Location: Bowdoin / Africana Studies / Courses / Spring 2010

Africana Studies

Spring 2010

010. Racism
H. Partridge T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
Examines issues of racism in the United States, with attention to the social psychology of racism, its history, its relationship to social structure, and its ethical and moral implications. Note: This course counts toward the major and minor in gender and women’s studies.

025. The Civil War in Film
Patrick Rael M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Explores the American Civil War through an examination of popular films dedicated to the topic. Students analyze films as a representation of the past, considering not simply their historical subject matter, but also the cultural and political contexts in which they are made. Films include The Birth of a Nation, Gone with the Wind, Glory, and Cold Mountain. Weekly evening film screenings

144. Music in Africa
Anthony Perman M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Introduction to a broad range of musical styles from throughout Africa. Explores how music is used in religious contexts, within nationalist movements, and in social life more generally, with special attention given to popular music and transnational influences on these forms. Students read a range of ethnographic writings on African music, as well as popular press to address issues of colonialism, capitalism, and commercialization in post-colonial Africa.

203. Christianity and Islam in West Africa
Olufemi Vaughan T  1:00 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores how Christianity, Islam, and indigenous religious beliefs shaped the formation of modern West African states and societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Discusses the role of these world and indigenous religious institutions and movements in the transformation of major West African societies in the following important historical themes: (1) religion and state formation in the turbulent nineteenth century; (2) religion and colonialism; (3) religion and decolonization; (4) religion and the post-colonial state; (5) religion and politics in the era of globalization. Note: This course fulfills the pre-modern requirement for history majors.

211. Third World Feminism
Karen Lindo T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
The Third World Woman is characterized as poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, sexually constrained and eternally powerless. This course examines the discursive practices that have produced this monolithic woman and moves beyond the objectification of her person to unfold the multiple faces and places in which Third World Feminism is actually at work. Who is the Third World Woman? What are her problems and needs? Is there room in the economy of her person for desires? Course readings will situate her geographically, socio-historically and politically both within the US and in the developing/developed nations that hinge on the periphery of First World ideologies. Sources will include Le Deuxihme Sexe by Simone de Beauvoir, Feminism Without Borders by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, scholarly articles, fictional works (Gishle Pineau, Buchi Emecheta, Zoi Valdis, Nawal El Saadawi, Edwidge Danticat), visual media and active engagement with a key organization in which Third World Feminism is a First World subject. Taught in English. Students of French are encouraged to read and write assignments in French.

213. Transnational Africa and Globalization
Olufemi Vaughan M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Drawing on key readings on the historical sociology of transnationalism since World War II, examines how postcolonial African migrations transformed African states and their new transnational populations in Western countries. Discusses what concepts such as the nation state, communal identity, global relations, and security mean in the African context to critically explore complex African transnational experiences and globalization. These dynamic African transnational encounters encourage discussions on homeland and diaspora, tradition and modernity, gender and generation.

223. He Loved Us Madly: The Music and Life of Duke Ellington (1899–1974)
James McCalla M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
A detailed study of the life and work of one of America’s greatest composers and musicians in the context of twentieth-century music and contemporary social history. Ellington disliked the term “jazz” and preferred (among other labels) “African American music.” Examines his works’ antecedents, its stylistic elements, its cultural work within United States society from the Harlem Renaissance through the Civil Rights era, and its presentation by the government as a symbol of the United States overseas. Also considers Ellington’s almost thirty-year collaboration with Billy Strayhorn (1915–1967); the extraordinary range of his band’s and small groups’ work from secular Hollywood films to the late Concerts of Sacred Music; and his projects with such guest artists as John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, and others.

225. Race and Representation in the English Renaissance
Aaron Kitch M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Reconsiders the notoriously “white” English Renaissance in light of recent literary and cultural scholarship on race and cultural difference. Explores key strategies of authors from Philip Sidney to Aphra Behn in representing ethnic, religious, and cultural othernesss, as well as an emergent discourse of racial identity. Topics include England’s role in the nascent African slave trade, the poetic fetishization of the exotic, and transnational discourses of “discovery” that raised new questions about modes of English writing. Authors include Sidney, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Aphra Behn, Kim Hall, Gary Taylor, and bell hooks. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

227. Transnational Race and Ethnicity
Dhiraj Murthy W  1:00 - 3:55
Examines globally mediated formations of ethnic and racial identities, including the ways in which transnational communities are shaped through contact with “homelands” (physically and virtually) and vice versa. Particular attention given to “Black” and “South Asian” diasporic communities based in London and the transnational cultural networks in Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Caribbean that they help maintain. Readings include works by Paul Gilroy, Arjun Appadurai, Les Back, Stuart Hall, Jayne Ifekwunigwe, Ian Ang, and the Delhi-based sarai school.

