|Course Number||Course Title|
|401-0||Research Seminar in Black Studies|
|402-0||Theorizing Black Genders and Sexualities|
|403-0||Theorizing Blackness and Diaspora|
|410-0||Black Feminist/Queer Theories|
|420-0||Expressive Arts & Cult Studies|
|441-0||History of Black Women in Diaspora|
|442-0||Africans in Colonial Latin Am|
|444-0||Civil Rights/Black Liberation|
|445-0||Historicizing Race in Latin Am|
|460-0||Race, Politics, Society, Culture|
|463-0||Critical Race Theory|
|465-0||Race, Conquests & Colonialism|
|467-0||Ethnographies of Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity|
|480-0||Grad Topics in Af Am Studies|
Core Course Descriptions
401 Research Seminar in Black Studies:
This research seminar introduces students to central debates in Black studies on a graduate level, and, it also emphasizes critical thinking, research, documentation, and writing in order to prepare students for undertaking effective and successful scholarly writing projects. Students will learn how to envision research questions, incorporate theoretical and methodological paradigms into their research, and devise their own research project.
We will examine different methodologies (historiographic, literary, ethnographic, social scientific, etc.) for producing Black studies based research projects and essays in order to analyze different strategies of argumentation, presenting evidence, and bibliographic methods with a particular emphasis on the many digital tools available. Students are expected to continuously work on researching and writing their essays over the course of the quarter so as to produce a publishable paper at the end of the term.
Readings: Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley, Claudine Michel, eds. The Black Studies Reader, Winston Napier, ed. African American Literary Theory: a Reader; Timothy P. Fong, ed. Ethnic Studies Research: Approaches and Perspectives; Anthony Winkler and Jo Ray McCuen-Metherell, Writing the Research Paper: A Handbook; drew Abbott,Digital Paper: A Manual for Research and Writing with Library and Internet Materials.
402 Theorizing Black Genders and Sexualities:
This course examines the multiple, changing meanings and political effects of gender and sexuality on black identity in different socio-cultural contexts. Drawing on the work of black LGBTQ and feminist thinkers, it analyzes how social institutions such as the law, family and economy, and cultural representations, e.g. literary and popular media, shape competing concepts of black genders and sexualities.
This course also stages a series of dialogues between global black feminist theory and black queer theory through the discussion of such topics as: the legacies of slavery and colonialism; diaspora; citizenship; activism; labor, kinship; body politics, , reproduction, violence, HIV/AIDs, as well as appropriations and alliances. The following texts offer a representative, rather than exhaustive, sample from which readings may be drawn:
E. Patrick Johnson & Mae G. Henderson, eds. Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology; Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics; Thomas Glave, ed. Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles; Omise'eke Natasha Tinsley, “Black Atlantic, Queer Atlantic;” Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class; Oguntoye, et al, Showing Our Colors Afro-German Women Speak Out; M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory; Beverly Guy-Sheftall, ed., Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought; Hortense J. Spillers, Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture; Gloria Wekker, The Politics of Passion: Women’s Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora; Cathy J. Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness; C. Riley Snorton, Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low; Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas, eds. Queer African Reader.
403 Theorizing Blackness and Diaspora:
This graduate level course introduces students to a survey of cultural, social, historical, and theoretical approaches to understanding the meaning and applications of Blackness, discussing a range of approaches involved in developing a global analytics of blackness. The Middle Passage, transatlantic racial slavery, the plantation system, and the gendered racial terror erected on them were not one time events, spanning almost 500 years from the early 15th century to well into 19th century, and their effects are still felt not only in Americas but in many places around the globe, including continental Africa.
As an analytic Blackness emphasizes how Black people are positioned in relationship to this abstract force differently than other groups (e.g. whites, Latin@, Native, Asian American, etc.) and internally differentiated depending on gender, sexuality, class, phenotype, nationality, etc. Thus, blackness—just as whiteness—is not primarily about cataloging the existence of racial groups but addresses a spectrum of power along which all racial groups are unequally positioned.
