African American Studies (AFAM)

* AFAM 060a / AMST 060a / HIST 016a, Slavery in the ArchivesEdward Rugemer

This first-year seminar explores the significance of racial slavery in the history of the Americas during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We read the work of historians and we explore archival approaches to the study of history. Taught in the Beinecke Library with the assistance of curators and librarians, each week is organized around an archival collection that sheds light on the history of slavery. The course also includes visits to the Department of Manuscripts and Archives in the Sterling Library, the British Art Center, and the Yale University Art Gallery.  Each student writes a research paper grounded in archival research in one of the Yale Libraries. Topics include slavery and slaveholding, the transatlantic slave trade, resistance to slavery, the abolitionist movement, the coming of the American Civil War, the process of emancipation, and post-emancipation experiences.  Enrollment limited to first-year students. Preregistration required; see under First-Year Seminar Program.  WR, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* AFAM 095b / HIST 001b, African American Freedom Movements in the Twentieth CenturyCrystal Feimster

Introduction to the study and writing of history, focusing on how African Americans fought for civil rights throughout the twentieth century. The civil rights movement placed in its historical context; African American freedom struggles placed in the larger narrative of U.S. history. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

AFAM 115b / WGSS 125b, “We Interrupt this Program: The Multidimensional Histories of Queer and Trans Politics”Roderick Ferguson

In 1991, the arts organizations Visual AIDS and The Kitchen collaborated with video artist and filmmaker Charles Atlas to produce the live television broadcast "We Interrupt this Program." Part educational presentation, part performance piece, the show was aired in millions of homes across the nation. The program, in The Kitchen’s words, “sought to feature voices that had often been marginalized within many discussions of AIDS, in particular people of color and women.”This course builds upon and is inspired by this aspect of Atlas's visionary presentation, an aspect that used the show to produce a critically multicultural platform that could activate cultural histories and critical traditions from various communities. In effect, the course uses this aspect as a metonym for the racial, gender, sexual, and class heterogeneity of queer art and organizing. It conducts its investigation by looking at a variety of primary materials that illustrate the heterogeneous makeup of queer and trans politics. The course also draws on more recent texts and visual works that arose from the earlier contexts that the primary texts helped to illuminate and shape.   HURP0 Course cr
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

AFAM 146b / ECON 171b / EDST 271b, Urban Inequalities and Educational InequalityGerald Jaynes

Analysis of contemporary policy problems related to academic under performance in lower income urban schools and the concomitant achievement gaps among various racial and ethnic groups in United States K-12 education. Historical review of opportunity inequalities and policy solutions proposed to ameliorate differences in achievement and job readiness. Students benefit from practical experience and interdisciplinary methods, including a lab component with time spent in a New Haven high school.  Prerequisites: Any course offered by Education Studies, or one course in history or any social science, either: Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology.  EDST 110 is preferred, although not required.  SO
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

AFAM 160a / AFST 184a / AMST 160a / HIST 184a, The Rise and Fall of Atlantic SlaveryStaff

The history of peoples of African descent throughout the Americas, from the first African American societies of the sixteenth century through the century-long process of emancipation.  HU0 Course cr

AFAM 162b / AMST 162b / HIST 187b, African American History from Emancipation to the PresentElizabeth Hinton

An examination of the African American experience since 1861. Meanings of freedom and citizenship are distilled through appraisal of race and class formations, the processes and effects of cultural consumption, and the grand narrative of the civil rights movement.  WR, HU0 Course cr

AFAM 164b / PLSC 263b / URBN 304b, The Politics of "The Wire": HBO's Portrayal of the American CityAllison Harris

This class uses HBO's groundbreaking series "The Wire" to investigate cities, their problems, and their politics. We watch all five seasons of the show as social scientists and use it to learn about important social scientific concepts and theories, and apply those theories to such phenomena as the politics of crime, policing, and local elections. Each week, the assigned readings—articles and book excerpts from political science as well as other social sciences—highlight the social scientific concepts displayed in the assigned episodes and provide context for lectures. All of the assignments work together to expose students to social science, how social science is conducted, and how political science can help us better understand the world around us.  SO0 Course cr

AFAM 186a / LAST 214a / PLSC 378a / SOCY 170a, Contesting InjusticeStaff

Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for first years and sophomores.  SO0 Course cr

AFAM 192a / AFST 238a / AMST 238a / ER&M 238a, Third World StudiesStaff

Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.  SO0 Course cr

AFAM 198b / CGSC 277b / EDST 177b / EP&E 494b / PHIL 177b, Propaganda, Ideology, and DemocracyJason Stanley

Historical, philosophical, psychological, and linguistic introduction to the issues and challenges that propaganda raises for liberal democracy. How propaganda can work to undermine democracy; ways in which schools and the press are implicated; the use of propaganda by social movements to address democracy's deficiencies; the legitimacy of propaganda in cases of political crisis.  HU0 Course cr

