Location: Bowdoin / Africana Studies / Courses / Spring 2011

Africana Studies

Spring 2011

010. Racism
H. Partridge T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
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.

013. From Montezuma to Bin Laden: Globalization and Its Critics
David Gordon T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the challenge that globalization and imperialism pose for the study of history. How do historians balance the perspectives of victors and victims in past and present processes of globalization? How important are non-European versions of the past that may contradict European Enlightenment historical ideas and ideals? Class discussions interrogate questions about globalization and imperialism raised by proponents and critics, ranging from the Spanish conquest of Mexico to the American conquest of Iraq.

107. Introduction to the Black Novel in the United States
Tess Chakkalakal T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Introduces students to the literary and historical aspects of the black novel as it developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. Begins with a consideration of the novels of Charles Chesnutt, Sutton Griggs, and Pauline Hopkins, then examines the ways in which novelists of the Harlem Renaissance—James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, and W. E. B. Du Bois—played with both the form and function of the novel during this era. Then considers how novels by Richard Wright, Chester Himes, and Ralph Ellison challenged and reformed the black novel’s historical scope and aesthetic aims.

136. Black Musics in Latin America and the Caribbean
Michael Quintero T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
An introduction to various Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean musical forms and some of the issues and debates that surround them. Students examine case studies from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Some central themes include similarities and differences in black identity across the Americas, the relative importance of African retentions and New World innovations in the formation of these musical forms, the nature of cultural mixture with indigenous and European forms, the role of music in black religion, and musical dialogues between differently located black populations in the Americas.

145. Racial and Ethnic Conflict in American Cities
Brian Purnell T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
American cities have been historic cauldrons of racial and ethnic conflict. Concentrates on urban violence in American cities since 1898, but will also cover moments of conflict during the early Republic and the nineteenth century. Examines the post-Reconstruction pogroms that overturned interracial democracy; the “Red Summer” and its historical memory; the ways race and ethnicity shaped urban residential space; the effects of immigration on urban political economy and society, and the conflicts over space, labor, and social relations that arose; and the waves of urban violence that spread across the country in the mid-1960s.

209. Introduction to the Study and Criticism of Francophone Literature
Hanetha Vete-Congolo M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Introduces students to the literary tradition of the contemporary Francophone world. Focuses on major authors and literary movements in historical and cultural context. Conducted in French.

220. "The Wire": Race, Class, Gender and the Urban Crisis
Brian Purnell T 6:30 - 9:25
Postwar U.S. cities were considered social, economic, political, and cultural zones of “crisis.” African Americans—their families, gender relations; their relationship to urban political economy, politics and culture—were at the center of this discourse. Using David Simon’s epic series, The Wire, as a critical source on post-industrial urban life, politics, conflict, and economics, covers the origins of the “urban crisis,” the rise of an “underclass” theory of urban class relations, the evolution of the urban “underground economy,” and the ways the “urban crisis” shaped depictions of African Americans in American popular culture.

222. Politics and Societies in Africa
Ericka Albaugh T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
Surveys societies and politics in sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to understand the sources of current conditions and the prospects for political stability and economic growth. Looks briefly at pre-colonial society and colonial influence on state-construction in Africa, and concentrates on three broad phases in Africa’s contemporary political development: (1) independence and consolidation of authoritarian rule; (2) economic decline and challenges to authoritarianism; (3) democratization and civil conflict. Presumes no prior knowledge of the region.

224. Topics in Jazz History: John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins
James McCalla T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Tenor sax jazz icons John Coltrane (1926–1967) and Sonny Rollins (b. 1930) had much in common: similar musical trajectories from bebop through almost all of jazz’s developments during their lifetimes; early and lasting fame as belonging to the most important figures in American music; and deep personal humility combined with searching spirituality. But the contrasts are equally strong, especially in their approach to composition, improvisation, and performance. Follows their careers and their positions in American music and its broader context from the 1950s to the present.

228. Protest Music
Judith Casselberry M 6:30 - 9:25
Focuses on the ways black people have experienced twentieth-century events. Examines social, economic, and political catalysts for processes of protest music production across genres including gospel, blues, folk, soul, funk, rock, reggae, and rap. Analysis of musical and extra-musical elements' style, form, production, lyrics, intent, reception, commodification, mass-media, and the Internet. Explores ways in which people experience, identify, and propose solutions to poverty, segregation, oppressive working conditions, incarceration, sexual exploitation, violence, and war.

