Teaching Race & History: Institute Courses

Islamaphobia in America (Fall 2016)

SOC 389/MESAS 370

MW 4 – 5:15pm, Callaway S109

This course considers a growing (if belated) scholarly literature on discrimination affecting Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans—or “Islamophobia.” We will evaluate the effect of the framework of race and racism on a diverse collection of peoples who have built communities in the United States: including Afghans, Asian Indians, Chaldeans, Iranians, Kurds, Turks, Pakistanis, and many more national, ethnic, and religious groups. The challenge of understanding the impact of race on the development of these Middle Eastern American communities requires us to engage with knowledge from a range of disciplines and fields, including ethnic studies, sociology, anthropology, and political science.

Black Queer & Trans Lives in the Americas (Spring 2017)


TTh 11:30am – 12:45pm, Tarbutton 106

This upper level undergraduate seminar course uses the interatlantic lived experiences of African diaspora communities to address issues of gender, sexuality, and racialized embodiment.

The contents will help us discuss, reflect upon, and honor those who fought (and continue to fight) for the liberation and humanity of black queer and trans communities. The readings, films, and community members that we will encounter in this course were selected to highlight the liberatory politics and praxes of resistance that lead to liberation and visibility. Our intersectional analyses will focus on Black queer and trans communities in the Americas and the commitment to dismantling racist, sexist, heteropatriarchal, transphobic, elitist hegemonic structures.

Readings by Hortense Spillers, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, M. Jacqui Alexander, and E. Patrick Johnson will help us discuss matters surrounding Black genders and sexualities and the transgressive pragmatics of Black queer community building through embodied praxes. Our work will intersect the lived creative, theoretical, performative, and community work that is designed for transformation. 

The History of Race and U.S. Immigration Policy (Spring 2017)


TTh 10:30am – 11:15pm, Bowden 118

This course examines the development of U.S. immigration policy and the ways in which the process of deciding who may enter, remain, and gain citizenship within the nation has always been profoundly racialized. From early forms of migration control, in the form of interstate slave transport laws and race-based naturalization criteria to recent laws like Arizona’s S.B. 1070, immigration policy has been an inextricable part of racial formation in the United States. This course will examine the evolution of race in American immigration policy with special attention to subjects such as Chinese Exclusion, the Quota acts of the 1920s, the complexities of immigration law regarding America’s imperial territories, shifts in citizenship requirements, and the rise of the deportation regime. As immigration policy continues to be one of the most contested political issues of the present, with racialized debates on the subject visible in the news nearly daily, students will be provided with the historical context and underpinnings of these conflicts and discourses.

Visual Culture and African American Urban History (Spring 2017)


MW 2:30pm – 3:45pm, Bowden 116

This course explores twentieth-century African American urban history through the lens of visual culture. We will work to develop a clear understanding of the available historical and interdisciplinary frameworks in order to analyze and read both documentary and popular visual materials such as photographs, television, and film. Using secondary and primary texts to provide a framework for these visual materials, we will evaluate how representations have shaped understandings of the city and racial identity. While this course will cover African American urban history broadly, Atlanta will receive particular emphasis. We will seek to answer the following questions: How have visual materials shaped the way that people have understood African Americans and their place in the city, especially as it pertains to Atlanta? How have social and cultural context shaped the creation and reception of these materials? How have visual materials impacted the realities of life for African Americans in the urban environment? How have different audiences interpreted these materials and used them to achieve various objectives?