Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Introduction to Black Studies
This course considers the issues, epistemologies, and political investments central to Black Studies as a field. We will explore chronologically, thematically, and with an interdisciplinary lens the social forces and ideas that have shaped the individual and collective experiences of African-descended peoples throughout the African Diaspora. This course is a broad survey of the history of chattel slavery, colonial encounters, community life, and social institutions of black Americans. We will address issues of gender and class; the role of social movements in struggles for liberation; and various genres of black expressive cultures. Students will develop critical tools, frameworks, and vocabulary for further study in the field. Course materials may include Maulana Karenga’s Introduction to Black Studies, C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins, and Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Themes in the Atlantic World, 1492-1900
Linking the Americas with Europe and Africa, the Atlantic has been a major conduit for the movement of peoples, ideas, technology, foods, and customs. This course will explore four themes from the rise of European imperialism and African Slavery to the dawn of national consciousness and minority rights across the Americas. We will study four major themes: (1). Comparative European Colonization and the First Peoples; 2) Comparative Slavery and the Black Experience (3) Decolonization, National Consciousness, and Ideas of Freedom; and (4) Pseudoscience, Migrations and Creolization. We will draw on primary and secondary sources from the Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone, and Hispanophone worlds to give us a broad comparative perspective. Pre-1800. 2hr/disc. with periodic film screenings.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Black Freedom Struggles
This course explores racial tensions of the present moment and situates them in the historical context of the ongoing struggles for Black freedom. Topics discussed may include Black reparations, Abolitionism, mass incarceration, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. The primary mode of interaction will be synchronous online discussions. Students will do individual and group presentations, engage in debates, and write essays. Readings may include Coates’ The Case for Reparations, Kendi’s We're Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholder's Republic, Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, ; and Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and screenings may include “13th” and “Eyes on the Prize.”. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

AMR, NOR

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Course Description

History of Africa To 1800
This course offers an introductory survey of African history from earliest times to 1800. Through lectures, discussions, readings, and films, we will explore Africa’s complex and diverse pre-colonial past. Themes examined in the course include development of long-distance trade networks, the linkages between ecological change and social dynamics, the formation of large pre-colonial states, and the transatlantic slave trade and its impact on social and economic relations within Africa. A broader concern in the course is how we have come to understand the meaning of “Africa” itself and what is at stake in interpreting Africa’s pre-colonial history. Pre-1800. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

History of Modern Africa
We begin looking at revolutions in the early 19th century and the transformations surrounding the slave trade. Next we examine the European colonization of the continent, exploring how diverse interventions into Africans' lives had complex effects on political authority, class and generational dynamics, gender relations, ethnic and cultural identities, and rural and urban livelihoods. After exploring Africans' struggles against colonial rule in day-to-day practices and mass political movements, the last few weeks cover Africa's transition to independence and the postcolonial era, including the experience of neo-colonialism, ethnic conflict, poverty, and demographic crisis. 2 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Education in the USA
What are schools for? What makes education in a democracy unique? What counts as evidence of that uniqueness? What roles do schools play in educating citizens in a democracy for a democracy? In this course, we will engage these questions while investigating education as a social, cultural, political, and economic process. We will develop new understandings of current policy disputes regarding a broad range or educational issues by examining the familiar through different ideological and disciplinary lenses. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Spacing
In this course we will investigate physical structures encountered daily. Buildings, parks, and infrastructure constitute this built environment, reflecting their societies. But what could abolitionist architecture look like, or how might public space in the U.S. create new social relations? Through lenses of race, class, and gender we will build critical vocabularies around the practice of making space. We will focus on the historical and contemporary embodiment of power, race, and culture of the U.S. through the built environment. This studio class will then present a series of projects addressing basic three-dimensional construction and model making techniques. We will engage historical and contemporary artworks, urban planning, architecture, and poetry from perspectives of resistance to dominant modes of constructing space.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, ART, SOC

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Course Description

Notes from the Woodshed: Sculpture, Abstraction, and Improvisation
This class takes its title from a book of writing by the black American visual artist Jack Whitten (1939-2018). Whitten’s title itself borrows from a tradition in jazz music, ‘the woodshed’ was a metaphorical place to practice, experiment and develop new ideas before taking them public. We engage the classroom as our own ‘woodshed’, creating sculptural form through close looking, response, and improvisation. Students will develop the basic skills and visual language for creating sculpture using wood, foam, Magic-Sculpt, and found materials. We will read Whitten’s book ‘Notes from the Woodshed’, and other texts that contextualize the rich histories of abstract sculpture made by black Americans in the 20th century. No former experience with art is necessary to take this class.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, ART, HIS

