The Development of the African American Art Song


The class will be a survey of the development of classical African American art song.

Rochelle K. Ellis 

MUS 246, AFS 246 (LA)

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. 

Olivier Tarpaga

MUS 258, AFS 258 (LA)

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

MUS 262, AAS 262 (LA)

Jazz History: Many Sounds, Many Voices


This course will examine the musical, historical, and cultural aspects of jazz throughout its entire history, looking at the 20th century as the breeding ground for jazz in America and beyond. During this more than one hundred year period, jazz morphed and fractured into many different styles and voices, all of which will be considered. In addition to the readings, the course will place an emphasis on listening to jazz recordings, and developing an analytical language to understand these recordings. A central goal is to understand where jazz was, is, and will be in the future, examining the musicians and the music that has kept jazz alive. 

Matthew Clayton

MUS 264 (LA)

Urban Blues and the Golden Age of Rock


Examines post-World War II blues, rock music mostly of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the connections between them. Explores wider musical and extramusical connections.

Rob Wegman

MUS 350, AFS 350, ANT 373 (LA)

Studies in African Performance


This course presents a cross-disciplinary and multi-modal approach to African music, dance, and culture. Co-taught by a master drummer and choreographer (Tarpaga) and an ethnomusicologist (Steingo), students will explore African and African diasporic performance arts through readings, discussions, listening, film analysis, music performance, and composition.

Gavin Steingo, Olivier P. Tarpaga

NES 316, AAS 324, HIS 299, 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

NES 374, GSS 343 (HA)

Global Feminisms: Feminist Movements in the Middle East and Beyond


This course explores how feminist thought & activism circulates globally by examining a variety of feminist movements in the Middle East & North Africa. Beginning with modern feminist thought and activism in mid-19th century Syria & Egypt, we'll trace feminist movements in various contemporary contexts, from Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon & Egypt in the 20th century, to women's participation in the Arab Spring and transnational Islamic movements in the 21st century. We'll map the local and geopolitical discourses that have shaped regional feminisms, and ask how local feminisms are transnational or global.

Satyel Larson

NES 395, HIS 457, AFS 412, AAS 412 (HA)

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. 

M'hamed Oualdi

NES 397 (CD or HA)

'Global Algeria' in the 20th Century: Beyond France and Fanon


From the mid to late 20th century, Algeria has occupied a key position in the imagination of major world actors such as the Black Panthers, Viet Cong and George W. Bush administration. Yet, observers have often examined the global significance of events in the North African nation, namely its storied revolution against France, while neglecting Algerians' lived experiences of these same moments. This class re-centers attention on different Algerian communities' views of histories concerning their country from the rise of nationalism in the early 20th century through the ongoing 2019 Hirak movement within local, regional, and global frameworks.

Elizabeth M. Perego


POL 311 (CD or EM)

Multiculturalism: Conflicts Over Diversity in the Modern State


What is culture? Should the state protect cultural diversity? What should be done when this protection clashes with the protection of the individual? What about conflicts between multiculturalism and protections or other types of difference (race, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)? This course explores definitions of culture, and vigorous debates about liberal multiculturalism, cultural relativism, critical race theory, and more. We will study leading philosophies of cultural and other differences, and current controversies about cultural inclusion, appropriation, ableism, intersectionality, and religious freedom.

Steven A. Kelts

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

POL 344, AAS 344 (SA)

Race and Politics in the United States


This course focuses upon the evolution, nature, and role of Black politics within the American Political System, in the post- civil rights era. The concern is with Black people as actors and creators and initiators in the political process. Specifically, this course will examine various political controversies that surround the role of race in American society. These controversies or issues, affect public opinion, political institutions, political behavior, and salient public policy debates. Thus this course will assess and evaluate the contemporary influence of race in each of these domains while also exploring their historical antecedents. 

LaFleur Stephens-Dougan

POL 366, AFS 366 (SA)

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 new tasks, political patterns in the postindependence period, prospects for political change, and African interstate relations. 

Leonard Wantchekon

POL 420, AMS 420, AAS 420 (CD)

Seminar in American Politics : Reading Immigrant Narratives: U.S. Immigration and Integration


This course draws on the use of immigrant narratives as a lens through which to understand both the history of immigration in the U.S. and the contemporary immigration landscape. We will grapple with notions of citizenship and 'illegality' while examining backlash to demographic changes. Course topics include the politics and policies of immigrant admission to and deportation from the United States as well as the nature and consequences of immigration at the national, state, and local levels.

