AMST 317
Black Migrations: African American Performance at Home and Abroad Fall 2023
Division II
Cross-listed THEA 317 / DANC 317 / COMP 319 / AFR 317 / ENGL 317

Class Details

In this course, students will investigate, critique and define the concepts migration and diaspora with primary attention to the experiences of African Americans in the United States and Europe. Drawing on a broad definition of performance, students will explore everything from writing and painting to sports and dance to inquire how performance reflects, critiques and negotiates migratory experiences in the African diaspora. For example, how did musician Sidney Bechet’s migration from New Orleans to Chicago to London influence the early jazz era? How did Katherine Dunham’s dance performances in Germany help her shape a new black dance aesthetic? Why did writer James Baldwin go all the way to Switzerland to write his first novel on black, religious culture in Harlem? What drew actor/singer Paul Robeson to Russia, and why did the U.S. revoke his passport in response to his speeches abroad? These questions will lead students to investigate multiple migrations in the African diasporic experience and aid our exploration of the reasons for migration throughout history and geography. In addition to critical discussions and written analysis, students will explore these topics through their own individual and group performances in class. No prior performance experience is necessary.
The Class: Format: seminar; discussion
Limit: 15
Expected: 10
Class#: 1600
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, in-class student performances, several 2-page performance response papers, one 10- to 12-page research paper, a final performance with a 3-page report
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Enrollment Preferences: Africana Studies majors and concentrators; Dance and Theatre majors; American Studies, Comparative Literature, and English majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 317 Division I DANC 317 Division I COMP 319 Division I AFR 317 Division II ENGL 317 Division I AMST 317 Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
AFR Culture, Performance, and Popular Technologies
AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
AMST Space and Place Electives
GBST Borders, Exiles + Diaspora Studies Electives

Class Grid

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