Written by: Sara Kugler
This semester, Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, the Executive Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project, is teaching the political science course “Hip-Hop and Feminism” at Tulane University. For more than 30 years, hip-hop has been the most pronounced cultural identifier for young Americans. The course will address, analyze, explore and contest the political aspects of hip-hop music and culture through a close examination of feminism. Classes will be an analytic space for debate and discussion about the impact of hip-hop culture on the sexual, gender and political understandings of Americans and others around the world.
Throughout the semester, students in Dr. Harris-Perry’s class will write pieces for our blog about the questions they are exploring in class and the research that they are undertaking. The class will culminate with students presenting their research as part of our Gender, Sexuality & Hip-Hop Mini-Conference in December.
At the Anna Julia Cooper Project, we hope to continue their conversation outside of the classroom, both here on our blog and on our facebook page and on twitter. You can read along with the class and join the conversation. Dr. Harris-Perry’s syllabus is available below, along with syllabi from past classes she has taught at Tulane University.
Fall 2013 Syllabus: Hip-Hop & Feminism
For more than 30 years, hip-hop has been the most pronounced cultural identifier for young Americans. This course seeks to address, analyze, explore and contest the political aspects of hip-hop music and culture through a close examination of feminism. This course is an analytic space for debate and discussion about the impact of hip-hop culture on the sexual, gender and political understandings of Americans and others around the world.
Politics of Environmental Justice
This course will explore the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship, with particular attention to issues of environmental justice. Students will learn the history of environmental justice and its relationship to the larger environmental movement. Students will also explore the political and ethical issues underpinning environmental justice work and develop the ability to reason about issues of environmental justice. This class will assist students in becoming familiar with the literature on and methods used to study environmental justice, understanding how studying the social sciences can help one become a more effective citizen, and learning how to apply the theories learned in class to real-world events.
Black Religion and Black Political Thought
Scholars of the African American experience have located the black church as the cultural, social, and political womb of the black community. This research tends to think of the church as a structure that brings actors into contact with one another; it has paid less attention to the church as a place that brings actors into contact with ideas. This course will use a variety of classic and contemporary texts about black political thought as an entry into investigating the connections between black religious ideas and political activism. The class links the work on religion to an intensive introduction to black political thought. This course focuses on the various 20th century ideologies and strategies, which have informed the African American quest for human fulfillment, self-actualization, and equity in the United States of America.
Black Women’s Political Activism
This course uses the history of African American women’s political activism to illuminate questions of participation in American politics. Examining the intersection and interaction of gender, race, sexuality, and class with politics in the United States, this course reconceptualizes both politics and political science. By moving black women from their historically marginal position in the curriculum to the center of our attention, we will begin to explore ways of transforming knowledge about American politics. Specific readings, discussion, and writing will explore topics such as feminism, labor activism, the Civil Rights Movement, black power, and contemporary cultural politics.
Introduction to African American Politics
This course provides an introduction to the political experience of African Americans. The course is contemporary in focus. Topics include African American political thought, voting and participation, urban politics, race and elected office, and issues of gender, class, age and sexual identity at the intersections of black politics.
America’s First Ladies
This seminar explores American first ladies as political and social actors. Our primary question is: what does American history and politics look like when told through the stories of women with great access to power but with little formal power of their own? We will both trace the evolution of the role of first lady and explore how individual women who have held this role have understood it and adapted it. This is an upper level course. Every student is required to read all assignments and be prepared for a class discussion each week. You will be expected to write, read, and analyze regularly. There will be no lectures; this is entirely a seminar and reading course based on a graduate education model.
Women in Politics, Media, and the Contemporary United States
This course is an introduction to the various roles and experiences of women in contemporary American politics, media, and society. We will explore changing definitions of womanhood and women’s identity during the late 20th and early 21st century. We will discuss women who hold positions of leadership and relative privilege and women who find themselves in the most powerless and difficult circumstances in contemporary America. We will explore cross-cutting issues of class, race, sexuality and gender identity to help understand the many experiences of women in America.