Featured Courses Fall 2021
Check out our featured Fall 2021 special topic courses and interdisciplinary offerings.
Professor Annie Karreth
This course offers an introduction to contemporary African politics through an exploration of democratization on the continent. It will examine the concepts, meanings, and measurements of democracy broadly, the history of democratization throughout Africa and the variance of democratic institutions found across the continent. Specific topics include, but are not limited to, legal, legislative and corruption reform across Africa, the role of civil society in democratization, public opinion, election processes, and human rights regimes.
African American Film
Film Studies 252/ Media & Comm. Studies 375A
This course studies African Americans contributions to Hollywood and independent film from the silent era to the present. We examine the work of prominent African American filmmakers and performers, along with black-cast musicals of the 1930s and 1940s, Blaxploitation films of the 1970s, and ghetto action films of the 1990s. While African American filmmakers are central, we also consider white Hollywood’s productions of blackness, questioning representations of race, and analyzing intersections between race, gender, class, and sexuality.
Global Black Family
With a premise that “Black” references people of African descent, students will interrogate what Black writers and filmmakers reveal about Black families in Africa, Europe, and the Americas: their histories, hidden and known, and their lived experiences. Students will undertake complex issues– constructions of Blackness, definitions of family, gender dynamics, and class, and impacts of culture and capitalism – through reading, discussion, research presentations and writing.
Learn the movement, rhythms and cultural context of dance traditions from the Old Mali Empire with live African drum accompaniment and experience a community-based ethos in class. May be taken twice for credit in the Dance major or minor curriculum
Biology & the African Diasporic Experience in America
This course is intended for non-science majors. Biology and the African Diaspora in America takes a biological and historical look at the influence biology has had on the concept of race. Students will develop the ability to explain and apply evidence-based approaches to understanding natural phenomena. Learning includes the roles of observation, hypothesis and theory development, controlling variables, repetition and replication of scientific knowledge using methods of inquiry and/or experimentation including bench work, fieldwork, observation of the natural world, use of scientific databases, and modeling.
Street Scrapers, Seamstresses, and the Enslaved: Work, Labor, and Capitalism
Prostitutes, street scrapers, enslaved laborers, textile workers: such diverse individuals contributed to the making of the U.S. economy. Throughout this course, we will work to uncover the lived experiences of these workers and examine the ways in which the early U.S. economy developed as a result of their labor. We will examine how ideas of race, class, and gender contributed to social hierarchies and a gap between the wealthy and impoverished, and we will analyze workers’ and capitalists’ roles in making the social and economic worlds of the early American republic.
Black Firebrands and Speechifiers
ENGL325 explores writing and oratory as central instruments for artistic expression and political liberation by Africans and their descendants from the turn of the nineteenth century up through the Civil War. It explores how eloquence—or the use of fluent, persuasive, and emotive grammar—figured in literary productions and oratorical performances of black abolitionists, anti-colonizationists, feminists, suffragists, among others. Students will trace rhetorical and historical contexts of eloquence by reading speeches, political tracts, newspaper articles, and secondary scholarly sources, among other texts.
In the nineteenth century, American authors equated and often privileged “freedom” with and in terms of “whiteness.” But those “un-free” included enslaved and indigenous people as well as some white women. In ENGL230, students will read and reconsider what it meant to be “free” in antebellum America, why those “unfree” protested their captivity, and how some women authors found freedom outside white patriarchal society.
Intro to Dance
Dance 100 A & B
Dance 100 focuses on identifying African aesthetic values and manifestation in American dance. Students investigate the history of dance (primarily in the U.S.), examining a variety of genres and styles including modern, ballet, global forms, post-modern, jazz dance, hip-hop and social/vernacular dance. Experiential and theoretical learning includes critical analyses of performance and theory as well as practical dance experience.
Race and the University
American Studies 200
How have race and institutionalized racism structured the American university? To grasp the shifts in academia, from an endeavor dominated by elite white men to one shaped by people of color, working-class people, and women, your studies will cover the Black Campus Movement, “Ivy League” slaveholding, race in college athletics, and Eurocentric curricula.