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Course Description

Ruins and Rituals
In this course we will examine monuments, memorials, landscape, and cultural memory. The title comes from a 1979 sculptural work by the black feminist artist Beverly Buchanan. Buchanan has described her works as monuments made from earthen materials to remember acts of black resistance in the United States. We will also investigate recent actions to remove and destroy monuments to confederate soldiers and other figures related to colonial violence. This is a studio class incorporating material experimentation and research. Students will work at model scale using paper, wood, plaster, digital photography, and photoshop to propose (anti)monuments for our time.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

ART, HIS

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Course Description

Black Thought: Black Studies Theory
In this course, we will explore some of the central themes and issues of Black Studies across the Black diaspora. We will ask: What is race and how has it functioned in the development of modernity, geopolitics, and selfhood? What constitutes blackness? How is it lived and expressed? What are the ideological and material legacies of slavery? What relationship does antiblackness have with capitalism, nation, and war? We will also investigate how (anti)blackness has shaped the lives and spaces of Black communities. We will read from texts such as W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, and Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought. (Seniors with instructor approval.)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CMP, PHL, SOC

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Course Description

Race, Racisms, and the Visual: Black American Visual Cultures
In this course we will study visual cultures, performance, and digital media in relation to (anti-)Blackness and Black communities in the United States. We will pay particular attention to gendered and sexualized understandings of race and racisms within visual planes. An interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to the subject matter asks students to develop critical reading and engaged listening skills, as well as foster the ability to deploy critical thought in written, creative, and oral forms. Students should leave the course able to apply core concepts of Black visual studies into their academic work as well as their lives outside of the classroom. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2023

Requirements

AMR, ART, SOC

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Course Description

Culturally Responsive Policy and Pedagogy
Building on the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings’ culturally relevant pedagogy, Django Paris developed a theory of culturally sustaining pedagogy that “seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism,” for students in schools (Paris, 2012). In this course we examine how teachers might sustain and support students in classrooms and how educational policy might better address and respond to the rich diversity in our schools and communities. This is a required course for all students seeking a Vermont teaching licensure. (EDST 0115) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Slavery and Freedom in the American North
In this course we will study how the “American North,” constituted by New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, became a place of enslavement. Although often treated as a cradle of freedom, we will explore how the region’s colonists imported African slaves and enslaved and exported Native Americans. Through lecture, discussion, and primary sources, we will examine the transatlantic slave trade of Africans and Native Americans, the communities built by enslaved and free people, the impact of the American Revolution, the creation of gradual abolition statues, and the perpetuation of enslavement until the Civil War. We will also grapple with the role of memory in history, as the region’s slaveholding past is often ignored by its inhabitants. 2 hrs lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

The N Word: Nature, Revisited
What do voices from American History, both past and present, reveal about the way race, and privilege shape how we understand conservation, climate change and environmental justice today? How does your voice matter in this current moment? We will consider the foundations of environmental ideas and attitudes. In particular, in this current climate where Black Lives Matter and systemic racism are central in our conversations about place and space, we will explore the construction of environmental narratives and how race impacts environmental participation. In addition, we will explore how representations of the natural environment are structurally and culturally racialized within environmental institutions and the media by engaging in “conversations” with environmental icons such as John Muir and other historical and contemporary figures such as Zora Neale Hurston and James Baldwin. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, NOR

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Course Description

African Cinema
In this course we will examine how films written and directed by African filmmakers address the evolving identities of post-colonial Africans. Students will explore the development of various national cinemas and the film movements that helped define African cinema as a tool for cultural expression and social change. We will pair film studies, post-colonial studies, and African studies readings with a diverse selection of films from across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal’s 1967 Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene) to the 2018 Netflix-produced Nigerian “Nollywood” film, Lionheart (Genevieve Nnaji). 3 hours lect./3 hours screen.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

ART, CMP, HIS, SAF

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Course Description

African American History
In this course we will examine the history of African Americans from the rise of the transatlantic slave trade to the present. The course will reveal how African Americans actively shaped their history and the history of the United States as an American nation. We will explore topics such as the Middle passage, African American slave cultures, enslaved resistance, emancipation, the rise of legalized segregation, mass migrations, and the continuing struggles for equality. We will approach the subject matter using a variety of primary and secondary sources that focus on the experiences of individuals such as enslaved narratives, autobiographies, documentaries, and oral histories. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, HIS

