Research Independent Study

Individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Open to juniors and seniors. Consent of instructor and director of undergraduate studies required. One course.

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.

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.

Visualizing the Caribbean

Art (paintings, installations, performance art) and film on the Caribbean offer vantage points for analyzing alternative ways through which the region has been thought, imagined and produced. They are periodized semiotic productions that feed into and are marked by perspectives that are at once global, national, and even personal. Considering the constitutive contexts of these productions and performances, we will attempt to glean the diverse perspectives, and the way these have influenced sociocultural policy and offer alternative interpretations of diasporic lifeways of Caribbean people.

Black Dance

Exploration of composition and performance structures commonly described as black dance. Working with cultural criticism contemporary with emergent modes of black dance, assesses political motivations and aesthetic strategies of artists and writers working explicitly in this idiom. Considers possibility of black dance performed by people of First World, European, and Asian descent. Examines concert dance, social dance, religious dance. One course.

Apartheid South Africa and the Struggles for Democracy

Explores key themes in post-World War II South African history, paying attention to the plethora of anti-apartheid struggles, while giving voice to some pro-apartheid proponents. Discusses how apartheid affected people’s daily lives, the ideological and programmatic opposition to apartheid, and internecine struggles between and within anti-apartheid organizations and movements. Concludes with contemporary reflections on life during apartheid. One course.