Location: Bowdoin / Africana Studies / Courses / Spring 2012

Africana Studies

Spring 2012

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.

130. History of Rock Music
Vineet Shende M 10:30 - 11:25, W 10:30 - 11:25, F 10:30 - 11:25
Explores how a marginalized and racially segregated genre (the so called “Race Music” of the 1920s) has developed into the world’s most dominant popular music tradition. The history of rock music and its descendants (including punk, metal, funk, electronica, and hip-hop) will be explored through changes in five often interrelated filters: race relations, commerce, politics, technology, and, of course, music.

208. Race and Ethnicity
Ingrid Nelson M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
The social and cultural meaning of race and ethnicity, with emphasis on the politics of events and processes in contemporary America. Analysis of the causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination. Examination of the relationships between race and class. Comparisons among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.

209. Introduction to the Study and Criticism of Francophone Literature
Jay Ketner T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 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.

216. History of African and African Diasporic Political Thought
Olufemi Vaughan M 1:00 - 3:55
Seminar. Will critically discuss some seminal works in African diaspora and African political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Organized around global and national currents that will allow students to explore intersections in pan-African, African American, and African political thought in the context of Atlantic and global histories. Seminar topics are divided into three major historic moments. The first will explore major themes on Atlantic slavery and Western thought, notably slavery and racial representation; slavery and capitalism; slavery and democracy. The second will focus on the struggle of African Americans, Africans, and West Indians for freedom in post-Abolition and colonial contexts. Topics discussed within twentieth-century national, regional, and global currents include reconstruction and industrialization; pan-Africanism; new negro; negritude; colonialism; nationalism. Finally, explores pan-African and African encounters in the context of dominant postcolonial themes, namely decolonization; Cold War; state formation; imperialism; African diaspora feminist thought; globalism. Discusses these foundational texts and the political thoughts of major African, African American, and Caribbean intellectuals and activists in their appropriate historical context.

218. The African American Experience in Europe
Tristan Cabello T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Explores the history of African Americans in Europe from WW1 to the present. Europe saw the beginnings of an African-American community in the aftermath of World War I. Soon after, African American artists found 1920s France ready to embrace them with open arms. Since then, African Americans have formed artistic and professional communities in Europe that remain influential in contemporary discourses. How did African American shift European discourses on race? How were African Americans impacted by their European experience? Course materials include sociological, historical and cultural analyses, media articles, visual texts, and fiction. Topics explored include: The Harlem Renaissance Overseas, The Black Patriots, French “Negrophilia,” Josephine Baker, Black Montmartre, Europe as Gateway to Africa, Blacks in Nazi Germany, Nazi persecution in Paris, African American Gays in Paris, “Le Jazz-Hot,” The Besatzungskinder (occupation children), James Baldwin, The May 68 upheavals, Race/Sexuality and Hip-Hop.

220. "The Wire": Race, Class, Gender, and the Urban Crisis
Brian Purnell W 2:30 - 3:55, F 2:30 - 3:55
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 postindustrial 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.

221. Race and Sexuality in Modern America
Tristan Cabello T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Surveys the history of race and sexuality as important intersecting categories that organize life and politics in the United States since the early twentieth century. The focus will be on the development of racial and sexual classifications, and on the ways Americans embraced, resisted, and transformed the normative dimensions of those categories. Readings and discussions will address the shifting relationship between social norms and marginal or deviant people and communities. Course materials include sociological, historical and cultural analyses, media articles, visual texts, and fiction. Topics explored include: the politics of respectability in communities of color; definitions of sexual freedom; marital norms; interracial marriage; sexual coercion; HIV/AIDS; sex and race in American cinema, race and gay communities and the sexual politics of social movements both left and right.

228. Protest Music
Judith Casselberry T 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.

233. Peoples and Cultures of Africa
A MacEachern T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Introduction to the traditional patterns of livelihood and social institutions of African peoples. Following a brief overview of African geography, habitat, and cultural history, lectures and readings cover a representative range of types of economy, polity, and social organization, from the smallest hunting and gathering societies to the most complex states and empires. Emphasis upon understanding the nature of traditional social forms. Changes in African societies in the colonial and post-colonial periods examined, but are not the principal focus.

264. Conquest, Colonialism, and Independence: Africa since 1880
David Gordon T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
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.

269. After Apartheid: South African History and Historiography
David Gordon T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.

270. African American Fiction: Humor and Resistance
Elizabeth Muther TH 1:00 - 3:55
Explores rich traditions of African American humor in fiction, comics, graphic narratives, and film. Considers strategies of cultural survival and liberation, as well as folkloric sources, trickster storytellers, comic double-voicing, and the lampooning of racial ideologies. Close attention will be paid to modes of burlesque, caricature, tragicomedy, satire, and parody in historical and contemporary contexts, including such writers and performers as Charles Chesnutt, Bert Williams, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Pryor, Ishmael Reed, Aaron McGruder, Dave Chappelle, and Suzan-Lori Parks. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

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

301. Senior Seminar in Africana Studies
Brian Purnell T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Students 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. Students required 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 required to give regular presentations of their research projects to Africana studies faculty and students.

315. Contemporary African American Film
Elizabeth Muther T 6:30 - 9:25
Explores a spectrum of recent films about African American culture and history. Topics may include the documentary impulse in contemporary African American film; gender, sexuality, and cultural images; the politics of interpretation—writers, filmmakers, critics, and audiences; the urban context and the economics of alienation. One-half credit course.

317. Childhood Memories: Reflections on Self and Home in the Postcolonial Francophone Caribbean
Isabelle Choquet M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Childhood narratives are fascinating gateways to questions on self-definitions in Francophone Caribbean societies. As they relate their childhood, writers from Martinique, Guadeloupe and Haiti tell of their ancestors’ past and of the society in which they grew up, but also of the relationship they establish as adults with their country of origin. What is home for writers from Haiti living in exile? And for writers from Martinique who feel that their cultural identity is jeopardized by their mother country? Is there a gender divide on the representation of home? Discussions based on novels, short stories and films.

319. James Baldwin
Guy Foster M 6:30 - 9:25
Examines the major postwar writings of the controversial African American author and the role his fiction and nonfiction played in challenging that era’s static understandings of racial, gender, and sexual politics. Although Baldwin lived abroad for much of his life, many critics associate the author narrowly with the U.S. black civil rights and sexual liberation struggles. In recent years, however, Baldwin has increasingly been recognized as a transnational figure and for his invaluable contributions to the discourse of globalization. Indeed, Baldwin’s “geographical imagination,” one informed by critical racial literacy, led him to anticipate many of the central insights of contemporary Queer Studies, Whiteness Studies, as well as Africana philosophical thought.