Drawing on theoretical discourses from the social sciences and humanities, the course surveys blackness as a global category of critical analysis for both historical and contemporary social formations in the African Diaspora. In addition, by considering the different manifestations of Blackness as well as other forms of racialized identity across the globe from historical, empirical, and theoretical perspectives, it also considers how gender, class, sexuality, and nationality shape the territory of blackness.
We will study scholarly works that address, on the one hand, the continued significance of slavery, colonialism, incarceration, segregation, other forms of racialized violence, and, on the other hand, texts that imagine Blackness as a pathway alternative forms of being human.
The following texts offer a representative, rather than exhaustive, sample from which readings may be drawn: W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk; Oliver C. Cox, Caste, Class and Race; Denise Ferreira da Silva, Toward A Global Idea of Race; Frantz Fanon, Black Skins, White Masks; Jared Sexton, Amalgamation Schemes; Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route; Fred Moten, In the Break, Cathy J. Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness;João Costa Vargas, Never Meant to Survive: Genocide and Utopias in Black Diaspora Communities; Patricia Hill-Collins, Black Feminist Thought; Nahum Chandler, X-The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism; Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class; Katherine McKittrick, Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle;Edouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation; Stuart Hall, Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies;Sylvia Wynter, “On How We Mistook the Map for the Territory” and “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom,” Jemima Pierre, The Predicament of Blackness; Civil Rights Congress, We Charge Genocide: The Historic Petition to the United Nations for Relief from a Crime of the United States Government Against the Negro People; Hortense J. Spillers, Black, White, and in Color: Essays on American Literature and Culture; Gloria Wekker, The Politics of Passion: Women’s Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora
420 Black Expressive Arts:
The trope of the talking book that conferred humanity and power upon its owners is one starting point for the study of Afro-diasporic expressive arts. The very term points to an oxymoron, juxtaposing the alleged fixity of the written word against the ephemeral polysemy of the body in performance that artists, critics, and lay people have sought to negotiate and complicate in order to articulate individual subjectivity and collective identity.
Using crosscutting thematic, historical, and generic grids, the course will utilize slave narratives, fiction, poetry, music, critical theory, and the visual arts to survey how African-descended writers, artists, and theorists have grappled with the constitution of Blackness as it relates to the modern conception of humanity.
The course will discuss how Black writers and theorists have debated topics such as: the relationship to Africa (survivalisms, diaspora, Pan Africanism, Afrocentrism, Black Atlanticism); literature as a mode of self-articulation and struggle (protest tradition, the New Negro Renaissance, Negritude, Indigenism, postcoloniality); performance as a site of knowledge production and contestation; the constitution of Blackness (authenticity, creolite, migratory subjectivity, Black feminisms, queer/"quare" theory); modes of representation and their relationship to various ideological and/or theoretical debates; the global circulation of Black cultural production.
The course also exposes students to a variety of research methodologies and provides jumping-off points for further analysis from national, regional, and/or transnational perspectives.
The following texts offer a representative, rather than exhaustive, sample from which readings may be drawn: W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk; Angelyn Mitchell, ed., Within the Circle: An Anthology of African American Literary Criticism from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness; Edouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays; Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey; Hazel V. Carby, Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African America; Stuart Hall, Representation and the Media and Race, the Floating Signifier (video recordings); Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight; Patricia Hill Collins, Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism; Anna Grimshaw, ed., The C.L.R. James Reader; Isidore Okpewho, Carole Boyce Davies and Ali A. Mazrui, eds., The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (selected essays); Alexander G. Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human; Sheila S. Walker, ed., African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas; Michelle Wright,Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora; E. Patrick Johnson and Mae Henderson, eds., Black Queer Studies: A Critical Anthology; Dwight A. McBride, "Can the Queen Speak? Racial Essentialism, Sexuality and the Problem of Authority;"Sandra L. Richards, "Yoruba Gods on the American Stage: August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone."
