Black Studies Immersion

Overview

The interdisciplinary immersion in Black studies examines the social construction of racial differences and its relation to the perpetuation of racism and racial domination. A key component of this immersion is to investigate the meanings and dimensions of Blackness that reverberate from slavery and colonialism to the persistent political, social, and cultural implications of racialization in the 21st century. The immersion emphasizes how Blackness intersects with other ethnic identities and how it is shaped by gender, sexuality, and economic inequities. The aim is to refine and advance students’ knowledge of Black life-worlds and experiences across the globe.

Notes about this immersion:

  • This immersion is closed to students majoring in sociology and anthropology who have chosen tracks in cultural anthropology or sociology. 
  • Students are required to complete at least one course at the 300-level or above as part of the immersion.

The plan code for Black Studies Immersion is BLACKST-IM.

Curriculum for Black Studies Immersion

Course
Electives
Choose three of the following:
   ANTH-246
   Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ANTH-335
   Culture and Politics in Latin America
This course introduces cultures of Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean in the context of political and economic forces that have shaped them. We examine Spanish and Portuguese colonialism and its modern-day legacies, including ethnic inequalities, economic vulnerability, and social unrest. We look at how art, music, and literature have engaged critically with the forces of fascism, revolution, socialism, dictatorship, and neo-colonialism. We consider indigenous activism, religious diversity, changing experiences and expectations of women and men, rebellion and revolution, impacts of and creative responses to globalization, and Latinos in the U.S. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   ANTH-361
   Digitizing People
Much of the knowledge of our social worlds has been digitized. This course explores how social technologies shape our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. The metric manufacture of diversity has produced new forms of population management and inequality. Our biographic histories as citizens, consumers, workers/professionals, parents, lovers, and social media users are collected as data-bites and assessed in metric terms, thereby forging new sets of identities. The transformation of people into numerical entities is an act of statistical objectification. This process frames the creation of social and racial typologies, and is well demonstrated by the US census. Students will investigate the formation of racial, ethnic, and gender identities in the context of the accelerated desire to digitize humanity. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ANTH-410
   Global Cities
This course examines the impact of global dynamics on cities from the early 20th century to the present. By tracing urban formations from metropolis to global city, emphasis will be placed on the making of identities, communities, and citizens in the architectural spaces, cultural places, ethnic zones, and media traces of urban life in the context of globalization. Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
   ANTH-430
   Visual Anthropology
We see others as we imagine them to be, in terms of our values, not as they see themselves. This course examines ways in which we understand and represent the reality of others through visual media, across the boundaries of culture, gender, and race. It considers how and why visual media can be used to represent or to distort the world around us. Pictorial media, in particular ethnographic film and photography, are analyzed to document the ways in which indigenous and native peoples in different parts of the world have been represented and imagined by anthropologists and western popular culture. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   COMM-306
   Rhetoric Of Race Relations
Rhetoric of Race Relations examines the history of the struggle for freedom and equality for blacks in American society. This course traces the history and rhetoric of key spokespersons from the pre-Civil War period to the 20th century as evidenced in texts of selected public speeches and reactions to them. Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
   ENGL-413
   African-American Literature
Students will explore the landscape of African-American literature, and learn of its development throughout the 19th and/or 20th Centuries. From Phyllis Wheatley, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida B. Wells to Toni Morrison, from the Harlem Renaissance, and the Black Arts Movements of the 1960s to Hip-Hop this course will explore African-American writers who inspired a civil rights and cultural revolution. Through writing, reading and research, they will grow to understand how, despite legal limits on freedom and social participation imposed because of their color in American society, blacks created styles of verbal and written expressions unique within the American experience and contributed to the shape, growth and development of the nation's literary character. (Prerequisites: ENGL-150 or completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-414
   Women and Gender in Literature and Media 
This variable topic course examines one or more themes, figures, movements, or issues associated with the representation of women and gender in literature and media, and/or associated with the historical, cultural, and theoretical questions provoked by women as producers and consumers of media and texts. The topic for the course is chosen by the instructor, announced in the course subtitle, and developed in the syllabus. The course can be taken multiple times provided that the topic being studied has changed. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   HIST-245
   American Slavery and Freedom
This class will survey the history of slavery and freedom in the United States from the establishment of global slave systems in the colonial period through emancipation movements during the Civil War era. Students will examine key economic, political, and social issues (from the development of slave labor systems to strategies of resistance among enslaved peoples) as well as the meaning of black freedom struggles during key eras (such as the American Revolutionary era and Civil War). Lecture 3 (Fall).
   MLSP-352
   Caribbean Cinema 
