2017 Fall Undergraduate Courses

Home > Undergraduate > 2017 Fall Undergraduate Courses

African-American Studies UN1001/ Section 001
Call Number: 73589; 3Points
Day/Time: MW 10:10am-11:25am; Location: 207 Mathematics Building
Prof. Josef Sorett
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

African-American Studies GU4037/ Section 001
Call Number: 74773; 3points
Day/Time: MW 11:40am-12:55pm Location: 963 EXT Schermerhorn Extension
Prof. Gary Okihiro
An introduction to Third World studies (formerly known as “comparative ethnic studies”)—its subject matters, methodologies, theories, literatures, practitioners, and institutional settings

African-American Studies UN3930/Section 001
Call Number: 61352; 4 Points
Day/Time: T 4:10pm-6:00pm Location: 758 EXT Schermerhorn Extension
Prof. C. Daniel Dawson
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.
Honey is My Knife: African Spirituality in the Americas will include presentations by three innovative guest scholars: Alex LaSalle, author of “Bambula” and founder/director of Alma Moyo, a pioneering Puerto Rican dance troupe, will discuss African Puerto Rican dance and religion, as well as Palo Mayombe of Cuba; Marta Moreno Vega, a scholar, filmmaker and priest of Santeria/Lucumi, will discuss her book and film When the Spirits Dance Mambo; and Dowoti Desir, a scholar, curator and Vodun priestess, will discuss Haitian visual arts and their relationship to the Vodun religion. The seminar will include an extensive use of audio-visual materials including slides, videos and audio recordings.

African-American Studies UN3930/Section 002
Call Number: 67077; 4 Points
Day/Time: M 2:10pm-4:00pm Location: 758 EXT Schermerhorn Extension
Prof. Gary Okihiro

African-American Studies UN3930/Section 003
Call Number: 63098; 4 Points
Day/Time: R 2:10pm-4:00pm Location: 758 EXT Schermerhorn Extension


Cross listed Undergraduate classes by IRAAS Faculty

African-American Studies 83662/001
Call Number: 73197; 4 Points
Day/Time: T 12:10pm-2:00pm Location: 313 Pupin Laboratories
Prof. Farah J. Griffin
This course asks, “What conceptions of Justice emerge from a selection of works by canonical African American writers?  Are there other moral/ethical/social values that emerge as more significant than Justice?” We open with an exploration of Justice in the works of the Greek dramatist, Aeschylus, the Hebrew Bible and recent scholarship on Pre-Colonial West Africa in order to consider what concepts of Justice African-American writers have inherited or that have informed them in less formal ways.  We then turn to texts by Charles Chesnutt, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ernest Gaines, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, to examine the way these writers engage, negotiate and critique the relationship between Justice and Race in the United States

African-American Studies 83506/Section 001
Call Number: 83442; 4 Points
Day/Time: T 6:10pm-8:00pm Location: 612 Philosophy Hall
Prof. Marcellus Blount
This course views American poetry through the lenses of formal questions and issues of identity politics.  It also combines a number of theoretical approach from New Criticism to Deconstruction to a more socially informed political formalism.  Focus on issues of sexual identities, adding to Adrienne Rich’s famous formulation--in Of a Woman Born--about gender and race this complex question of why sexuality matters in American poetry. We will proceed in terms of what I’m calling “poetic encounters’--moments of intertextuality and influence from Whitman to Audre Lorde.  Along the way we as readers we ourselves will encounter Whitman (again and again as a site of “adhesive” relations.  Poets include Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Mae Cowdery, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, T. S. Eliot, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, Marilyn Hacker, Cheryl Clarke, Melvin Dixon, Essex Hemphill, Paul Monette, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Alexander, and Audre Lorde. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Blount (mb33@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Poetic Encounters seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

African-American Studies 83504/001
Call Number: 82451; 4 Points
Day/Time: R 2:10pm-4:00pm; Location: 302 Fayerweather Hall
Prof. Frank Guridy