Africana Studies Program

Founded in 1969 out of student protest and political upheaval, the Africana Studies Program continues its commitment to social change and the examination and creation of new knowledge. The Africana Studies Program brings together scholars and scholarship from many fields of study and draws on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to explore the cultures, histories, institutions, and societies of African and African-descended people. Program strengths include: education and activism; literature; feminism; political thought; Arabic language and culture; critical race theory; queer studies; prison studies; visual culture; creative writing; social, cultural, and political movements; and popular culture.

Advisers: Program director and program faculty.



Correlate Sequences in Africana Studies

The Africana Studies Program offers two correlate sequences.


Africana Studies: I. Introductory

101a. Martin Luther King Jr. (1)

(Same as HIST 101) This course examines the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. We immediately rethink the image of King who liberals and conservatives construct as a dreamer of better race relations. We engage the complexities of an individual, who articulated a moral compass of the nation, to explore racial justice in post-World War II America. This course gives special attention to King's post-1965 radicalism when he called for a reordering of American society, an end to the war in Vietnam, and supported sanitation workers striking for better wages and working conditions. Topics include King's notion of the "beloved community", the Social Gospel, liberalism, "socially conscious democracy", militancy, the politics of martyrdom, poverty and racial justice, and compensatory treatment. Primary sources form the core of our readings.

Two 75-minute periods.

104a. Religion, Prisons, and the Civil Rights Movement (1)

(Same as RELI 104) African American citizenship has long been a contested and bloody battlefield. This course uses the modern Civil Rights Movement to examine the roles the religion and prisons have played in theses battles over African American rights and liberties. In what ways have religious beliefs motivated Americans to uphold narrow definitions of citizenship that exclude people on the basis of race or moved them to boldly challenge those definitions? In a similar fashion, civil rights workers were incarcerated in jails and prisons as a result of their nonviolent protest activities. Their experiences in prisons, they exposed the inhumane conditions and practices existing in many prison settings. More recently, the growth of the mass incarceration of minorities has moved to the forefront of civil and human rights concerns. Is a new Civil Rights Movement needed to challenge the New Jim Crow?

Not offered in 2014/15.

105a. Issues In Africana Studies (1)

Not offered in 2014/15.

106a. Elementary Arabic (1)

This course is an elementary level course offered during fall semester only. The course builds basic skills in Modern Standard Arabic, the language spoken, read, and understood by educated Arabs throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and other parts of the world. No prior experience in Arabic is necessary. The course focuses on building students' abilities to (1) communicate successfully basic biographical information: name, place of residence, family members, and daily life activities, using memorized material; (2) understand speech dealing with areas of practical need such as highly standardized messages, phrases, or instructions, such as memorized greetings, pleasantries, leave taking, very basic questions and answers related to immediate need or personal information; (3) derive meaning from short, non-complex texts that convey basic information for which there is contextual or extra-linguistic support; (4) manage successfully a number of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations, such as giving basic personal information, and describing basic objects, a limited number of activities, preferences, and immediate needs. Ms. Al-Haddad and Mr. Mhiri.

Students who did not complete AFRS 106 may enroll in AFRS 107, if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Yearlong course 106-AFRS 107.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

107b. Elementary Arabic (1)

This is an elementary level course offered during spring semester only. The course focuses on building students' abilities to (1) create statements and formulate questions based on familiar material in short and simple conversational-style sentences with basic word order; (2) understand basic information conveyed orally in simple, minimally connected discourse that contains high-frequency vocabulary; (3) understand fully and with ease short, non-complex texts that convey basic information and deal with personal and social topics of immediate interest, featuring description and narration; (4) ask simple questions and handle a straightforward survival situation by producing sentence-level language, ranging from discrete sentences to strings of sentences, typically in present time. Ms. Al-Haddad and Mr. Mhiri.

Students who did not complete AFRS 106 may enroll in AFRS 107, if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Yearlong course AFRS 106-107.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

109a. Beyond the Veil and Islamic Terrorism: Modern Arabic Literature (1)

This course introduces students to major themes, authors, and genres in modern Arabic literature from the late nineteenth century to the present. Readings include autobiography, fiction, drama, and poetry representing the rich Arabic literary heritage of the Middle East and North Africa. We also read various secondary materials and watch several documentary and feature films that will anchor our discussion of the literary texts in their socio-historical and cultural context(s). Some of the major themes (foci) of the course include (1) tradition and change; (2) the colonial and postcolonial encounters with the other; (3) changing gender roles and the politics of (Islamic) Feminism; (4) religion and politics, among others. Mr. Mhiri.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

122a. Tradition, Religion, Modernity: A History of North Africa and the Middle East (1)

(Same as INTL 122) This course provides an introduction to the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa covering the period from the end of the eighteenth century until the present. The aim is to trace the genealogy of sociopolitical reform movements across this period of the history of North Africa and The Middle East. The course is designed to familiarize students with major themes spanning the colonial encounter, the rise of nationalisms, and postcolonial nation-building. Our inquiry includes an examination of the rise of political Islam as well as the contemporary popular revolutions sweeping through the region at the moment. Our goal is to achieve a better understanding of the culmination and collision of the historical trends of tradition religion and modernity and their manifestation in the ongoing Arab Spring. Mr. Hojairi.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

141a. Tradition, History and the African Experience (1)

(Same as HIST 141) From ancient stone tools and monuments to oral narratives and colonial documents, the course examines how the African past has been recorded, preserved, and transmitted over the generations. It looks at the challenges faced by the historian in Africa and the multi-disciplinary techniques used to reconstruct and interpret African history. Various texts, artifacts, and oral narratives from ancient times to the present are analyzed to see how conceptions and interpretations of African past have changed over time. Mr. Rashid.

Fulfills the Freshman Writing Seminar Requirement.

Not offered in 2014/15.

175b. Mandela: Race, Resistance and Renaissance in South Africa (1)

(Same as HIST 175) This course critically explores the history and politics of South Africa in the twentieth century through the prism of the life, politics, and experiences of one of its most iconic figures, Nelson Mandela. After almost three decades of incarceration for resisting Apartheid, Mandela became the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa in 1994. It was an inspirational moment in the global movement and the internal struggle to dismantle Apartheid and to transform South Africa into a democratic, non-racial, and just society. Using Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, as our point of departure, the course discusses some of the complex ideas, people, and developments that shaped South Africa and Mandela's life in the twentieth century, including: indigenous culture, religion, and institutions; colonialism, race, and ethnicity; nationalism, mass resistance, and freedom; and human rights, social justice, and post-conflict reconstruction. Mr. Rashid.

