Fall 2021


Course: Introduction to African American Studies, Required Course
UN1001 Section 001 - Call Number 13587
Day/Time/Location: M/W 10:10am - 11:25am
Instructor: Josef Sorett

Course Description
Prerequisites: Students need to register for a section of AFAS UN1010, the required discussion section for this course. From the arrival of enslaved Africans to the recent election of President Barack Obama, black people have been central to the story of the United States, and the Americas, more broadly. African Americans have been both contributors to, and victims of, this “New World” democratic experiment. To capture the complexities of this ongoing saga, this course offers an inter- disciplinary exploration of the development of African-American cultural and political life in the U.S. but also in relationship to the different African diasporic outposts of the Atlantic world. The course will be organized both chronologically and thematically, moving from the “middle passage” to the present so-called “post-racial” moment—drawing on a range of classical texts, primary sources, and more recent secondary literature—to grapple with key questions, concerns, and problems (i.e. agency, resistance, culture, etc.) that have preoccupied scholars of African-American history, culture, and politics. Students will be introduced to a range of disciplinary methods and theoretical approaches (spanning the humanities and social sciences), while also attending to the critical tension between intellectual work and everyday life, which are central to the formation of African-American Studies as an academic field. This course will engage specific social formations (i.e. migration, urbanization, globalization, etc.), significant cultural/political developments (i.e. uplift ideologies, nationalism, feminism, Pan-Africanism, religion/spirituality, etc.), and hallmark moments/movements (i.e. Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights movement, etc.). By the end of the semester, students will be expected to possess a working knowledge of major themes/figures/traditions, alongside a range of cultural/political practices and institutional arrangements, in African-American Studies.

Course: Senior Pro Seminar - Undergraduate, Required Course
UN3943 Section 001 - Call Number 15049
Day/Time/Location: Monday: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor: Robert Gooding-Williams

Course Description
This course is a seminar for seniors to either conduct a capstone project or to begin the research process for a Senior Thesis, which will be written in the Spring semester. This interdisciplinary course provides the necessary structure needed to complete either goal. This will be an interactive class in which students are required to participate and actively engage in each meeting. The classroom is designed to be a safe, respectful space in which the feedback given and received will be constructive and will assist students in working through the issues they may be experiencing with writing. Whether students will transition to academic or nonacademic spheres, this course is designed to help students cultivate effective writing and research skills and to develop oral presentation skills.

Course: African American Music
UN3030 Section 001 - Call Number 13588
Day/Time/Location: Thursday: 4:10pm - 6:0pm
Instructor: Kevin Fellezs

Course Description
This course focuses on a central question: how do we define “African-American music”? In attempting to answer this question, we will be thinking through concepts such as authenticity, representation, recognition, cultural ownership, appropriation, and origin(s). These concepts have structured the ways in which critics, musicians and audiences have addressed the various social, political and aesthetic contexts in which African-American music has been composed (produced), performed (re-produced) and heard (consumed).

Course: Topics in the Black Experiences: "African Spirituality in the Americas"
UN3930 Section 001 - Call Number 13589
Day/Time/Location: Tuesday: 4:10pm - 6:0pm
Instructor: Charles Dawson

Course Description
This seminar will investigate the cultural contributions of Africans in the formation of the contemporary Americas. There will be a particular focus on the African religious traditions that have continued and developed in spite of hostile social and political pressures. Because of their important roles in the continuations of African aesthetics, the areas of visual art, music and dance will be emphasized in the exploration of the topic. This seminar will also discuss two important African ethnic groups: the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria, and the Bakongo of Central Africa. It will highlight the American religious traditions of these cultures, e.g., Candomblé Nago/Ketu, Santeria/Lucumi, Shango, Xangô, etc., for the Yoruba, and Palo Mayombe, Umbanda, Macumba, Kumina, African- American Christianity, etc., for the Bakongo and other Central Africans. In the course discussions, the Americas are to include Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, the United States and numerous other appropriate locations. There will also be a focus on visual artists like Charles Abramson, Jose Bedia, Juan Boza, Lourdes Lopez, Manuel Mendive, etc., whose works are grounded in African based religions. In addition, we will explore how African religious philosophy has impacted on every-day life in the Americas, for example in the areas of international athletics, procedures of greeting and degreeting, culinary practices, etc.


Course: African-American Research Writing
GU4990 Section 001 - Call Number 18028 - Graduate, Required Course
Day/Time/Location: Wednesday: 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructor: Mabel Wilson

Course Description
The Black experience has been studied intensively by social scientists and humanists, including writers and artists. This class explores concepts and categories that have been employed to document and analyze the lives of Black peoples across the diaspora. The course surveys different traditions of research, writing, and other forms of critical and creative examination. The objective is to prepare students for the interdisciplinary field of Black Studies. The class is discussion based with weekly readings and invited guests who will share work and offer insights on their disciplinary methods in Black Studies. Students will be required to write short, weekly memos and lead a discussion. Students will also be required to submit a final project drawing on one or more research methods and present the final project to the class. The course is open only to first-year students in the Master’s Program in African American and African Diaspora Studies. Exceptions may be made for other students at the instructor’s discretion.

