Past TASS Topics & Faculty

Past TASS Topics & Faculty

Telluride Association Sophomore Seminars (TASSes) were one of the very first summer programs focusing on Critical Black Studies. They started at Indiana University in 1993 and were also held over the years at Cornell University and the University of Michigan.  After a year’s hiatus due to COVID and for reorganization, they and our Summer Programs (TASPs) were superseded by the new Telluride Association  Summer Seminars, to be premiered in 2022.

Over the course of nearly 30 years, TASS transformed the lives of nearly 1,000 young people from around the world. Dozens of faculty from a wide variety of disciplines taught our seminars, and many cite the experience as a teaching career highlight. Here is a list of the seminar titles and faculty, from the very beginning to our online program in 2020. TASS’s legacy lives on in the new TASS-Critical Black Studies component of the Telluride Association Summer Seminars.

Here is a list of the TASS seminar titles and faculty, from the very beginning to our online program in 2020.


Cornell TASS-AOS: Land, Power, Stewardship: Agri/culture and Environmentalism in the Global South

Faculty: Marina Magloire and Suja Suwafta, University of Miami

Cornell TASS-AOS: Watering Down and Silencing Stories: How the White Gaze Changes Social Movements

Faculty: Nardos Ghebreab, Georgetown University, and Olivia Williams, Goucher College / National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)

University of Maryland TASS-CBS: Comparative Black and Native American Literature and Popular Culture

Faculty: Bayley Marquez and Dallas Donnell, University of Maryland

University of Maryland TASS-CBS: The Personal is Political: Autobiography, Activism, and Alternative Knowing

Faculty: Asantewa Sunni-Ali, Kent State University, and T. Chester, Arizona State University

University of Michigan TASS-AOS: Beyond the Grind: Feminist and Disability Theories of Care, Love, Rest, and Resistance

Faculty: Jina Kim, Smith College, and Tiffany Ball, University of Michigan


Cornell TASS-CBS: Black Freedom Beyond Borders

Faculty: Russell Rickford and Mukoma Wa Ngugi, Cornell University

Cornell TASS-AOS: Imagining Better Futures

Faculty: Greg Londe, Cornell University, and William Bridges, University of Rochester

Maryland TASS-CBS: Artist as Activist: Black Literature and Visual Art in the 20th Century

Faculty: Jordana Saggese and GerShun Avilez, University of Maryland

Maryland TASS-AOS: Art at the End of the World: Crisis and Creation in the 1990s

Faculty: Jakeya Caruthers, Drexel University, and Isaiah Wooden, Brandeis University

Michigan TASS-CBS: Black Geographies: Race, Place, and Space in Space

Faculty: Tasneem Siddiqui and James Pope, Winston-Salem State University

Michigan TASS-AOS: Race and the Limits of Law in America

Faculty: Vincent Lloyd and Dana Lloyd, Villanova University


2020 summer programs were held online due to the COVID pandemic.

Cornell I: Black Protest from Slavery to #BlackLivesMatter

Faculty: Alisha Marie Gaines, Florida State University, and Dennis Tyler Jr., Fordham University

Cornell II: Testify: The Politics of Imagination, Fantasy, and Magic

Faculty: Jasmine Jay and Cristina Correa, Cornell University

Michigan I: “Whose Streets?! Our Streets!” The Legacy of Youth Organizing in Black Liberation Movements

Faculty: Eshe Sherley and Aurelis Troncoso, University of Michigan

Michigan II: AfroAsian Cultures and Media

Faculty: Joo Young Lee, University of Michigan, and Myra Washington, University of New Mexico


Cornell I: Blackness Remixed: Genre and Adaptation in Contemporary Literature, Music, and Film

Faculty: LaMonda Horton-Stallings, University of Maryland, College Park, and Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Bryn Mawr College

Cornell II: Black Feminist Thought

Faculty: Ashley R. Hall and Nia Michelle Nunn, Ithaca College

Michigan I: Black Movements

Faculty: Gabriel Allen Peoples, Indiana University and Aaron C. Allen, Roger Williams University

Michigan II: Reconceptualizing Black Geographies: The Politics of Race, Space, and Home