Two 75-minute periods.

185a. The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the United States (1)

Given the release of series like Orange is the New Black, movies like American Violet, and the recent cases of Marissa Alexander and CeCe McDonald, the particularities of Black women's incarceration is ostensibly coming to the fore within the public sphere. Through our readings of cultural productions as well as critical texts we will examine and write about the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and carcerality. Mr. Moore.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

Africana Studies: II. Intermediate

202a. Black Music (1)

(Same as MUSI 202) An analytical exploration of the music of certain African and European cultures and their adaptive influences in North America. The course examines the traditional African and European views of music performance practices while exploring their influences in shaping the music of African Americans from the spiritual to modern times. Mr. Patch.

203b. Arab Women Writers: A Literature of their Own? (1)

This course examines a selection of literary works by modern and contemporary Arab women writers in English translation. We will read fiction, poetry, autobiographies, short stories, and critical scholarship by and about Arab women, from North Africa and the Middle East, in order to develop a critical understanding of the social, political, and cultural context(s) of these writings, and to form an enlightened opinion about the issues and concerns raised by Arab women writers throughout the Twentieth Century, at different historical junctures, and in different locations. Our class discussions will focus---among other themes---on: (1) Arab women writers and feminism. (2) Arab Women and Islamism. (3) Arab women and the West. (4) Arab Nationalism(s), Arab Modernity(s), and Arab women. (5) Arab Women writing in the Diaspora: hyphenated identities and different routes of homecoming. The authors to be read include Assia Djebar (Algeria); Fatima Mernissi (Morocco); Nawal Sadaawi (Egypt); Hanan Al-Shaykh (Lebanon); and Sahar Khalifeh (Palestine); and many others. Mr. Mhiri.

Two 75-minute periods.

204b. Islam in America (1)

(Same as RELI 204) This course examines the historical and social development of Islam in the U.S. from enslaved African Muslims to the present. Topics include: African Muslims, rice cultivation in the South, and slave rebellions; the rise of proto-Islamic movements such as the Nation of Islam; the growth and influence of African American and immigrant Muslims; Islam and Women; Islam in Prisons; Islam and Architecture and the American war on terror.

Prerequisite: one unit in Religion or permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

205b. Arab American Literature (1)

(Same as AMST 205) This course examines issues of identity formation, including race and ethnicity, gender, religion, and multiculturalism in the literary production of at least four generations of American writers, intellectuals and journalists of Arab and hybrid descent. We will read autobiographies, novels, short stories and poetry spanning the twentieth century, as well as articles and book chapters framing this literature and the identity discourse it vehicles within the broader cultural history of the American mosaic. Authors and works studied may change occasionally and include: Khalil Gibran, Elia Abu Madi, Gregory Orfalea, Joseph Geha, Diana Abu Jaber, Naomi Shihab Nye, Suheir Hammad, Betty Shamieh, Moustafa Bayoumi, and others. All texts are originally written in English. Mr. Mhiri.

Open to all students.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

206b. Social Change in the Black and Latino Communities (1)

(Same as RELI 206 and SOCI 206) An examination of social issues in the Black and Latino communities: poverty and welfare, segregated housing, drug addiction, unemployment and underemployment, immigration problems and the prison system. Social change strategies from community organization techniques and poor people's protest movements to more radical urban responses are analyzed. Attention is given to religious resources in social change.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2.5-hour period.

207a. Intermediate Arabic (1)

This is an intermediate level course offered during fall semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students' abilities to (1) create with the language and communicate personal meaning effectively; (2) satisfy personal needs and social demands to survive in an Arabic speaking environment; (3) understand information conveyed in simple, sentence-length speech on familiar or everyday topics. (4) understand short, non-complex texts that convey basic information and deal with personal and social topics. (5) build intercultural competence through exposure to authentic Arabic expressions, proverbs, and similar linguistic and cultural idioms. Mr. Mhiri.

This course is designed for students who have completed AFRS 107 or its equivalent successfully as demonstrated by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

208b. Intermediate Arabic (1)

This is an intermediate level course offered during spring semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students' abilities to (1) write short, simple communications, compositions, and requests for information in loosely connected texts about personal preferences, daily routines, common events, and other personal topics; (2) understand simple, sentence-length speech in a variety of basic personal and social contexts and accurately comprehend highly familiar and predictable topics; (3) understand short, non-complex texts, featuring description and narration, that convey basic information and deal with basic and familiar topics; (4) handle successfully a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations such as exchanges related to self, family, home, daily activities, interests and personal preferences, as well as physical and social needs, such as food, shopping, travel, and lodging; (5) develop their intercultural competence through increased exposure to authentic Arabic literary and journalistic audiovisual material. Ms. Al-Haddad.

Students who did not complete AFRS 207 may enroll if they demonstrate equivalent knowledge by a placement test.

Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill period per week.

209b. From Homer to Omeros (1)

(Same as GRST 209) No poet since James Joyce has been as deeply and creatively engaged in a refashioning of Homer as Derek Walcott, the Caribbean poet and 1992 Nobel Laureate. He has authored both a stage version of the Odyssey and a modern epic, Omeros, and in both of them he brings a decidedly postcolonial and decidedly Caribbean idiom to Homer's ancient tales. In this course we devote ourselves to a close reading of these works alongside the appropriate sections of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Our aim is both to understand the complexities of Walcott's use of the Homeric models and to discover the new meanings that emerge in Homer when we read him through Walcott's eyes. Ms. Friedman.

Prerequisite: any 100-level Greek and Roman Studies course or one unit of related work or special permission. 

Two 75-minute periods.

211b. Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World Liberation Movements (1)

(Same as RELI 211) A comparative socio-historical analysis of the dialectical relationship between religion and the conditions of oppressed people. The role of religion in both suppression and liberation is considered. Case studies include the cult of Jonestown (Guyana), Central America, the Iranian revolution, South Africa, slave religion, and aspects of feminist theology.

Prerequisite: special permission of the instructor. 

This course is taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility.

Not offered in 2014/15.

212b. Arabic Literature and Culture (1)

This course covers the rise and development of modern literary genres written in verse and prose and studies some of the great figures and texts. It touches on the following focuses on analytical readings of poetry, stories, novels, articles, and plays. The students gain insights into Arabic culture including religions, customs, media, and music, in addition to the Arabic woman's rights and her role in society.

The course is open to any student who has taken AFRS 207 or AFRS 208.

Not offered in 2014/15.

