2018 Spring Undergraduate Courses

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African-American Studies UN3930 section 001
Josef Sorett; Tuesdays, 10:10am-12:00pm
This undergraduate seminar will engage with the genre of memoir as an artistic and literary performance and practice; but also as a means for grappling with questions of subject formation, self-authorization, and self-fashioning, as it relates to black social life and racial difference in the modern world. To do so, we will read a range of autobiographical writings by African Americans from the nineteenth century to the present; while giving special attention to texts produced around the turn of the 21th century.

African-American Studies UN3930 section 002
TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE: Cultures of Freedom - Quilombos, Palenques and Maroon Societies in the Americas and Beyond
C. Daniel Dawson, Tuesdays, 4:10pm-6:00pm
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. Guest speakers may include: noted Colombian photographer Oscar Frasser; NYU researcher, Yuko Miki; and University of Texas-Austin linguist Ian Hancock.

African-American Studies UN3930 section 003
TOPICS IN THE BLACK EXPERIENCE: Black Sexualities, Diasporic Intimacies: Disruptive Engagements
Christine Pinnock, Thursdays 12:10pm-2:00pm
One cannot assume that engaging one’s Blackness and sexuality is a seamless process; it is a disruptive engagement with the self and with society to express identities. Often Black bodies must disrupt spaces in order to claim Space and to have a voice.  In addition to the articulation of subjectivity that disruption creates opportunities to exercise individual or collective empowerment, agency, liberation, and creative and cultural expression.   These spaces of disruption serve to counter and engage systems of exclusion such as homophobia, transphobia, sexism, colonialism, imperialism, and systemic and structural racism all of which inform the gendered constructs that dictate many non-Western and Western societies. 
During this semester we will attend to questions such as: How do LGBTQIA Black and Brown bodies disrupt heteronormative constructs to claim Space in a world that is designed for their erasure? What are the tools of resistance that are utilized to combat homophobia, transphobia, Anti-Blackness, misogynoir, Negrophilia, and sexism? How can intimacy be utilized as a tool of resistance in the reclamation of one’s humanity? In weighing these questions we will also examine what intimacy looks like in diasporic and transnational contexts. Through ethnography, literature, and films, we will explore Black sexualities across various parts of the African Diaspora. This course is an upper level course open to graduate students. Students should have some basic knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, imperialism and colonialism to be able to understand the systems of oppression that engender historical and contemporary Black sexual realities. This class will provide a safe and respectful environment to interrogate these issues; students are expected to contribute to class discussions in a respectful manner.


African-American Studies UN3930 section 003
Tina Campt; Wednesdays 4:10pm-6:00pm
Feminist theorists of the African Diaspora have articulated the concept of refusal as an important rubric for understanding everyday practices of struggle often obscured by an emphasis on collective acts of resistance. This colloquium grapples with the implications of refusal as a model for theorizing the relationship of black and queer subjects to power. Key to our discussions will be unpacking the radical potentional of fugitivity, quotidian practices, and  the micro-labors of struggle through which disorderly subjects fashion often precarious, but fulfilling, lives and relations. They are practices that are easily dismissed or taken-for-granted as complacent, irrelevant or ineffectual. The aim of this our conversations will be to revalue and resignify these quotidian practices of the possibilities for futurity they potentially engender.

African-American Studies UN3936 section 001
Alan Takeall; Tuesdays 12:10pm-2:00pm
This undergraduate seminar examines a diverse group of black intellectuals' formulations of ideologies and theories relative to racial, economic and gender oppression within the context of dominant intellectual trends. The intellectuals featured in the course each contributed to the evolution of black political thought, and posited social criticisms designed to undermine racial and gender oppression, and labor exploitation around the world. This group of black intellectuals' work will be analyzed, paying close attention to the way that each intellectual inverts dominant intellectual trends, and/or uses emerging social scientific disciplines to counter racism, sexism, and classism. This seminar is designed to facilitate an understanding of the black intellectual tradition that has emerged as a result of African-American thinkers' attempts to develop a unified response to an understanding of the black condition. This course explores of a wide range of primary and secondary sources from several different periods, offering students opportunity to explore the lives and works of some of the most important black intellectuals. We will also consider the way that period-specific intellectual phenomenon-such as Modernism, Marxism, Pan-Africanism, and Feminism-combined with a host of social realities.