Spring 2020 Courses

Core Courses


AAS 359, ENG 366(LA)

African American Literature:  Harlem Renaissance to the 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 fits into certain periods 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]

Kinohi Nishikawa

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]

Tera Hunter


Undergraduate Courses


AAS 230 (HA)

Topics in African American Studies: Remembering and Forgetting: Race, Violence, and History in the US


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 N. Crabtree

AAS 303 (EM)

Topics in Global Race and Ethnicity:  The Post-Colonial Imagination and Africana Thought


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 A. Wolfe

AAS 304, HUM 303, GSS 325 (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 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 321, REL 321 (HA)

Black Rage and Black Power (fka Black Power and its Theology of Liberation)


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. We aim 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 326 (SA)

Topics in African American Culture and Life:  Black-ish and the Black Middle Class


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

AAS 337, GSS 388 (SA)

Black Feminist Theory


In this course, students will read and analyze the 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 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.

Anna Arabindan-Kesson

AAS 362, WWE 386, 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 381 (SA)

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 this contemporary housing crisis affects race, class, and gender dynamics in American cities and suburbs. This class will examine the barriers to safe, sound, and affordable housing. In doing so, we will also look at how social activism and movements 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 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 Z. Strolovitch


Cross Listing Courses


AMS 322, AAS 320

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

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 Heratige


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 C. Cain

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

Disablity, 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

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 twenty-first 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

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 L. 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 L. Belcher

DAN 211, AAS 211 (LA)

The American Dance Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora fka The American Dance Experience and Africanist Dance Practices


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

Dyane Harvey Salaam

DAN 222, AAS 222 (LA)

Introduction to Hip-Hop Dance


This introductory survey course gives equal weight to 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

ENG 397, AAS 397, COM 339 (LA)

New Diasporas: Black British Literature


This is a course on the dynamic body of works produced by migrants and descendants of migrants from Africa and the Caribbean in Britain since the 1950s. How has the migrant experience transformed the British cultural landscape after the end of an empire? What does it mean to be British and Black? How have migrant writers created new aesthetic forms to respond to the meaning of postcolonial Britishness? How does writing function as a mode of imagining alternative spaces of belonging? Readings will range from the novels of migrant arrival in the 1950s and the works of Zadie Smith to "post-racial" novels by Helen Oyeyemi and Aminatta Forna.

Simon E. Gikandi

ENG 411, AAS 413 (LA)

Major Author(s): August Wilson: African American Life in the the 20th Century


August Wilson completed what many consider the most ambitious project of any American playwright. His cycle of ten plays, one for each decade, chronicles African American life in the 20th century. We will explore all ten plays as individual drama and depictions of history. We will read standard histories to gain background and context.

R. N. Sandberg

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 345, AAS 355, 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

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 M. Mota

HIS, AAS 393, 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 A. Wailoo

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

HIS 492, AFS 492, AAS 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 twentieth-century. Why, and through which channels, were Africans attracted to socialism? Did particular forms of colonialism and decolonization push African political actors in that direction? Is it legitimate, as some scholars have suggested, to speak of genuinely African socialisms? We will discuss the contexts in which specific countries adopted and implemented socialism. Our goal is to place Africa in the mainstream of conversations about socialism.

Benedito L. Machava

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 D. Clayton

POL 344, AAS 344 (SA)

Race and Politics in the United States


This course examines various political controversies that surround the role of race and ethnicity in American society. These controversies and issues affect public opinion, political institutions, political behavior, and salient public policy debates. Thus this course will assess and evaluate the role of race in each of these domains while also examining historical antecedents. The first half of the course will focus on historical antecedents such as the civil rights movement and the Black Power movement. The second half of the course will focus on the nature of contemporary racial attitudes, in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential elections.

LaFleur Stephens-Dougan

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 2019 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 Díaz-Quiñones