217b. Prisons, Community Reentry, and Critical issues in the Criminal Justice System (1)

This course examines the prison experience in the United States and critical issues in the criminal justice system in a prison setting with Vassar students and incarcerated men. The course provides historical overviews of the role of prisons in society and critical examinations of some relevant contemporary issues in criminal justice such as the death penalty, felon disenfranchisement, juveniles in adult prisons, children of incarcerated parents, and immigrants in prison.

The course meets on Thursday evenings for two hours. A number of field trips are scheduled to local and New York City agencies usually on Fridays. Special permission required.

227b. The Harlem Renaissance and its Precursors (1)

(Same as ENGL 227) This course places the Harlem Renaissance in literary historical perspective as it seeks to answer the following questions: In what ways was "The New Negro" new? How did African American writers of the Harlem Renaissance rework earlier literary forms from the sorrow songs to the sermon and the slave narrative? How do the debates that raged during this period over the contours of a black aesthetic trace their origins to the concerns that attended the entry of African Americans into the literary public sphere in the eighteenth century? Ms. Dunbar.

228a. African American Literature: (1)

(Same as ENGL 228) In the famous phrase of Amiri Baraka, "Harlem is vicious/Modernism." Beginning with the modernist innovations of African American writers after the Harlem Renaissance, this course ranges from the social protest fiction of the 1940s through the Black Arts Movement to the postmodernist experiments of contemporary African American writers. Mr. Simpson.

229a. Black Intellectual History (1)

(Same as SOCI 229) This course provides an overview of black intellectual thought and an introduction to critical race theory. It offers approaches to the ways in which black thinkers from a variety of nations and periods from the nineteenth century up to black modernity engage their intellectual traditions. How have their perceptions been shaped by a variety of places? How have their traditions, histories and cultures theorized race? Critics may include Aimé Césaire, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Paul Gilroy, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Ida B. Wells, and Patricia Williams. Ms. Harriford.

232b. African American Cinema (1)

(Same as FILM 232) This course provides a survey of the history and theory of African American representation in cinema. It begins with the silent films of Oscar Micheaux and examines early Black cast westerns (Harlem Rides the Range, The Bronze Buckaroo, Harlem on the Prairie) and musicals (St. Louis Blues, Black and Tan, Hi De Ho, Sweethearts of Rhythm). Political debate circulating around cross over stars (Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Harry Belafonte) are central to the course. Special consideration is given to Blaxploitation cinema of the seventies (Shaft, Coffy, Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones) in an attempt to understand its impact on filmmakers and the historical contexts for contemporary filmmaking. The course covers "Los Angeles Rebellion" filmmakers such as Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, and Haile Gerima. Realist cinema of the 80's and 90's (Do the Right Thing, Boyz N the Hood, Menace II Society, and Set it off),is examined before the transition to Black romantic comedies, family films, and genre pictures (Coming to America, Love and Basketball, Akeelah and the Bee, The Great Debaters). Ms. Mask.

Prerequisite: FILM 210 and permission of the instructor. "

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

234a. Creole Religions of the Caribbean (1)

(Same as LALS 234 and RELI 234) The Africa-derived religions of the Caribbean region---Haitian Voodoo, Cuban Santeria, Jamaican Obeah, Rastafarianism, and others---are foundational elements in the cultural development of the islands of the region. This course examines their histories, systems of belief, liturgical practices, and pantheons of spirits, as well as their impact on the history, literature, and music of the region. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

Two 75-minute periods.

235a. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States (1)

(Same as AMST 235) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of the modern Civil Rights movement. We explore how the southern based struggles for racial equality and full citizenship in the U.S. worked both to dismantle entrenched systems of discrimination---segregation, disfranchisement, and economic exploitation---and to challenge American society to live up to its professed democratic ideals. Ms. Collins.

Not offered in 2014/15.

236b. Imprisonment and the Prisoner (1)

(Same as SOCI 236) What is the history of the prisoner? Who becomes a prisoner and what does the prisoner become once incarcerated? What is the relationship between crime and punishment? Focusing on the (global) prison industrial complex, this course critically interrogates the massive and increasing numbers of people imprisoned in the United States and around the world. The primary focus of this course is the prisoner and on the movement to abolish imprisonment as we know it. Topics covered in this course include: racial and gender inequality, the relationship between imprisonment and slavery, social death, the prisoner of war (POW), migrant incarceration, as well as prisoner resistance and rebellion. Students also come away from the course with a complex understanding of penal abolition and alternative models of justice. Mr. Alamo.

Two 75-minute periods.

242b. Brazil, Society, Culture, and Environment in Portuguese America (1)

(Same as GEOG 242, ITAL 242, and LALS 242 ) Brazil, long Latin America's largest and most populous country, has become an industrial and agricultural powerhouse with increasing political-economic clout in global affairs. This course examines Brazil's contemporary evolution in light of the country's historical geography, the distinctive cultural and environmental features of Portuguese America, and the political-economic linkages with the outside world. Specific topics for study include: the legacies of colonial Brazil; race relations, Afro-Brazilian culture, and ethnic identities; issues of gender, youth, violence, and poverty; processes of urban-industrial growth; regionalism and national integration; environmental conservation and sustainability; continuing controversies surrounding the occupation of Amazonia; and long-run prospects for democracy and equitable development in Brazil. Mr. Godfrey.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

246b. French Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the Caribbean (1)

(Same as FREN 246) Topic for 2014/15b: What Does Comic Art Say? African comic art comes in a variety of styles, languages, and formats. From the comic strip, found in newspapers and magazines, to developmental and political cartoons, it interfaces with journalism, painting, advertising, television, film and music. Having placed comic art in its theoretical context, we analyze the production of francophone 'bédéistes' (cartoonists) from and on Africa, such as Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie's Aya de Yopougon, Edimo-Simon-Pierre Mbumbo's Malamine, un Africain à Paris, Pahé's La vie de Pahé, Serge Diantantu's Simon Kimbangu, Arnaud Floc'h's La compagnie des cochons and Stassen Les Enfants. We also examine how cartoon characters such as Camphy Combo and Gorgooloo, respectively in Gbich! and Le Cafard Libéré, represent the complexities of francophone African urban society at the turn of the century. Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent. 

Two 75-minute periods.

247a. The Politics of Difference (1)

(Same as POLI 247) This course relates to the meanings of various group experiences in American politics. It explicitly explores, for example, issues of race, class, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. Among other things, this course addresses the contributions of the Critical Legal Studies Movement, the Feminist Jurisprudence Movement, the Critical Race Movement, and Queer Studies to the legal academy. Mr. Harris.