229. Evolution in America
David Hecht M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Explores the history and politics of evolution in the United States since Darwin. Evolution has been central to American politics and culture in myriad ways. Examines explicit controversies, such as the Scopes Trial of 1925 and more recent debates over intelligent design, as well as the many ways that it has implicitly but profoundly influenced American culture, most notably in connection with lending credence to ideas of “natural” or “normal” in terms of human behavior, racial classification, or gender and sexual norms. Also explores changing ideas of evolution, in both scientific investigation and popular culture.

236. The History of African Americans, 1619-1865
Patrick Rael T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the history of African Americans from the origins of slavery in America through the death of slavery during the Civil War. Explores a wide range of topics, including the establishment of slavery in colonial America, the emergence of plantation society, control and resistance on the plantation, the culture and family structure of enslaved African Americans, free black communities, and the coming of the Civil War and the death of slavery.

243. History of Black Sexual Politics
Keona Ervin M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Explores how gender and sexuality function within African American communities in the United States using historical and contemporary case studies. Examines connections between constructions of Black femininity and masculinity, racial identity formation and social inequality against the backdrop of slavery and emancipation, segregation, the Great Depression and World War II, the black freedom struggle, and what many have called the post-civil rights era. Materials include interdisciplinary scholarly texts and articles, films, novels, and music.

258. Reconstructing the Nation
Tess Chakkalakal T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Introduces students to American literature written between 1865 and 1910. Exploring a period marked by the end of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the “New” South, and Jim Crow, students engage with these historical developments through a reading of a wide range of novels, short stories, poems, and plays that take up political tensions between the North and South as well as questions of regional, racial, and national identity. Works by George Washington Cable, Charles Chesnutt, Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mark Twain, Sutton E. Griggs, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Frank Norris constitute the “major” literary voices of the period, but also examines a number of “minor” works that are similarly, but perhaps more narrowly, concerned with questions of race and nation. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

264. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880
David Gordon T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on conquest, colonialism, and its legacies in sub-Saharan Africa; the violent process of colonial pacification, examined from European and African perspectives; the different ways of consolidating colonial rule and African resistance to colonial rule, from Maji Maji to Mau Mau; and African nationalism and independence, as experienced by Africa’s nationalist leaders, from Kwame Nkrumah to Jomo Kenyatta, and their critics. Concludes with the limits of independence, mass disenchantment, the rise of the predatory post-colonial state, genocide in the Great Lakes, and the wars of Central Africa.

265. Black Women and Slavery in Diasporic Perspective
Jessica Johnson M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines the history of women of African descent during the second period of slavery and slave trading between Africa, the Caribbean, and mainland North America (roughly 1650 to 1888). Focuses on the everyday experiences of women's labor, reproduction, and kinship-building on the plantations and in the cities, of these slaveholding societies and on women's roles in the (re)creation of Afro-Atlantic religious and political culture. Investigates the participation of women in abolition and emancipation movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A range of issues addressed: How did women of African descent experience life under slavery in contrast to men or women of European, Amerinidan, and East Indian descent? How did the lives of enslaved women differ from free women of color in different slave holding societies of the Atlantic world? How did the experience of migration, forced and voluntary, impact the lives of black women and the growth of black societies across the Atlantic African diaspora? Assignments include work by contemporary historians and literary figures, primary source analysis, and student projects on the representation and presentation of women and slavery.

270. African American Fiction: Childhood and Adolescence
Elizabeth Muther F  1:30 - 4:25
A century of short stories, novels, and graphic narratives by African American writers that engage the lives of children and adolescents, as well as narratives written explicitly for young readers. Theorizes historical constructions of African American childhood from the Harlem Renaissance era to the present. Examines the strong tradition of child-narrated fiction for teens and adults from the 1960s and 1970s by such writers as Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, Louise Meriwether, and Ann Petry. Considers the emergence of a conscious Black Arts aesthetic in children’s literature and its relationship to the flowering of multicultural children’s literature in recent decades. Formerly English 275 (same as Africana Studies 275). Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

284. Reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
Tess Chakkalakal T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Introduces students to the controversial history of reader responses to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin." Students engage with various theoretical approaches—reader response theory, feminist, African Americanist, and historicist—to the novel, then turn to the novel itself and produce their own literary interpretation. In order to do so, students examine the conditions of the novel’s original production. By visiting various historic locations, the Stowe House on Federal Street, the First Parish on Maine Street, Special Collections of the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, students compare the novel’s original historical context to the history that the novel produced. Aside from reading Stowe’s antislavery fiction, students also read works produced with and against "Uncle Tom’s Cabin."

361. The Political Imagination in African History
David Gordon W  1:00 - 3:55
Explores African conceptions of politics from the sixteenth to the twentieth century. Themes covered include African ancestral traditions, political movements during European colonialism, ethnic politics, alternative forms of sovereignty, religion and power, and debates over democratization. Students are required to write an original research paper.