The University of Massachusetts Amherst

New Courses

ANTHRO 297W   Title: Du Bois in Our Time                                 3 Credit
Day/Time: TuTh 1:45-3:00 pm     FULLY REMOTE COURSE     Whitney Battle-Baptiste
Description: The course demonstrates how the broad and varied writings of W.E.B. Du Bois have helped inform and shape contemporary movements. On-the-ground activists, people marching in the streets, sit-ins, occupations, have all shaped movements for social change, but so too have scholars like Du Bois.
Starting with Du Bois's 1935 text, Black Reconstruction, this course will trace the foundations of how racial inequality is tied to economic and social inequities.  We will explore how workers have alienated and disenfranchised, and degradation, the stigmatization of black men as criminals, and have instances of anti-black racism have supported a capitalist agenda that relies on and perpetuates, social inequalities. 

We apply the writings of Du Bois to the protest movements of our own time and trace to what extent Du Bois' theories have been borne out in the years since his death in 1963.  We will engage with the ongoing discussion about civil rights in America and how fundamental disagreements about the approach to race, shape political and social culture.  Using the archive in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass, we will see Du Bois up close and gain a greater insight into his life, as well as his writings.  Through exploring the archives, students will have the chance to make research discoveries of their own that may help influence the direction of their academic study far beyond the life of this course.

ANTHRO 345      Title: Urban Anthropology                                 3 Credit
Day/Time: TuTh 6:45-8:00 pm  FULLY REMOTE COURSE          Nicholas Caverly
Description: With more than half of the world's population living in cities, the United States has dubbed the twenty-first century the "urban century."  Cities dominate global economic output.  They also occupy an outsize location of dreams, opportunities, and cultural production.  Yet, cities are also where inequity is thrust forcefully into view.  As such, urban spaces are prime locations for understanding lived contradictions, including or work, geography, and power.  This course examines those contradictions through anthropological and ethnographic accounts that illuminate the realities of urban places.  We will bring comparative analyses of uneven development, design practice, environmental gentrification, housing justice, and other processes.  Through readings, media installations, ethnographic experiments, and other methods, students on this course will develop anthropological perspectives on forces shaping urbanization across time, how people live in cities, and the contributions of urban life to our global world. 

ANTHRO 397RR  Title: Disease Ecology                                     3 Credit
Day/Time: TuTh 1:45-3:00 pm  FULLY REMOTE COURSE       Achsah Dorsey  
Description:  This course explores the ecology and evolution of disease using a bio-cultural perspective.  Drawing on insights from anthropology, biology, epidemiology, and public health, students will be introduced to the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of health and wellbeing, disease causation, transmission, and emergence, and host-parasite coevolution.  Topics include social inequality and cultural context, stress and degenerative disease, globalization, and changing climates.  Students will be asked to complete several writing assignments, a midterm, and a final exam.   ANTHRO 103, Intro to Biology, or equivalent strongly recommended.

ANTHRO 591R     Title: Anti-Racism: Theory and Practice      3 Credit
Day/Time: Mon. 10:15 am-1:00 pm  FULLY REMOTE COURSE  Amanda Walker Johnson
Description: (On-Line Course) 
This new course responds to recent and urgent calls for action against racism.  As Ella Baker, key organizer in the Black Freedom Struggle of the 60'd, said, "in order to see where we are going, we not only must remember where we have been, but we must understand where we have been."*

In the spirit of Baker, this course focuses on three aspects for impactful antiracist praxis: First, we will increase our "understanding," by analyzing and comparing theories of antiracism-tracing how the term antiracism itself emerged and became commonly recognized,   For this, we will read and reflect on scholarship in the U.S. and beyond, such as those by Leith Mullings, Kimberle' Crenshaw, Geroge Dei, and Yin Paradies.  Second, we will "remember" and glean lessons from past struggles, by examining historical and ethnographic studies of antiracist movements, such as those by Sara Ahmed, Steven Gregory, George Lipsitz, and Julia Sudbury.  Third, we will "see where we are going" and synthesize works by scholars such as Ibram Kendi, Mica Pollock, Eve Tuck, Angela Valenzuela, and Kevin Yamamoto to collectively, as a class, developing decolonizing, antiracist strategies that we can put into practice now-from everyday actions to long-term struggles against racism.  For questions, please contact the instructor  awjohnson@anthro.umass.edu

*quotes in Moses, Robert and Charles Cobb. 2001. Radical Equations: Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. Boston: Beacon Press, p.2