Faculty: Tashal Brown and Lauren Elizabeth Reine Johnson, Michigan State University


Cornell I: Mediated Lives: Performing Identity in Contemporary Media

Faculty: Karen Jaime and Samantha Sheppard, Cornell University

Cornell II: Shades of Blackness: Exploring Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the African Diaspora through Performance, Film, Music, and Art

Faculty: Marlon M. Bailey, Arizona State University, and John Thabiti Willis, Carleton College

Michigan I: The Cultural Politics of Race in Media and Literature

Faculty: Shazia Iftkhar and Aliyah Khan, University of Michigan

Michigan II: African American Mobility and Travel Abroad: From Paul Cuffee to Ta-Nehisi Coates

Faculty: Sharika Crawford, United States Naval Academy, and Derek Handley, Carnegie Mellon University


Cornell I: The Opposite House: Grieving Time in Space and Place

Faculty: Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and Greg Londe, Cornell University

Cornell II: Black Feminist Thought

Faculty: Nia Nunn and Ashley Hall, Ithaca College

Michigan I: Coming of Age within the Long Black Freedom Movement

Faculty: Erin Chapman, George Washington University, and Brandi Hughes, University of Michigan

Michigan II: Performance, Gender, Race and Culture in the Harlem Renaissance and in Parisian Negritude

Faculty: Frieda Ekotto and Robin Wilson, University of Michigan


Cornell I: Are You an American Citizen? A History of a Complicated Question

Faculty: Ed Baptist, Cornell University, and Minkah Makalani, University of Texas at Austin

Cornell II: Exploring Cultural Identity Through the Music of the Harlem Renaissance, Soul and Social Protest Movements, and Contemporary Hip Hop

Faculty:  William Banfield, Berklee College of Music and Charrise Barron, Harvard University

Indiana: The Black Struggle for Freedom: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

Faculty: Maria E. Hamilton Abegunde and Fabio Rojas, Indiana University

Michigan:  In Search of Identity: Performance of Blackness and Representations of Gender and Sexuality

Faculty: Tabitha Chester, Denison College and Khalid Long, University of Maryland, College Park


Cornell: Ascending Melody: Contemporary African American Creative Arts and Critical Thought

Faculty: Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and Dagmawi Woubshet, Cornell University

Indiana: Growing Up While Black: Coming of Age in Black Literature, Music, and Film

Faculty: Marlo David, Purdue University and Lamonda Horton-Stallings, Indiana University

Michigan: Dreams of Freedom and Realities of Confinement

Faculty: Diana Louis, Indiana University and Michael McGee, University of California, Berkeley


Indiana: Health Disparities: The Importance of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Social Class.

Faculty: Pamela Braboy Jackson and Rasul Mowatt, Indiana University.

Michigan: Comparing and Performing Black Theatre.

Faculty: Charles (OyamO) Gordon and Dieudonné Mbala Nkanga, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Race Films in a ‘Post-Race’ America? Film Studies and Critical Spectatorship.

Faculty: Audrey T. McCluskey and Natasha C. Vaubel, Indiana University.

Michigan: Race, Ethnicity, and Difference in Modern Medicine and Society.

Faculty: Barbara Berglund, University of South Florida and Alexandra Stern, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Don’t Believe the Hype: Facing Cultural Misinformation about African Americans with Historical and Legal Truths.

Faculty: A.B. Assensoh and Yvette Marie Alex-Assensoh, Indiana University.

Michigan: Mass Incarceration: Race, Punishment, and Contemporary Urban America.

Faculty: Ahmad Rahman, University of Michigan, Dearborn and Stephen Ward, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Blackness, Media, and Self-Concept.

Faculty: Maresa Murray and Sharlene Newman, Indiana University.

Michigan: Intergenerational Memory in U.S. Literature.

Faculty: Joshua Miller, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Ruby Tapia, Ohio State University.


Indiana: Blackness, Literature, and the Media.

Faculty: Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe, Indiana University; and Libya Pugh, New York–based actor and educator.

Michigan: Poverty, Environment, Work, and Social Inequality in America.

