Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History
Racial reparations have been and continue to be one of the most explosive contemporary issues. Some argue that U.S. history of enslavement renders some form of reparations necessary to the quest for social justice; that understanding reparations is central to honest conversations about race and racism. Others argue that reparations for past injustices such as slavery are unfair. Still others refuse to discuss the topic altogether. This course is concerned with the historic and contemporary reparations debate as it pertains to African Americans, including land theft, spatial democracy, and reparative justice. We will pay close attention to how historians, artists, legal scholars, grassroots community activists and elected officials have approached this issue, and gauge its relevance in the #BlackLivesMatter era.
For Whom It Stands--this upper level course brings together the humanities and social sciences, in particular, theater and history in exploration of multiple, conflicting, and contested meanings of the U.S. flag. We will explore the meanings woven into the flag, artistic and political reimagining of the flag, alongside popular meanings and mobilizations of this treasured national symbol. Our goal is to think deeply and broadly about how symbols shape our lives and to look historically and critically about questions of belonging, citizenship, identity, and power domestically and across the globe. We intend to emphasize creative modes of inquiry that are informed and shaped by archival knowledge, oral history narratives, songs, letters, diaries, and speeches that help map the layered and often competing imaginings embroidered into fabric of the flag.
This course will familiarize students with histories of African enslavement throughout the Americas. We will explore critical aspects of the roots and routes of enslavement and consider the "displacement, dislocation, dispossession, exploitation and dehumanization in the New World." This course, designed for first and second-year students with an interest in diaspora studies, will pursue several questions: What is the world that slavery made? What strategies of survival did enslaved people employ? How has slavery impacted conceptions of nation, shaped formations of borders, and facilitated the "making of the Atlantic world?" Focusing chiefly on the U.S., the Caribbean, and Brazil, we will take an interdisciplinary approach that includes history, literature, and politics in our pursuit of slavery's relevance to contemporary debates about race, nation, community, and belonging. PCSJ; WRI/MCP
This course will explore the history, ideas, voices and strategies African Americans employed in the struggle to secure rights and demand respect in the United States in the 1960s and 70s. This includes an exploration into the relationship between politics and the arts; the articulation of a black aesthetic; black performance politics; radical imaginaries; print culture through the seminal theorists and activists of the period. While this course is centered on the struggles waged by Black people in the U.S., students will also grapple with the international events that influenced the radical politics of the period, as well as international locations of black communities (especially the Caribbean and Britain) impacted by U.S.-based social justice claims. Utilizing an array of primary documents from the period, and important secondary texts this course will deepen students understanding of the Black Power/Arts vision of social justice and trace the impact of these movements from the present day from the emergence of Black Studies departments to Hip-Hop culture.
Singers, savants, and soothsayers meet muralists, musicians, and miracle workers at the Amen Corner exchanging blueprints for an uncertain future. This course historicizes U.S.-based and Afro-diasporic Black imaginaries for social change in the 20th century. From the radical journalism against lynching waged by Ida B. Wells, to the "We Charge Genocide" petition to the United Nations, and down to contemporary struggles against police brutality, gendered violence, and anti-Black carceral politics, people of African descent have long waged above- and underground struggles for political visibility, economic justice, and spatial democracy. This course, designed for students at the Division II stage, will pay close attention to Black peoples' visions for justice across a range of sociopolitical and cultural registers. Far from resigning to state violence, this course will explore definitions and strategies of possibility through the multifaceted social re-imaginings cast by African descendants.
The interdisciplinary study of African descendants has transformed United States history, expanding global history in the process. Sometimes known as Black Studies, Africana Studies or African diasporic studies, it has also been influential in shaping the role of African Americans in the academy and beyond. How has race, gender and sexuality, class, and capitalism impacted the evolution of African American Studies? And, what does African American Studies tell us about the current state of the world? These questions invite engagement with African American philosophies, identities and experiences. This course engages these questions through the lens of what historian Robin D.G. Kelley calls Freedom Dreams. Drawing on the knowledge and expertise of scholars from Hampshire's five schools, this course will utilize history, literature, music, visual art and other modes in its exploration. This course will introduce students interested in the serious pursuit of African diasporic studies to some of the important and diverse concepts, ideas, struggles and debates that comprise African American Studies.