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Course Information

Instructor Info:Amy Jordan
Office Extension x5644
Constance Hill
Office Extension x5673
TA Info:Olana Flynn
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) ELH
12:30 PM - 01:50 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) ELH
07:00 PM - 09:00 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) ELH

African American dance and music traditions have played critical roles in African American struggles to sustain their humanity-- to express joy and pain through their bodies and through a particular relationship to rhythm. This class will explore the forms, contents and contexts of black traditions, which played a crucial role in shaping American dance in the twentieth century. Viewing American cultural history through the lens of movement and performance, we will focus on black protest traditions in discerning how the cakewalking performances of Ada Overton and George Walker; proto-feminist blues and jazz performances of Bessie Smith; tap dancing of Bill Robinson; protest and resistive choreographies of Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, and Urban Bush Women; and the hip-hop performances of Rennie Harris can be viewed as corporeal embodiments of the centuries-long freedom struggle-- whether non-violent, confrontational or contestational-- and how these modes of performance reflect an increasing independent free black voice demanding equal inclusion in the body politic. This course will provide a strong foundation for students who want to pursue Black Studies and will acquaint students with methodologies utilized in performance and historical studies.

Additional Info:

Core Texts:

LeRoi Jones, Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America and the Music That Developed From It, (1963)

Thomas DeFrantz, Dancing many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002)

On Reserve:

Leroi Jones, Larry Neal, eds. Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (1968)

Angela Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (1998)

Robin Kelley, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black working Class (1994)

Katrina Hazzard Gordon, Jookin': The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African American Culture (1990)