Faculty: Dorceta Taylor and Ian Robinson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Health and Illness in the African American Community: Social and Neurobiological Perspectives.

Faculty: Maresa Murray and Sharlene Newman, Indiana University.

Michigan: Imaging Race in Literature and Visual Culture.

Faculty: Joshua L. Miller, University of Michigan; and Ruby C. Tapia, Ohio State University.


Indiana: Social Identity in Contemporary African American and LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Theatre.

Faculty:  Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe and Marlon Bailey, Indiana University.

Michigan I: Pros and Cons of “Getting Involved” – Community Participation in Multicultural Communities

Faculty:  Robert Ortega and Charles Kieffer, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michigan II:  Imagining the Congo, Performing African History and Culture.

Faculty:  Mbala D. Nkanga and Nancy R. Hunt, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Modern Sports and the African American Experience

Faculty: Gary Sailes, Indiana University, Bloomington; and JaDora Sailes, Indiana University at IUPUI campus.

Michigan I: American Politics and Culture: Left and Right

Faculty: Angela D. Dillard and Alan Wald, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michigan II: Infectious Disease Detectives: Fighting Epidemics Using the Right Tools

Faculty: JoLynn P. Montgomery, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and Kristi J. McClamroch, University at Albany, SUNY.


Indiana: Civic Engagement and African American Youth.

Faculty: Paulette Patterson Dilworth and Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Indiana University.

Michigan I: Bridging the Atlantic: Music and Media in the African Diaspora.

Faculty: Naomi André and Kelly Askew, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michigan II: Black Multiculturalism: Harlem’s World 1919-1940.

Faculty: Ifeoma C.K. Nwankwo and Frieda Ekotto, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Films of the African American Experience: An Introduction to Film Studies.

Faculty: Audrey McCluskey and Natasha Vaubel, Indiana University.

Michigan I: Race, Space, and American Identity.

Faculty: Magdalena Zaborowska and Justyna Pas, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Michigan II: Who Deserves to Get Well? Public Health at the Crossroads of Science and Social Values.

Faculty: Sharon Kardia and Susan King, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Conflicting Visions: A History of African American Political Thought and Action.

Faculty: Lawrence J. Hanks and Jas Sullivan, Indiana University.

Michigan: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Formation of Multicultural Societies in Brazil and the U.S.

Faculty: Susan Juster and Sueann Caulfield, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Constructing “Race”: Society and Law.

Faculty: Dennis Rome and Steve Russell, Indiana University.

Michigan: Social Identities and the Mass Media.

Faculty: Elizabeth Cole and Catherine Squires, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Indiana: Does My Vote Count: African Americans and the Struggle for Political Representation.

Faculty: Valerie Grim and Dennis Rome, Indiana University.

Michigan: Reading the Body through Ethnicity, Racism, Gender, and Power.

Faculty: Frieda Ekotto and Robin Wilson, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The African Diaspora: Music, Dance, and History.

Faculty: Iris Rosa and Daniel Walker, Indiana University.


Understanding Black and Multiracial Political History in the New Millennium.

Faculty: Akwasi Assensoh and Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Indiana University.


Law, Race, and Society: Demythologizing Common Notions of Legal Order.

Faculty: Frank Motley and Dennis Rome, Indiana University.


Demythologizing Africa: Transatlantic Musical Crossroads.

Faculty: Mellonee Burnim and Takyiwaa Manuh, Indiana University.


African-Americans in the Political System: A Historical and Political Analysis.

Faculty: Akwasi Assensoh and Yvette Alex-Assensoh, Indiana University.


African-American Arts and Social Life: Exploring Their Influence on Each Other.

Faculty: William Banfield, Indiana University; and R. Drew Smith, Butler University.


Contemporary Media Representations of the African-American Community.

Faculty: Gloria Gibson-Hudson and Dennis Rome, Indiana University.


Self and Society: African-American Autobiographical Writings.

Faculty: Audrey Thomas McCluskey and Fred McElroy, Indiana University.


Play and Performance: African-American Music and Sports in the Twentieth Century.

Faculty: William Wiggins, Jr. and Portia Maultsby, Indiana University.