Courses & Instructors
The 850 million visits to American museums need a better representation of Black Culture. This course, Decolonizing the Narrative, traces, the global and nationalist histories created by the display of African classical culture (i.e. Benin cultural artifacts) and African Diaspora culture in the Americas (United States, and Brazil) and Europe (Portugal, Britain, Ireland, France, and Belgium, and Germany). Current debates about reparations and restitution, have led to a political conversation about the return of artifacts to Africa as a right of cultural heritage, and the politics of public spaces in contemporary societies. Global Africa (Africans and the African Diaspora) and non-Africans all play different roles in this discussion. How we exhibit Africa and African Diasporas must respond to the intersecting histories of democracy, capitalism, enslavement and colonialism.
President Emmanuel Macron’s apology for Frances role in the colonization of Benin, and the Decolonize the Museum controversy surrounding Kristen Windmuller-Luna’s appointment as a curator in the Brooklyn Museum’s African Art section are examples of what we will cover in the course. Decolonizing the Narrative tracks the role of the Africans, African Americans, and Afro-Brazilians in reshaping this cultural dialogue in the context of museums. Great things are being done in Africa, Europe, and the United States, yet much still remains to be done if the narrative will change.
This course offers a window into African history, culture, politics, and geography by looking at how fiction reflects reality or, in the words of Chinua Achebe, “the ways in which fiction can be true.” The course introduces students to some of the major themes in the study of Africa, ranging from tradition, modernity, colonialism, independence, corruption, gender, religion, identity, and diaspora. We will focus on the continent’s three eras: precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial.
Popular representations of Africa in North America and Europe are marked by a reductionist and stereotyped image of African creativity, if not by the absence of creative expression altogether. Our first task, then, will be to critically assess the all-too-common framing of Africa as continent of conflict, disease, disasters, and poverty. How do African writers represent themselves, their communities–both their beauties and challenges? This course seeks to provide students with points of entry for answering this important question by examining some of the internal and external forces that have shaped the continent. At the end of the course, students will walk away with tools with which to talk about Africa.
In his seminal essay, “What is this ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture?” cultural theorist Stuart Hall explores the relationship between diaspora, culture and performance. For Hall, popular culture is a political and complicated site where various identities are negotiated. Following Hall’s lead, this course explores the notion of blackness through performance. Together, we'll ask: What is blackness? How is blackness embodied, felt, heard, represented, and seen through performance? How is Black performance political?
By exploring various performance forms — music, dance, film and literature — this course foregrounds the micro-politics through which blackness is shaped through culture. Performances will be consulted each session which we will use to anchor and complicate the day’s readings. In examining blackness through a number of performance mediums, we will consider the creative labor that Black diasporic peoples produce, and the processes of racialization produced through Black bodies.
Courses & Instructors
This one-week course is designed to introduce students to the concepts and beliefs regarding black Nationalism and Religion in the African American context. From Enslavement to the present, African Americans, enslaved and free, have dreamed of having their own autonomy, nation, and governance to be able to free themselves from the oppression of racism, and to control their own destiny. This course will focus both on important people, religions and beliefs regarding Black Nationalism, closing with a look at Black Panther-both as movement and movie.
This course traces the structural root causes of health inequity and examines the ways in which activism and innovation intersect to improve health outcomes in Black and Brown historically marginalized communities. The readings, discussions, and assignments for this course are informed by the understanding that systems of oppression, and inequality, leading to health inequities are by design. Therefore, they can be redesigned. From this perspective we will explore examples of “traditional” and “non-traditional” health innovators and discover the ways that we all have the power to influence outcomes and contribute to a healthier nation.
Racism and Anti-Racism in Contemporary America is designed to provide a broad overview of the causes and consequences of racism in the United States, as well as ways in which this deep-seated “stain” on American society has been and might better be addressed. While racism and other forms of discrimination affect people of various identities, and exist in different forms across the globe, the focus of this course is specifically on the extent, consequences, causes, and potential remedies to structural racism towards African Americans in the United States. Specific topics covered include racial inequities in the U.S. economic system, housing system, public health system, criminal justice system, education system, cultural and media systems, and political system. The course is based on a series of thirteen interdisciplinary virtual panels by leading experts that took place during the 2020-2021 academic year. Students will view recordings of selected panels, do related readings, and discuss their implications. Assignments will include daily reaction pieces designed to help shape our discussions, and a final group project or paper focusing on one of the systems explored in class and proposing one or more recommendations for how best to address the structural racism inherent in it.
Questions? Please email Ms. Teya Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.