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.