Spring 2020


African-American Studies UN1002
Section 001
Major Debates in African-American Studies
Call Number: 13917 Points:
Day/Time: T 10:10am - 12:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Frank Guridy
This course will focus on the major debates in African-American Studies from the role of to the political uses of art. The class will follow these debates historically with to the ways in which earlier discussions on migration and emigration, for were engaged with the specific historical conjuncture in which they took place well as in the myriad ways in which earlier debates continue to resonate today. There be a mix of primary documents and secondary sources and commentary.

African-American Studies UN3930

Section 001
Black Memoir
Call Number: 13919 Points: 4
Day/Time: W 10:10am - 12:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Josef Sorett
This undergraduate seminar will engage with the genre of memoir (and autobiography?) as an artistic and literary performance and practice; but also as a means for grappling with questions of subject formation, self-authorization, and self-fashioning, as it relates to black identity and social life (and questions of racial difference, more generally) in the modern world. To do so, we will read a range of autobiographical writings by African Americans from the nineteenth century to the present; while giving special attention to texts produced around the turn of the 21th century.

Section 002
Maroon Society in the Americas
Call Number: 13920 Points: 4
Day/Time: T 4:10pm - 6:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: C. Daniel Dawson
Africans in the Americas had various ways of resisting slavery and oppression including work slowdowns, breaking of tools, destruction of crops and property, revolt and escape from captivity. This course, Maroons in the Americas…, will discuss the important societies formed by self-liberated Africans including quilombos and mocambos in Brazil, palenques and cumbes in the Spanish speaking Americas, and maroon societies in the United States, South America and the Caribbean. It will also cover the little known siddi community of Northern Karnataka, India established by Africans fleeing enslavement in Goa.  In addition to creating the first non-indigenous republics in the Americas, maroons gave us pioneering ideas about social responsibility and individual rights, concepts that are still operative in our social philosophy. Revolts and runaways also gave the Americas some exceptional leaders who are still celebrated, including Captain Sebastián Lemba in the Dominican Republic, Yanga in Mexico, King Zumbi in Brazil, King Benkos Bioho in Columbia, King Bayano in Panama, Queen Grandy Nanny and Captain Kojo in Jamaica, King Miguel Guacamaya in Venezuela, Makandal and Boukman in Haiti, and, although not as well-known as the others, John Horse (aka Juan Caballo or Gopher John) in the United States and Mexico. Furthermore, we will investigate the numerous quilombos, palenques and maro on societies that still exist, as well as how their ubiquitous ideas are represented in all spheres of society from the arts to cyberspace.

Section 003
Ethnographies of Black Urban Life
Call Number: 19439 Points: 4
Day/Time: R 10:10am - 12:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Anthony Johnson
This course will introduce students to the practices and strategies of ethnographers on black life in urban settings. The goal of the course is to introduce students to ethnography as a methodology to understand and critically examine African Diasporic populations. Through readings of anthropological literature and other disciplinary texts, we will pay particular attention to the historical, cultural, social, economic and political contexts that shape urban experiences for Black communities throughout the world. We examine topics including gangs, homelessness, gentrification, race, youth, and poverty to critically understand the social forces that affect every day lived experiences.

Section 004
French Caribbean Thought and Negritude and Creolization
Call Number: 34842 Points:
Day/Time: W 12:10pm-2:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Vivaldi Jean-Marie
This course sets out to undertake a close examination of the key texts of the Négritude movement. Négritude stands for the collective attempt of French Caribbean thinkers, during the 20th century, to assert their African cultural heritage in unison with their French institutional practices. This thrive to bridge and derive a meaningful system of practices from African beliefs and French norms defines Négritude as an intellectual technology of creolization. To elaborate this thesis, we will read the writings of Paulette Nardale, Aimé Césaire, Suzanne Césaire, Jean Price-Mars, Édouard Glissant, and Frantz Fanon. Participants’ evaluation will consist of weekly responses to these texts and a final essay.

Section 005
The Black Aesthetic and Exhibition
Call Number: 34845 Points:
Day/Time: T 2:10pm-4:00pm| Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Kalia Brooks
This interdisciplinary seminar explores a range of ideas and methods used by art historians, artists and curators in addressing African American visual and material culture in photography, print, video, film and exhibition spaces. Central to our discussions will be a focus on defining a Black aesthetic, how the display of the Black aesthetic affects how we see and interpret the world; and how the world sees us. We will look at artwork and the display of artwork in museums, galleries and public sites to consider the construction of beauty, gendered images, identity, race, activism, and popular culture. We will investigate the formal and conceptual components of images and exhibition spaces – as well as image reception and agency. The interplay between the historical and the contemporary, between self-presentation and imposed representation – all are fundamental to our discussions. This seminar will examine the ways in which our contemporary understanding of history, identity, politics and culture are informed by art, theory, public display and curatorial practice. In addition to classes held on campus, this course will require museum, gallery and other site visits. 