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Course Description

Black American Cinema
In this course we will examine various representations of Blackness in American Cinema, from Oscar Micheaux’s early silent films to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. While we will primarily focus on films written and/or directed by African-Americans, we will also study the social, cultural, and political impact of Hollywood ideas and images of Black people and how they changed over time. Through a framework of both film theory and critical race theory, students will analyze how Black creative expression has manifested itself through film, influencing both form and content. 3 hours lect./3 hours screen

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, ART, HIS

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Course Description

The Caribbean Novel: Constructing a Diasporic Identity
In this course, we will examine essays, novels, and artworks of Caribbean-heritage creatives to explore the vital role that artistic production has played in creating different worldviews. These novels and artwork explore issues such as decolonization; migration; racial, class, and gender identities; language; diaspora; and notions of “home” and belonging. Through these investigations, students will comprehend how the legacies of colonialism and the social constructions of race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender are necessary points of analysis to understanding intersectional oppressions and narratives of resistance throughout the Caribbean and its diaspora.Writers may include Barbadian-American Paule Marshall, Dominican-American Julia Alvarez & Junot Díaz, Haitian-American Edwidge Danticat, and Jamaican-American Jonathan Escoffery. Visual and performance artists may include Myrlande Constant, Louisiane Saint Fleurant, Edouard Duval-Carrié, Scherezade García, Belkis Ramirez, Lucía Méndez Rivas, Tania Bruguera, Coc Fusco, Jose Bedia, and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

AMR, LIT, SOC

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Course Description

A Black Sense of Place: Black Geographies
Black feminist geographer, Katherine McKittrick, defines Black geographies as “subaltern or alternative geographic patterns that work alongside and beyond traditional geographies and a site or terrain of struggle” (2006, 7).
This Black studies approach structures analyses of geographies across the Black diaspora in this course. Students will explore the relationships between race, racisms, space, and place through an interdisciplinary examination of the intimate, the material, the political, the body, and the collective as “sites of struggle.” We will read from texts such as Clyde Woods’ Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans and Erica Lorraine Williams’ Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

African Soundscapes
This course will introduce students to musical cultures and practices from the African continent with a focus on particular regional styles. Through readings, lectures, discussions, film screenings, listening sessions, concerts, and hands-on activities, we will develop skills for analyzing and appreciating the diversity of African musical practices and their social, economic, and political value in traditional and contemporary contexts. Some background in music may be necessary. 3 hrs. lect

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, ART, SAF

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Course Description

Blackness and the Arab Imaginary (In English)
Blackness as a category of analysis in the Middle East and North Africa, while fundamental to opening the field to the study of race and the legacies of slavery, remains understudied and deserving of critical attention. In this course we will explore the historic and political category of “blackness” and examine how black identities are constructed in the cultural and epistemological production of the Arab world and the Arab Diaspora through literature, critical scholarship, music, and cinema. We will address imperial and transnational dimensions of blackness as well as its increasing relevance for understanding new racial configurations in the contemporary Middle East and the Arab Diaspora. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

MDE, SOC

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Course Description

African American Drama
In this course we will respectfully investigate African American performance and theatre history since the late 19th century by exploring works of playwrights such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Amira Baraka, Adrienne Kennedy, August Wilson, and Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins. We will also engage with theoretical essays by Alain Locke, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Patricia Hill Collins and more, that illuminate how, despite centuries of lethal stereotyping, the stage has been and continues to be a forum for self-representation, unification, resistance, and liberation. Guest artists will provide firsthand accounts in conversation with the students. Dramaturgical and critical responses to the materials will strengthen production interpretation and design skills.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR, ART, LIT

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Course Description

African American Literature
This course surveys developments in African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays during the 20th century. Reading texts in their social, historical, and cultural contexts—and often in conjunction with other African American art forms like music and visual art—we will explore the evolution and deployment of various visions of black being and black artistry, from the Harlem Renaissance through social realism and the Black Arts Movement, to the contemporary post-soul aesthetic. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, and Octavia Butler. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

