Courses

Fall 2022

The American Experience and Dance Practices of the African Diaspora
A studio course introducing students to African dance practices and aesthetics, with a focus on how its evolution has influenced American and African American culture, choreographers and dancers. An ongoing study of movement practices from traditional African dances and those of the African Diaspora, touching on American jazz dance, modern dance, and American ballet. Studio work will be complemented by readings, video viewings, guest speakers, and dance studies.
Instructors: Dyane Harvey Salaam
The Hidden History of Hollywood - Research Film Studio
This course surveys a hidden canon of Afro-American film while also uncovers the roots of representational injustice in Hollywood and the secret, but cardinal role Woodrow Wilson played in the production and distribution of Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation" that led to the rebirth of the KKK. Wilson's policy of segregation was adapted by Hollywood as a self-censoring industry regulation of representation. Black people could only appear on screen as subservient and marginal characters, never as equals, partners or leaders. This industry code, Wilson's legacy, has become second nature to Hollywood.
Instructors: Erika Kiss
The History of Christianity in Africa: From St. Mark to Desmond Tutu
This course will trace the history of Christianity in Africa from the first to twentieth centuries. We will focus on issues as diverse as the importance of Christians from Africa in the development of central Christian doctrines and institutions, the medieval Christian-Muslim encounter, the modern missionary movement, colonization and decolonization, the role of the church in freedom struggles, and more. We will ask the questions:how does studying the history of Christianity in Africa de-center Europe and the European experience in the history of Christianity? And:What would a global history of Christianity, pre-modern and modern, look like?
Instructors: Jacob Dlamini, Jack Tannous
The Racialization of Beauty
This course explores the intellectual history of the racialization of beauty. We will begin by analyzing how the history of Atlantic slavery and scientific racism set precedents for the contemporary dominant conceptualization of beauty in the body, art, and nature. Students will then concentrate on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality in beauty pageants, advertising, and the plastic surgery industry. This course will also closely examine racialized fat phobia, the racial politics of hair, transnational colorism, and racialized exploitation in beauty service work.
Instructors: Dannelle Gutarra Cordero
Theoretical Machine Learning
Can the mechanism of learning be automated and implemented by a machine? In this course we formally define and study various models that have been proposed for learning. The course presents and contrasts the statistical, computational and game-theoretic models for learning. Likely topics include: intro to statistical learning theory and generalization; learning in adversarial settings and the on-line learning model; using convex optimization to model and solve learning problems; learning with partial observability; boosting; reinforcement learning and control; introduction to the theory of deep learning.
Instructors: Elad Hazan
Theory of Algorithms
Design and analysis of efficient data structures and algorithms. General techniques for building and analyzing algorithms. Introduction to NP-completeness.
Instructors: Robert Tarjan
Topics in Global Race and Ethnicity: Scientific Racism: Then and Now
This course explores the intellectual history of scientific racism, paying close attention to how its theories influence power and institutions today. Reading primary sources from the history of science, each class will trace the reverberations of scientific racism in media, education, politics, law, and global health. Our conversations will consistently analyze the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and age in the legacies of scientific racism. We will also examine the impact of scientific racism in public discourse about the Black Lives Matter Movement and collectively brainstorm for activism towards restorative justice.
Instructors: Dannelle Gutarra Cordero
Topics in Race and Public Policy: Do Black Lives Matter in the News?
This course examines media practices in the context of Black Lives Matter, police violence, and criminal justice reform. What are the ethics of mass broadcasting videos of police murders? Who is seen as an "expert" on policing and mass incarceration? This course nests contemporary questions in historical and institutional context, beginning with nineteenth-century racial criminalization and the norms of profit-based mass media. This course is interdisciplinary, drawing on scholarship from history, media studies, social psychology, and the politics of racism, crime, and punishment.
Instructors: Naomi Murakawa
Topics in STEP: Technology Policy and Law
This course examines a range of infotech policy issues, including privacy, intellectual property, free speech, competition, regulation of broadcasting and telecommunications, cross-border and jurisdictional questions, broadband policy, spectrum policy, management of the Internet, computer security, education and workforce development, and research funding. Assignments consist of weekly reading, weekly writing assignments, and a final project. This course is suitable for students without any special technical background.
Instructors: Jonathan Mayer
U.S. Legal History
This class views legal history broadly as the relationship between formal law, popular legal culture, state governance, and social change in the U.S., from the colonial period to the present. We will examine changing conceptions of rights, equality, justice, the public interest. We also will consider questions about the operation of law in U.S. history: How is law made? What do people expect from law? Who controls law? How did that change over time? These questions open up a rich, layered past in which the law was a source of authority that mediated social and political conflicts, even as those conflicts ultimately changed the law.
Instructors: Laura Edwards

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