2018 Fall Undergraduate Courses

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African-American Studies C1001/001
Introduction to African-American Studies
Mondays & Wednesdays 10:10am – 11:25am, Room
Instructor:  To Be Announced
Notes: Discussion Section AFASC1010 required Global Core Course
Discussion Required - C1010:  
From the arrival of enslaved Africans to the recent election of President Barack Obama, black people have been central 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, structure, etc.) that have preoccupied scholars of African American history, culture and politics.   Students will be introduced to 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, diaspora, 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, Black Power, 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 C3930/001
TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE:  HONEY IS MY KNIFE: African Spirituality in the Americas
Tuesdays 4:10pm – 6:00pm; Room 758 Schermerhorn Extension
Instructor:  C. Daniel Dawson; cd2277@columbia.edu
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: The seminar will include an extensive use of audio-visual materials including slides, videos and audio recordings.

African-American Studies UN3930/002
TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE: Gender, Sexuality and Labor in the Contemporary Caribbean
Tuesdays; 12:10-2:00pm;  Room 758 Schermerhorn Extension
Instructor: Christine Pinnock, CP2024@columbia.edu
NOTE: Upper Level Undergrad only
Exploring the concepts of gender, sexuality and labor in the contemporary Caribbean provides opportunities for us to think about the concept of work and the changing nature of gender relations from both historical and contemporary perspectives.  What kinds of labor do women perform and how does their labor impact society inside and outside of the workplace?  With the rapid expansion of globalization and many Caribbean nations relying on the tourism industry for economic stability; how has this impacted the sex tourism industry and what value is placed on sex workers’ labor in Caribbean society?  What racialized and sexualized discourses occur around LGBTQIA bodies in Caribbean societies and the commoditization of their labor? This course seeks to answer these questions to help us think critically about the Caribbean as a diverse geographical space and complex positions that workers occupy as they contribute to and maintain Caribbean economies.
This course will interrogate the myriad ways that men and women have worked and labored in Caribbean labor movements, off-shore sectors, tourism, and sex tourism industries to the unpaid social reproductive labor that is performed on a daily basis.  During the semester we will explore theoretical concepts such gender, labor, sexuality, diaspora, transnationalism, and globalization by reading historical texts, novels, and ethnographies and viewing films that focus on the Caribbean.  This course is designed to place great emphasis on the development of your critical thinking skills AND writing skills.  Students will be encouraged to take full advantage of this opportunity to improve and expand on their abilities to engage texts and classroom discussions critically.  Ultimately, the goal is to produce assignments that reflect your intellectual and academic abilities. 

Fall 2018 African-American Studies UN3930/003
TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE: Ethnographies of Black Urban Life
Tuesdays 10:00am-11:50am; Room 758 Schermerhorn Extension
Instructor: Anthony Johnson, IRAAS@columbia.edu
This course will introduce students to the practices and strategies of ethnographers on black life in urban settings. The goal of the course is to introduce students to ethnography as a methodology to understand and critically examine African Diasporic populations. Through readings of anthropological literature and other disciplinary texts, we will pay particular attention to the historical, cultural, social, economic and political contexts that shape urban experiences for Black communities throughout the world. We examine topics including gangs, homelessness, gentrification, race, youth, and poverty to critically understand the social forces that affect every day lived experiences.