LaFleur Stephens-Dougan

POL 421 (SA)

Seminar in American Politics: Racial Politics in the U.S


This course investigates the politics of race in the U. S. with particular attention to the political status of African Americans. We will cover topics including the meaning of race, the civil rights movement and collective action, gender, class and regional differences, racial prejudice, racial identity, and various public policy issues such as residential segregation and political representation. The focus will be on student participation and student research projects involving direct observation and rigorous qualitative analysis, or analysis of quantitative data.

Tali Mendelberg

POL 421 (SA)

Seminar in American Politics: Race and Ethnicity in Comparative Context


Why do political cleavages often divide along lines of race and ethnicity? Does human psychology tend towards 'groupism'? How do government institutions like schools, police and elections increase or decrease the salience of various ethnic and religious boundaries? This course investigates the relationship between identity, groups and politics in the U.S. and around the world. We will consider theories of group identity development; assess empirical approaches to the study of racial and ethnic groups in politics and look at how politically relevant aspects of identity can be measured for conducting original research [JPs or Senior Thesis].

Omar Wasow

POL 432, AFS 432 (SA)

Seminar in Comparative Politics:  Political and Economic Development in Africa


This course covers major current issues in political economy of development with special focus on Africa. The course will be structured in three parts. The first part will cover broad macro political economy issues (e.g. democracy and development, historical legacies, Resource curse). The second part will focus on micro issues (e.g.  property rights, clientelism, electoral accountability). The final part will draw mostly from the experimental literature in political economy and discuss policy prescriptions to improve development prospects (e.g. institutional reforms, information campaigns, foreign aid).

Leonard Wantchekon

POL 433, AFS 433, GSS 543 (SA)

Seminar in Comparative Politics:  Themes in African Politics


This course covers selected topics in contemporary African politics. We first highlight recent events in African history as well as contemporary African political issues. We then cover specific topics in greater detail including clientelism, democratization, and ethnic politics. We finally look at the historical legacies that continue to affect Africa's political landscape.

Leonard Wantchekon

POL 492, AAS 491, HUM 492, AMS 492 (HA)

The Politics of Race and Credit in America


The racial wealth gap is today one of the most salient features of the American polity. This course places widening racialized inequalities in a broad historical perspective by connecting them to the politics of money and credit. Ever since colonial times, Americans have passionately, even violently, debated the nature and character of money. Throughout, the nature of money was intimately linked to questions of race. We will follow these connections to study how in antebellum America slavery underwrote the American banking system, how during the New Deal government-backed mortgages explicitly excluded African American neighborhoods, and how the Civil Rights movement staked out economic demands that touched on the very nature of American money. We will connect this historical material to political theoretical debates about race, credit, and money today.

Stefan Eich

POL 543, AAS 543, GSS 543

Interest Groups and Social Movements in American Politics and Policy

This course engages theoretical and empirical work about interest groups and social movements in American politics and policy-making. We examine theories of interest group and social movement formation, maintenance and decline; how interest groups and social movements attempt to influence public policy; the impact of interest groups and social movements; lobbying; the relationships between interest groups and the three branches of the federal government; interest groups, elections, campaign finance, PACs, and 527s; and the effectiveness of interest groups and social movements as agents of democratic representation. 

Dara Strolovitch

POR 222, LAS 211 (LA)

Myth, Memory and Identity Politics in Lusophone Cinema


This course will analyze the role of cinema in the construction (and deconstruction) of national and transnational discourses in the Portuguese speaking world. We will examine a number of recurring cultural topics in a wide variety of films from Africa, Brazil and Europe, situating works within their socio-historical contexts and tracing the development of national cinemas and their interaction with global aesthetics and trends.

Nicole T. Cooney

POR 304, LAS 311(LA)

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.

Sound and Sense


How do emotion and movement appear in Brazilian music? While music is a form of translation and dialogue everywhere, the song in Brazil is an especially porous form, capable of daily reinvention of languages, traditions and habits, thus questioning history and politics. How are identity, sexuality, orality and writing worked out in musical genres such as samba, hip hop, rock? How is the African Diaspora cyphered in Brazilian music? How does that process differ from other diasporic communities? Is Brazilian music really Brazilian? These are some of the questions the seminar will address through listening and scholarly discussion.

