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Fall 2021 Class Schedule

Fall 2021 class Schedule

Course Title Instructor Day/Time Location
212-2-20 Introduction to African American History: Emancipation to Civil Rights Movement Brett Gadsden TTh 2:00 p-3:30 p Locy Hall 301
220-0-20 Civil Rights and Black Liberation Martha Biondi MW 11:00 a-12:20 p Kresge Hall 2-380
245-0-20 Black Queer Diasporas Alexander Weheliye TTh 11:00 a-12:20 p Kresge Hall 2-410
315-0-20 Religion in the Black Atlantic Ahmad Greene-Hayes TTh 11:00 a-12:20 p Locy Hall 214
334-0-20 Gender and Black Masculinity Marquis Bey TTh 9:30 a-10:50 a University Hall 102
350-0-20 Theorizing Blackness Alexander Weheliye TTh 12:30 p-1:50 p Kresge Hall 2-380
380-0-20 Topics: Black Political Thought Barnor Hesse MW 2:00 p-3:20 p Kresge Hall 2-380
380-0-21 Topics: Black Studies - The Last Five Years Ahmad Greene-Hayes TTh 3:30 p-4:50 p Locy Hall 106
401-0-20 Research Seminar in Black Studies Mary Pattillo T 2:00 p-    4:50 p Parkes Hall 224
480-0-20 Topics: Black Internationalism Martha Biondi W 2:00 p-  4:50 p Parkes Hall 223
480-0-21 Topics: Black Conceptual Methodologies Barnor Hesse M 4:30 p-  7:20 p Kresge Hall 3-410


Fall 2021 course descriptions

212 – Introduction to African American History: Emancipation to Civil Rights Movement

This course offers a general introduction to the history of African Americans in the United States from emancipation through the Reconstruction Era, Age of Jim Crow, Golden Age of Black Nationalism, and Long Civil Rights Movement and Black Power. With an acute eye toward human agency, students will explore the myriad ways in which African Americans mobilized their collective resources to demand the recognition of their rights as citizens, women and men, and, more broadly, human beings. This course, thus, explores the myriad ways in which historical actors at the center of dramas challenged racial segregation, exclusion, and discrimination—structural features endemic to U.S. society. In the process, students will engage a problem central to United States history: How do we figure African Americans relationship to the ideologies and institutions at the center of American political development from marginal and subordinate positions? And in what ways do the histories of African Americans demand a rethinking of those ideals embedded in the nation’s highest documents?

220 – Civil Rights and Black Liberation

The course spans the northern and southern civil rights movements and the emergence of Black Power and Black Nationalism. We’ll examine labor and welfare rights struggles, Black Feminismand the emergence of a new Pan-African consciousness. We’ll be attuned to local as well as international developments: the Black liberation movement took place on a global stage of Cold War rivalries and anticolonial solidarities. Lecture/discussion section.

245 – Black Queer Diasporas

This course serves as an introduction to critical theories of race, gender, and sexuality across the African diaspora and on the African continent. We will discuss critical writings and analyze literary texts, films, and musical practices about queerness in order to understand the complex ways Blackness and shapes marginalized genders and sexualities across the globe.



*Mid-term essay

*Weekly blog posts/responses (at least two each week)

*Creating or editing three Wikipedia entries related to the course topic

*Final group multimedia project & presentation

Required Texts: Akwaeke Emezi, Freshwater, Jackie Kay, Trumpet: A Novel, Audre Lorde, Zami.

315 – Religion in the Black Atlantic

This course provides a broad introduction to major themes in the study of religion in the Black Atlantic. We will consider the stakes of defining and characterizing Black religions across time, space, and geographies throughout the Black Atlantic World, historically, contemporaneously, and in recent scholarship. The course’s scope covers over five centuries of Black Atlantic religious history—from the 1400s up to the present day, with an eye towards traditions of Orisha devotion and monotheisms; religion and revolution in African indigenous slave religions; racialization, Christianization, and empire; theories of religion, Africanisms, and diaspora; gender, sexuality and queerness; and embodiment and spirit possession. Indeed, how did the formation of the Black Atlantic shape religion and how did religion shape the Black Atlantic World?

334 – Gender and Black Masculinity

This course will take as its focus not only discussing black men but, more rigorously, interrogating gender as a racialized regime and masculinity itself as a subtle form of violence. Students will be invited to think about race and gender as co-constitutive (rather than simply and innocently intersectional), and about what might be possible after the interrogation—and possibly dismantling—of masculinity even when affixed to blackness. To examine these topics, we will explore the writing of Richard Wright and Percival Everett, documentaries on manhood, black feminist critiques of masculinity, and transgender perspectives on gender.

