Spring 2022

Undergraduate Courses Spring 2022

UN1002 | Major Debates in African American Studies
Section 001 - Call Number:  15362
Day/Time/Location:  Monday, 10:10am – 12:00pm | TBA
Instructor: Frank Guridy

This course will focus on the major debates in African-American Studies from the role of education to the political uses of art. The class will follow these debates historically with attention to the ways in which earlier discussions on migration and emigration, for example, were engaged with the specific historical conjuncture in which they took place as well as in the myriad ways in which earlier debates continue to resonate today. There will be a mix of primary documents and secondary sources and commentary.

Course Goals: You will gain or deepen familiarity and knowledge of the debates, issues and concerns within African-American Studies.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, you will gain an understanding of the:

  • Major debates, issues, intellectual lineages and genealogies within African-American Studies
  • Relevant texts and historical figures understood through a critical multidisciplinary perspective

“Cultures of Freedom - Quilombos, Palenques and Maroon Societies in the Americas and Beyond”

Section 002  * Call Number:  15357
Day/Time/Location:  Tuesday,  4:10pm – 6:00pm | TBA
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 maroon societies that still exist, as well as how their ubiquitous ideas are represented in all spheres of society from the arts to cyberspace. Guest speakers may include: noted Colombian photographer Oscar Frasser; NYU researcher, Yuko Miki; and University of Texas-Austin linguist Ian Hancock.

“Dance & Community Engagement: Such Sweet Thunder”

Section 002  - Call Number:  15469
Day/Time/Location:  Monday/Wednesday,  4:10pm – 6:00pm | TBA
Instructor:  Sabrina Peck

This course is the dance and community engagement component of the yearlong, campus-wide celebration of Duke Ellington’s Masterwork, Such Sweet Thunder. Academically, students will explore the Jazz, literary influences and social context of Ellington’s work; experientially, they will collaborate in teams with local community partners (schoolchildren, teens or seniors) to develop performative responses to the work (through dance, music, text). The semester culminates in a dance-based performance that features all participants.

This course will appeal to students who are enthusiastic about one or more of the following: dance, community engagement, social impact, youth mentorship, education, music, history and Shakespeare, at all levels of experience and proficiency. For more serious dance enthusiasts, there will be opportunities to create and perform original work.

Sabrina Peck is a director, choreographer, educator and community-engaged theater artist. She often travels to diverse communities to collaborate with professionals and local residents on visually stunning, movement-rich productions that reflect the history and lifeblood of those people and places. She was a member of Cornerstone Theater Company from its inception, choreographing epic, community-specific adaptations of Shakespeare plays. Her work has been presented at Lincoln Center Theater, New York Shakespeare Festival in the Park, The American Repertory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Rep, The Public Theater, Classic Stage, La Mama and more. She has taught at Harvard, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Brooklyn College and Duke University. Peck is the founder and executive director of CityStep, a student-run program based at colleges that engages schoolchildren in a yearlong program of creative self-expression and connection through dance, culminating in an annual original production. www.SabrinaPeck.com | www.CityStep.org

UN3940 | Senior Thesis Seminar
Section 001  -  Call Number:  15432
Day/Time/Location:  Wednesday,  2:10pm – 4:00pm | TBA
Instructor:  Vivaldi Jean-Marie

The Senior Seminar will afford thesis writers the chance to workshop their idea, conduct research and/or interviews, work with the IRB protocols (if necessary), learn to work with archival materials, and perform other research activities prior to writing the thesis. Students who choose to write a capstone paper or conduct a capstone project can choose an elective course the following semester. The Thesis Seminar, conducted in the spring semester, is a workshop-oriented course for Senior Thesis writers organized around honing their writing skills while providing guidance to students in their field/disciplinary-specific projects. For example, a student may choose to write a historical biography of an artist while another may pursue a sociological study of the effects of mass incarceration on voting rights. The instructor of the Thesis Seminar, working with a faculty adviser (dependent on the specific field of inquiry in the thesis), will provide feedback and supervise the writing schedule of the students.

Graduate Courses - Spring 2022

"The South African Jazz Imaginary”
Section 001 - Call Number:  15502
Day/Time/Location:  Wednesday,  4:10pm – 6:00pm | TBA
Instructor:  Michael S. Washington
Open to Undergraduate Juniors & Seniors

SECTION 002 - “Black Mourning in America”
Call Number:  16876
Day/Time/Location:  Thursday, 10:10am – 12:00pm | TBA
Instructor:  Nyle Fort
Open to Undergraduate Juniors & Seniors

Black grief does not begin or end at the funeral service. African Americans have and continue to remember, honor, and avenge the dead through music, storytelling, fashion, family traditions, religious rituals, protest, activism, and more. This course examines this long tradition of black mourning in America. Conceptually, it covers scholarship that speaks broadly to questions of loss, racial violence, black suffering, premature death, and collective resistance. Practically, it considers the cultural and political implications of funerals and eulogies; black museums and street memorials; the activism of bereaved mothers; recent protests against police killings; and invocations of the dead in electoral politics. Taken together, this course might interest students who are excited to learn about rituals, memorialization, museums, African American religion, policing, abolition, social movements, and the black radical tradition. 

SECTION 004 - “Subversions and Recuperations: Poetry, Philosophy, and Performances of Black Embodiment”
Call Number:  16876
Day/Time/Location:  Tuesday, 4:10pm – 6:00pm | TBA
Instructor:  Jonah D. Mixon-Weber
Open to Undergraduate Juniors & Seniors

Considering disparate periods of artistic and philosophical traditions, this course will explore various theories of Black life, aesthetics, and futurity that are situated against the histories of colonial expansion. Through a constellated timeline of Black cultural production, participants will trace the distinct methods used to subvert stereotypical impositions through abstract and concrete (re)presentations of Black personal identities. We will also consider the constant threat of these identities being co-opted for a majority gain. Together we will investigate both the contexts that rendered Black works subversive and the specific elements of craft and practice that transgressed the boundaries of form and discipline.

GR6999 | Thesis Research – Graduate
Section 001 - Call Number: 15501
Notes:  AFAM Graduate Students ONLY
Instructor:  Robert Gooding-Williams