Arto Lindsay, Pedro Monteiro

Listening to Brazil


This course offers an audio-visual immersion into the musical culture and soundscapes of Brazil. How do political activism and a philosophy of life converge in the social arena as a musical form of communication? From contemporary Amerindian songs to the Afro rhythms and spirituals of Capoeira and Candomblé; from the rituals of Congada in Minas Gerais to Repente and Carnival; from Samba to Bossa Nova to Tropicalia to Hip-Hop and their relation to literature and film. Students will study lyrics, watch films, and read critical analysis on music. Each student will build a repertoire of songs and texts to create a final sonic production.

Marília Librandi

POR 309, LAS 393 (HA)

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. 

Miqueias Mugge

PSY 252 (EC)

Social Psychology


The scientific study of social behavior, with an emphasis on social interaction and group influence. Topics covered will include social perception, the formation of attitudes and prejudice, attraction, conformity and obedience, altruism and aggression, and group dynamics. 

Diana Tamir

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

REL 256, AAS 256 (HA)

African American Religious History


This course will trace the origins and development of African American religion in the United States. It will begin with the important debate about "Africanisms" and an examination of "slave religion" in its various forms. We will also discuss urban religion and the rise of "The Black Gods of the Metropolis". In addition to Christian and quasi-Christian groups, we will also explore the rise of non-Christian groups such as Black Hebrews and the Nation of Islam. The course concludes with an examination of the contested role of Black churches during the Civil Rights Movement. 

Wallace D. Best

REL 258 (SA)

Religion in American Society


A broad survey of religion in American society from the colonial era to the present. Emphasis on religious encounter and conflict; the relationship between religious change and broader social and political currents; religious innovations and transformations; immigrant religions; secularization, resurgence, and pluralism. Mix of primary and secondary source readings.

Judith Weisenfeld

REL 292 (EM)

Hip Hop, Reggae, and Religion


In this course, we will examine music and the religio-political imagination of the Black Atlantic, focusing on Jamaica and the US. We will examine the ways that the various cultures of hip-hop and reggae offer critique to our contemporary religious and political arrangements. Listening to the perspectives expressed in these cultural formations we will question whether the music provides a prophetic challenge to the status quo. Giving attention to the music, from the Negro Spirituals, to contemporary Hip Hop and Dancehall, we will contextualize it with an interest in understanding the relationship between their religious and political visions.

Kevin A. Wolfe

REL 310, AAS 310 (HA)

American Pentecostalism


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. 

Wallace D. Best

REL 328, GSS 328 (SA)

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. 

Sheila Marmon

REL 358 (HA)

Religion in American Culture Since 1830


The relationship between religion and society in the U.S. in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention will be paid to Transcendentalism, the Civil War, the social gospel, Fundamentalism, New Thought, Pentecostalism, civil rights, immigration, and recent religious movements. 

Leigh Schmidt

REL 360, GSS 360, AMS 369 (SA)

Women and American Religion


In exploration of women's roles and experiences, and constructions of gender in diverse settings within North American religion. The seminar will examine female religious leaders and participants in such subcultures as Puritanism, evangelicalism, Catholicism, Judaism, African American Protestantism, native traditions, and American Islam. Emphasis on the dilemmas faced by women in religious institutions as well as the creative uses women have made of their social and religious "place." 

R. Marie Griffith

REL 372, AAS 382 (HA)

Race, Religion, and the Harlem Renaissance


The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s is most often depicted as "the flowering of African American arts and literature." It can also be characterized as a period when diverse forms of African American religious expressions, ideologies, and institutions emerged. This course will explore the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, particularly the writings of Langston Hughes, to understand the pivotal intersection of race and religion during this time of Black "cultural production." 

Wallace D. Best

REL 377, AAS 376, AMS 378 (SA)

Race and Religion in America


This course examines the ways in which constructions of race have shaped how varied Americans have constructed religious identities and fostered religious experience, as well as made meaning of the religions of others. Topics addressed include American interpretations of race in the Bible, religion and racial slavery, religious constructions of whiteness, and religious resistance to notions of race. Readings are drawn from a range of primary and secondary sources. 

Judith Weisenfeld

REL 582, AAS 582

Study of Race, Gender & Slavery in Western & Non-Western Societies

Interdisciplinary inquiry into the changing and often fraught study of "race," "ethnicity," slavery and gender in a variety of historical, cultural contexts and academic disciplines. How does gender inflect the experience of slavery/racial difference and how has the representation of female slaves been influenced by literary topoi? Practices of slavery and understandings of race/ethnicity in non-Western societies, specifically so-called "Islamic" societies through pre-modern, colonial, post-colonial and modern periods. 

