As articulated by Thelma Golden, postblack refers to the work of African American artists who emerged in the 1990s with ambitious, irreverent, and sassy work. Postblack suggests the emergence of a generation of artists removed from the long tradition of Black affirmation of the Harlem Renaissance, Black empowerment of the Black Arts movement, and identity politics of the 1980s and early 90s. This seminar involves critical and theoretical readings on multiculturalism, race, identity, and contemporary art, and will provide an opportunity for a deep engagement with the work of African American artists of the past decade.
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Postblack - Contemporary African American Art
Instructors: Chika Okeke-Agulu
Publishing Articles in Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
In this interdisciplinary class, students of race as well as gender, sexuality, disability, etc. read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication. This course enables students to leap forward in their scholarly writing through a better understanding of their fields and the significance of their work to them.
Instructors: Wendy Laura Belcher
America Then and Now
This course introduces students to methods of American Studies through discussion of some of the signature ideas, events, and debates in and about America's past and present. It presents students various scholarly approaches to historical and mythic manifestations of America from local, national, and global perspectives and considers the historical and cognitive processes associated with the delineation of America. The course examines a wide range of material and media from the point of view of multiple fields of study.
Instructors: William Gleason, Monica Huerta, Shamus Khan
Native American Literature
An exploration of the written and oral literary traditions of Native American and Indigenous authors. This course offers an occasion to reflect on, critique, and contest settler colonialism or the dispossession of land and waters and the attempt to eliminate Indigenous people. The course will include a service-learning trip to the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm and an opportunity to learn some Lenape, the ancestral language of New Jersey.
Instructors: Sarah Rivett
Creative Ecologies: American Environmental Narrative and Art, 1980-2020
This seminar explores how writers and artists--alongside scientists and activists--have shaped American environmental thought from 1980 to today. The seminar asks: How do different media convey the causes and potential solutions to environmental challenges, ranging from biodiversity loss and food insecurity to pollution and climate change? What new art forms are needed to envision sustainable and just futures? Course materials include popular science writing, graphic narrative, speculative fiction, animation art, documentary film, and data visualization along with research from anthropology, ecology, history, literary studies, and philosophy.
Instructors: Allison Carruth
FAT: The F-Word and the Public Body
The fat body operates at the conjuncture of political economy, beauty standards, and health. This seminar asks, How does this "f-word" discipline and regulate bodies in /as public? What is the "ideal" American public body and who gets to occupy that position? How are complex personhood, expressivity, health, and citizenship contested cultural and political economic projects? We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, memoirs, and media texts as case studies. Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. No previous performance experience necessary.
Instructors: Judith Hamera
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: American Empire, the Anthropocene, & Afrofuturism in Octavia E. Butler
This seminar takes up the works of science fiction pioneer Octavia E. Butler to explore the future of the American empire via a study of Afrofuturism and the Anthropocene. We will explore Afrofuturism's history and current status, especially in relation to the Anthropocene in the novels, short stories, and critical writings by and related to Butler's canon. We will pay close attention to how Butler's oeuvre charts the arc of American history from the Civil Rights Movement to the Iraq war and the significance of Butler's prophetic work that had dire warnings regarding climate change, white nationalism, and the waning of the American empire.
Advanced Seminar in American Studies: The Disney Industrial Complex
This interdisciplinary seminar will examine the history and evolution of the Walt Disney Company not only as a multinational media and entertainment conglomerate but also as a powerful cultural force--from the early films and theme parks to the highly successful streaming service. We'll consider the ever-expanding Disney multiverse (which now includes Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, among others) as well as the company's global reach, while paying special attention to its impacts on, and representations of, American history, society, and culture, particularly as they touch on matters of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and place.
Instructors: William Gleason
This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face, and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.
Instructors: Hanna Garth
Asian Americana: Theorizing Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality Across Difference
From the height of the Asian American movement began at San Francisco State in 1968, the question of where Asian diasporic communities fit within the American racial matrix has been of pivotal interest for scholars, students, activists and artists across genres. This class seeks to explore Asian Americans' social location in the US. Using a relational intersectional feminist approach, this class will examine Asian Americans positionality in relation to Indigenous, Black and Latinx communities throughout the country. Students will engage and hone Asian American Studies interdisciplinary methods (historical, literary and filmic analysis).
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