* AFAM 205a / AMST 225a / ER&M 289a, Writing American Studies: Food as Story & Critical LensAlison Kibbe

This writing seminar examines food as an entry to the interdisciplinary approaches of American Studies. We explore how food can help us think critically about our world, as well as how we can write critically about food. Food serves as a useful entry point to interdisciplinary American and Ethnic Studies because centering food requires that we think across history, cultural studies, anthropology, science, ecology, aesthetics, embodiment, and more. Through food studies we gain a unique understanding of the peoples, cultures, plants, animals, mobilities, and flavors that shape societies, communities, and individuals. With a focus on Caribbean, Black, Latinx, and indigenous perspectives, we use critical food studies to examine questions about place, history, racial formations, migration, and above all, different approaches to writing, drafting, editing, and re-writing.  WR
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* AFAM 206a / ENGL 234a, Literature of the Black SouthSarah Mahurin

Examination of the intersections between African American and Southern literatures, with consideration of the ways in which the American South remains a space that simultaneously represents and repels an African American ethos.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* AFAM 217a / THST 227a, Queer Caribbean PerformanceAmanda Reid

With its lush and fantastic landscape, fabulous carnivalesque aesthetics, and rich African Diaspora Religious traditions, the Caribbean has long been a setting where New World black artists have staged competing visions of racial and sexual utopia and dystopia. However, these foreigner-authored fantasies have often overshadowed the lived experience and life storytelling of Caribbean subjects. This course explores the intersecting performance cultures, politics, and sensual/sexual practices that have constituted queer life in the Caribbean region and its diaspora. Placing Caribbean queer of color critique alongside key moments in twentieth and twenty-first century performance history at home and abroad, we ask how have histories of the plantation, discourses of race and nation, migration, and revolution led to the formation of regionally specific queer identifications. What about the idea of the “tropics” has made it such as fertile ground for queer performance making, and how have artists from the region identified or dis-identified with these aesthetic formations? This class begins with an exploration of theories of queer diaspora and queer of color critique’s roots in black feminisms. We cover themes of exile, religious rites, and organizing as sights of queer political formation and creative community in the Caribbean.    HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 239a / AMST 461a / EDST 209a / ER&M 292a / WGSS 202a, Identity, Diversity, and Policy in U.S. EducationCraig Canfield

Introduction to critical theory (feminism, queer theory, critical race theory, disability studies, trans studies, indigenous studies) as a fundamental tool for understanding and critiquing identity, diversity, and policy in U.S. education. Exploration of identity politics and theory, as they figure in education policy. Methods for applying theory and interventions to interrogate issues in education. Application of theory and interventions to policy creation and reform.  WR, HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 243a / AMST 243a / MUSI 450a, Black Arts Criticism: Intellectual Life of Black Culture from W.E.B. DuBois to the 21st CenturyDaphne Brooks

This course traces the birth and evolution of Black arts writing and criticism−its style and content, its major themes and groundbreaking practices−from the late nineteenth century through the 2020s. From the innovations of W.E.B. DuBois, Pauline Hopkins, and postbellum Black arts journalists to the breakthroughs of Harlem Renaissance heavyweights (Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and others), from the jazz experimentalism of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray to the revolutionary criticism of Amiri Baraka, Lorraine Hansberry, James Baldwin, Phyl Garland and others, this class explores the intellectual work of pioneering writers who produced radical knowledge about Black culture. Its second half turns to the late twentieth and twenty-first century criticism of legendary arts journalists, scholars and critics: Toni Morrison, Thulani Davis, Margo Jefferson, Hilton Als, Greg Tate, Farah J. Griffin, Joan Morgan, Danyel Smith, Wesley Morris, Hanif Abdurraqib, and others. Emphasis will be placed on music, literary, film, and theater/performance arts writing. Prerequisite: one or more AFAM courses.  HURP
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 244a / PLSC 200a, The Politics of Crime and Punishment in American CitiesAllison Harris

This course explores the relationship between politics and crime and punishment. We review literature focused on political behavior and political institutions to better understand the phenomena we hear about in the news from sentencing algorithms, to felon (dis)enfranchisement, to stop-and-frisk, and police use of force.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 259b / AMST 309b / EDST 255b, Education and EmpireTalya Zemach-Bersin

This course offers an introduction to the transnational history of education in relation to the historical development of the U.S. empire both at home and abroad. By bringing together topics often approached separately—immigration, education, race, colonialism, and the history of U.S. empire—we interrogate the ways that education has been mobilized to deploy power: controlling knowledge, categorizing and policing differences, administering unequal paths to citizenship/belonging, forcing assimilation, promoting socio-economic divides, and asserting discipline and control. EDST 110 recommended.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 261a / AMST 263a / EDST 263a, Place, Race, and Memory in SchoolsErrol Saunders