237. The History of African Americans from 1865 to the Present
Patrick Rael T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the history of African Americans from the end of the Civil War to the present. Issues include the promises and failures of Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, black leadership and protest institutions, African American cultural styles, industrialization and urbanization, the world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, and conservative retrenchment.

264. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880
Olufemi Vaughan M 2:30 - 3:55, W 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, Amerindian, 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.

269. After Apartheid: Southern African History and Historiography
David Gordon T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar.Investigates the diverse representations and uses of the past in South Africa. Begins with the difficulties in developing a critical and conciliatory version of the past in post-apartheid South Africa during and after the much-discussed Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Then turns to diverse historical episodes and sites of memory from the Great Trek to the inauguration of Nelson Mandela to explore issues of identity and memory from the perspectives of South Africa’s various peoples.

271. Spirit Come Down: Black Women and Religion
Judith Casselberry M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Primarily focused on Christian denominations: Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal. Examines the religious lives of black women in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Explores issues of self-representation, memory, material culture, embodiment, and civic and political engagement through autobiographical, historical, literary, anthropological, cinematic, and musical texts.

273. African Art: Masks and Masquerades
Olubukola Gbadegesin M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Masquerades are a major element of West African visual culture. Masquerades combine dramatic costumes with improvised bodily performance to create dynamic and interactive events that are rooted in religious belief systems, rites of passage, ancestor veneration, politics, and other socio-cultural concerns. Surveys the masking traditions of several ethnic groups in West Africa, paying special attention to the forms and functions of the masquerades. Covers the processes through which these performances are executed by the maskers and experienced by audiences. Looks briefly at how these masquerades have been channeled in contemporary African music, theatrical plays, and films.

276. Queer Race
Guy Foster T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
How does the concept of “queerness” signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for racial equality? And vice versa, how does the concept of “racialization” signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for LGBT recognition and justice? While some of this work tends to reduce “queer” to traditional sexual minorities like lesbigay and trans folk while downplaying racial considerations, others tend to limit the category “race” to people of color like blacks while downplaying questions about sexuality. Such critical and creative gestures often place “queer” and “race” in opposition rather than as intersecting phenomena. Students examine the theoretical and cultural assumptions of such gestures, and their implications, through close readings of selected works in both the LGBT and African American literary traditions. Formerly English 273 (same as Africana Studies 273 and Gender and Women’s Studies 205). Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

281. African American Writers and Autobiography
Guy Foster T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
The struggle against anti-black racism has often required that individual African Americans serve as representative figures of “the race.” How have twentieth- and twenty-first-century black authors tackled the challenge of having to speak for the collective while also writing narratives that explore the singularity of an individual life? What textual approaches have these authors employed to negotiate this tension between what theorists of the genre broadly call “referentiality” and “subjectivity”? Authors include W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X, Jamaica Kincaid, Maya Angelou, Samuel Delaney, Barack Obama, among others. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

301. Senior Seminar in Africana Studies
Olufemi Vaughan T 1:00 - 3:55
Requires students to conduct intensive research on a major topic in Africana Studies that they have explored during the course of their academic experience in the Africana Studies program. Requires students to apply rigorous humanities and social science theories and concepts to African American, African, or African diaspora themes in the formation of their final research projects. Students are required to give regular presentations of their research projects.

326. African American Literature and the Law
Tess Chakkalakal T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the intersections between literature and law through works of African American literature. Students investigate the influence of landmark legal cases—Dred Scott, Plessy v. Fergusson, Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia—on the production and dissemination of particular works of American and African American literature. Works by Charles Chesnutt, Ralph Ellison, Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Douglass are among those that will be considered. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

336. Research in Nineteenth-Century United States History
Patrick Rael W 10:00 - 11:25, F 10:00 - 11:25
A research course for majors and interested non-majors that culminates in a single 25–30 page research paper. With the professor’s consent, students may choose any topic in Civil War or African American history, broadly defined. This is a special opportunity to delve into Bowdoin’s rich collections of primary historical source documents.