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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 2109 San Jacinto Blvd , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Associate Professor Ph.D., New York University

Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance and of African and African Diaspora Studies
Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Contact

Biography

Joni L. Jones/Omi Osun Olomo (Ph.D., New York University) specializes in performance scholarship that focuses on identity, ethnography, Yoruba-based performance aesthetics, Black Feminisms and Theatre for Social Change. She teaches undergraduate courses in African-American theatre history and the performance of race. At the graduate level she teaches performance ethnography, performing Black Feminisms, Yoruba performance, and performance and activism. Dr. Jones was a Fulbright Fellow in Nigeria (1997-1998) where she taught at Obafemi Awolowo University and contributed Theatre for Social Change workshops to the Forum on Governance and Democracy in Ile-Ife. Her dramaturgical work includes con flama for Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre, Clay Angels for New WORLD Theatre in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery and Pill Hill for First Stage Productions in Austin, Texas. In Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. she has received acting awards for her work in professional theatre. Dr. Jones was the opening plenary performer at the Second Annual Performance Studies Conference at Northwestern University with "sista docta." That work has also been presented at National Communication Association National Conference, Pedagogy/Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, and the Black Women in the Academy II Conference. Her print scholarship on performance and identity have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, The Drama Review, Theatre Insight, Theatre Journal, and Black Theatre News. She has served on the Arts Advisory Panel to the College Board, consultant to the Educational Testing Service, Chair of the Theatre Board for the National Foundation for the Arts, Chair of the Theatre Review Board of the Cultural Contracts Office, Parliamentarian for the Black Theatre Network, and member of the Theatre Review Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts. Dr. Jones was the 1998-1999 recipient of the College of Communication Teaching Excellence Award. In 2000, she completed her tenure as secretary to the Performance Studies Division of the National Communication Association and as executive board member for Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is currently writing a book on the use of a jazz aesthetic among theatre artists with particular attention to Laurie Carlos, Daniel Alexander Jones, and Sharon Bridgforth, as well as a book documenting the work of The Austin Project—a collaborative venture among women of color artists, scholars and activists and their allies.

AFR 317D • Intro East Austin Ethnography

30410 • Fall 2014
Meets M 330pm-630pm BEL 232
(also listed as AMS 315 )
show description

In this course, students will study ethnographic methods including, fieldwork, observant participation, interviewing, and oral histories. Archival research will also be conducted.   Students will conduct fieldwork at specific sites in Austin with an emphasis on East Austin communities. This course provides students with skills in critical ethnography by foregrounding the racial politics that shape policy-making and community-building.

Text

Madison, D. Soyini.  Critical Ethnography.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publishers.  2012.

Other Readings

African American Quality of Life.  Mayor’s Task Force Report

Boggs, Grace Lee.  The Next American Revolution

Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck.  Suburban Nation.

James, Joy.  Seeking the Beloved Community.

Sorkin, Michael.  Variations on a Theme Park:  The New American City and the End of Public Space.

Wilkerson, Isabel.  The Warmth of Other Suns

AFR 356C • Afr Am Thtr Hist: Precol-1950

30495 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am WAG 214
show description

Description:

This course is a chronological examination of African-American theatre history through the study of productions, performance theory, play texts, essays, reviews, and  manifestos.  This course examines theatrical work of Africans and African Americans from Pre-Colonial West Africa to the U.S of the 1950s.  Upon completion of this course, students should be familiar with major written works of African-American theatre, have a more complete understanding of U.S. history, and know the position of African-American Theatre within the context of major U.S. theatrical movements. 

 

Course Objectives:

This course may be used to fulfill the visual and performing arts component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, teamwork, and social responsibility.

 

Communication Skills:

Students will assume the role of an artist and historian by creating a researched bulletin board on the subject of the role of African-American theatre, to be presented in a class exhibition to a University community audience. Students will also interpret a short scene from a studies play and present a 3-5 minute performance.

 

Critical Thinking Skills:

Students will assume the role of scholar. Groups of students will analyze and present historical data, comparative data, authorial positions, and unstated assumptions about specific plays in the African and African-American community during this time period.

 

Teamwork:

Students will work in groups to collaborate on a critical analysis presentation, theatrical performance, and exhibition.

 

Social Responsibility:

This course situates African and African-American performances within their socio-political contexts with an emphasis on strategies of resistance that are embodied in aesthetics. Students will use their dramaturgical notebook to analyze a play including its themes, structure, images, and the play’s relationship to the theatre and to the society from which it grew.