Course: AFAM Pro-Seminar
GR6100 Section 001 - Call Number 13604 - Graduate, Required Course
Day/Time/Location: Monday: 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructor: Robert Gooding-Williams

Course Description
The pro-seminar is an intensive introduction to classic and contemporary work that has shaped and continues to shape the intellectual agendas of Black Studies generally, and African-American Studies specifically. Readings will include writings by W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Hortense Spillers, Ta-Nehesi Coates, Tommie Shelby, Christina Sharpe, Saidiya Hartman, Fred Moten, and Stefano Harney.

Course: Topics in the Black Experience: "Race and the Unmaking of America"
GU4080 Section 001 - Call Number 13605
Day/Time/Location: Thursday: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor: Steven Gregory
Graduate Course Open to Undergraduate Junior/Seniors

Course Description
This seminar examines the role that race and other socially defined differences have played, and continue to play in the economic development, spatial organization and symbolic construction of American cities. We will situate contemporary discussions and debates about urban “gentrification,” associated with deindustrialization and neo-liberal economic policies, within the longue durée of race-based spatial, occupational and symbolic exclusions and consider how these dividing practices have shaped the production of both popular culture and academic knowledge relating to U.S. cities, their problems, and populations. Finally, we will examine how African Americans and other subordinated social groups have resisted these exclusions, producing alternative and oppositional forms of cultural expression, socioeconomic organization and urban knowledge.

Course: Topics in the Black Experience: "Religion, Political Economy and the Black Community"
GU4080 Section 002 - Call Number 15667

Day/Time/Location: Thursday: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor: Obery Hendricks
Graduate Course Open to Undergraduate Junior/Seniors

To speak of religion and the Black community is almost invariably to speak of Christianity, specifically what we might call “Afro-Christianity.” This course will discuss the specificity of Afro-Christianity and its causal factors, as well as the differences between Afro-Christianity and mainstream American Christianity. This will include the biblical ethical imperatives that underlie Afro-Christianity and the, at times, fraught and inconsistent relationships of Black churches to those imperatives. One such imperative, doing mishpat (“justice”), has major implications for incorporating a focus on political economy, particularly in this historical moment, in the praxis of Black religious institutions if they are to play a relevant and effective role in the struggle for economic, political and social wholeness of the Black communities they claim to serve. Our discussion will include exploring the nature of political economy, particularly its primary contemporary forms of capitalism and germane forms of socialism, including various types of economic cooperatives and radical political activities. Building on these observations we will seek to identify the kinds of local and national political and economic activities and initiatives that can be undertaken by Black religious institutions to, in the words of James Baldwin, “achieve our country,” for the benefit of all within these shores.

Course: Topics in the Black Experience: "Blackness and Affect"
GU4080 Section 003 - Call Number 18004
Day/Time/Location: Thursday: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor: Tyrone Palmer
Graduate Course Open to Undergraduate Junior/Seniors

Course Description
Can a turn to affect account for the figure of the Slave? Can an embrace of affectivity, as potential, bring Blackness into the realm of our understanding “without trying to fill in the void”? This seminar will engage these, and related, questions through extended explorations of the relationship between affect theory, Blackness, and the unthinkable, with particular consideration for the power of the negative and its implications for the study of affect. Rather than conceptualizing affect as the connective thread between bodies and worlds, or as a purely relational force, how might we think about affect and non-relationality; affect outside of and against the world; affect without the body? If affect, at base, is ontological capacity, what does the structural positioning of Blackness as what Frank Wilderson terms “incapacity in its pure and unadulterated form” entail for the study, and question, of Black affect? We will consider these questions, while also working through the various strains of affect inquiry and their engagement with the question of Blackness. Potential readings include: David Marriott, Patrice Douglass, Jared Sexton, Eugenie Brinkema, Sianne Ngai, Kyla Schuler, and Brian Massumi.

Course: Topics in the Black Experience "John Coltrane and the Jazz/Blues Aesthetic"
GU4080 Section 004 - Call Number 18450

Day/Time/Location: Wednesday: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor: Michael Salim Washington
Graduate Course Open to Undergraduate Junior/Seniors

Course Description
This seminar is to discuss the recordings and writings about the towering jazz figure, John Coltrane. Coltrane’s music will be analyzed and discussed as an exemplar of the jazz/blues aesthetic. How does Coltrane’s oeuvre interact with the jazz/blues traditions of the United States? In which ways does his music prefigure or embody African American notions of freedom? What are Coltrane’s contributions to spiritual discourse within the idiom specifically, and the culture generally? We will explore what it means to experience his music as an example of American culture, African American culture, African Diasporic culture.

Course: Topics in the Black Experience: "Black Religion and the Digital Humanities"
GU4080 Section 005 - Call Number 18456.
Day/Time/Location: Tuesday: 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Instructor: Kijan Bloomfield
Graduate Course Open to Undergraduate Junior/Seniors

Course Description
Black and Caribbean Studies are vibrant fields in the digital humanities. The study of religion in the digital humanities, however, remains an emergent field. This course centers religion as the primary lens to excavate and recover representations of Afro-Caribbean religions and their North American cognates using archival sources, fiction, film, and art. Our aim is to gain a landscape view of Caribbean religious history through key moments and themes from the period of enslavement to the present. The course will provide students the opportunity to explore current digital projects and learn digital tools to generate their own inquiries about the merits of digital interfaces in the study of Black religion. No prior experience with programming required. Students are expected to have some prior knowledge of Caribbean Studies, African Diaspora Studies, race, and/or the study of religion.