2017 Spring Undergraduate Courses

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Kevin Fellezs KF2362@columbia.edu
Call# 80038
This course focuses on a central question: how do we define “African-American music”? In attempting to answer this question, we will be thinking through concepts such as authenticity, representation, recognition, cultural ownership, appropriation, and origin(s). These concepts have structured the ways in which critics, musicians and audiences have addressed the various social, political and aesthetic contexts in which African-American music has been composed (produced), performed (re-produced) and heard (consumed).

AFAS UN3930/001 Topics In the Black Experience: Cultures of Freedom - Quilombos, Palenques and Maroon Societies in the Americas and Beyond
C. Daniel Dawson; cd2277@columbia.edu
Call # 87782
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.

Kaiama L. Glover, KGLOVER@barnard.edu
and Maboula Soumahoro, iraas@columbia.edu
Call# 86402
What distinctions must be made between US-black American fantasies of Paris and realities for Blacks in Paris? What are the historical linkages between black Americans and Paris? Between black Americans and black French women and men? How is “blackness” a category into which all non-white racial others are conscripted? (e.g. Arab and Roma communities)? Using an internationalist (specifically transatlantic) approach and covering the 20th and 21st centuries, this course explores these and other questions over the course of the semester through a close consideration of the literature, arts, culture, history and politics emanating from or dealing with Black France. Implicating in particular the real and mythologized site-ciphers that were and are Harlem, USA and Paris, France, and working with local cultural institutions, among which the Schomburg Center and the Jazz Museum, the texts and artifacts examined in this course will consider “race” as both fact and fantasy in the unique, long-historical relationship between Harlem, Paris, and the wider French empire.

AFASUN3920/003 Topics in the Black Experience: Black Chicago
Carla Shedd, cs2613@columbia.edu
Call #81532
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.

AFAS UN3936/001- Black Intellectuals Seminar
Frank Guridy, FG2368@columbia.edu
Call# 11899
This undergraduate seminar examines Black intellectual thought from the dawn of the twentieth century to the present. As thought producers and critics of their time, black intellectuals have created ideas and practices that have identified and resisted racial and gender oppressions, imperialism, homophobia, and class exploitation in the United States and throughout the world. Moreover, Black thinkers have routinely widened our understanding of the particularities of the Black experience throughout the African diaspora. Thus, the notion of Black intellectuals in the course is a diasporic conception highlighting the intellectual work of thinkers who self-identified or are identified with people of African descent in the United States, the Caribbean, and other parts of the African diaspora. The course relies on a capacious understanding of the intellectual, which includes activists, writers, cultural producers, and artists. Far from being a comprehensive examination of Black intellectual life, the course will focus on the following topics: the various iterations of the Black Radical Tradition; the ambivalent position of Black intellectuals vis-à-vis dominant power structures and the broader Black Freedom Struggle; the role of Black Feminism in challenging the historic patriarchal structures embedded in intellectual life; and finally, the impact of Black intellectual work on thinkers and activists from other racialized groups.