 

Texts

 

Bean, Annemarie.  A Sourcebook of African-American Performance.  New York:  Routledge, 1999.

 

Hatch, James V. and Ted Shine.  Black Theatre, USA:  Plays by African Americans, The Early Period.  New York:  The Free Press, 1996.

AFR 387D • Performance Ethnography

30650 • Fall 2014
Meets W 100pm-400pm BEL 232
show description

The course will explore the relationship between performance and ethnography through readings and performance. The students will conduct fieldwork, use Personal Narratives and Everyday Life Performance techniques, and create a public performance based upon the fieldwork. In-class exercises and readings are designed to encourage students to draw conclusions about the virtues and problems associated with Performance Ethnoraphy. Key issues will include self-reflexivity, accountability, multivocality and participation.

AFR 303 • Intro Afr/Afr Diaspora Studies

30240 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JGB 2.216
(also listed as ANT 310L )
show description

This course provides students with an introduction to Black Studies. The first section of the course is devoted to a history of Black Studies in the U.S. using the integration and development of Black Studies here at the University of Texas, Austin as a case study. We will then turn to considerations of the historical construction of Africa, the Black Diaspora and the idea of Blackness. Building on this foundation the course provides students with the analytical tools to critically explore canonical Black Studies literature, themes, and theories. This section of the course interrogates race, gender, class, sexuality, and their intersections as well as culture, power and politics. The second section of the course will focus in on the expression and use of Black Studies in the areas of: Critical Black Studies; Education, Psychology, and Mental Health; Government, Law and Public Policy; Expressive Culture, Arts, Music, Sports; and Africa and its Diasporic Cultures.

AFR 372E • Producing The Black Perf Arts

30380 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WIN 2.112
show description

This course provides analysis of and training in the artistic, technical and managerial strategiesfor producing Black dance and theatre in the U.S. Written assignments include the production and rehearsal reports, audience analyses, dramaturgical statements and performance analyses of live events. Students will attend university productions, tour local arts facilities, apprentice with university and professional production managers, and Serve as production assistants for the fall 2013 performance events offered by Black Studies. There Will be a ñnal examination that requires students to problem solve a fictional production challenge.

Texts:

“The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Langston Hughes

“Black Critics on Black Theatre in America” Abíodun Jeyifous

“Orderly and Disorderly Structures: Why Church and Sports Appeal to Black Americans and Theatre Does Not,” Rhett Jones

The Backstage Guide to Stage Management, 2nd. Edition, Thomas Kelly

“It’s a Long Way to St. Louis: Notes on the Audience for Black Drama,” Adam David Miller “Into Nationalism, Out of Parochíalism,” Larry Neal

“The Black Theatre Audience,” Thomas D. Pawley

“Critics, Standards and Black Theatre, Margaret Wilkerson

Grading breakdown:

Production/rehearsal reports (2) - 20% Audience analysis - 10% Dramaturgical statement - 20% Performance analysis - 10% Attendance at events (2) 10%

AFR 317F • Perfor, Feminism, & Soc Change

30285 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 300pm-400pm GAR 1.134
(also listed as WGS 301 )
show description

This course is an exploration of the ways that engaged performance and feminist practice generate space for social change. The course builds on the basic principle that social transformation requires individual awareness, and that awareness necessitates a rigorous examination of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Through ancestral research, community building, non-linear performance strategies, and jazz aesthetics, students will create solo and ensemble work that illustrate each unit of the course. As a result of this course, students will develop tools for productive self-reflexity, will understand the role of positionality in collaborating across identity markers, and will acquire writing and performance skills that employ jazz sensibilities.

AFR 374F • Afr Am Thtr Hist, 1950 To Pres

30505 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A215A
show description

African American Theatre History:  1950s to the Present

AFR 374F (30505)

T/Th, 12:30-2:00

Taught by Dr. Omi Jones

This course is a chronological examination of African-American theatre history through the study of productions, performance theory, play texts, essays, reviews, and manifestos.  This course examines theatrical work of African Americans from the 1950s to the present.  The course situates these performances within their socio-political contexts with an emphasis on strategies of resistancethat are embedded in aesthetics.  Upon completion of this course the students should be familiar with major written works of African-American theatre, have a more complete understanding of U.S. history, and know the position of African-American Theatre within the context of major U.S. theatrical movements.

