The Black Experience Through Culture

01:014:302:07 Topics in Africana Studies, section 7: Poetics of Black Diaspora

This is an interdisciplinary course that explores the representation and discourse of blackness in Black diasporic cultural production. Specifically, the course will explore how black experiences are represented, embodied, performed, and theorized. Some authors/artists that we will analyze include: Cardi B, Solange Knowles, Elizabeth Acevedo, Warsan Shire, Arthur Jafa, Hanif Abdurraqif, among others. This course’s focus on poetry, performance, and the visual attempts to motivate students to think about the archive our bodies create, its narrations and movements. Hence, our classroom community will be an intimate space where students will share from their course journal, participate in a performance and creative writing workshop, as well as create and write from the archive their bodies create. This is a course that challenges students to question our understandings of blackness, epistemology, and the archive.

01:014:302:02 Topics in Africana Studies, section 2: Seminar in Hip Hop Culture

This course is designed to provide students with a familiarity with the political, social, cultural, aesthetic, and economic concerns surrounding hip hop. Of particular interest are the ways in which hip-hop reflects ongoing historical questions about gender, race, class, violence, capitalism, sexuality, and racism within black communities.

01:014:317 Black Profiles in Humor and Entertainment

This course explores the historical role that humor and comedy have played in African American political resistance, cultural history, and creative expression, from the era of Slavery to the contemporary moment. We will examine works from a wide array of genres - including folktales, essays, short stories, Spoken Word poetry, stand-up routines, sketchshows, sitcoms, and films - to understand how comedy can serve as a vehicle for social and political commentary and change. We will study the comedic profiles and works of key Black artists who have distinguished themselves in the fields of humor and entertainment, including: Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Dick Gregory, Moms Mabley, Ishmael Reed, Chester Himes, Isabel Sanford, Sherman Hemsley, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Kevin Hart, Mo’Nique, Boots Riley, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Anthony Anderson, to name a few.

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01:014:302:01 Topics in Africana Studies, section 1: Director Spike Lee

This course will survey the work of Spike Lee through screenings, lectures and group discussions. Students will expand their understanding of the narrative film genre as well as that of storytelling. This course will also examine the use of film as a medium and conduit for change, conversation and understanding. Spike Lee's films, both narrative and non-narrative will be compared and contrasted for their similarities and differences. In addition, students will gain first-hand experience with the film industry through guest lecturers including actors, filmmakers, casting directors and set designers.

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01:014:386 African Americans and Sports

Sports touch our lives unlike almost anything else. Apart from perhaps music, nothing reaches all segments of society simultaneously to the degree that sports do. Both the custodial staff and the board of directors of America’s top companies stop their lives to watch the same Super Bowl. Countries at war order cease-fires during international sports competitions so that their nations can devote complete attention to sports. In 2006, for example, the civil war that had been waged in the Ivory Coast for four years took a hiatus as both sides of the conflict paused to celebrate and support the nation’s national soccer team in World Cup play. The widespread penetration of sports into our lives, regardless of our station, makes sports a unique tool to examine people’s racial, economic, political, and social interactions.

In this course, we will look at the role that sports have played in African Americans ’quest for freedom, equality, and full recognition as human beings in America. We will examine the notion that African Americans ’success on fields of play translates into success in the larger American society. Perhaps most importantly, we will also examine the role race plays in sports and the relationship between capital and labor within the $71 billion American sports industry.

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