The Black Experience in Games and Gaming
Whether they allow the player to reenact historical events or explore alternative histories, many current board games and video games use historical settings as their backdrop. In this seminar, we will examine how Black experiences are represented in these games. How do games depict and interact with African American history, colonialism, and histories of the Black diaspora? How are these histories gamified, what can games teach about these histories, and how do we as players experience these interactive narratives? After familiarizing ourselves with the historical settings and events through academic readings, we will play and analyze a variety of board games and video games that engage with Black histories. While the focus of the class is the representation of these histories in games, we will also examine the experiences of Black gamers and Black game developers in gaming communities and the gaming industry. 3 hrs. seminar/2 hrs. lab. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.*

Terms Taught

Spring 2024

Requirements

AMR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Re-Presenting Slavery
In this course we will examine 20th century American portrayals of chattel slavery through creative works and situate them in their historical contexts. Working primarily with fiction (Oxherding Tale, Kindred, The Underground Railroad), film (Mandingo, Django Unchained, Twelve Years a Slave), television (Roots, Africans in America, Underground), and visual art (works by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Kara Walker), we will evaluate how those various representations of the “Peculiar Institution” have changed, and/or have been changed, by the cultural moments in which they appeared. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, ART, HIS

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Course Description

Black German History
Although more than a million people in Germany identify as Black, Germany’s Black community and its history remain largely invisible in public discourse, historiography, and collective memory. In this course we will examine the history of Blacks in Germany from colonialism to the present. We will discuss early encounters of Africans with Germany, Germany’s brutal colonial ambitions, Black communities in early 20th century Germany and during National socialism, the histories of Black communities in East and West Germany after World War II (including their connections to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement), and the emergence of an Afro-German identity from the 1980s until today.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

EUR, HIS

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Course Description

Modern Brazil
Brazil is the Portuguese-speaking power of Latin America. In this course, we will study the history of modern Brazil from independence to the present day, and discuss the contemporary developments that have transformed Brazil into an international force today. The class will pay close attention to the construction of national institutions, racial and national ideologies, and the celebration of national culture. We will also study Brazil’s impact on the world, from its export of cultural products in cinema, music, and literature in translation, to soccer. It will be important to study the communities of Brazilians in diverse places such as Miami, New York, London, and Paris. We will utilize various writing, oral, and digital methods to examine the major political, economic, and cultural movements that defined Brazilian history from the creation of the empire in the 1820s to the political and cultural tensions of the current regime 3 hr. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, HIS

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Course Description

Models of Inclusive Education
In K-12 education, the term "inclusion" is often reduced to where students with apparent disabilities learn within schools. In this course, we will challenge the segregation of students with disabilities in schools while expanding notions of inclusion such that students' multiple identities are incorporated into learning. Students will be introduced and provided opportunities to design lessons using a Universal Design for Learning framework. We will utilize DisCrit (Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory) as a theoretical tool to explore how ableism and racism stand in the way of equitable education for many students while exploring theories, methods, and approaches to disrupt such marginalization and lead to inclusive antiracist educational practices. (EDST 0115 or SOAN 0215 or SOCI 0215 or AMST 0105).

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Black Studies Methods
In this seminar, we will explore the historical formation, philosophical debates, and methodological basis of Black Studies. Students will gain a deeper understanding of both the central issues and the range of methodological strategies that have helped shape the field since its inception in the late 1960s. Particular attention will also be paid to community-engaged/informed work and activist-scholarship, as well as debates on the role, form, and function of such praxis-based methodological and epistemological stances. Recommended for juniors and seniors. Emphasis will be given to preparing students for independent inquiry in the field. (prerequisites: BLST 0201 or instructor approval) 3 hrs.sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2024

Requirements

HIS, SOC

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Course Description

African Diaspora and the Sea
In this course we will study the diversities and commonalities of African diaspora communities from a global perspective. We will focus on the enduring cultural monuments, legacies and other signposts and migrations across global empires and national borders. We will study issues of belonging, and the economic and cultural imprints in the modern era (1800-present). Examples will be drawn from three geographical regions:
1. North American coastal cities such as New York, Miami, and Halifax
2. Caribbean and Latin American coastal cities from Havana to Rio de Janeiro
3. Mediterranean and Euro-Atlantic ports such as Bristol and Marseille
While most of our case studies focus on sub-Saharan African diasporas, (including Afro-Caribbean, African-American, and Afro-Latin@s), the class will also make comparisons with North African diasporas. Students will be able to apply the themes of the class to African diasporas in other geographical regions around the world including Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, CMP, EUR, HIS

