AAS 362 - Expressive Cultures of the Black Atlantic: Vision and Time
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
HISTART 208/AAS 208 and upperclass standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This is a reading-intensive course that spans a wide range of Black Atlantic cultures by focusing on the roles of visual arts and performance in the production of historical memory.

In this course we will examine a diversity of Black Atlantic visual cultures, both in Africa and in the Diaspora, with a focus on how historical memory and the experience of the passage of time are articulated in objects and performances. What, for example, are the poetics of trying to reclaim historical “African” origins when such a reconstruction is by definition impossible? The idea of allegory will run strongly through the course: the mourning of lost “ancient” wholeness marked also by the enduring hope that fragments of the past can be reassembled to redeem the present. This is not to say that the people whose lives and works we will discuss here are abjectly “living in the past”—though this very misconception has been rehearsed often in museum exhibitions devoted to the objectifying study of “Other” cultures. We will concentrate on the ways in which the realities of a shifting present are addressed throughout the African Diaspora: in struggle, in celebration, and always in movement. Topics will include the construction of ritual altars in Haiti and Cuba; the carnival arts of Brazil, New Orleans and Trinidad; the sculpting of memory in recycled objects in the American South and in the sonic spaces of hip-hop; and other phenomena.

Course Requirements:

Student performance will be based heavily on weekly reading summaries and participation in classroom discussion. Each student also will be responsible for a class presentation of one week’s readings. A final project will consist of a “performance” that will synthesize the semester’s material in a way unique to each student. This may be in the form of a lecture, a film or video, a website, an interactive sculpture, among other possibilities. This project will also include a written component.

Intended Audience:

The course is intended for advanced students with diverse academic interests: religion, performance studies, anthropology, Atlantic studies. Concentrators in African and African-American studies, music, and History of Art are especially welcome.

Class Format:

3 hours per week, seminar meetings, no GSI involvement.


AAS 362 - Expressive Cultures of the Black Atlantic: Vision and Time
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for AAS 362.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for AAS 362 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)