First-Year Course

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Intro to African American Studies: Black Culture and Politics from Du Bois to Obama

Jane Rhodes, American Studies

African American ideas, arts, and activism have informed every aspect of the American experience in the 20th and 21st centuries. In the past year, the re-election of President Barack Obama, debates about popular films like Beasts of the Southern Wild, or complaints about the lack of black lead characters on network television, all reflect the complicated and contested nature of the black presence in the United States. This course will look at the interplay between culture and politics by reading texts of important writers like Zora Neale Hurston, and James Baldwin; screening film and television created by black cultural workers; listening to music from early blues to hip hop; and examining the ideas of influential figures from W. E. B. Du Bois to President Obama.

Class meets TR, 3:00-4:30 pm in Humanities 213.