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Course Description

African American Activism in Education
In this course we will examine how Black activists have fought against inequity and contributed to social change in and through education. After discussing fights for access to education – and the use of education for change – in the 19th and early 20th century, we will focus on the Civil Rights and Black Power Era. We will examine struggles for desegregation, integration and community control, initiatives such as the Mississippi Freedom Schools and independent Black Power schools, as well as activism on college campuses. We will conclude by contextualizing current struggles in education within the long fight for Black freedom and equal education. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Fall 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

XICANXRIBEÑXS: Our Stories, Our Worlds
In this course we will study how Chicanos/Xicanxs and Hispanic Caribbean communities have organized networks of solidarity to overcome oppression and work towards liberation. The Spanish portmanteau “XICANXRIBEÑXS” is an ode to the famous Revista Chicano-Riqueña that evolved out of the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of Ethnic Studies in the 1960s and early 1970s. We will examine their de/colonial histories, contentious status as diasporic communities, and literary and artistic legacies. Some topics may include Latinx print culture, Gloria Anzaldúa’s mestiza feminism in relation to Afro-Caribbean feminisms, and musical cultures from bomba and fandango to Selena and Cardi B. (SPAN 0220 or by placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AAL, AMR, LIT, LNG

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Course Description

Livin' for the City
In this course we will engage the idea of the "ghetto" as constructed through literature, film, music, and television. Our exploration will relate this concept to geographic spaces and to a socially-constructed set of ideas about urban African American spaces and communities. We will combine critical textual analysis with fundamental concepts from human geography and social history to explore shifting conceptions of the “ghetto”, consider its impact on urban African American space, and examine how the responses of urban black American artists affect, resist, and change its imaginative geography. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

AMR, CMP, NOR, SOC

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Course Description

Race, Capitalism, Decolonization
What does race have to do with capitalism and profit, exploitation and dispossession? Drawing on contemporary fiction, poetry, and theory, we will consider the intersections of race and capitalism in shaping contemporary epistemologies, institutional practices, and lived experiences in local and global contexts. We will explore how present-day formations of race and capitalism are related to histories of imperialism and the global extraction of labor and resources. Decolonization implies a deep, complex, and multi-faceted process by which the discourses, knowledges, and practices at the core of capitalism and imperialism(s) and their mechanisms of oppression are challenged and dismantled. Please note that, if circumstances require, this course may occasionally be taught remotely.(Formerly ENAM 0313)

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Health and Healing in African History
In this course we will complicate our contemporary perspectives on health and healing in Africa by exploring diverse historical examples from the continent's deep past. Our readings, discussions, and papers will cover a range of historical contexts and topics, such as the politics of rituals and public healing ceremonies in pre-colonial contexts, state and popular responses to shifting disease landscapes in the colonial era, long-term cultural and economic changes in healer-patient dynamics, the problematic legacies of environmental health hazards in the post-colonial period, and Africans' engagement with global health interventions in recent decades. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2023, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

South Africa in the World
Despite the unique trajectory of the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa, scholars have increasingly moved away from viewing the country’s past as exceptional or isolated from broader world historical developments. Taking up this challenge, our course will explore some of the significant global and transnational dimensions of the making of modern South Africa over the past few centuries. Some of the major topics will include: the expansion of different strands of European colonialism and missionary work; Africans’ engagement with transnational imperial networks; the wider international influences behind the state’s creation and implementation of apartheid; and popular resistance against apartheid and how it intersected with global activist movements. 3 hrs. lect./disc

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Race, Medicine, and Health in U.S. History
In this course we will explore the historical relationships between race, medicine, and public health in the United States from colonial times to the present. Through a series of case studies that include epidemics such as smallpox, yellow fever, and COVID-19, we will trace the origins of racial classification and its impact on medical care. Our topics include the management of illness in colonial times, the relationship between medical schools and slavery, the eugenics movement, immigration restrictions, the use of minorities as experimentation subjects, the fight against medical discrimination, and the current struggles for health care access. We will approach these subjects through sources such as scholarly publications, diaries, documentaries, medical journals, oral histories, and print media. 2 hrs lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

The Black Lusophone Atlantic (in English)
In this course we will examine the histories, power struggles, and cultural formations in Portuguese-speaking spaces of the African Diaspora. The Lusophone, or Portuguese-speaking world, encompasses four continents as a lasting legacy of Portuguese imperialism and the trafficking of enslaved people. Working across and against disciplines, we will critically engage with Black decolonial worldmaking in these spaces and across periods as we re-evaluate and dismantle this so-called Lusophone world and other imperialist geographies. In the process, we will examine connections between Black life in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Portugal, and more over the last six centuries; and also how Black life re-historicizes these spaces and times. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Everyday Life in South Africa, Apartheid and Beyond
In this course we will explore some of the social worlds of South Africans amid the country’s recent decades of turbulent and dramatic change. We will look at how different groups within the nation’s diverse population have understood and experienced the rise of the apartheid system, its demise, and its legacies in their “everyday” lives and interactions. The course will draw from various sources – non-fiction, fiction, film, and other forms of popular culture -- to interpret these social dynamics and their ongoing significance in a post-apartheid society.

