Current Clusters

Spring 2023

Paradigms of Revival: Black Liberatory Education, Embodiment & the Arts

In a fundamentally decolonial spirit, this course cluster examines the ways colonialism has contained, collected, captured, and commodified Blackness, a practice that circulates objectified images of the peoples, cultures, and cultural objects of Africa and the African Diaspora. Furthermore, we explore how African cultural traditions such as dance and artwork become suppressed and manipulated by western institutions such as academia and the museum. This cluster aims to use liberatory strategies to reconstruct notions of Blackness beyond the strongholds of colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and “the chattel principle.” To be specific, we will investigate the artistic expressions of African dance and African artwork through new liberatory post-colonial educational frameworks to consider how Black culture expression and Black cultural legacy across the African diaspora have been sustained and revived, despite systematic attempts to capture, condemn or contain these artistic expressions. Through reviving and futuring Black Radical traditions in collaboration with Queer and Afro Feminist theory and practice, we offer new context and new life for understanding, experiencing, and embodying Africanness and Blackness.

African Traditions: Healing in a Globalized World

In 2017, Achille Mbembe and Felwine Sarr founded the “ateliers de la pensée de Dakar,” bringing together local and diasporic thinkers to take a pluralistic look at the realities of the African continent and the possible futures. Inspired by these conversations, this cluster addresses the following questions: How do local healing and cultural traditions continue or change in our postcolonial world? What forms have they taken? How does the triple legacy of Islamization, Westernization, and Globalization play out in the health decisions and practices of West Africa today? Students will explore the ways in which African societies are trying to overcome colonial legacies, promote well-being, and contribute to fashioning our interconnected world.


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Sarah Theobald, 360° Coordinator
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