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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Minkah Makalani

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Assistant Professor, Department of African & African Diaspora Studies

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Interests

African Diaspora; intellectual history, theory,and social movements; race and racial formation

LAS 310 • Liberation In Afr Diaspora

40530 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 206
(also listed as AFR 317E )
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Examination of liberation and freedom struggles in the African diaspora, focusing on common intellectual, political, and social currents among the diaspora's various groups. Course focuses on three major themes: abolitionism, Pan-Africanism and national liberation, and hip hop. Particular emphasis will be on the ideas associated with these movements, and the major organizations and intellectual currents in all three.

May be counted toward the global cultures flag requirement.

 

 

LAS 310 • Liberation In African Diaspora

40312 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 1.102
(also listed as AFR 317E )
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This course examines the liberation movements in the African diaspora, from political activities to cultural production, and the circulation of ideas among people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and Europe. Though the course will concentrate on maroonage, nationalism, anti-colonial liberation, music, and studying the major figures and intellectual currents of liberation, it will also explore how African diasporic movements have impacted world history and have expanded the meanings of such concepts as freedom, enlightenment, and rights. The course will also consider how travel and internationalism informed various movements. In thinking about what constitutes the African diaspora and how a liberation movement takes shape within it, the course will explore major political and intellectual trends in the African diaspora. For example, how did the Haitian revolution (the only successful slave revolt in history) inspire Black people during slavery and after? How did it challenge enlightenment thinking and what it means to be human? How did Black nationalism articulate the bonds between African liberation movements and the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement? What are Ghana, South Africa, Brazil, and Cuba important sites in the political imaginary?

Black Studies Faculty Highlight

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Minkah Makalani, Assistant Professor of AADS by Ahsika Sanders

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Minkah Makalani, Assistant Professor of AADS by Ahsika Sanders

This Spring semester, UT welcomed new faculty member Dr. Minkah Makalani to Austin as the newest addition to the African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) department.

 tonyaengel man in a paper suitDr. Makalani, the author of ‘In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917 -1939’ (University of North Carolina Press, 2011), taught two undergraduate courses in the Spring semester.  One course was the AFR senior seminar, and the other course was a broad look at social movements among African peoples. These courses aligned with Dr. Makalani’s personal research interests, which include the African diaspora, intellectual history, theory, social movements, race, and racial formation. “The [senior] seminar was a look at the African diaspora intellectuals and took a historian’s approach. We looked at: what are some of the things that preoccupy intellectuals in the African-American diaspora? What are some of their concerns? Then we came all the way up into the inter-colonial period and looked at different figures and different movements. All of the students got really animated about different elements so the class went great.”

“The other course, Liberation in the African Diaspora, [is] just trying to give students a broad introduction to what liberation movements in the African diaspora looked like. We discussed what ‘movement’ really means and we defined African. Then we talked about how to look at the two during slavery, so slave rebellions and most prominently the Haitian revolution.” Dr. Makalani said the course closed with a broad look at the Black Power movement, including the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, and Black consciousness in South Africa. The course also ended with a look at hip-hop, in particular how this music reflects a certain political consciousness in an effort to respond to circumstances. The course is designed to accommodate 35 to 40 students, and Dr. Makalani said that he will structure it in the future so that it will work as a basic, introductory level course for freshmen and sophomores, specifically AFR majors who might move on to take other AFR courses.

Dr. Makalani said the atmosphere at Rutgers, where he taught for eight years, differs from UT in that Rutgers was a commuter campus for faculty, which limited interactions between co-workers.  “Our interactions tended to not be on campus, so that made it a bit more difficult to have the institution be a part of the intellectual community,” he said.  “Here, if there is a talk on Wednesday that I might be interested in, it’s only a 15 minute bike ride to campus, whereas it was a four-hour round-trip commute at Rutgers. In that sense, the intellectual community was a bit more difficult to build and be a part of. “

Dr. Makalani also said the numbers of Black faculty are far greater here than they were at Rutgers. “Being in the African and African Diaspora Studies department specifically, that means that my immediate colleagues are all kind of interested in the same kinds of things - or at least engaging in the same kinds of questions. Whereas [at Rutgers] I was in the history department where, for the most part, my colleagues were not interested in the same kinds of field questions. That meant that I had to have those interactions and exchanges with people from English, Sociology, American Studies, but because no one really lived in the area it made it even more difficult so I kind of feel like I have come into the best possible situation in that regard,” Dr. Makalani said. “I’ve also found that with my new colleagues, there are [many] more rich discussions kind of immediately,” he said.  “You don’t have to establish the ground floor to have that discussion. “

Although he is originally from Kansas City, MO, Dr. Makalani lived and worked in New York off and on for almost 20 years, the last 10 of which were straight through. New York became home to him, so moving to Texas has been a big transition. “I’m looking forward to the coming years, working more with the students. In many ways the student life reminds me of my undergrad years where you have a very small Black student population on a very large predominantly White campus. The kind of issues and concerns that I see students talking about and raising are some of the same things that I remember from undergrad, so I’ve been heartened by what students are talking about, and the kinds of debates that they have with one another that I hear before and after class.”

Dr. Makalani closed by noting, “I’m looking forward to getting more involved with them and, be they [a] Black studies major or not, helping give some insight to the things that they will do. I am much more involved in the student life [here] than I was at Rutgers, but that is a positive change.”

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