Terms Taught

Fall 2024

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Afro-Caribbean Music Genres
In this course we will study Afro-Caribbean music genres (eg, reggae, mambo, salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and calypso) and their impact within the region and on the global stage. Our main goal will be to compare the contested theoretical concept of cultural hybridity among the larger Caribbean nations (Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic) and their diasporas. We will also explore how Caribbean musicians and superstars work within the global infrastructure of the music/dance industry, while occasionally managing to counter the hegemonic erasure of the legacy of Black rebellion, worker revolution, nationalism, and racial/gender politics. (SPAN 0220 or 300 level Spanish course) 3 hrs. lect

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AAL, AMR, ART, CMP, LNG

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Course Description

Hispanic Athletes: Sports, Nationalist Culture, and the Global Media
In this course, we will study sports as an essential part in the construction of nationalist pride and perceptions of race, class, and gender in several Hispanic nation-states and subcultures in Europe and the Americas. We will analyze fictional narrative content such as literature and films (Pepe el Toro, Sugar, Black Diamonds, and many others). In addition, we will also explore how media outlets such as newspapers, magazines, videogames, documentaries, and the internet affect our perceptions of sporting events and their superstars to create controversies, support hegemonic nationalist ideas, and further the commercial ambitions of corporations. (SPAN 0220 or placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2023

Requirements

AMR, CMP, LNG

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Course Description

Reading, Slavery, and Abolition
In this course we will study both black and white writers' psychological responses to, and their verbal onslaughts on, the "peculiar institution" of chattel slavery. We will work chronologically and across genres to understand how and by whom the written word was deployed in pursuit of physical and mental freedom and racial and socioeconomic justice. As the course progresses, we will deepen our study of historical context drawing on the substantial resources of Middlebury's special collections, students will have the opportunity to engage in archival work if they wish. Authors will include Emerson, Douglass, Jacobs, Thoreau, Stowe, Walker, and Garrison. This course may also be counted as a general elective or REC elective for the ENAM major. 3 hrs. sem. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.*

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, HIS, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Black Queer Studies
What does sexuality have to do with race? Does racialization inform much of what we understand about gender? Black queer/trans life and thought speaks to much of these concerns. We’ll be challenged to think through ways that oppressions like anti-Black racism, misogyny, and homo/transphobia operate against (and even within) Black queer and Black trans communities, as well as the ways in which these communities respond and create their own theories/practices of life & joy through an examination of Black queer studies that looks across the African diaspora for theories and methodologies which span a range of social, political, and cultural geographies.(BLST 0101, or BLST 0201 or GSFS 0191 or GSFS 0289)

Terms Taught

Spring 2022, Spring 2024

Requirements

CMP, CW, PHL, SOC

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Course Description

Life of the Party: Queer of Color Nightlife
For many, nightlife spaces offer an alternative to the racial, gender, and sexual norms which we are socialized into and expected to follow in the light of day. From bars/clubs to pop-up parties to ballroom, nightlife scenes have been integral to exploration, discovery, and gratification in the lives of queer and trans Black people and other people of color. Through Black Studies approaches to race, gender, sexuality, and performance, we will examine how nightlife functions as pleasure, experimentation, artistry, and, crucially, work for many queers of color. We may read from texts such as Kemi Adeyemi’s Feels Right: Black Queer Women and the Politics of Partying in Chicago and Kareem Khubchandani’s Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife. (BLST 101 or 201 or GSFS 289) 3 hrs. seminar

Terms Taught

Spring 2025

Requirements

ART, SOC

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Course Description

Seeing Double: Ideas of Duality in Sub-Saharan African Art
From idealized sculptural pairs to hermaphroditic figures, ideas of doubling and duality are enduring concerns in many sub-Saharan African cultures. In this seminar, we will explore this theme by closely analyzing artworks from Mali to Madagascar from the 12th to the 21st century whose iconography features couples and dualistic imagery as well as bipartite figurative and masquerade traditions, among others. Through weekly readings, written and verbal reflections, and museum visits, we will elucidate relationships between the objects and the worldviews that inspired them. Culminating in a virtual group exhibit and complementary individual research papers and presentations, we will learn how these artworks make visible powerful abstract forces that influence the behaviors, well-being, and lives of their users.