440 Black Historiography:
This graduate level course charts the development of African American history writings and interpretations from the era of enslavement through the twentieth century. The course has four parts. The first part explores the texts early writers produced to chronicle the contributions of African Americans to the making of America. These first writers were self-taught and wrote not only to document Black achievement but to counter prevailing negative stereotypes in the larger society. The second part focuses on the work of scholars who received formal academic training and produced books that celebrated African Americans as active agents of history.
The range of texts includes essays, monographs, anthologies, journals etc. and other writings of individuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, E. Franklin Frazier, John Hope Franklin, Benjamin Quarles and others. The third part focuses on the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Era scholars who spearheaded the development of Black Studies. Foci concern the traditional academic scholarship that challenged conventional interpretations of slavery, Black nationalism, Black institutional and organizational development, and enhanced comprehension of Black expressive culture as fundamental to American culture.
Another critical development in part three was the emergence of survey texts in African American Studies such as Ron Karenga's Introduction to African American Studies. The fourth part examines the major ideological developments in African American Studies as it acquired legitimacy and acceptance within the academy.
The works of Afrocentrists such as Molefi Asante, the challenge of African American women studies scholars that made gender a category of analysis as important as race, and the emergence of African diaspora studies and comparative Black history signaled another important development in African American Studies Historiography.
While the course devotes considerable attention to historical works, it is equally important to concentrate on the writings of literary and cultural studies theorists, as well as those of sociologists and political scientists in order to appreciate the richness and expanse of intellectual engagement and productivity of this vital and dynamic discipline.
The following texts form the basis for a sample representative reading list of works that provide a foundation for the diverse ideological contours and streams of black studies scholarship: W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro; E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie; John Hope Franklin, George Washington Williams; Molefi Asante, Afrocentricity; Sterling Stuckey, Black Nationalism; Ron Karenga, Introduction to African American Studies; Darlene Clark Hine and Jacqueline McLeod, eds., Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora; Dwight A. McBride, Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch; David Barry Gaspar and Darlene Clark Hine, eds., More Than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas; and Beyond Bondage: Free Women of Color in the Americas; Patricia Hill-Collins, Black Feminist Thought; and Barbara Smith, Homegirls.
460 Black Social and Political Thought:
Sustained social and political questionings of inequalities in the formation of the modern world have been posed by Black populations across the African diaspora since the end of the 17th century. The study of Black communities, Black politics, and Black culture includes investigating the pivotal scholarly texts produced by social scientists that investigate the social, cultural, and political practices of abolitionists, maroons, Pan-Africanists, club women, freedom fighters, poets, and the vast array of “race men and women” across the spectrum of crusades.
The course also includes interrogation into the everyday lives of Black folks in families, neighborhoods, churches, schools, and workplaces. Finally, this course situates Black communities within specific economic, political, cultural, legal, and social contexts, and thus includes texts that describe and explain the structural nature of exploitation, oppression, and racism.
The course will attend to important axes of difference among African-descended peoples, such as gender, class, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and skin color, as well as to the transnational linkages and interactions that constitute the global African diaspora despite these particularities. Overall, it serves as an introduction to the major theories and debates in the social scientific study of Blackness and Black communities.
The following texts offer a representative, rather than exhaustive, sample from which readings may be drawn: W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk and Black Reconstruction in America; C.L.R James, The Black Jacobins; Melville Herskovitz, Acculturation: The Study of Cultural Contact; Oliver C. Cox, Caste, Class and Race; E. Franklin Frazier, The Negro Family in the United States, The Black Bourgeoisie, and The Negro Church in America; Aldon Morris, Origins of the Civil Rights Movement; Cathy Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness; Michael Dawson, Behind the Mule and Black Visions; Michael Hanchard, Orpheus and Power; Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism; Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic; Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism; Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class; Mary Pattillo, Black Picket Fences, Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter; William Julius Wilson, The Truly Disadvantaged; David Scott, Refashioning Futures; Barnor Hesse, Un/Settled Multiculturalisms; Lani Guinier, The Tyranny of the Majority; Randall Kennedy, Race Crime and the Law; and Charles Hamilton and Stokely Carmichael, Black Power.