African-American Studies UN3940
Senior Thesis Seminar

Section 001
Call Number: 16610 Points: 4  
Day/Time: M 12:10pm - 2:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Kevin Fellezs
This course is a seminar for seniors to write a Senior Thesis. This provides the necessary structure needed to complete the thesis.
Course Goals: Students will complete their Senior Thesis.
Course Outcomes: By the end of this course, you should ably demonstrate your of the following knowledge:
• Enhance effective writing and research strategies
• Identify individual writing processes and understand the most optimal conditions writing production
• Produce a substantial work of scholarship


African-American Studies GU4032
Image Identity in Contemporary Advertising

Section 001
Call Number: 13921 Points:
Day/Time: T 2:10pm - 4:00pm Location: To be announced
Instructor: Sudhir A Venkatesh
This course examines the organization of contemporary advertising industry from the standpoint of social difference. A special emphasis is placed on the role of diversity and difference, including but not restricted to the ways that race, ethnicity, and other demographic attributes impact the profession and the creative process. Advertising is a polyglot organizational field consisting of traditional advertising agencies, but also digital companies and social media firms.  We will consider the ways that corporations and those in their service produce and consume information and image, in an effort to shape individual and collective identities, and to market goods and services. This course places a strong emphasis on application of theory to solve problems. Students will be working in groups. All students will be making presentations in class.

African-American Studies GU4080

Section 001
Political Thought of  Martin Delany
Call Number: 13922 Points: 4  
Day/Time: R 2:10pm - 4:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Robert Gooding-Williams
An intensive examination of the political thought of Martin Delany as it evolved through his defense of emigrationism, his involvement with the Freedman's Bureau, and his participation in South Carolina politics after the Civil War. Readings will include Delany's major writings -- The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States; The Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent; his novel, Blake; and The Origin of Races and Color -- as well as many of his shorter pieces and correspondence. We will give particular attention to Delany's analysis of racial oppression, as well as to his treatment of the themes of suffrage, self-government and political solidarity.

Section 002
The Love Song in Popular Music
Call Number: 14095 Points:
Day/Time: W 2:10pm - 4:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Kevin Fellezs
This course will explore the love song in black popular music—in terms of aesthetics, political meanings, and history. Along with the more typical romantic love song, we will explore love songs of different kinds: love for the earth, nation, region, religion, or family, among other possible themes, which have all been sounded out, sung about, and danced to. Music has always mixed the embodied with the ethereal, the perceptual with the sensual, the political with the personal. How, then, is love articulated in black popular music, which has a long history of mixing and merging the sacred and the profane, the political and the personal? Students do not need to possess the ability to read western musical notation (or any notational system).

Section 003
BlaQueer Sounds: Queer Histories in African-Amer Music
Call Number: 17755 Points:
Day/Time: M 2:10pm - 4:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Kevin C. Holt
The term “BlaQueer,” first coined by Tabais Wilson, is an invention of the intersectionality era; an acknowledgement of the unique and multifaceted experiences/identities formed at the nexus of racial, gendered, and sexual marginalization. In creating the portmanteau BlaQueer, Wilson underscores that, for people who are both Black and queer, these identities are inseparable, immutable, and irreducible. While the term BlaQueer, and by extension the concept it represents, is fairly new, there are long histories of Black queer people navigating and negotiating identity, revolutionizing and contributing to discourses on race, class, and gender. This course offers an exploration of the BlaQueer expressions, movements, and (most importantly) people that transformed American culture through music. While this course follows a historical arc, the primary aim of this course is to engage BlaQueer musical lineages through a critical interdisciplinary academic lens; accordingly, this course incorporates gender/women’s studies, African-American studies, performance studies, queer studies, and musicology in order to frame discourse.

Section 004
Enclosures: Architectures of Captivity and Containment
Call Number: 19832 Points: 4
Day/Time: W 4:10pm - 6:00pm Location: To be announced
Instructors: Mabel O. Wilson and Saidiya Hartman

Section 005
Race and Criminal Justice in Contemporary America
Call Number34669  Points: 4
Day/Time:   T 12:10pm - 2:00pm  | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor:  Ayanna Sorett
This course examines the relationship between race and the criminal justice system in the United States. We will explore the origins and consequences of racial inequality, vis a vis the law, as they inform the various institutions that comprise the criminal justice system (i.e. police departments, courts, prisons, etc), as well as the set of contemporary debates about mass incarceration and movements to reform and reimagine criminal justice in the twenty first century.

The course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the history, laws and policies that govern the criminal justice system, along with the ways notions of justice and equality are shaped by the history of race and racism in the United States. In addition to engaging with academic debates on these topics, we will give close attention to the policies, practices and players that are driving these issues at the local level in New York City, specifically. We will do this through close reading of relevant materials (i.e. academic writing, legislation and legal briefs, popular articles, policy papers, movies, documentary films, etc.), visits to local agencies, and guest lectures by individuals working within and affected directly by the criminal justice system (i.e. defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and formally incarcerated individuals). Ultimately, through all of these approaches, this class will provide a space for the students to consider the challenges and opportunities for engaging with and reforming the criminal justice system in contemporary America.

African-American Studies GU4520
Section 001
Race and the Articulation of Difference
Call Number: 16714 Points:
Day/Time: R 4:10pm - 6:00pm | Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext.
Instructor: Steven Gregory
This seminar examines the intersection of race, sex/gender, citizenship and other socially constructed differences in the formation of hierarchical social systems and their legitimating ideologies. A key premise of this course is that racial ideologies are, foundationally, claims about the heritability of socially produced and imagined differences—claims that muster, mimic and articulate notions of difference associated with a variety of other social distinctions. This seminar will situate the process of racial formation within this wider problematic of political subjectivity and direct attention to the symbolic and structural organization of modern, hierarchical social systems in a range of historical and geographical contexts.