Terms Taught

Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

ART, CMP, HIS, SAF

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Course Description

The Long Struggle for Civil Rights and Black Freedom
The modern civil rights movement is the central focus of this course, but it offers more than a survey of events from Montgomery to Memphis. It explores the pre-World War II roots of the modern black freedom struggle, the complex array of local, regional, and national initiatives in the 1950s and 1960s, the competing strategies for empowerment offered by Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X, and developments since the 1970s, including the rise of Black Lives Matter. This course employs a "race relations" perspective, stressing the linkages among the experiences of African Americans, whites, and other groups. 2. Hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Women in the Black Freedom Struggle
The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements have become iconic examples of Black activism in the US. However, female activists are often ignored in historical accounts of these movements. In this course, we will examine the contributions of Black female activists to the Black Freedom Struggle. We will discuss women in the Civil Rights Movement both in the South and the North, the role of women in the Black Panther Party, but also the active involvement of women in white supremacist campaigns in the South. We will pay special attention to the diversity of Black women’s perspectives and highlight how Black women’s experiences differed from both white female and Black male activists. (BLST 0101 or GSFS 0191, or by instructor approval) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Struggles for Change in Southern Africa
In this course we will examine the tumultuous period of social struggle in southern Africa in the decades following World War II. Major topics to be covered include the rise of apartheid and the mobilization of anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa and Namibia; the liberation struggle against white settler rule in Zimbabwe; the fight for freedom from Portuguese colonialism in Mozambique; and Mozambique's protracted civil war following independence. A central purpose of this course is to explore how these different arenas of struggle transformed individual lives and social relations in complex and diverse ways, generating enduring impacts and challenges within the region.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2022

Requirements

HIS, SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Colonial Commodities & Slavery in the Americas
In this course, we will examine the development of extractive economies and the relationship between colonialism, consumption, and forced labor in colonial north and South America. Using a comparative approach, we will survey how commodities such as cacao, cotton, coffee, gold, silver, sugar, and tobacco shaped African and Native slavery across the continent. Our topics will include the development of price systems for enslaved people and goods in the world economy, the emergence of ideas regarding racial differences and their relationship with forced labor, how enslaved people resisted their enslavement, and the abolition of slavery across the Americas.
Students will examine primary sources such as financial records, slave narratives, historical price indexes, and scholarly monographs. Pre-1800. 3 hr sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Mapping Migrations in the Modern Era
In this course, we will study the scientific, medical, and technological histories that shaped modern migration and migration policy in the European Atlantic and the Americas. The experiences of African-descendants and other colonized subjects will allow us to understand the ‘migration industry complex.’ We will analyze pseudoscientific notions about race, gender, and social order under Empire, and their impact on enslaved and indentured labor migrants to/from and across the Americas. We will uncover the epidemiological aspects of migration in places transformed by multinational technological capitalist projects in countries such as Brazil and Panama. We will also study medical practices in migration processing centers and the relationship between migration and mental health using case studies including exiles and climate migrants in the contemporary period. (Counts for HSMT credit)

Terms Taught

Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Requirements

AMR, CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Black, Listed: Surveillance, Race, and Gender
The fields of Black studies, feminist geographies, and surveillance studies are brought together in this course to examine transformations in geographic and social control in U.S. and transnational contexts. The ways in which racialized and gendered populations have experienced and continue to experience geopolitical domination and surveillance constitutes the central theme of the course. Students will develop collaborative and independent research skills. Topics of inquiry include: the trans-Atlantic slave trade; prisons and policing; education; (anti-)surveillance technologies; airports and borders. We may draw substantially from texts such as Simone Browne’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness and Toby Beauchamp’s Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices. (Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors) 3 hrs. sem. (FemSTHM)

Terms Taught

Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, CMP, HIS, SOC

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Course Description

Histories of Struggle: Middlebury, Town and Gown
In this upper-level seminar, students will examine the historical experiences of Black, PoC, female, LBGTQ, gender non-conforming, and “othered” persons at Middlebury College and in the town, circa 1800-2020. Students will access digital sources housed at Special Collections (Davis Library) and at the Stewart-Swift Research Center (Henry Sheldon Museum) on a range of topics, including race, gender, and sexuality in the contexts of anti-slavery, colonization, eugenics, temperance, women’s rights, and entertainment. Students will receive either BLST or HIST CW credit, for which they will produce 25-page essays. The essays will be archived in Special Collections for use by future researchers. At the conclusion of the course, students will be invited to translate their essays into publicly exhibited Twilight Projects, for which they will receive a small stipend.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