AFR 387D • Performance Ethnography

30605 • Spring 2012
Meets W 200pm-500pm WIN B.202
show description

The course will explore the relationship between performance and ethnography through readings and performance. The students will conduct fieldwork, use Personal Narratives and Everyday Life Performance techniques, and create a public performance based upon the fieldwork. In-class exercises and readings are designed to encourage students to draw conclusions about the virtues and problems associated with Performance Ethnoraphy. Key issues will include self-reflexivity, accountability, multivocality and participation.

AFR 301 • African American Culture

30135 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm UTC 4.134
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L )
show description

This course is an exploration of African American culture that provides students with analytical tools to critically examine and consciously participate in the ongoing construction of African American culture.  Particular attention is given to key terms such as race, culture, Blackness, hegemony, aesthetics, and politics.  Emphasis is placed on Black agency as demonstrated through the social, political, and representational choices made by African Americans.

AFR 374F • Afr Am Thtr Hist, Precol-1950

30565 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A215A
show description

AFR 374F AFR AM THTR HIST, PRECOL-1950

Some topics partially fulfill legislative requirement for American history; these are identified in the Course Schedule.

Prerequisite: Varies with the topic and is given in the Course Schedule.

Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Topic: African American theatre history, from precolonial to 1950.

MEETS WITH T D 357T

AFR 301 • African American Culture

35235 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm UTC 4.134
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L )
show description

This course examines the physical, social and economic dimensions of the urban crises with an emphasis on minority communities in general and African American’s in particular. We will explore the dynamics of race and class in American cities.  An interdisciplinary approach will be used to study contemporary issues such as poverty, education, politics and police brutality.

AFR 301 • African American Culture

35660 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CPE 2.208
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L, T D 311T )
show description

Introduction to

African American Culture

Fall 2009

AFR 301   35660      ANT 310L   30370      AMS 315  29865     TD 311T  25735

 

Instructor

Dr. O.O.J.L. Jones                                                      Office Phone: 471-1784

Class: CPE 2.208; T, Th; 12:30-1:45                            Office:  JES 232A jonijones@mail.utexas.edu                                       Office Hours: W, 3-5 & by Appt.

 

Teaching Assistants

Ms. Beliza Torres-Narvaez                                           belizat@mail.utexas.edu

Office Hours:  M, 12-1; Tu, 4-5                                   Office:  JES 232A

 

Mr. Kevin Thomas                                                       kdthomas@mail.utexas.edu

Office Hours: Tu, 11:30-1:30                                        Office:  JES 232A

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 “Where are we and whose country is this anyway?”

                                  June Jordan, 1985

 Course Description/Objectives: 

This course is an exploration of African American culture that provides students with analytical tools to critically examine and consciously participate in the ongoing construction of African American culture.  Particular attention is given to key terms such as race, culture, Blackness, hegemony, aesthetics, and politics.  Emphasis is placed on Black agency as demonstrated through the social, political, and representational choices made by African Americans. 

Readings:

Nell Painter, Creating  Black Americans:  African American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present. New York:  Oxford University Press, 2007. 

On Electronic Reserve at http://reserves.lib.utexas.edu/eres/

Assignments:

Essays:  You will write three critical reviews based your attendance at three different events sponsored by the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies or approved by Dr. Jones.  A list of Warfield Center events will be provided throughout the semester. The critical review will consist of a brief summary of the event and a discussion of the relationship between the event and the concepts/ideas presented in the course.  Each essay must reference and define at least two theories/ideas/concepts discussed in class.  You will be assessed on your understanding of the theories you examine, and the quality of your writing.  Each essay will be 3-4 full, double-spaced typewritten pages using Times New Roman 12 pt. font with standard margins.  Be sure to staple your essays, and include a header with your name and page numbers on each page. Each essay is due no later than one week after the event being reviewed.  Essays must be handed in during class hours on the assigned due dates. A grading rubric for the essays will be provided.

Exams:  There will be three in-class exams.  The second and third exams are cumulative with respect to theories/concepts/ideas, but are not cumulative with respect to events and dates. The test material will come from class discussion, the required text, the readings on e-reserve through the UT library.  The exams will include objective questions as well as short essays.

Attendance:  You are allowed two unexcused absences.  If you go beyond two unexcused absences, your final grade will be lowered by one letter. If you come to class 10 minutes late or if you leave class early, you will be considered absent.  It is your responsibility to insure that the Teaching Assistants have marked you as present.  Disputes over attendance will not be considered.  By UT Austin policy, you must notify Dr. Jones of your pending absence to observe religious holy days at least fourteen days prior to the date of observance for the holy days. If you must miss a class, an examination, a work assignment, or a project in order to observe a religious holy day, you will be given an opportunity to complete the missed work within a reasonable time after the absence.