249b. Latino/a Formations (1)

(Same as LALS 249 and SOCI 249 ) This course focuses on the concepts, methodologies and theoretical approaches for understanding the lives of those people who (im)migrated from or who share real or imagined links with Latin America and the Spanish-Speaking Caribbean. As such this course considers the following questions: Who is a Latino/a? What is the impact of U.S. political and economic policy on immigration? What is assimilation? What does U.S. citizenship actually mean and entail? How are ideas about Blackness, or race more generally, organized and understood among Latino/as? What role do heterogeneous identities play in the construction of space and place among Latino/a and Chicano/a communities? This course introduces students to the multiple ways in which space, race, ethnicity, class and gendered identities are imagined/formed in Latin America and conversely affirmed and/or redefined in the United States. Conversely, this course examines the ways in which U.S. Latina/o populations provide both economic and cultural remittances to their countries of origin that also help to challenge and rearticulate Latin American social and economic relationships. Mr. Alamo.

251b. Topics in Black Literatures (1)

This course considers Black literatures in all their richness and diversity. The focus changes from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre. The course may take a comparative, diasporic approach or may examine a single national or regional literature. Mr. Laymon.

252b. Writing the Diaspora: Verses/Versus (1)

(Same as ENGL 252) Black American cultural expression is anchored in rhetorical battles and verbal jousts that place one character against another. From sorrow songs to blues, black music has always been a primary means of cultural expression for African Americans, particularly during difficult social periods and transition. Black Americans have used music and particularly rhythmic verse to resist, express, and signify. Nowhere is this more evident than in hip hop culture generally and hip hop music specifically. This semester's Writing the Diaspora class concerns itself with close textual analysis of hip-hop texts. Is Imani Perry right in claiming that Hip Hop is Black American music, or diasporic music? In addition to close textual reading of lyrics, students are asked to create their own hip-hop texts that speak to particular artists/texts and/or issues and styles raised. Mr. Laymon.

Prerequisites: one course in literature or Africana Studies. 

254b. The Arts of Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Africa (1)

(Same as ART 254) This course is organized thematically and examines the ways in which sculpture, painting, photography, textiles, and film and video function both historically and currently in relationship to broader cultural issues. Within this context, this course explores performance and masquerade in relationship to gender, social, and political power. We also consider the connections between the visual arts and cosmology, identity, ideas of diaspora, colonialism and post-colonialism, as well as the representation of the "Self," and the "Other." Mr. Leers.

Prerequisites: ART 105-ART 106, one course in Africana Studies, or permission of the instructor. 

The Non-Recorded Option is available to non-majors.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

255b. Race, Representation, and Resistance in U.S. Schools (1)

(Same as EDUC 255 and URBS 255) This course interrogates the intersections of race, racism and schooling in the US context. In this course, we examine this intersection at the site of educational policy, media and public attitudes towards schools and schooling- critically examining how representations in each shape the experiences of youth in school. Expectations, beliefs, attitudes and opportunities reflect societal investments in these representations, thus becoming both reflections and driving forces of these identities. Central to these representations is how theorists, educators and youth take them on, own them and resist them in ways that constrain possibility or create spaces for hope. Ms. Malsbary.

Two 75-minute periods.

256b. Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism (1)

(Same as INTL 256 and POLI 256) Conflicts over racial, ethnic and/or national identity continue to dominate headlines in diverse corners of the world. Whether referring to ethnic violence in Bosnia or Sri Lanka, racialized political tensions in Sudan and Fiji, the treatment of Roma (Gypsies) and Muslims in Europe, or the charged debates about immigration policy in the United States, cultural identities remain at the center of politics globally. Drawing upon multiple theoretical approaches, this course explores the related concepts of race, ethnicity and nationalism from a comparative perspective using case studies drawn from around the world and across different time periods. Mr. Mampilly.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

257b. Genre and the Postcolonial City (1)

(Same as POLI 257 and URBS 257) This course explores the physical and imaginative dimensions of selected postcolonial cities. The theoretical texts, genres of expression and cultural contexts that the course engages address the dynamics of urban governance as well as aesthetic strategies and everyday practices that continue to reframe existing senses of reality in the postcolonial city. Through an engagement with literary, cinematic, architectural among other forms of urban mediation and production, the course examines the politics of migrancy, colonialism, gender, class and race as they come to bear on political identities, urban rhythms and the built environment. Case studies include: Johannesburg , Nairobi, Algiers and migrant enclaves in London and Paris. Mr. Opondo.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

258b. Environment and Culture in the Caribbean (1)

(Same as ENST 258) The ecology of the islands of the Caribbean has undergone profound change since the arrival of Europeans to the region in 1492. The course traces the history of the relationship between ecology and culture from pre-Columbian civilizations to the economies of tourism. Among the specific topics of discussion are: Arawak and Carib notions of nature and conservation of natural resources; the impact of deforestation and changes in climate; the plantation economy as an ecological revolution; the political implications of the tensions between the economy of the plot and that of the plantation; the development of environmental conservation and its impact on notions of nationhood; the ecological impact of resort tourism; the development of eco-tourism. These topics are examined through a variety of materials: historical documents, essays, art, literature, music, and film. Ms. Paravisini.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

259b. Settler Colonialism in a Comparative Perspective (1)

(Same as POLI 259) This course examines the phenomenon of settler colonialism through a comparative study of the interactions between settler and 'native' / indigenous populations in different societies. It explores the patterns of settler migration and settlement and the dynamics of violence and local displacement in the colony through the tropes of racialization of space, colonial law, production/labor, racialized knowledge, aesthetics, health, gender, domesticity and sexuality. Attentive to historical injustices and the transformation of violence in 'postcolonial' and settler societies, the course interrogates the forms of belonging, memory, desire and nostalgia that arise from the unresolved status of settler and indigenous communities and the competing claims to, or unequal access to resources like land. Case studies are drawn primarily from Africa but also include examples from other regions. Mr. Opondo.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

260a. International Relations of the Third World: Bandung to 9/11 (1)

(Same as INTL 260 and POLI 260) Whether referred to as the "Third World," or other variants such as the "Global South," the "Developing World," the "G-77," the "Non-Aligned Movement," or the "Post-Colonial World," a certain unity has long been assumed for the multitude of countries ranging from Central and South America, across Africa to much of Asia. Is it valid to speak of a Third World? What were/are the connections between countries of the Third World? What were/are the high and low points of Third World solidarity? And what is the relationship between the First and Third Worlds? Drawing on academic and journalistic writings, personal narratives, music, and film, this course explores the concept of the Third World from economic, political and cultural perspectives. Beginning at the dawn of the 20th century with the rise of anti-colonial movements, we examine the trajectory of the Third World in global political debates through the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror. Mr. Mampilly.

