2011 FALL UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

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AFASC3930:  Section 001 
Topics in the Black Experience: Black Masculinity
Monday:  4:10pm - 6:00pm
Location:  758 Schermerhorn Extension
Professor Marcellus Blount:  mb33@columbia.edu;
 
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 televisions 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 sexualities?  How does gender function as an analytical category through which to understand race?  Course requirements: mandatory attendance and class participation; bi-weekly use of CourseWorks discussion board; optional class presentation; one ten to fifteen page essay.
 

 
 
AFASC3930:  Section 002
Topics in the Black Experience: African-American Historical Novel
Wednesday:  11:00am - 12:50pm
Location: 758 Schermerhorn Extension
Professor  Zoe Trodd:   zt2148@columbia.edu
 
This course examines a central genre in the African American literary tradition: historical fiction. We read novels and short stories from the genre's foundations in the 19th century to the present, also comparing this fiction to several films and paintings. We'll read a range of sub-genres, including the neo-slave narrative, historiographic meta-fiction, the short-story cycle, the romance, science fiction and fictional autobiography. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, Arna Bontemps, Ralph Ellison, Margaret Walker, Gayl Jones, Ishmael Reed, Octavia Butler, Alex Haley and Toni Morrison. We'll discuss uses of history to construct national identities and ideologies, to protest slavery and segregation, to critique traditional historiography, and to create breaks and continuities between the past and the present. Why have so many African American writers turned to history as sources for their fiction? Why did they reinvent history through fiction? How should we understand the combination of research with imaginary elements? How did they define their narratives? How should we?
 

 
AFASC3930:  Section 003
Topics in the Black Experience: Exploring Black Chicago
Tuesday:  11:00am - 12:50pm
Location: 758 Schermerhorn Extension
Professor Carla Shedd:  cs2613@columbia.edu
 
The city of Chicago is arguably the most researched urban laboratory in the United States.  This course will examine the history, contemporary conditions, experiences, and cultural worlds of African Americans in the city once known as the “Promised Land”. We will begin our exploration of Chicago from the great migration of the early 20th century and proceed through the times sociologically assessing the attitudes, experiences and social worlds of Chicago’s Black population.
 

 
AFASC3930:  Section 004
Topics in the Black Experience: Hispaniola: The Divided Island
Wednesday:  4:10pm - 6:00pm
Location:  758 Schermerhorn Extension
Professor Vivaldi Jean-Marie:  vj2172@columbia.edu
 
Although the island of Hispaniola comprises both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the difference in their sociopolitical landscape is striking. The aim of the seminar is to understand the root of such sociopolitical difference by comparing and contrasting the historical and social forces that have shaped the cultural practices and political organization of these two Caribbean societies. The comparison and contrast approach hopes to elaborate the unique dimensions of Haitian and Dominican cultures while emphasizing the similarities that they inherited from colonialism and post colonialism. We shall see that the central difference consists in the fact that Haitian society operates mainly according to an African-based cosmology whereas the Dominican Republic has been shaped by a mestizoand Eurocentric cosmology. Topics to be investigated this semester include: colonization and plantation slavery; struggles for independence and sovereignty; U.S. occupation and dictatorship; music, religion, popular culture and the impact of globalization.
 

 
AFASC3936:  Section 001
Black Intellectuals Seminar: Pan-Africanism and Internationalism
Thursday:  11:10am - 1:00pm
Location:  758 Schermerhorn Extension
Professor Mio Matsumoto:  mm936@columbia.edu
 
This course examines the rich and complex history of Pan-African and international thoughts in the twentieth century through the works of African, Afro-American, and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals. From the wake of European colonization of Africa to the end of South African Apartheid, the eventful century revealed black intellectuals' diverse and contentious methods, theories, and arguments designed to combat colonial rule, labor exploitation, and white supremacy. The overall aim of the course is for students to gain structured, critical, but appreciative knowledge of the variety of Pan-African intellectuals, their connections and contributions to the unfolding world events, and their ongoing debates as to what constitutes the basis of Pan-Africanisms and what relationship black people of the world have with one another. The readings focus on primary sources in addition to recent studies and contemporary commentaries relevant to the weekly topics