CW, HIS, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Universities and Slavery in America
In this seminar we will explore and compare the different histories of enslavement at schools across the country from colonial times to the present. Some of the questions we will answer include: what was the importance of slavery in the development of higher education? How did people experience enslavement in schools? How did universities perpetuate slavery culture? The class will also consider the emerging debates over reparations and restorative justice and the role of students in these developments across the country. Using our knowledge of other institutions, students will research Middlebury’s place in this history. 3 hrs sem. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities./

Terms Taught

Fall 2021, Spring 2024, Spring 2025

Requirements

AMR, HIS, NOR

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Course Description

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Work
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Senior Thesis Work
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Spring 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

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Course Description

Make Room: Teaching August Wilson
August Wilson has been hailed as “Theater's Poet of Black America,” yet many students have little exposure to this literary giant. In this course we will explore Wilson’s impressive cycle of 10 plays illustrating 20th century African-American experiences. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to reading, analyzing, and understanding Wilson’s work, exploring such influences as the blues, visual artist Romare Bearden, and playwright/poet Amiri Baraka. We will also use Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool for understanding Wilson’s significance within the larger context of race relations.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

AMR, ART, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Race in the Digital
How do we perceive race online? Have digital spaces opened paths for new or different circulations of racisms? Working from a Black Studies approach, we shall investigate how race and racisms have persisted, transformed, and become imbedded in the digital technologies and virtual spaces of our contemporary era. Topics of exploration might include: social media, data-tracking, digital blackface, algorithmic bias, and design justice in tech. As this course centrally deals with questions of digital space and place, we will regularly situate instruction, learning, and community-making through digital tools and technologies. We may read from texts such as Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. (BLST 0101 or equivalent coursework is strongly recommended.)

Terms Taught

Winter 2024, Winter 2025

Requirements

CMP, PHL, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Introduction to Swahili and East African Culture
This course introduces students to Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa. Students will acquire a foundation for speaking, reading, and writing Swahili, and will learn how to use it appropriately in East African culture. The use of English in the classroom will be kept to a minimum. The course also provides an introduction to the geography and history of East Africa. This course is particularly useful for students who intend to visit Kenya, Tanzania, or Uganda, because its linguistic and cross-cultural training will give them the resources to maximize such an experience. This course counts as elective credit towards the African Studies minor.
Dr. Waithera is an intellectual entrepreneur and an educator. She was the recipient of the 2010 Carolina Chiron Award for excellent teaching & dedication to students, an award inspired by the late Randy Pausch’s famous last lecture. Gave her own version of a last lecture entitled, “Humanizing the continent of Africa: Demystifying Myths & Stereotypes that Encroach it”. Her writings span diverse fields-The intersection of pathogens and women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, Gender, and African languages./

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

Requirements

AAL, LNG, SAF, WTR

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Course Description

Race, Exile, and Immigration: Africa and Western World
As George Lamming put it, to be in exile is to be alive, especially when the exile is a person of colonial orientation who has experienced a sense of alienation resulting from the imposition of foreign codes on his/her culture. In this course, we will explore otherness, the gaze, and the myth of immigration and/or exile. We will study creative writings, essays, and films produced by artists who are made to feel a sense of exile or strangeness. Problems inherent to physical and intellectual displacement/exile of the colonized in colonial and postcolonial eras will also be examined.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

SAF, SOC

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Course Description

Afro-Latinx Geographies in the U.S. and in Latin America
How do ethnic/racial relations, national identity, state violence, immigration, and U.S. policies in Latin America and the Caribbean shape the spatial, economic, and environmental (in)justices affecting Afro-Latinxs? What are commonalities and differences in how Afro-Latinxs and African Americans experience these (in)justices? What does Latinidad mean? How does it travel and is recognized or denied across countries and communities in the Diaspora? How have Black and Brown Latinxs established solidarity among themselves and with white Latinos? This is a project-driven course involving research, self-reflection, interviews, and translating research into creative materials. We will use scholarly, multimedia, film, journalistic, and artistic resources.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

AMR, SOC, WTR

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