Two 75-minute periods.

264a. African American Women's History (1)

(Same as WMST 264) In this interdisciplinary course, we explore the roles of black women in the U.S. as thinkers, activists, and creators during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism, and cultural expression of a diverse group of African American women, we examine how they have understood their lives, resisted oppression, constructed emancipatory visions, and struggled to change society. Ms. Collins.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

265a. African American History to 1865 (1)

(Same as HIST 265) This course provides an introduction to African American history from the Atlantic slave trade through the Civil War. African Americans had a profound effect on the historical development of the nation. The experiences of race and slavery dominate this history and it is the complexities and nuances of slavery that give this course its focus. This course examines key developments and regional differences in the making of race and slavery in North America, resistance movements among slaves and free blacks (such as slave revolts and the abolitionist movement) as they struggled for freedom and citizenship, and the multiple ways race and gender affected the meanings of slavery and freedom. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary and secondary sources. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2014/15.

266a. Art and Everyday Life in the United States (1)

(Same as AMST 266 and ART 266) An exploration of material and expressive creations closely associated with everyday life from the era of the transatlantic slave trade to the present day. Focusing on objects, images, spaces, and lore intimately tied to African American lives, we examine these ordinary and extraordinary creations and expressions in relation to the histories, movements, beliefs, practices, and ideas that underlie them. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: ART 105-ART 106 or coursework in Africana Studies, American Studies, Women's Studies, or permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

267a. African American History, 1865-Present (1)

(Same as HIST 267) This course examines some of the key issues in African American history from the end of the civil war to the present by explicating selected primary and secondary sources. Major issues and themes include: Reconstruction and the meaning of freedom, military participation and ideas of citizenship, racial segregation, migration, labor, cultural politics, and black resistance and protest movements. This course is designed to encourage and develop skills in the interpretation of primary sources, such as letters, memoirs, and similar documents. The course format, therefore, consists of close reading and interpretation of selected texts, both assigned readings and handouts. Course readings are supplemented with music and film. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2014/15.

268a. Sociology of Black Religion (1)

(Same as RELI 268 and SOCI 268) A sociological analysis of a pivotal sector of the Black community, namely the Black churches, sects, and cults. Topics include slave religion, the founding of independent Black churches, the Black musical heritage, Voodoo, the Rastafarians, and the legacies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. This course is taught to Vassar students and incarcerated men at the Otisville Correctional Facility. It will be taught at the Otisville Correctional Facility. To be announced.

Special permission required.

Not offered in 2014/15.

270b. The Black Power Movement (1)

(Same as HIST 270) This course examines the Black Power Movement as a burgeoning social movement in the post World War II period, while also placing it in the long traditions of black political thought and radicalism within American democracy. In addition to studying black radicalism in the early twentieth century, the course explores the philosophies and tactics of civil rights activism; questions of feminism and masculinity; radicalism and conservatism; violence, nonviolence, and self-defense; and community control, nationalism, and internationalism. Major sites of inquiry include education, arts and media, police brutality, welfare rights, electoral politics, and economic empowerment. By engaging the ideologies, politics, and culture of the Black Power Movement, we gain a deeper understanding of how people claim their rights and personhood against seemingly insurmountable odds. Mr. Mills.

Two 75-minute periods.

271b. Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800 (1)

(Same as HIST 271) A thematic survey of African civilizations and societies to 1800. The course examines how demographic and technological changes, warfare, religion, trade, and external relations shaped the evolution of the Nile Valley civilizations, the East African city-states, the empires of the western Sudan, and the forest kingdoms of West Africa. Some attention is devoted to the consequences of the Atlantic slave trade, which developed from Europe's contact with Africa from the fifteenth century onwards. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2014/15.

272b. Modern African History (1)

(Same as HIST 272) Africa has experienced profound transformations over the past two centuries. Between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Africans lost and regained their independence from different European colonial powers. This course explores the changing African experiences before, during, and after European colonization of their continent. Drawing on primary sources, film, memoirs, and popular novels, we look at the creative responses of African groups and individuals to the contradictory processes and legacies of colonialism. Particular attention will be paid to understanding how these responses shape the trajectories of African as well as global developments. Amongst the major themes covered by the course are: colonial ideologies, African resistance, colonial economies, gender and cultural change, African participation in the two world wars, urbanization, decolonization and African nationalism. We also reflect on some of the contemporary developmental dilemmas as well as opportunities confronting post-colonial Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

273b. Development Economics (1)

(Same as ECON 273) A survey of central issues in the field of development economics, this course examines current conditions in less developed countries using both macroeconomic and microeconomic analysis. Macroeconomic topics include theories of growth and development, development strategies (including export-led growth in Asia), and problems of structural transformation and transition. Household decision-making under uncertainty serves as the primary model for analyzing microeconomic topics such as the adoption of new technology in peasant agriculture, migration and urban unemployment, fertility, and the impact of development on the environment. Examples and case studies from Africa, Asia, Latin America and transition economies provide the context for these topics. Ms. Jones.

Prerequisites: ECON 100 and ECON 101, or ECON 102. 

275a. Caribbean Discourse (1)

(Same as ENGL 275 and LALS 275) Study of the work of artists and intellectuals from the Caribbean. Analysis of fiction, non-fiction, and popular cultural forms such as calypso and reggae within their historical contexts. Attention to cultural strategies of resistance to colonial domination and to questions of community formation in the post-colonial era. May include some discussion of post-colonial literary theory and cultural studies. Ms. Paravisini.

277a. Sea-Changes: Caribbean Rewritings of the British Canon (1)

Not offered in 2014/15.