Class Discussion:  You can earn a maximum of 5 points for in-class discussion.  Contributing to the ideas presented during class is a vital part of your education.  In addition to spontaneous contributions, each student will be asked to give a one-minute report on some aspect of the readings.  These assignments will be given during the class period before they are presented.

Grading Scale

3 Essays (3 x 14 pts.)               42%                 90-100 pts.      =          A

3 Exams (3 x 14 pts.)               42%                 89-90 pts.        =          B

Class Discussion                       6%                   79-70               =          C

Attendance                               10%                 69-60 pts.        =          D

TOTAL                                    100%

Course Guidelines

Classroom Protocols—

*You must display your class card during each class. If you do not have your card, you must make a new one. If it is not displayed, you will be counted as absent.

*No electronic devices may be used during class time.

*Students engaged in non-class activities during class time will have a reduction in their overall grade for the course.

*During discussion, everyone will observe the guidelines for hearty, respectful debate that we will establish together.

*When called upon, you are expected to respond with a respectful intelligent answer.

*Bring the text to every class period except when there will be an exam, a film, or a guest speaker.

For Assignments—

*Students will observe the University of Texas Honor Code: The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.

*Students cheating on exams or plagiarizing papers will be reported to the Dean of Liberal Arts for academic sanctions.  If you are suspected of cheating, you will not receive a grade for the questionable exam or paper.

*Late assignments will not be accepted.

*Papers must be handed in to the appropriate Teaching Assistant during class time on the day the paper is due.  Email essays will not be accepted.

*No make-up exams will be given, except in cases of documented emergency, serious illness, or legitimate conflicts with other classes.  Having more than one exam or project on the same day does NOT constitute an emergency.  If you anticipate a conflict, contact Dr. Jones one week prior to the test date.  If an emergency arises, contact Dr. Jones,

Ms. Torres-Narvaez, or Mr. Thomas immediately.

*Grade disputes must initiated within seven calendar days from the receipt of the grades.  After that time, disputes will not be considered.

Course Support—

*Email is recognized as an official mode of university correspondence; therefore, you are responsible for reading your email for university and course-related information and announcements. You are responsible for keeping the university informed about changes to your e-mail address. You should check your e-mail regularly and frequently to stay current with university-related communications, some of which may be time-critical. You can find UT Austin’s policies and instructions for updating your e-mail address at http://www.utexas.edu/its/policies/emailnotify.php.

 

*The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone).

*The UT Learning Center: http://www.utexas.edu/student/utlc/

 *Undergraduate Writing Center: http://uwc.utexas.edu/

 *Counseling & Mental Health Center: http://cmhc.utexas.edu/

 *Career Exploration Center: http://www.utexas.edu/student/careercenter/

 *Student Emergency Services: http://deanofstudents.utexas.edu/emergency/

 

NOTE:  On the course schedule, use the following key—

 Last names are authors whose work can be found in the e-reserve for this class.

Items in quotations marks are films we will view in class.

Chapters refer to the chapters in Creating Black Americans.

 

Course Schedule

AUG    27        Introduction to African American Culture

 

SEP    1          Begley, Angier

            3          “Ethnic Notions”   

       

            8          Chapters 1 & 2

            10        Holloway

 

15        Hebdige, Williams

17        Macintosh, Chapter 8

 

22        Appiah, Fanon                         

24        “Rosewood”                                         ESSAY I—No Later Than


            29        Chapter 9

OCT    1          EXAM I


            6          Jones, hooks

            8          Kelley

 

            13        DuBois,  Chapter 7

            15        Combahee River Collective    

              

            20        Davis

            22        “A Place of Rage”                                ESSAY II—No Later than


            27        Moynihan (1965) 1-55

            29        EXAM II


 NOV    3          Asante, Chapter 14

5          Chapter 15

 

10        Guest Lecture

            12        “Black Is, Black Ain’t”

 

            17        Chapter 3                                

            19        Chapter 15      


             24        “Sinbad,” “Marching Bands”                 ESSAY III—No Later Than

            26        THANKGIVING HOLIDAY – NO CLASS


 DEC    1          Epilogue in Creating Black Americans

3          EXAM III

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