Shaun Marmon

SOC 207 (SA)

Poverty in America


This course investigates poverty in America in historical and contemporary perspective.  We will explore central aspects of poverty, including low-wage work and joblessness, housing and neighborhoods, crime and punishment, and survival and protest.  Along the way, we will examine the cause and consequences of poverty; study the lived experience of severe deprivation and material hardship; evaluate large-scale anti-poverty programs with an eye toward what worked and what didn’t; and engage with normative debates about the right to housing, living wages, just punishment, and other matters pertaining to American life below the poverty line.

Matthew Desmond

SOC 210, LAS 210, URB 210, LAO 210 (SA)

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.

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

SOC 216 (SA)

The Ghetto


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.

Terry Williams

SOC 227, URB 227 (SA)

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."

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

SOC 327, LAO 328 (SA)

Immigration, Race, and the Black Population of the United States


This course seeks to expose students to the recent social science literature on contemporary immigration of Black individuals from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa to the United States. In addition to gaining an understanding of the degree of diversity that exists within the Black immigrant population, students will explore the long-term effects of contemporary Black immigration on American society, with a particular focus on understanding the roles of race, selective migration, and culture in explaining disparate social outcomes between U.S.-born and foreign-born Blacks in the United States.

Tod Hamilton

SOC 354, AFS 354 (SA)

Contemporary Issues in African Societies


This course approaches contemporary African issues through the lens of population studies. What theories explain the recent fertility declines observed in so much of the developing world, and why have some African countries failed to adhere to that path? What traits are characteristic of African households today, and how were present-day family relations shaped by pre-colonial norms? Discussions will stress intra- and cross-continental comparative analysis to foster an appreciation for characteristics, trends, and challenges that are uniquely African.

Sara Lopus

SOC 359 (SA)

Higher Education and Society


Is higher education still a pathway to opportunity? This course will examine issues related to college access, aid, and accountability. We will begin by reviewing recent research on topics such as: the changing demographics of students, the definition of "merit" in admissions, the challenges of assessment, and student loan debt. We will consider how college is increasingly associated with later outcomes such as income, occupation, health, and family formation. We will also discuss the politics of higher education reform and whether innovations like online courses can reshape the future of postsecondary schooling. 

Matthew Lawrence

SOC 562, AAS 562 

Race and Ethnicity (Half-Term)

An overview of important theories and theorists of race and ethnicity, focussing on (a) fundamental concepts of the nature and persistence of race and ethnic identity as meaningful social groupings and (b) how those groupings are related to social stratifications, socio-cultural relations, and the political and economic dynamics in society. Half-term course. 

Edward Telles

SPA 233, LIN 233, LAS 233 (CD or EC) 

Language of the Americas


This course explores the vast linguistic diversity of the Americas: native languages, pidgins, creoles, mixed languages, and other languages in North, Central, and South America, including the Caribbean. We will examine historical and current issues of multilingualism to understand the relationship between language, identity, and social mobility. We will discuss how languages played a central role in colonization and nation-building processes, and how language policies contribute to linguistic loss and revitalization. This course has no prerequisites and is intended for students interested in learning more about languages in the Americas.

Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo

SPA 327, URB 327, LAO 327 (LA)

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

SPA 352, AAS 352, LAS 356 (LA)

Topics in the Politics of Writing and Difference: Literature and Slavery in the Iberian Atlantic


This course examines literature, court records, travel narratives, and the only known autobiography of an ex-slave in Spanish to consider the world of slavery, uprisings and emancipation across Latin America in the nineteenth century. Centered on Cuba, whose earliest literature focused on the island's massive slave industry, the course opens up to consider histories and literatures from Haiti, Colombia, Brazil, and beyond. Also included: recent historiography, psychoanalysis, and contemporary representations of slavery in Latin America, including films.

Rachel Price

SPA 360, AAS 361, AMS 375, LAO 360 (EM)

Urban Diversity and Segregation in the Americas


Diversity has sometimes been viewed as a source of vitality and strength, other times as a threat to cultural or national cohesion. This seminar explores histories of segregation and debates about diversity in a hemispheric framework, asking: how can Latin American perspectives inform our understanding of the U.S.? How has the U.S. shaped urban developments in Latin America, as a model or cautionary tale? What is the interplay between identity politics and moral values? Urbanism and ethics? How does diversity relate to inclusion, difference, and inequality? Topics include immigration, globalization, social justice, planning, race and racism. 