280b. Spaces of Exception: Migration, Asylum-Seeking, and Statelessness Today (1)

(Same as INTL 280, PHIL 280, and POLI 280) The totalitarian disregard for human life and the treatment of human beings as superfluous entities began, for Hannah Arendt, in imperial projects and was extended to spaces where entire populations were rendered stateless and denied the right to have rights. In this course, we are going to start from Arendt's seminal analysis of statelessness and her concept of the right to have rights to study aspects of today's "migratory condition." This is a peculiar condition by which inclusion in the political community is possible only by mechanisms of exclusion or intensified precarity. Mapping these mechanisms of identification through exclusion, abandonment, and dispossession will reveal that, like the stateless person, the contemporary migrant is increasingly being included in the political community only under the banner of illegality and/or criminality, unreturnability, suspension, detention, and externalization. This fact pushes millions of people to exist in "islands of exception," camps and camp-cities on the shores of Malta, Cyprus, or Lampedusa in the Mediterranean, Manus/ Nauru in the Pacific, and Guantanamo in the Americas. Through a critical engagement with the migrant condition, this course examines a range of biopolitical practices, extra-territorial formations, and technologies of encampment (externalization, dispersion, biometric virtualization). The engagement with the physical and metaphysical conditions of these 'spaces of exception' where migrants land, are detained, measured, and sometimes drown, calls attention to lives at the outskirts of political legibility while interrogating the regimes of legibility through which migrant lives are apprehended. Besides Arendt, we will discuss novels and texts by Giorgio Agamben, Judith Butler, Zadie Smith, Eyal Weizman, Emmanuel Levinas, Achille Mbembe, Michel Foucault, Suvendrini Perera, V.Y. Mudimbe, Jacques Derrida, and Julia Kristeva. Ms. Borradori and Mr. Opondo.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 

Two 75-minute periods.

282b. The Carceral State and Black (Queer and Trans) Bodies (1)

This course will examine the impact of criminalizing and carceral apparatuses on Black queer and trans bodies. Building upon the work of scholars like Andrea Ritchie, Dean Spade, and Michelle Fine as well as the advocacy of organizations like Sylvia Rivera Law Project, National Center for Transgender Equality, and National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, we will explore, what Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie and Kay Whitlock have named, "queer (in)justice." More specifically, we will employ intersectionality, the Black feminist sociological theory, and critical race theory as the optics through which we might assess the multiple and interconnected systems (i.e., homo and trans antagonisms; White racial supremacy; late capitalism and neoliberalism; etc.) that impact the lives of Black queer and trans people in the age of the prison industrial complex. Mr. Moore.

Two 75-minute periods.

288a. The Politics of Language in Schools and Society (1)

(Same as EDUC 288, LALS 288, and URBS 288) The United States is one of the most multilingual nations in the world, and, language is intimately connected to family and personal identity. This course explores how language, power, and ideology play out in public debate, state policy and educational justice movements. We examine the link between racism, language and national belonging by analyzing how Standard English, Black English (AAVE) and Spanish-English bilingualism are positioned as more or less "correct", or politicized and even policied. We then turn our eye to curriculum and education policy, examining how debates around language in the classroom. Finally we pose possibilities, and examine the politics of language in multilingual, hybrid and global contexts. What do debates about "correctness" in language obscure? How do our fears, hopes and longing for identity shape our beliefs about language in the classroom? How does the history of U.S. language politics inform our present? What does equitable language education policy look like? Why are these issues important to all citizens? Ms. Malsbary.

Prerequisite: EDUC 235 or permission of the instructor. 

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2to1)

Individual or group field projects or internships. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the academic year or during the summer.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2to1)

Individual or group project of reading or research. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the academic year or during the summer.

299a. Research Methods (1)

An introduction to the research methods used in the disciplines represented by Africana Studies. Through a variety of individual projects, students learn the approaches necessary to design projects, collect data, analyze results, and write research reports. The course includes some field trips to sites relevant to student projects. The emphasis is on technology and archival research, using the Library's new facilities in these areas. The course explores different ideas, theories and interdisciplinary approaches within Africana Studies that shape research and interpretation of the African and African diasporic experience. Students learn to engage and critically utilize these ideas, theories and approaches in a coherent fashion in their own research projects. They also learn how to design research projects, collect and analyze different types of data, and write major research papers. Emphasis is placed on collection of data through interviews and surveys as well as archival and new information technologies, using the facilities of Vassar libraries. Ms. Collins.

The course includes some field trips to sites relevant to student projects. Required of majors and correlates, but open to students in all disciplines.

386b. Situating Blackness, Situating Vassar: Experience, Documentation, Transformation (1)

(Same as ANTH 386) This course encourages students to explore the meanings of blackness (and raced identity categories) as lived experience at Vassar College and beyond. It provides methodological tools for students to explore self-knowledge, conduct social analyses of current contexts, and represent blackness as a lived experience today. The uses of historical literature, ethnography, film, guest speakers, social justice workshops, and first-hand accounts of experiences at Vassar and other institutions (by former students and existing members of the community)  help contextualize local experiences in the broader world and also explore the meanings of blackness. The course addresses how raced identity is experienced, and
how it can be transformed in, and transformative to, social life at Vassar. A primary goal is to help students link pain and suffering to systemic inequality, social privilege, and collective transformation. Ms. Lowe Swift.

Prerequisite: open to all qualified students with the permission of the instructor. 

One 3-hour period.

Africana Studies: III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Thesis or Project (1)

301a. Seminar in Classical Civilization: Athenian Drama on the African Stage (1)

(Same as DRAM 301 and GRST 301) Topic for 2014/15a: Athenian Drama on the African Stage. Since the independence of many African countries in the early 1960s, an increasing number of playwrights have drawn on Greek tragedy as a model for their productions. In this class we both read a selection of these works alongside their Greek intertexts and consider several larger issues at play in these adaptations. Among the questions we consider are the affinity between Greek and African theatrical forms related to their origins in ritual and the question of the particular role of the classical in a postcolonial world. Readings include such works as Soyinka's Bacchae, Rotimi's The Gods are Not to Blame, Osofisan's Tegonni and Fugard's The Island. Ms. Friedman.

Prerequisites: previous coursework in Greek and Roman Studies or another related discipline and sophomore status. 

All readings are in English.

Two 75-minute periods.

307a. Upper-Intermediate Arabic (1)

Upper-intermediate language and culture course in Modern Standard Arabic. Designed to consolidate students' reading and listening comprehension, and their oral skills at the intermediate-mid level of proficiency; and to help them reach intermediated- high level proficiency by the end of the course. Ms. Al-Haddad.

308b. Upper-Intermediate Arabic (1)

Upper-intermediate language and culture course in Modern Standard Arabic. Designed to consolidate students' reading and listening comprehension, and their oral skills at the intermediate-mid level of proficiency; and to help them reach intermediated- high level proficiency by the end of the course. Ms. Al-Haddad.

310b. Politics and Religion: Tradition and Modernization in the Third World (1)

(Same as RELI 310) An examination of the central problem facing all Third World and developing countries, the confrontation between the process of modernization and religious tradition and custom. Along with the social, economic, and political aspects, the course focuses on the problems of cultural identity and crises of meaning raised by the modernizing process. Selected case studies are drawn from Africa and Asia. To be announced.

