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2018 TASS Programs

2018 TASS Programs

Four TASS programs will be held in 2018.

The 2018 TASS Brochure will be available soon; in the meantime, see the 2017 TASS Brochure for general information about TASS.

Mediated Lives: Performing Identity in Contemporary Media
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
June 24 – August 4, 2018

Faculty: Karen Jaime and Samantha Sheppard, Cornell University

FactotumTBD


In this course we will critically examine the performance and production of race, ethnicity, sexuality, class, and gender in, by, and through media broadly defined. Examining different forms of mediated representation including but not limited to: television shows (scripted and reality programming), digital media (web series, games, gifs, and memes), staged recordings (spoken word and music videos), film (fiction and nonfiction), and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat amongst others), we seek to provide students with the tools necessary to critically unpack what it means to perform the self in contemporary U.S. popular culture. Among the questions we will consider to theorize identity with, by, and through representation: What are the racial, social, and class politics in self-fashioning one’s online presence? How do film and television construct and deconstruct persons and personas? How do the ways in which we see the world around us often challenge and contradict the myriad of images that we are constantly presented with?

Shades of Blackness: Exploring Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the African Diaspora through Performance, Film, Music, and Art
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
June 24 – August 4, 2018

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

Factotum: TBD


What does it mean to be Black in Brazil? Iran? How is blackness lived in Ghana or in Ferguson, MO or Detroit, MI? How can we think about the complexities and diversity among black communities throughout the globe, particularly in the age of both Barack Obama, the first Black U.S. president, and Donald Trump’s presidency, which has given prominence and power to white Christian nationalist hetero-patriarchal perspectives? Thus, in this class we will study the complexities of black embodiment, experience, discourse, politics, and culture. This course is designed to introduce students to global blackness (what it means to live a black identity and experience throughout the world) primarily through forms of cultural production such as history, literature, material culture (adornment, artifacts, body art), theatre/performance, music, and film. The materials and our discussions will engage fields of inquiry such as politics, history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, and performance. We will examine global blackness while attending to histories of migration among communities in Africa, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Some of the categories of social life that we will explore/examine include the politics of culture, race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Throughout this course we will read, analyze and discuss both fiction and non-fictional texts; screen films/videos; take field trips/excursions to museums and to theatre productions; and host guest lectures. In general, we hope this course will inspire and prepare students to think about blackness in a global context and gain a greater understanding of how interconnected the world is and how they can act to foster a more equitable and just world for all of humanity.

The Cultural Politics of Race in Media and Literature
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
June 24 – August 4, 2018

Faculty: Shazia Iftkhar and Aliyah Khan, University of Michigan

Factotum: TBD

This interdisciplinary course explores narrative representations of marginalized groups in mass media and literature. We consider questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, focusing on themes of identity, cultural politics, and social justice. The course examines the ways in which stories about difference are told and how racial issues are debated in and across U.S. society. We study the role of self-representation in the changing conventions of representations of marginalized groups and in interventions into sociopolitical national debates. The course incorporates a framework of identity, difference, migration, and diaspora to study racialized experiences within U.S. borders as well as across them, articulating the local to the global. We combine cultural studies and critical literary approaches to examine a range of textual forms, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film, television, and music, focusing mainly on U.S. texts while including narratives of immigration and transnationalism.

Learning goals for students include a vocabulary for discussing racial politics and for addressing racism and prejudice; an understanding of the ways in which media and literature influence cultural and racial politics; a study of the lived experiences of members of marginalized groups and of narratives around citizenship and identity, through both media and literary texts; and an understanding of the roles that the form and style of a text play in transmitting and questioning ideas and ideologies.


African American Mobility and Travel Abroad: From Paul Cuffee to Ta-Nehisi Coates
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
June 24 – August 4, 2018

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

Factotum: TBD


This course is an interdisciplinary approach in studying the history and rhetorical strategies employed by African American travelers abroad from the nineteenth to twentieth-first centuries. By examining a plethora of original sources—essays, letters, memoirs, novels, and poems—TASS students develop the answers to the following interrelated questions: What has travel and, specifically, travel abroad meant to African Americans at different historic moments? What has American identity meant to these travelers? To what degree has international travel served as a strategy to attain freedom, upward mobility, and human dignity?