Blackness: identity, concept, or ideology? This first-year seminar provides students with an in-depth exploration of Blackness as all three. We will analyze how Blackness has been, and is, depicted in media, art, philosophy, and literature, and how these representations have shaped our understanding of the Black experience. In the Black Studies tradition, we take an interdisciplinary approach drawing from primary sources, academic texts, and social media to investigate how blackness is defined, contested, and transformed. The bulk of the course focuses on the now-contemporary topics spanning from "diaspora wars", to digital Black face, to food deserts, Black Twitter, Black Lives Matter, and importantly, Black Joy.
Black Studies has something vital to contribute to the study of how pandemics, epidemics, health, medicine, and wellness, are thought and intervened in. By engaging in an interdisciplinary conversation that spans works focused on health, medicine, the body, and disease from the fields of Black Studies, Literature, Visual Art, History, Political Science, Performance Studies, and Sociology, we will gain a fuller understanding of how Black cultures, activists, artists, and everyday people have lived through and resisted pandemics, epidemics, and medical brutality.

Each week we will cover a new theme, theory, or field of study crucial to developing a holistic understanding of Black health. Themes will include, but are not limited to, scientific racism, epidemics and pandemics, medical experimentation, birthing and reproduction, and Disability, Fat, and Madness Studies.