Prerequisite:  AFRS 268, or two units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200-level, or permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

311a. Advanced Arabic (1)

This is an advanced level course offered during fall semester only. The course focuses on enhancing students' abilities to (1) Read and understand various types of discourses, such as newspaper articles (descriptive, narrative, argumentative, etc.), essays and short stories on various topics; (2) Listen to and understand the main ideas of a speech, lecture or news broadcast; (3) Present personal opinion and construct a nuanced argument about a range of topics about literature, history, politics, culture and society in various parts of the Arab World; (4) Write cohesive and articulate summaries and critical reports about the same topics. Students will continue to develop their communicative skills (speaking, listening, writing and reading) in Modern Standard Arabic through different types of course assignments aimed at helping them reach advanced levels of proficiency. Ms. Al-Haddad.

This course is designed for students who have successfully completed two courses in upper intermediate Arabic or its equivalent as demonstrated by a placement test.

Two 75-minute periods.

319a. Race and Its Metaphors (1)

Re-examinations of canonical literature in order to discover how race is either explicitly addressed by or implicitly enabling to the texts. Does racial difference, whether or not overtly expressed, prove a useful literary tool? The focus of the course varies from year to year.

Prerequisite: Open to juniors and seniors with 2 units of 200-level work in English; or, for juniors and seniors without this prerequisite, 2 units of work in allied subjects and permission from the associate chair of English. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

326a. Challenging Ethnicity (1)

(Same as ENGL 326 and URBS 326) An exploration of literary and artistic engagements with ethnicity. Contents and approaches vary from year to year.

Not offered in 2014/15.

330b. Religion, Critical Theory and Politics (1)

(Same as RELI 330) Topic for 2014/15b: Religion, Race, and Democracy. This seminar in religious ethics examines the way certain goods and virtues potentially crucial to a just democracy-hope, reverence, other-regard, memory, community, and even love-have historically been in short supply. Of particular interest is the way that race in America is a crucial frame through which to look at this set of questions. How do democracies teach their citizens about the sorts of virtues that democratic existence may require? How do religious resources contribute to this conversation? Ultimately we consider whether democracy is capable of expressing and training its citizens in the sorts of virtues that the pluralistic conditions of democratic life-conditions centrally rooted in the conflict over the nature of racial justice-would seem to require. Mr. Kahn.

No prerequisites. 

One 2-hour period.

352a. Redemption and Diplomatic Imagination in Postcolonial Africa (1)

(Same as POLI 352) This seminar explores the shifts and transformations in the discourse and practice of redemptive diplomacy in Africa. It introduces students to the cultural, philosophical and political dimensions of estrangement and the mediation practices that accompany the quest for recognition, meaning and material well-being in selected colonial and postcolonial societies. Through a critical treatment of the redemptive vision and diplomatic imaginaries summoned by missionaries, anti-colonial resistance movements and colonial era Pan-Africanists, the seminar interrogates the 'idea of Africa' produced by these discourses of redemption and their implications for diplomatic thought in Africa. The insights derived from the interrogation of foundational discourses on African redemption will be used to map the transformation of identities, institutional forms, and the minute texture of everyday life in postcolonial Africa. The seminar also engages modern humanitarianism, diasporic religious movements, Non-Governmental Organizations and neoliberal or millennial capitalist networks that seek to save Africans from foreign forces of oppression or 'themselves.' Mr. Opondo.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 

One 2-hour period.

353a. Pedagogies of Difference: Critical Approaches to Education (1)

(Same as EDUC 353) Pedagogies of difference are both theoretical frameworks and classroom practices- enacting a social justice agenda in one's educational work with learners. In this course, we think deeply about various anti-oppressive pedagogies- feminist, queer and critical race- while situating this theory in our class practicum. Thus, this course is about pedagogies of difference as much as it is about different pedagogies that result. We will address how different pedagogies such as hip hop pedagogy, public pedagogy and Poetry for the People derive from these pedagogies of difference. The culminating signature assessment for this course is collaborative work with local youth organizations. Ms. Cann.

Prerequisite: EDUC 235 or permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

360a. Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth Century (1)

(Same as HIST 360) From movies to music, bleaching cream to baseball, black entrepreneurs and consumers have historically negotiated the profits and pleasures of a "black economy" to achieve economic independence as a meaning of freedom. This seminar examines the duality of black businesses as economic and social institutions alongside black consumers' ideas of economic freedom to offer new perspectives on social and political movements in the twentieth-century. We explore black business activity and consumer activism as historical processes of community formation and economic resistance, paying particular attention to black capitalism, consumer boycotts, and the economy of black culture in the age of segregation. Topics include the development of the black beauty industry; black urban film culture; the Negro Baseball League; Motown and the protest music of the 1960s and 1970s; the underground economy; and federal legislation affecting black entrepreneurship. Mr. Mills.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

362b. Text and Image (1)

(Same as ENGL 362) Explores intersections and interrelationships between literary and visual forms such as the graphic novel, illustrated manuscripts, tapestry, the world-wide web, immersive environments, the history and medium of book design, literature and film, literature and visual art. Topics vary from year to year.

Topic for 2014/15b: Because Dave Chappelle Said So. The course will explore the history and movement of black, mostly male, satirical comic narratives and characters. From Hip Hop to Paul Beatty's White Boy Shuffle to Spike Lee's Bamboozled to Dave Chappelle to Aaron McGruder's Boondocks to Sacha Cohen's Ali G character, black masculinity seems to be a contemporary site of massive satire. Using postmodernism as our critical lens, we will explore what black satirical characters and narratives are saying through "tragicomedy" to the mediums of literature, film, television and politics. We will also think about the ways that black archetypes (coon, mammy, sapphire, uncle tom, pickaninny, sambo, tragic mulatto, noble savage, castrating bitch) have evolved into cutting edge comedy on the internet like Awkward Black Girl. We start to see the beginnings of this strategic evolution taking place in the Civil Rights movement when black leaders use television and visual expectations of blackness to their national and global advantage. How did black situation comedies and black comedians of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s speak to and/or disregard that history. Are contemporary comic narratives, narrators and characters, while asserting critical citizenship, actually writing black women's subjectivities, narratives and experiences out of popular American History? Does satire have essentially masculinist underpinnings? How are these texts and characters communicating with each other and is there a shared language? Is there a difference between a black comic text and a black satirical text? Have comic ideals of morality, democracy, sexuality, femininity and masculinity changed much since the turn of the century? Did blaxploitation cinema revolutionize television for black performers and viewers? How has the internet literally revolutionized raced and gendered comedy? These are some of the questions we will explore in Because Dave Chappelle Said So. Mr. Laymon.