This course provides an introduction to Hispanic Caribbean culture through cinema studies. We will study the role of film in Hispanic Caribbean societies as well as the unique artistic and technical achievements and obstacles of Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican filmmakers. Topics covered include: The Basics of Film Analysis; An Introduction to Caribbean Film History; The Social Context of the Hispanic Caribbean Film Industry; Art and Revolution; Race, Ethnicity, and Religion; Occupation, Dictatorship, and War; Gender, Sexuality and Exile; Transnationalism and Migration, and Hispanic Caribbean Film in a Global Context. This course will take a cultural studies approach to the study of film as a social practice. Weekly films (1.5-2 hours in length) must be watched outside of class hours. All films with dialog have English subtitles. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   SOCI-210
   Black America-Culture & HipHop
This course examines the historical and contemporary conditions of Blacks in the U.S. We will explore African American culture as it is perceived by many African-Americans, and consider theoretical concepts related to immigration and the segmented assimilation of Black immigrant groups coming into the U.S. We will also address identity politics as it relates to race, class, and gender, oppression, as well as the art products that originate in Black communities. A particular emphasis will be placed on Hip Hop music, dance, and style as an expression of Black culture, identity, activism, and social influence (both nationally and globally). Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   SOCI-220
   Minority Group Relations
The course will provide a context in which to examine the multiple and contradictory social relations of domination, subordination, resistance, and empowerment. The kinds of questions we will explore focus on how power, knowledge, meaning, and cultural representation are organized. We will analyze a variety of political and ideological themes which bear upon the formation of minority group relations, their identity and how these themes complicate the processes by which people construct their understanding of the nation, world, of others, and themselves. Through reflection on theoretical texts and fictional works, as well as film and other popular media, we will consider for ourselves how culture is differently represented and signified, and how the politics of understanding and misunderstanding minority relations work through practices within and outside cultural institutions. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
   SOCI-246
   Gender and Health
This course examines connections between gender and health that are both conceptual and empirical. Students will explore the causes of gender-based differences in health outcomes through case studies of sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS epidemics and violence. Students will also examine global gender and health trends. The course concludes with an examination of gender inequity in health care and policy implications of these inequities. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   SOCI-330
   Urban (In)Justice
With a focus on forms of (in)justice in urban communities worldwide, we investigate the impact of race, class, and gender and related systems of unequal power relations on perpetuating patterns of social, political, economic, and environmental oppression (policing, hunger, pollution, violence, disease). How do ways of governing urban populations affect the lives of inner city residents and their demands for justice when attempting to navigate the everyday urban worlds? Specific course topics include both historical and contemporary perspectives on urban (in)justice locally, in Rochester NY, and nationally, across the U.S., and in a global comparative framework. Thereby the effects of crime, violence, and inequality on people in urban neighborhoods are also examined among and within nations. By the end of the semester, students should be able to identify and explain various theories that seek to explain (in)justice patterns in the urban context at local, national and global levels. Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
   SOCI-345
   Urban Poverty
Urban poverty has been recognized as a persistent problem in the United States since the middle of the last century. In many cities, poverty is associated with high levels of teenage pregnancy, low levels of employment, limited educational attainment, chronic community-based health problems, and high levels of crime. This course examines causes, consequences, and proposed policy solutions to urban poverty. Special emphasis will be paid to U.S. urban poverty. Lecture 3 (Fall Or Spring).
   SOCI-361
   Digitizing People
Much of the knowledge of our social worlds has been digitized. This course explores how social technologies shape our relationships, personal lives, and sense of self. The metric manufacture of diversity has produced new forms of population management and inequality. Our biographic histories as citizens, consumers, workers/professionals, parents, lovers, and social media users are collected as data-bites and assessed in metric terms, thereby forging new sets of identities. The transformation of people into numerical entities is an act of statistical objectification. This process frames the creation of social and racial typologies, and is well demonstrated by the US census. Students will investigate the formation of racial, ethnic, and gender identities in the context of the accelerated desire to digitize humanity. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   SOCI-395
   Borders: Human, Boundaries and Empires
Borders are more than walls; they are social constructions with real consequences. This course examines the creation and consequences of borders. It discusses how borders developed historically, how borders function as tools of population management in places and systems far from the borderlands, and the politics and experiences of border crossing. We will look for borders both between and within nation states when addressing these issues. The course will utilize a variety of materials including but not limited to scholarly sources, policy transcripts, popular cultural products (e.g. films and TV shows), and art (e.g. poetry, paintings). Students will play an active role in determining specific course topics, though they can expect to discuss a range of relevant issues including contemporary immigration politics, Indigenous rights, the war on terror, border disputes and armed conflicts, privatization of immigration management, displacement and segregation of domestic populations, and border activism. This course provides students with tools that ground and expand their understanding of borders, preparing them for participation in one of the most important public debates of our time. The purview of this course is relevant for those who aspire toward professions in public policy, law enforcement, public service, law, and community-organizing, among others. Seminar 3 (Fall, Spring).

* One course must be taken at the 300-level or above 

† Not all three immersion courses can be taken from one discipline