Colonialism & Western Identity

Original Version

The West: What is it? Is it a place, a set of ideas and traditions, a period of history, an economic or political system? This course will examine how the West must be understood through encounters with the rest of the world, and through interactions between West and non-West. Colonialism initially determined the nature of those interactions, and the legacies of colonialism continue to shape Western identity today.


COR 280-01 Colonialism and Western Identity: Original Version

Lionel Beasley | W, F 3:30—4:45 PM

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COR 280-02 Colonialism and Western Identity: The Middle Passage

Patricia DeRocher | T, TH 2:00—3:15 PM

2019 marked the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to what is now the United States. In the spirit of recognizing this foundational component of United States history, this section does a deep, interdisciplinary dive into the economic, ideological, social, and cultural motivations informing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, as well as the continuing effects of it. We will work to connect the dots between the interconnected histories and racialized class systems of the United States and the Caribbean as a result of The Middle Passage. We will draw upon excerpts of the diasporic life writings of abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince, in addition to contemporary Afrofuturist/surrealist cultural knowledge production, including John Jennings' graphic novel of Octavia Butler's Kindred, Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, Beyoncé’s 2016 album Lemonade, and Ryan Coogler's 2018 film, Black Panther.

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COR 280-03 Colonialism and Western Identity: The Middle Passage

Patricia DeRocher | T, TH 12:30—1:45 PM

2019 marked the 400-year anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to what is now the United States. In the spirit of recognizing this foundational component of United States history, this section does a deep, interdisciplinary dive into the economic, ideological, social, and cultural motivations informing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, as well as the continuing effects of it. We will work to connect the dots between the interconnected histories and racialized class systems of the United States and the Caribbean as a result of The Middle Passage. We will draw upon excerpts of the diasporic life writings of abolitionists Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince, in addition to contemporary Afrofuturist/surrealist cultural knowledge production, including John Jennings' graphic novel of Octavia Butler's Kindred, Julie Dash's 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, Beyoncé's 2016 album Lemonade, and Ryan Coogler's 2018 film, Black Panther.

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COR 280-04 Colonialism and Western Identity: Immigrant U.S.

Craig Pepin | M 12:30—1:45 PM / W 9:30—10:45 AM

From Jamestown to the Muslim ban, the United States of America has always struggled with questions of who belongs, and why. The concept of "the West," and America's place within that construct, is often at the heart of those questions. Understanding social identities—ethnic, national, regional and racial (among others)—provides useful insights into debates about immigration in the United States, and is a vital tool for moving beyond the simplistic faultlines of contemporary politics.   

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COR 280-05 Colonialism and Western Identity: De/Colonial University

Sahar Sattarzadeh | T, TH 12:30—1:45 PM

Changing the names of buildings, removing statues, teach-ins, "street academies," creating and posting public syllabi, student protests, university reparations projects, and inviting scholars "from the margins" in conversation with popularized "Western" texts are some of the global practices that challenge the idea of the "colonial" university. This section will leverage the fact that higher education institutions such as Champlain College serve as ideal laboratories to study how colleges and universities reproduce and resist colonialism within and beyond their global communities.

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COR 280-06 Colonialism and Western Identity: De/Colonial University

Sahar Sattarzadeh | T,TH 2:00—3:15 PM

Changing the names of buildings, removing statues, teach-ins, "street academies," creating and posting public syllabi, student protests, university reparations projects, and inviting scholars "from the margins" in conversation with popularized "Western" texts are some of the global practices that challenge the idea of the "colonial" university. This section will leverage the fact that higher education institutions such as Champlain College serve as ideal laboratories to study how colleges and universities reproduce and resist colonialism within and beyond their global communities.

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COR 280-07SIS Colonialism and Western Identity: Whiteness 

Faith Yacubian | M, TH 11:00 AM—12:15 PM

What can Colonialism tell us about Whiteness and Racism? In this class, we will examine the relationship between Western Identity and white racial superiority complexes. We will engage with critical theories, cultural narratives, and popular media that challenge and reinforce Western values, beliefs, and ideals. To that end, we will analyze modern society within the context of white-centrism. Lastly, we will also look at the role that decolonization has played in understanding recolonization and liberation.

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