The Autodidact Course Catalog
August 27, 2009 |  by Dale Keiger

Uneasy in America: Readings on Race

Ben Vinson III, professor of history and director of the Center for Africana Studies, Krieger School

From day one, there has been nothing easy about the racial diversity of America. This course will explore the history, complexities, and consequences of the African diaspora and its impact on the United States, with an emphasis on the last 50 years and from multiple perspectives.

  • Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora, by Michael A. Gomez. A history, wide ranging but concise, of the global dispersion of Africans from antiquity to the modern day. Neither Enemies Nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos, edited by Anani Dzidzienyo and Suzanne Oboler. Fourteen scholars on being black, Latino, or both in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Waiting ’Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America, by Peniel E. Joseph. For 20 years (1955–1975), a mesmerizing cast of leaders occupied the political stage, struggling to advance African Americans, and they are all here: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis.
  • Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness, by John L. Jackson Jr. Racism has not gone away, says Jackson, it’s gone underground, cloaked by political correctness, expressed in racial paranoia among both blacks and whites, and subtler in its manifestations.

The Art of Teaching

Francis Masci, associate professor of teacher preparation, School of Education

Just because one is an autodidact does not rule out the possibility of teaching others. This course offers a combination of practical guidance and ideas to ponder.

Biochemistry and Human Evolution (With Rather a Lot about Mitochondria)

Blake Hill, associate professor of biology, Krieger School

Identification of your ancestry, how you age, what diseases you suffer, what your cells do and why—all much determined by enzymes and mitochondria. A deep journey into what has made you into you. While you’re here, shake hands with your inner African. And your clan mother is calling.

Next: Ground-level French history, coping with breast cancer and a joint seminar on classical times.