The Frontiers and Minorities of the Tsarist and Soviet Empires

Introduces multiconfessional, multilingual, multicultural composition of Russian & Soviet empires with questions concerning minorities in an imperial context. Learn about construction, interaction, and manipulation of cultures and identities. Balance Tsarist & Soviet efforts to modernize and Russify minorities, such as Ashkenazi Jews, Poles, & Turkic Muslims, against negotiated transformation and cultural resilience of minorities.

Pigging Out: The Cultural Politics of Food

Examine cultural influences of food, linking class, geography, ethnicity to food practices. Investigates link between overeating and cheap food, under-eating and expensive food; discrepancy between cost and quality; changing diets in US and elsewhere; current debates regarding food production, specifically in the U.S., Americas, Africa and Asia. Discussion of Cargill companies’ restrictions on spread of their hybrid grains; questionable agricultural practices, e.g. animal cruelty, overuse of pesticides, condition of migrants.

Racial Justice in the 20th Century U.S. and South Africa

This course uses a comparative framework to assess race in two societies founded on premises of racial inequality—South Africa and the United States. We will also explore some of the social, cultural and political exchanges that have taken place between African Americans and Black South Africans over the course of the twentieth century, considering the implications of transnational historical experience. Topics covered include segregation, race relations in the countryside, twentieth century struggles for civil rights/liberation, the American anti-apartheid movement and reparations.

African Americans, Mass Incarceration and Citizenship

Explores in depth the presence of African Americans within the phenomenon of U.S. mass incarceration and its implications for notions of citizenship. Surveys the history of prison build-up resulting from legislation and policy over the past forty years including the governmental discussions of drug policy and welfare reform that disproportionately affected African Americans.

Troubling Pasts: Slavery, Genocide, and Terror

Examination of commemorative practices surrounding difficult pasts. Analyzes slavery, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, and 9/11; considers the role of collective memories of trauma and injustice in the formation of racial, religious, and national identities. Readings address historic sites, monuments and other forms of commemorative art, museums, fiction, and film. Examines social, political, ethical, and economic considerations behind various forms of commemoration.

Displacements: Migration and Human Trafficking

Examination of the meaning of migration in the global world through cross-disciplinary texts and visual media. Situates the phenomenon of human trafficking within the context of these general movements focusing on the risks involved when people endanger their lives to find a better and more strategic position in the world. Explores how these experiences should be interpreted, and how processes and the politics of race, space and place are a condition and/or outcome of these movements. Investigates and considers ways to resolve some of the problems associated with such movements.

Race in Durham

Individual student research, archival and interview-based, on the history and current status of ideas about race, racial discrimination, and race relations in the city of Durham, as a window into one regional and local pattern that illuminates larger patterns of race in the U.S. Open to undergraduates at both NCCU and Duke. One course.

Culture and Politics in Africa

Explores the politics, history and culture of societies and nation- states across the continent while also critiquing Euroamerican discourses, images, and theories about Africa and Africans. Readings consist of not only anthropological texts—some classic, and some experimental and off-beat—but also media accounts, novels and historical texts. One course.

Popular Representations of Black Masculinity

The course will examine the production and circulation of representations of “Black Masculinity” in post-19th Century American culture, within popular realms of expression including film, visual culture, music videos, advertising, popular music, television, drama and stage, literature, and dance/performance. The course will also explore the ways stereotypical images of Black masculinity have impacted public policy perceptions of African American, and the ways that Black cultural producers have used Black masculinity as sites to stage alternative perceptions of Black humanity.

Hollywood and Africa: Case Studies in Filmic Representation

This course on Hollywood films about Africa—from classics such as “African Queen” (East Africa), “Tarzan” (Equatorial Africa) and “Out of Africa” (Kenya) to recent productions such as “Blood Diamond” (Sierra Leone), “The Last King of Scotland” (Uganda), “Lord of War” (arms trade), “The Constant Gardner” (Kenya) and “Black Hawk Down” (Somalia)—will tack back and forth between filmic representation and case study, using the latter to critique the former.