New Classes in Black Studies

Spring 2023

BLKS 288 Exp: African Films – Prof. Kodjo Adabra

This course is a major study of selected socially-minded films from internationally acclaimed African filmmakers. We will visualize, study, and analyze six films and their scholarly critics in an attempt to develop the critical understanding and interpretation of various [foreign] African settings brought alive, and the images, sounds, characters, and stories within their symbolic and cultural context. The selected films touch on the themes of immigration, child-soldiers, excision, political liberation, and traditions vs. modernity.

BLKS 288 Exp: Urban Dance – Prof. Mark Broomfield 

In this class, we will focus on urban dance as an American popular dance form that provides a theoretical and practical approach to performance. This course will give a foundational understanding of urban dance in a larger social, historical and cultural contexts. The purpose of this class is to enable students to think about urban dance culture through the practice and engagement of its philosophical and aesthetic principles. Though many changes have occurred with urban dance and music, popular dance remains the changing constant. Today's popular dances are performed to a variety of musical styles, including hip hop, R&B, dancehall, house, and reggaeton, revealing the power of urban dance in American culture. Students will learn basic principles and movement practices of urban dance. No dance experience is required to take this course.

BLKS 490 Senior Capstone Seminar – Prof. Maria Lima

This course will have two parts. The first is a seminar in which students read advanced academic articles on a subject chosen by the instructor and write a short article of their own engaging with other scholars' ideas. Students will also engage in their own capstone research project, producing an annotated bibliography, a public presentation, and a final written presentation.

ENGL 112 World Cultures and Values in Literature and Culture: African Diaspora – Prof. Olaocha Nwabara

This course introduces students to the notion of the African Diaspora, or the cultures, identities, people, experiences, and traditions that are formed by African descendent people living outside of Africa, often for generations. Centering literature and film that comes from artists within these communities, the course provides insight into the way stories are used as a means to represent the transformation and preservation of cultural heritage. African Diaspora artists often use their art to expose, explain, and detail the experiences not only of heritage, but of systemic oppression and discrimination faced by their people. In doing so, their ability to represent culture is often seen as a means of resistance, resilience, and self-determination of cultural identity. Learners will engage poetry, short stories, novels, film, and other texts that provide perspectives from a diverse array of African descendent people, though focused on the experiences from the West (i.e. Europe, Americas).

SUST 388 Exp: Environmental Justice – Prof. Jessica Gilbert

This course will examine both applied and conceptual understandings of environmental justice. Through explorations of scholarly literature and on-the-ground case studies, we will engage with the origins of environmental justice and its theoretical evolution, future directions, and varied manifestations and impacts across geographies and communities. This course will place particular emphasis on racial injustice in the United States. Course projects will encourage students to delve into present-day examples of environmental (in)justice and develop a deep understanding of why and how environmental justice is an important lens through which to address a wide range of socio-ecological issues.