Bruno Carvalho

SPA 365, LAO 365, URB 365 (LA) 

Rapping in Spanish: Urban Poetry in Latino Global Cities


This course studies contemporary urban poetry composed in Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic in cities such as New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Mexico D.F., Barcelona and Buenos Aires. It focuses on lyrical practices that combine sound and language in a wide range of literary expressions. Contemporary hip-hop poetry and rap lyrics are at the center of the course.

Germán Labrador Méndez

SPA 366, AMS 326, LAO 366, GSS 364 (SA)

Witchcraft, Rituals and Colonialism


This course will explore witchcraft and rituality in the Americas through accusations and identity claims. We will look at how witchcraft has been used in colonial and imperial contexts to control, sanction, and extract power from women and marginalized groups in different periods, as well as how people make claims to witchcraft and rituals as a way to thwart domination. Topics include: shamanism in Latin America, the Mexican Inquisition, Afro-Latinx and Carribean diasporic religious systems, and the contemporary social media ritual activism of "bruja feminisms." Students will be introduced to theories of race, gender, and sexuality.

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

SPA 377, AAS 374, AMS 377, GSS 372 (SA)

Transnational Feminisms


Transnational feminist approaches to globalization, race, sexuality, diaspora and nationalisms from Latinx, Black, and Asian American perspectives. Through different methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches to feminism, we will explore issues of women's and LGBTQIA rights, gender equality, globalization, capitalism, and contemporary debates around race and sexuality.

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús

SPA 387,  AAS 387 (LA)

Puerto Ricans Under U.S. Empire: Memory, Diaspora, and Resistance


This seminar examines the ethical and historical dimensions of the 201+G1209 Summer Puerto Rican Protests. Developing within an ongoing financial catastrophe and the trauma of Hurricane María, most issues raised today are deeply rooted in the history of U.S. imperial domination since 1898. The course aims to rethink questions of second-class citizenship, colonial capitalism, militarization, ecocide and massive migrations, as well as gender, sexual and racial inequalities. Special focus on how musical, artistic, religious, political, and literary traditions shape memory and resistance in Puerto Rico and in its vast diasporic communities.

Cesar Colon-Montijo, Arcadio Diaz-Quinones

SPI 331, AAS 317, SOC 312 (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

SPI 345, AAS 384, PSY 384 (SA)

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

SPI 370, POL 308, CHV 301 (EM)

Ethics and Public Policy


This course examines basic ethical controversies in public life. What rights do persons have at the beginning and end of life? Do people have moral claims to unequal economic rewards or is economic distribution properly subject to political design for the sake of social justice? Do we have significant moral obligations to distant others? Other possible topics include toleration (including the rights of religious and cultural minorities), racial and gender equity, and just war.  

Stephen Macedo, Renee Bolinger

SWA 200, COM 200 (LA)

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. 

Mahiri Mwita

THR 332, AMS 346, GSS 342, LAO 332 (EM)

Movements for Diversity in American Theater


Theater artists routinely bend, twist and break all kinds of rules to create the imaginary worlds they bring to life on stage. Why, then, has the American theater so struggled to meaningfully address questions of equity, diversity and inclusion? In this course, we undertake a critical, creative and historical overview of agitation and advocacy by theater artist-activists aiming to transform American theatre-making as both industry and creative practice, as we connect those histories with the practices, structures and events determining the ways diversity is (and is not) a guiding principle of contemporary American theater.

Brian Herrera

THR 340, AAS 343, CWR 340, HUM 340 (EM)

Autobiographical Storytelling


Every life delivers a story (or three) worth telling well. This workshop course rehearses the writing and performance skills necessary to remake the raw material drawn from lived experience into compelling autobiographical storytelling. Course participants will work in an array of storytelling modes (including stand-up comedy, testimonio, first-person media, slam poetics, etcetera) and will draw from those techniques to devise, document and perform an original work of autobiographical storytelling at semester's end.

Brian Herrera


URB 385, SOC 385, HUM 385, ARC 385 (SA)

Mapping Gentrification


This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities.

Aaron P. Shkuda

VIS 307, AAS 307 (LA)

Film Blackness


This seminar will frame the idea of Black film as a visual negotiation between film as art and the discursivity of race, rather than Black film as a demographic, or a genre, or a reflection of the Black experience, or something bound by a representational politics of positive and negative stereotypes. Black film will be critically considered as an interdisciplinary practice that enacts a distinct visual and expressive culture alongside literature, music, art, photography, and new media. Students will consider new paradigms for genre, narrative, aesthetics, historiography, and intertextuality within this overarching concept of Black film.

Michael Gillespie