One 2-hour period.

365a. Race and the History of Jim Crow Segregation (1)

(Same as HIST 365) This seminar examines the rise of racial segregation sanctioned by law and racial custom from 1865 to 1965. Equally important, we explore the multiple ways African Americans negotiated and resisted segregation in the private and public spheres. This course aims toward an understanding of the work that race does, with or without laws, to order society based on the intersection of race, class and gender. Topics include: disfranchisement, labor and domesticity, urbanization, public space, education, housing, history and memory, and the lasting effects of sanctioned segregation. We focus on historical methods of studying larger questions of politics, resistance, privilege and oppression. We also explore interdisciplinary methods of studying race and segregation, such as critical race theory. Music and film supplement classroom discussions. Mr. Mills.

366a. Art and Activism in the United States (1)

(Same as AMST 366, ART 366, and WMST 366) Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women's Art Movements in the United States. Focusing on the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions,and ideas of the Black Arts movement and Women's Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Analyzing paintings, photographs, posters, quilts, collages, murals, manifestos, mixed-media works, installations, films, performances, and various systems of creation, collaboration, and display, we explore connections between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

370a. Transnational Literature (1)

This course focuses on literary works and cultural networks that cross the borders of the nation-state. Such border-crossings raise questions concerning vexed phenomena such as globalization, exile, diaspora, and migration---forced and voluntary. Collectively, these phenomena deeply influence the development of transnational cultural identities and practices. Specific topics studied in the course vary from year to year and may include global cities and cosmopolitanisms; the black Atlantic; border theory; the discourses of travel and tourism; global economy and trade; or international terrorism and war.

Not offered in 2014/15.

373a. Slavery and Abolition in Africa (1)

(Same as HIST 373) The Trans-Saharan and the Atlantic slave trade transformed African communities, social structures, and cultures. The seminar explores the development, abolition, and impact of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the twentieth century. The major conceptual and historiographical themes include indigenous servitude, female enslavement, family strategies, slave resistance, abolition, and culture. The seminar uses specific case studies as well as a comparative framework to understand slavery in Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Prerequisite: standard department prerequisites or permission of the instructor. 

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

374a. The African Diaspora (1)

(Same as HIST 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and the political forms of Pan-Africanism from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It explores how disaffection and resistance against slavery, racism and colonial domination in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, and Africa led to the development of a global movement for the emancipation of peoples of African descent from 1900 onwards. The seminar examines the different ideological, cultural, and organizational manifestations of Pan-Africanism as well as the scholarly debates on development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W. E. B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James, and Kwame Nkmmah. Mr. Rashid.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 

375b. Seminar in Women's Studies (1)

(Same as AMST 375    and WMST 375) Topic for 2014/15b: 21st Century Feminisms.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Prerequisite: WMST 130. 

One 2-hour period.

378b. Black Paris (1)

(Same as ENGL 378 and FREN 378) This multidisciplinary course examines black cultural productions in Paris from the first Conference of Negro-African writers and artists in 1956 to the present. While considered a haven by African American artists, Paris, the metropolitan center of the French empire, was a more complex location for African and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals and artists. Yet, the city provided a key space for the development and negotiation of a black diasporic consciousness. This course examines the tensions born from expatriation and exile, and the ways they complicate understandings of racial, national and transnational identities. Using literature, film, music, and new media, we explore topics ranging from modernism, jazz, Négritude, Pan-Africanism, and the Présence Africaine group, to assess the meanings of blackness and race in contemporary Paris. Works by James Baldwin, Aime Césaire, Chester Himes, Claude McKay, the Nardal sisters, Richard Wright. Ousmane Sembène, Mongo Beti, among others, are studied. Ms. Célérier and Ms. Dunbar.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

382a. Race and Popular Culture (1)

(Same as LALS 382 and SOCI 382) This seminar explores the way in which the categories of race, ethnicity, and nation are mutually constitutive with an emphasis on understanding how different social institutions and practices produce meanings about race and racial identities. Through an examination of knowledge production as well as symbolic and expressive practices, we focus on the ways in which contemporary scholars connect cultural texts to social and historical institutions. Appreciating the relationship between cultural texts and institutional frameworks, we unravel the complex ways in which the cultural practices of different social groups reinforce or challenge social relationships and structures. Finally, this seminar considers how contemporary manifestations of globalization impact and transform the linkages between race and culture as institutional and intellectual constructs. Mr. Alamo.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

383b. Transnational Solidarities:Palestinian Struggle for Self-Determinatione/Black Struggle for Liberation (1)

In this course, we think through and interrogate the Prison Industrial Complex as a global system. We also examine state carceral policies and practices within the US and Israel/Palestine, regional and transnational prison abolition movements, "Jim Crow" technologies, and the notion of reciprocal transnational solidarities. We respond to the following questions: Is it a correct move on the part of Black leaders in the US to draw comparisons between the Jim Crow practices of the US past and the state practices impacting the Palestinian present? Assuming that the Prison Industrial Complex operates both locally and globally, how might we map its proliferation and evidence its impact? How might we define reciprocal solidarities, within the context of global prison abolition movements, and what might such solidarities look like? How do carceral policies and practices function discursively and materially? Mr. Moore.

Prerequisite: open to Juniors and Seniors only. 

385b. Seminar in American Art (1)

(Same as AMST 385 and ART 385) Topic for 2014/15b: The Visual Culture of the American Civil War. Today, images of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine are ubiquitous; they appear online, in print, and on television. Press coverage was equally pervasive during the American Civil War, but, in the nineteenth century, illustrated newspapers, documentary photography, and figurative monuments were new media that had only recently been developed. This course explores how and why the American Civil War was represented in the fine arts and visual culture in order to understand the complex and reciprocal relationship between the visual arts and politics. How did painting, photography, sculpture, and print shape the ideologies and realities of the War, and how did the War define the possibilities and limitations of these media as well as the relationship between them? We explore these questions through seminar meetings on such topics as slavery, violence, soldiers and veterans, the homefront, landscape, and emancipation as well as through the work of major American artists like Mathew Brady, Frederic Church, Robert Duncanson, Winslow Homer, Edmonia Lewis, and Thomas Nast. Ultimately, our goal is to develop a better understanding of the Civil War and American art as well as an intellectual and historical context for evaluating the visual culture of war in the United States today. Ms. Elder.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. 

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2to1)

Senior independent study program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.