350 – Theorizing Blackness

Popular discourses about the ‘post-racial' era notwithstanding, race still suffuses many aspects of culture and policy in the western world, especially Blackness. Moreover, critical arguments about the ways gender, sexuality, class, and nationality fracture race, have questioned unitary notions of Blackness. Why does Blackness still persist despite these challenges? How is this category continually reconstituted through social, economic, cultural, legal, political, etc. discourses and institutions? Drawing on theoretical discourses from the social sciences and humanities, the course surveys Blackness as a global category of critical analysis for both historical and contemporary social formations in the African Diaspora. In addition, by considering the different manifestations of Blackness as well as other forms of racialized identity across the globe from historical, empirical, and theoretical perspectives, it also considers how gender, class, sexuality, and nationality shape the territories of Blackness. We will study scholarly works that address, on the one hand, the continued significance of slavery, colonialism, incarceration, segregation, other forms of racialized violence, and, on the other hand, texts that imagine future forms of Blackness.

380-0-20 – Topics: Black Political Thought

Between 2015 and 2020 the political movement Black Lives Matter emerged in the US and different parts of the world, concerned with the mobilizations against police violence towards Black populations and oppositions to structural white supremacy. In 2020 the scale and longevity of Black Lives Matter was such that the New York Times referred to it as the largest social movement in US history. Certainly, there had been nothing like it since the anti-colonial movements and civil rights movements of the late 1950s and mid-1960s or the Black power movement of the 1970s, all of which had reverberations and replications among different Black populations across the world (e.g. Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean). This course seeks to introduce students to the historical and political underpinnings of issues and questions raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, examining their meaning in relation to Black politics and as part of what Cedric Robinson famously referred to as the Black Radical Tradition. Students will be encouraged to think about the importance of the relation between history and theory in engaging with the formations of Slavery, Colonialism and Racism; as well as developing understandings of Black political thought in relation to movements that include, Black Marxism, Black Liberalism, Black Power, Black Feminism, Black Lives Matter, Afropessimism, Black Anarchism and Afrofuturism.

380-0-21 – Topics: Black Studies - The Last Five Years

This course examines the current state of the field of Black Studies, by way of weekly close readings of a select group of journal articles and books published in Black Studies in the last five years (2016-2021). Outside of the academy, the Movement for Black Lives has taken the nation and the world by storm demanding an end to the policing, murder, political disenfranchisement, and quotidian acts of antiblack violence marked against Black people. Given the demandsof this movement, Black scholars in Black Studies have rightly sought to contend with this social, cultural, and political moment in conversation with the longstanding genealogy of Black Studies scholarship that has narrated and brought to the fore the stories of Black life, Black death, and Black political struggle. As a result, new and exciting debates have emerged and re-emerged in the field and this course examines these debates in the last five years with an eye towards slavery and its multifaceted afterlives; gender, sexuality, and racialization; blackness, the human, and the animal; social life and social death; blackness, geographies, and ecologies; and the distinctions drawn by Black scholars concerning what constitutes the category of “critical” Black Studies.

401 – Research Seminar in Black Studies

This course examines multiple approaches to undertaking Black Studies research and equips students to execute a scholarly agenda with deliberate attention to methods of data collection and analysis. The course is divided into two parts. The first half concerns readings in Black Studies scholarship that exemplify a few major approaches: historical-archival, cultural criticism, critical theory, and ethnographic and interview based methods. The second half of the course will be based on student presentations of individual research projects at discrete stages such as bibliographical research, identification of primary sources (e.g., identification of ideal research subjects in the case of research interviews or ethnography), and explication of method and theory.This will culminate in a research prospectus, which will serve as the final product of the seminar.

480-0-20 – Topics: Black Internationalism

This graduate seminar examines currents of international solidarity struggles in the wake of the Black liberation struggle. Scholars have more fully examined earlier internationalist movements such as Garveyism, the Pan-African Congresses, communism and socialism across the African Diaspora, and various anticolonial formations and struggles of the early to mid-twentieth century. This course spans the late 1960s through the 1980s, focusing on US-based solidarity movements with southern Africa, including the struggles against Portuguese colonialism and apartheid South Africa. We’ll read primary and secondary sources.

480-0-21 – Topics: Black Conceptual Methodologies