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.

Law and Literature: Race Matters

This course explores the intersectionalities of race and law. We’ll focus on issues like sexuality, adoption, and marriage, the era and residue of Jim Crow, as well as the meaning and intent of affirmative action in educational contexts. We’ll use case law and some literary fiction to expose and explore these issues with a particular interest in understanding how race matters in the construction of U.S. citizenship. 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.

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.