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Black Cultural Studies

Semester and Year FA 2006
Course Number K20.1385
Section 001
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


How do we understand racial identity? How is race represented in popular culture and how has that representation changed over time? In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will answer such questions by focusing intensively on the black cultural studies approach to understanding race. Paying particular attention to the writings of Stuart Hall and those who have been influenced by him, we will introduce to or deepen students' knowledge of this important school of thought that has arisen out of an Afro-British context—a context that has been deeply influenced by African American experiences and political discourses. We will historicize this work, exploring antecedents to black cultural studies and the contexts in which it arises. In the process, we will be asking questions about black identities and their relationships to gender, class, and sexuality and about the African diaspora. Taking this opportunity to study the way that non-Americans look at race will help us break from commonsense and misleading notions of ethnic identity in our own country. At the end of the course, we turn our attention to the United States. Throughout, we will pay particular attention to how race plays out in popular culture. Writers to be studied will include, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Stuart Hall, Hazel Carby, Kobena Mercer, Paul Gilroy, Isaac Julien, and Zadie Smith.

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)

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