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread, multiracial protests calling for racial justice across the United States, there is a renewed interest in the roles that schools play in perpetuating racial disparities in American society and the opportunities that education writ large might provide for remedying them. As places, schools both shape and are profoundly shaped by the built environment and the everyday experiences of the people that interact with them. Teachers, administrators, students, and parents are impacted by the racialized memories to explain the past, justify the present, and to move them to action for the future. These individual and collective memories of who and where they are, and the traumas, successes, failures, and accomplishments that they have with regard to school and education are essential to understanding how schools and school reforms work. Grounded in four different geographies, this course examines how the interrelationships of place, race, and memory are implicated in reforms of preK-12 schools in the United States. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach to study these phenomena, borrowing from commensurate frameworks in sociology, anthropology, political science, and memory studies with the goal of examining multiple angles and perspectives on a given issue. EDST 110 recommended.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 313a / THST 319a, Embodying StoryRenee Robinson

The intersection of storytelling and movement as seen through historical case studies, cross-disciplinary inquiry, and studio practice. Drawing on eclectic source materials from different artistic disciplines, ranging from the repertory of Alvin Ailey to journalism, architectural studies, cartoon animation, and creative processes, students develop the critical, creative, and technical skills through which to tell their own stories in movement. No prior dance experience necessary.  HU
TTh 10:30am-12:20pm

* AFAM 315a / WGSS 305a, Black Feminist TheoryGail Lewis

This course is designed to introduce you to some of the major themes in black feminist theory. The course does so by presenting classic texts with more recent ones to give you a sense of the vibrancy of black feminist theory for addressing past and present concerns. Rather than interpret black feminist theory as a critical formation that simply puts race, gender, sexuality, and class into conversation with one another, the course apprehends that formation as one that produced epistemic shifts in how we understand politics, empire, history, the law, and literature. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the areas into which black feminism intervened. It is merely a sample of some of the most vibrant ideological and discursive contexts in which black feminism caused certain epistemic transformations.    SO
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 329a / SOCY 342a, Managing Blackness in a "White Space"Elijah Anderson

White space” is a perceptual category that assumes a particular space to be predominantly white, one where black people are typically unexpected, marginalized when present, and made to feel unwelcome—a space that blacks perceive to be informally “off-limits” to people like them and where on occasion they encounter racialized disrespect and other forms of resistance. This course explores the challenge black people face when managing their lives in this white space.  SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 349b / AMST 326b / HIST 115Jb / WGSS 388b, Civil Rights and Women's LiberationCrystal Feimster

The dynamic relationship between the civil rights movement and the women's liberation movement from 1940 to the present. When and how the two movements overlapped, intersected, and diverged. The variety of ways in which African Americans and women campaigned for equal rights. Topics include World War II, freedom summer, black power, the Equal Rights Amendment, feminism, abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights.  HU

* AFAM 352a / AMST 438a / ER&M 291a / LITR 295a / WGSS 343a, Caribbean Diasporic LiteratureFadila Habchi

An examination of contemporary literature written by Caribbean writers who have migrated to, or who journey between, different countries around the Atlantic rim. Focus on literature written in English in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, both fiction and nonfiction. Writers include Caryl Phillips, Nalo Hopkinson, and Jamaica Kincaid.  HU
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 368a / FREN 378a, Zombies, Witches, Goddesses: Disorderly Women in Francophone FictionKaiama Glover

This course explores configurations of the feminine as a force of disorder in prose fiction works of the 20th-century French- and Creole-speaking Americas. How do certain kinds of women characters reflect the troubling realities of the communities in which they are embedded? What alternative modes of being might these women’s non– or even anticommunal practices of freedom suggest? How are matters of the erotic, the spiritual, and the maternal implicated in Caribbean women’s relationships to their communities? Through slow and careful readings of literary fiction and critical theory, we examine the ‘troubling’ heroines presented in prose fiction works by francophone Caribbean authors of both genders, considering the thematic intersections and common formal strategies that emerge in their writing. We consider in particular the symbolic value of the ‘zombie,’ the ‘witch,’ the ‘goddess,’ and other provocative characters as so many reflections on–and of–social phenomena that mark the region and its history.   WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 397a / ER&M 380a / WGSS 381a, New Developments in Global African Diaspora StudiesFatima El-Tayeb

This course traces recent developments in African Diaspora Theory, among them Afropessimism, Queer of Color Critique, Black Trans Studies and Afropolitanism. We pay particular attention to interactions between theory, art, and activism. The scope is transnational with a focus on, but not restricted to, the Anglophone DiasporaTexts. Each session roughly follows this structure: One theoretical text representing a recent development in African diaspora studies, one earlier key text that the reading builds on, one theoretical text that does not necessarily fall under the category of diaspora studies but speaks to our topic and one text that relates to the topic but uses a non-theoretical format. Students are expected to develop their own thematically related project over the course of the semester. Preference give to juniors and seniors. Email instructor for more information.  HU, SO
T 9:25am-11:15am

