Classes 2022-2023


DANCE 128: Roots Modern Experience - Mixed Level

Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30-11:50am

1 Unit (repeatable up to 3 units total)

Letter or Credit / No Credit

Roble 113

Instructor: amara tabor-smith

In this course students will be introduced to a series of Afro-contemporary dance warm ups and dance combinations that are drawn from a broad range of dance traditions of the African diaspora with a particular focus on Afro Brazilian, Afro Cuban and Haitian dance forms, modern dance techniques, and somatic movement practices. Our study of these dance disciplines will inform the movement vocabulary, technical training, class discussions, and choreography we experience in this course. Students will learn more about the dances and rhythms for the Orishas of Brazil and Cuba, and the Loa of Haiti. Dance combinations will consist of dynamic movement patterns that condition the body for strength, flexibility, endurance, musicality and coordination. Through this approach to our warm ups and class choreography, we will deepen our analysis and understanding of how African diaspora movement traditions are inherently embedded in many expressions of the broadly termed form known as contemporary modern dance.

Amara Tabor-Smith


Theater and Social Justice: Skills for Rethinking Everything


Mondays 2:30pm-5:20pm

3 units

Letter / Credit / No-Credit

Roble Gym Room 136 & 137

Instructor: Ellen Sebastian Chang

In this course we will employ theater foundations (writing, acting, staging and direction) to interrogate individual and collective belief systems prescribed through our lineage, geography, genetics, culture and class. We will ask big questions like: How do we rethink collective narratives? What can be made in the midst of ongoing pandemics and emergencies? Who am I within and beyond my current circumstances? Together we will learn from diverse practitioners within science fiction, documentary filmmaking, theater, site-specificity, and environmental activism to create performances that ignite our imaginations and skillsets for enacting social change.

Photo Credit: JOAN OSATO


Spoken Word Poetry and Resistance: 1990's-Present

Monday & Wednesday 1:00pm-2:20pm

3 units

Letter / Credit / No-Credit

Harmony House

Instructor: Daniel Gray-Kontar

In the 1990’s the Spoken Word movement exploded onto the public scene in multiple forms. The decade marked the birth of the Poetry Slam movement, the “Golden Age” of rap, and the re-emergence of Poetry as Performance. In the contemporary moment Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitizer Prize-winning album, “DAMN”, Mahogany Browne’s anthemic poem “Black Girl Magic”, and the rise of online Spoken Word platforms like “Button Poetry” are all evidence of a similar present-day uprising in the centuries-old Spoken Word tradition. This course will combine workshop and seminar approaches to provide students with space to read and examine the Black Spoken Word tradition from the 1990s to the present, and to write and perform their own work.

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AFRICAAM 207: Emergent Thinking: Abolition and Climate Change

Details TBD

4 units

Letter / Credit / No-Credit

Instructor: David Palumbo Liu

Gesturing toward adrienne marie brown's notion of 'emergent strategy,' this course asks us to think in the most radical and imaginative ways possible about two systemic failures that animate what Achille Mbembe has called 'necropolitics' decisions on who lives, and who dies: the police, and climate change. We will look at both the material aspects of police and prison abolition, and climate change and environmental justice, and theoretical approaches to the same. Using works by Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Angela Davis, Alex Vitale, Dino Gilio-Whittaker, Candace Fukijane, Ben Ehrenreich, Amitav Ghosh, Ursula LeGuin and Octavia Butler, our texts put the imagination and the political will to work. This seminar course will be capped at 25 enrollments. I expect to offer this course annually.



AFRICAAM 200N: Funkentelechy: Technologies, Social Justice and Black Vernacular Cultures


Wednesdays 3:00pm-4:20pm

4-5 units

Letter / Credit / No-Credit

Instructor: Adam Banks

From texts to techne, from artifacts to discourses on science and technology, this course is an examination of how Black people in this society have engaged with the mutually consitutive relationships that endure between humans and technologies. We will focus on these engagements in vernacular cultural spaces, from storytelling traditions to music and move to ways academic and aesthetic movements have imagined these relationships. Finally, we will consider the implications for work with technologies in both school and community contexts for work in the pursuit of social and racial justice.



AFRICAAM 172: Transformative Art Practices for Engaging Community


Wednesdays 4:00pm-5:50pm

1-5 units

Letter / Credit / No-Credit

Instructor: A-lan Hot, amara tabor-smith

Focusing on the work of artists and cultural workers based in Oakland and East Palo Alto, CA we will explore how artists are addressing issues such as housing, healthy food access, education and prison reform as a way toward building healthy and self-sustaining communities. Our explorations will include visits from guest lecturers as well as site visits to surrounding communities to understand how the cultivation of creative relationships provide unprecedented conditions for collective healing and repair. Our course places great importance on ancestral inheritance, embodied histories, and the lived cultural experiences of diverse people in community.

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Course Listing