2019 Spring Undergraduate Courses

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UG3930/ SECTION 001 Topics in the Black Experience: Cultures of Freedom - Quilombos, Palenques and Maroon Societies in the Americas and Beyond
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 maro on societies that still exist, as well as how their ubiquitous ideas are represented in all spheres of society from the arts to cyberspace.
C. Daniel Dawson, cd2277@columbia.edu

UG3930/ SECTION 002 Topics in the Black Experience: I, too, Dream of America: Race, Gender & Injustice
This class examines the historical construction of race and gender and how the theorization of these differences contributes to structural and institutional inequalities. This course examines the history of race relations in American politics. With the United States as our primary canvas, weekly readings examine the lived experiences and ideological debates among African American and those throughout the Black diaspora as they operate within: nation states; legislatures, political parties; neighborhoods; prisons; marketplaces; social and political organizations and government institutions. We will also focus on public policies that sought to address remedy racial inequality through the incorporation of color-blind policies such as Affirmative Action.  Particular attention is focused on the ways in which race, gender, sexuality and class intersect with other social divisions that shape social and political life. Interwoven throughout the course are the narratives of individuals and groups who participated in grassroots organizations, social movements, political parties and civic associations. Some of the thematic issues explored are: Prison industrial complex; educational inequality; intersectionality; feminism and Black feminism; voter suppression ; criminalization and the demonization of Black women and girls. Questions undergirding this course are: What is racial inequality and white privilege? How do we identify gender oppressions?  Who do we consider American and why? What groups are identified as deviant?  How should we explore economic inequality and poverty within black communities? What are the strategies and agendas used by marginalized communities to address injustice from Jim Crow to contemporary moments? How have social movements expanded U.S. public policy? How should we interpret the rise and of mass incarceration and criminalization of young black youth? Has the increase of women and minority policymakers addressed inequality for marginalized groups? What does the Obama Presidency mean for black politics?  How does the black lives matters movement expand beyond a political moment?
Zinga Fraser, zaf2101@columbia.edu

UG3930/ section 003     Topics in the Black Experience: Black Memoir
This undergraduate seminar will engage with the genre of memoir (and autobiography?) 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 identity and social life (and questions of racial difference, more generally) 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.
Josef Sorett, js3119@columbia.edu

UG3030/section 001      African American Music
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).
Kevin Holt, kch2114@columbia.edu

GU4032/Section 001 Business & Society: Image & Identity in Contemporary Advertising
Advertising is a polyglot organizational field consisting of traditional advertising agencies, but also digital companies and social media firms that use creative marketing techniques, such as crowdsourcing and viral marketing.  We will consider the ways that creative agencies— and those in their service— produce and consume information and image, in an effort to shape individual and collective identities, and to market goods and services. This course focuses on the organization of contemporary advertising industry. A special emphasis is placed on the role of diversity and difference, including but not restricted to the ways that race, ethnicity, gender, age and other demographic/social difference impact both the profession and the creative process.
Course open to 2nd, 3rd & 4th year undergraduate students & MA Graduate students only
Sudhir VenkateshSV185@columbia.edu