* AFAM 410b, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American StudiesStaff

An interdisciplinary, thematic approach to the study of race, nation, and ethnicity in the African diaspora. Topics include class, gender, color, and sexuality; the dynamics of reform, Pan-Africanism, neocolonialism, and contemporary black nationalism. Use of a broad range of methodologies.  WR, HU, SO

* AFAM 426b / AMST 443b / ENGL 381b, Toni Morrison & the Matter of Black LifeDaphne Brooks

This seminar examines key texts in the Toni Morrison canon that resonate as literary masterworks, innovative in narrative and aesthetic structure as well as content, and also as historical studies, expansive and probing in their interrogations of past struggles and future possibilities for African American communities and the American body politic more broadly. We consider how her novels explore the ongoing disasters that were and are settler colonialism, the Middle Passage and the Atlantic slave trade, the systemic violence of Jim Crow segregation, the violence of patriarchy, the traumas of war and American empire, and the insidious presence of misogyny in the everyday lives of her characters. But, we also look closely at the richness of love and intimacy, the radical roots of self-fashioning, and the insurgent potentiality of mobility and aesthetic creativity coursing through the lives of her protagonists who cut a fugitive path out of slavery, ride the waves of Reconstruction, the Great Migration, Civil Rights era hope and organizing, and post-Soul searching. We read key scholarship in direct conversation with Morrison’s oeuvre, and we examine her robust and demanding critical essays on American literature, on contemporary events, and on the topic of writing.  HURP

* AFAM 455a / EDST 340a / ER&M 438a, Anti-Racist Curriculum and PedagogyDaniel HoSang

This seminar explores the pedagogical and conceptual tools, resources and frameworks used to teach about race and racism at the primary and secondary levels, across diverse disciplines and subject areas. Moving beyond the more limited paradigms of racial colorblindness and diversity, the seminar introduces curricular strategies for centering race and racism in ways that are accessible to students from a broad range of backgrounds, and that work to advance the overall goals of the curriculum.   SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 457a / AFST 457a / AMST 470a / ER&M 467a / FREN 481a, Racial Republic: African Diasporic Literature and Culture in Postcolonial FranceFadila Habchi

This is an interdisciplinary seminar on French cultural history from the 1930s to the present. We focus on issues concerning race and gender in the context of colonialism, postcolonialism, and migration. The course investigates how the silencing of colonial history has been made possible culturally and ideologically, and how this silencing has in turn been central to the reorganizing of French culture and society from the period of decolonization to the present. We ask how racial regimes and spaces have been constructed in French colonial discourses and how these constructions have evolved in postcolonial France. We examine postcolonial African diasporic literary writings, films, and other cultural productions that have explored the complex relations between race, colonialism, historical silences, republican universalism, and color-blindness. Topics include the 1931 Colonial Exposition, Black Paris, decolonization, universalism, the Trente Glorieuses, the Paris massacre of 1961, anti-racist movements, the "beur" author, memory, the 2005 riots, and contemporary afro-feminist and decolonial movements.  HU
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

* AFAM 479a / MUSI 480a, Music of the Caribbean: Cuba and JamaicaMichael Veal

An examination of the Afro-diasporic music cultures of Cuba and Jamaica, placing the historical succession of musical genres and traditions into social, cultural, and political contexts. Cuban genres studied include religious/folkloric traditions (Lucumi/Santeria and Abakua), rumba, son, mambo, pachanga/charanga, salsa, timba and reggaeton. Jamaican genres studied include: folkloric traditions (etu/tambu/kumina), Jamaican R&B, ska, rock steady, reggae, ragga/dancehall. Prominent themes include: slavery, Afro-diasporic cultural traditions, Black Atlantic culture, nationalism/independence/post-colonial culture, relationships with the United States, music & gender/sexuality, technology.  HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

* AFAM 480a, Senior Colloquium: African American StudiesElizabeth Hinton

A seminar on issues and approaches in African American studies. The colloquium offers students practical help in refining their senior essay topics and developing research strategies. Students discuss assigned readings and share their research experiences and findings. During the term, students are expected to make substantial progress on their senior essays; they are required to submit a prospectus, an annotated bibliography, and a draft of one-quarter of the essay.
T 9:25am-11:15am

* AFAM 491a or b, The Senior EssayElizabeth Hinton

Independent research on the senior essay. The senior essay form must be submitted to the director of undergraduate studies by the end of the second week of classes. The senior essay should be completed according to the following schedule: (1) end of the sixth week of classes: a rough draft of the entire essay; (2) end of the last week of classes (fall term) or three weeks before the end of classes (spring term): two copies of the final version of the essay.