2012 SPRING GRADUATE COURSES

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AFAS  G4080 Section 001 / Call # 66257
Topics in Black Experience:  Philosophical Premises of the Aesthetics of People of African Descent
Thursday:  2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructor:  Vivaldi Jean-Marie
The course aims at exploring the philosophical premises of the conception of beauty that prevails among people of African descent. It will undertake an exposition of the socio-historical aspects of the experience of people of African descent that demarcate their aesthetic experience from the Western standard of beauty. Also, it will analyze the biases of the standard through which people of African descent are conceptualized as beautiful and ugly. Another central ambition of the course is a critical engagement of the ethical implications of the characterization of people of African descent as ugly, on the ground that in philosophical discourses of aesthetics, ugliness is usually associated with immorality and evil. Hence the purview of the course is both aesthetics and ethics. Upon completion of the course undergraduate and graduate participants will have a solid grasp of the aesthetics experience of people of African descent and the ethical implications of characterizing them as ugly and beautiful.
 

 
AFAS   G4080 Section 003 / Call # 66257
Topics in Black Experience:  Comparative Social and Political Movements in Africa and the Diasporas
Thursday:  2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructor:  Mio Matsumoto
This seminar explores a multitude of social and political movements that varieties of black people - intellectuals, peasants, workers, and so forth - have formed and maintained to confront and address the problems of global scales. The course begins with a classical question of when and why sociopolitical movements challenge, subvert, overthrow, cooperate, get defeated, regroup and reorganize. Weekly, students read and discuss scholarly works and primary sources on the key 20th-century movements including the Garvey movement, Religious uprisings of central colonial Africa, the Civil Rights movement, labor movements, political parties, and many more in Africa, the United States, and the Caribbean. The aim of the course is to appreciate the wide spectrum of political possibilities for the organizing and mobilization of African American, Afro-Caribbean, and African peoples, and form critical insights and perspectives on contemporary world situations rocked with similar popular movements.
 

 
AFAS  84655 Section 001 / Call # 75529
Topics in Black Experience:  African-American Prophetic Political Tradition from David Walker to Barack Obama
Thursday:  2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructor:  Obery Hendricks
The classical prophetic political tradition derives from the biblical prophets who, with strong words, courageous deeds and abiding faith in the righteousness of their cause, struggled to transform oppressive, exploitive regimes of power into just and equitable political institutions that would “let justice roll down as water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” For millennia this tradition has been a touchstone for peoples throughout the world in their struggles for freedom.
 
This course will explore the particular role of the prophetic political tradition in the ongoing struggle of African Americans for political equity and justice. Its purview will range from the earliest days of the American republic to the close of the Civil Rights and Black Nationalist eras. Persons and movement that will be considered include the [???] poems of Phyllis Wheatley; David Walker’s revolutionary Appeal; Frederick Douglass and the abolition movement; the accommodationism of Booker T. Washington; modes of black political resistance during the Reconstruction period; the radical historiography of W. E. B. DuBois; Ethiopianism in the nineteenth century black church; Ida B. Wells and the anti-lynching movement; A. Phillip Randolph and radical labor politics; historically black religious denominations and cults (including African Methodism, the Nation of Islam and the Shrine of the Black Madonna); Adam Clayton Powell’s radical legislative agenda; Black Liberation Theology; Martin Luther King, Ella Baker and the Civil Rights movement; Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts movement; and the prophetic literary expressions of James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.
 

 
AFAS G4080 Section 005 / Call # 11700
Topics in the Black Experience:  Quisqueya, The Divided Island: Power, Culture & Nationalism in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Thursdays: 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructor:  Steven Gregory
 
Although they share the same island, the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic have experienced distinct and divergent colonial and postcolonial histories, processes of nation building, and political and economic relationships to the wider world system. In this seminar we will compare and contrast these two Caribbean societies as a means of identifying and analyzing critical historical and contemporary forces that have shaped their cultures and political economies.
 
This critical, comparative approach will help us to conceptualize not only similarities and differences between these two nations, but also the array of forces that have shaped the wider circum-Caribbean region. Topics that we will investigate this semester include: colonization and plantation slavery; struggles for independence and sovereignty; U.S. occupation and dictatorship; music, religion and popular culture; and, globalization and transnational communities.
 

Cross listed courses available to AFAM Graduate Students:

 
English  G6633 Section 001 / Call # 76100
Black Masculinities
Monday:  4:10pm - 6:00pm 
Instructor:   Marcellus Blount
Cross Listed Department:  English
This seminar will explore the ways in which African American men are represented and theorized through a range of cultural, historical, and political texts.  I am particularly interested in literary and filmic portrayals of black men:  from the “extravagant masculinity” of David Walker’s Appeal (1829) to how young black men are socialized in and through such television shows as The Wire and the popular fictions of E. Lynn Harris.  In looking at both canonical and less-studied texts, we will deconstruct notions of genre and, especially, narrativity.  How do black men tell their individual and collective stories? How do they contest the false parameters of social protest by enacting a fuller sense of black interiority?  What is the relationship between masculinities and sexualites?  How does gender function as an analytical category through which to understand race?  Course Requirements: mandatory attendance and class participation; bi-weekly use of Course Works discussion board; optional class presentation; one fifteen to twenty page essay that might serve as the basis for future research.
 

 
Journalism
Documentary Seminar
Tuesday:  1:00pm - 5:00pm
Instructor:  June Cross
Cross Listed Department:  Journalism
The documentary seminar is aimed at creating independent video producers capable at working across a range as platforms.. The course aims to acquaint students with the aesthetics and skills of the genre: reportorial methods; video beyond the news broadcast, editing for narrative, script writing and structural analysis.  It also aims to expose participants to the rudiments of production management, including fundraising, budgeting, and contract negotiation. During the first part of the semester students will execute a series of exercises aimed at developing expertise in these various fields. For video masters’ students, a 5- to 7-minute trailer is due just after spring break.  There may be occasional skills workshops in video and/or editing that fall on days to be determined by the group conscience of the class. The video trailer, along with an accompanying one-pager, will form the basis for a verbal pitch to a team of commissioning editors as the course ends in May. The course motto is “job security comes from being able to pitch your next project.” Non-broadcast students may be admitted upon application and the permission of the instructor, but they will have to complete a 2,500-word magazine article  - an article that could form the basis for a documentary - as a capstone project.   In the spring of 2012, this course will also be open to students from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a condition of a fellowship with the Institute for Research in African and African-American Studies (IRAAS) being carried out by Prof. Cross.