Photo by Paul Everett available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Photo by Paul Everett available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Course Descriptions


Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to important historical, cultural, literary, and political issues concerning African Americans. Through critical readings of literary, historical, and critical texts, this course provides an overview of the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans from before the 15th century to today. Beginning with a conceptual overview of slavery as a distinct relation of domination, students will proceed to examine the emergence of modern racial slavery and the retrenchment of racial oppression following the formal abolition of slavery. With special focus on Black feminist, queer, and trans* activism, the course will explore struggles for social transformation and resistance by African Americans in the United States.
From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, A Different World, Martin, and Chappelle’s Show to Dear White People, Atlanta, Blackish, and Insecure, the cultural singularities of Black television shows are inescapable, creative phenomena. In profound ways, they entertain us, tether us to one another, and facilitate critical conversations about Black existence in an antiblack world. In this course, we will sit, chill, and dialogue with these shows in order to consider how and why they work in these ways, thinking especially critically about the nature of our enjoyment and its relation to their critical potential to shape our everyday discourse.
Black Digital Cultures will examine particular Black spaces in emerging media. By exploring “Black Twitter,”  the independent networks of Black podcasters, and  the growing number of web series with Black creators telling Black stories, this course will refute the assertion the “web is so white” and show how these spaces represent myriad forms of Blackness informed by intersectional notions of identity.
This class examines how "science" participates in, creates, and is created by understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and nation. We begin by tracing the role of colonialism and slavery and its practices of “knowing,” “containing,” and “producing” the gendered black subject through emerging cultures of science. In paying attention to the ways colonial sciences produce worlds, we begin to interrogate the connections between gender, race, and the settler nation. We’ll discuss what sorts of racialized and gendered citizens and what sorts of desires are produced through science, capitalism, and later neo-liberalism. In the second part of the class, we will begin to think about Western science as a particular way of knowing things in the world (epistemology) and trace its historical and philosophical emergence. We’ll ask after the sorts of assumptions we make about ourselves and the world around us (ontology), and if/how we might live in such a world. Finally, we begin to imagine the futures of our epistemologies, ontologies, and cosmologies for the world we inhabit.
Exploration of the history of the archipelago from pre-Columbian times to the end of slavery; examining the impact of European colonization, decimation of the indigenous populations, African slavery, resistance and emancipation; the unity and diversity of experience in region.
No detailed description available.
"Black Popular Music tells the story of how African-American cultural agency has captivated and cultivated the popular imagination worldwide - through effective adaptations and applications of oral traditions which survived the Middle Passage. This course will examine genres such as R&B, rock, soul, funk, and hip-hop as manifestations of this dynamic cultural legacy. The performativity, delivery mechanisms and style of specific artists within these genres will be considered, as well as the philosophical tensions that exist between an art-for-life’s-sake oral-aesthetic mission and its interface with an acquisitive industry that manages the communication gateways into the mainstream marketplace. Students will reflect through a culturally-centered lens on the historical, political and social significance and humanizing role of African-American cultural agency on the global stage."
In this course we explore the histories, politics, and imaginaries of black indigeneity in both the Americas and Africa. We examine colonialism, chattel slavery, and imperialism as forces that shape who counts as indigenous and why.
African American Studies 144, "Race & the Art of Writing,” is a literature and writing class. While being introduced to seminal texts in the Black literary tradition, as well as to narrative theory, students will develop creative writing skills and produce a short piece of fiction of creative nonfiction by the end of the quarter.

Admission by instructor approval.

Submissions of original work are due FRIDAY of week 9. Guidelines will be available soon.