Journalist Isabel Wilkerson wrote that the 6 million African Americans who migrated from the Jim Crow South to the urban North, West, and Europe after emancipation “did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.” Migration, movement, captivity, and travel are central to the history of the African Diaspora in the black Atlantic and conceptions of “freedom” and protest in the United States. They are also central to the creation, rise, and circulation of black popular culture globally to articulate revolutionary thought and communicate competing visions for a racially equal and just future historical actors and artists tried to will into being during slavery and Jim Crow eras. Richard Wright, famed author of Native Son hand-wrote a poem reflecting his own motivations for leaving Rucker’s Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi, for Chicago, New York, and ultimately, like many black revolutionaries and artists, for Paris. “I was leaving the South/ To fling myself into the unknown…/ I was taking a part of the South/ To transplant in alien soil, / To See if I could grow differently/ If I could drink of new and cool rains/ Bend in strange winds/ Respond to the warmth of other suns./ And, perhaps, to bloom.”
This course examines (and then requires students to digitally archive) the artistic and institutional representations of the forced and elective migration of African American life, freedom fighters, artists, and intellectuals in Paris from slavery to Beyoncé and Barack Obama. By analyzing historical sites, museum exhibits, slave narratives, literature, and art in Paris, this course analyzes the use of movement, immobility, captivity, and forced dislocations from family and culture from a myriad of viewpoints: slaves like Sally Hemings, who accompanied master Thomas Jefferson to Paris, slave traders like John Newton who wrote “Amazing Grace,” and abolitionist writers who were all traveling between Paris, London, and the United States. The second half of the course will look at black travel and its representations by intellectuals and artists like W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Brick Top as a manifestation of protest, as a major theme in black music and film, as a form of economic opportunity, and freedom as a way to try and bring forth a utopian vision of an interracial future abroad in Paris that was not possible in the United States.
To African American historical subjects like James Baldwin or Josephine Baker, Paris provided the unparalleled freedom to work and the invaluable opportunity to learn in a way that was not accessible in the United States. We will do the same, while researching how and why this happened.
Being physically on site in Paris is crucial to mastering black cultural history in the particular spatial dynamics of Paris’ urban landscape. In Paris, class and race were delineated vertically in architecture and in urban spirals differently from the United States’ rigid “class line” system of segregation. Such a system allowed for unique forms of cohabitation of races and sites of artistic development. As a class, we will be interrogating and analyzing what specifically about this physical place in different historical moments allowed this to happen and then we will digitally map this process, conducting original research and interacting with sites in Paris to create an online exhibit of black cultural life. As part of our historical mission to create relevant public histories, students will also create walking tours so that future Americans in Paris can recreate our steps. By digitally mapping black American life in Paris, students will gain valuable skills in close reading texts, the urban landscape, using digital humanities to create research-based content for the general public, and advanced research methodologies both in the archives and in the field.
By the end of the Maymester, students will:
- Learn hands-on digital humanities research methodologies and work with technologically innovative tools to collaboratively build a research-based website that can be used by other scholars and the general public. You will leave this class with a tangible product of what you learned to show future employers or as part of a research portfolio for graduate or professional schools
- Engage with a variety of physical sites in Paris dedicated to preserving, memorializing, or even forgetting past events and people related to black Paris as part of the broader cultural landscape
- Identify and explore the defining material, spatial, political, and cultural features of “Paris Noir”
- Acquire and be able to write about American race relations and cultural history in a dynamic and global perspective
- Assess how historical sites contribute to the production or contestation of shared cultural ideas that developed between America and France (i.e. patriotism, citizenship, public history, memory, race, national identity, civil rights, human rights, war) and consider their significance in the broader history of urban planning and racial ideology
- Develop close reading and analysis skills that can be applied to texts, objects, the digital world, and physical spaces
Your instructor is Professor Rhae Lynn Barnes.
Quick Navigation Menu
- Course Requirements
- Required Texts, Films, Performances, & Audio
- WEEK 1: Black Culture in the Age of Enslavement and Atlantic Revolutions
- Monday, May 14: Collecting and Exhibiting People & Other Cultures in Paris: Scientific Racism and Saartjie Baartman the “Hottentot Venus”
- Tuesday, May 15: An Enslaved American or Free African in Paris?
- Wednesday, May 16: Slavery, Culture, Colorism: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
- Thursday, May 17: Louvre
- Friday, May 18: Small Group Research Day
- WEEK 2: Black Popular Entertainment in a New Global Age
- Monday, May 21: Interracial Art in Revolutionary Paris & Haiti: The Dumas Family
- Tuesday, May 22, 2018: World Fairs and Racialized Architecture in Paris
- Wednesday, May 23: World War I and the Beginning of Paris Noir’s Jazz Age
- Thursday, May 24: Blackface Minstrelsy to Black Stars: Josephine Baker, Chocolat, & Julia Perry
- Friday, May 25: Working Groups & African Fashion in the City Tour with Senegalese & Parisian Fashion Designers & Journalists
- WEEK 3: Post War Black Paris
- Monday, May 28: Harlem’s Artistic Renaissance in Paris from Henry Ossawa Tanner to Lois Mailou Jones
- Tuesday, May 29: Museum Gallery Analysis
- Wednesday, May 30: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement in Paris
- Thursday, May 31: Conversation about contemporary African immigration, religion, and issues of representation in Paris.
- Friday, June 1: Working Group
Course assignments will require students to create digital content. It is highly encouraged that you bring a laptop computer or iPad, a smartphone, and /or camera. It is not required you have all of these things; we will discuss in our pre-meetings who should bring what equipment.
- Class Meetings.
Meeting #1 March 23, 2018: Introduction to Paris Noir
At our first meeting, you will be introduced to:
- The history of African American life and American cultural history in Paris.
- We will go over travel logistics, housing, packing necessities, and meal options for this course. We will also discuss basic Paris layout and navigation tips.
- We will have an in-depth discussion about class safety, procedure, insurance, emergency preparedness, and our designated assembly points.
- We will discuss how this course is structured. I will distribute a list of 50 historically significant black Americans who left an indelible mark on Paris and American culture. We will also go over the small research working groups that will work together to develop aspects of our course website.
- We will discuss our first text, Himes, Chester, If He Hollers, Let Him Go: A Novel (De Capo Press, Reprint Edition 2002, originally 1945).
Group Contracts & Final Project Planning
To ensure safety in the field, students will always work in a group together. At our meeting, you will meet with your working research group for the first time. You will establish group research goals and sign a group contract. Some of the criteria you must deliberate and decide upon includes:
- A group title based on your research focus group.
- The group leader will organize meetings beyond class meetings and set agendas for both research and website deliverables in consultation with instructor. The group leader will also receive additional training from the instructor before we depart so that there is an additional responsible person assigned to distribute supplies, take attendance, and give directions if an emergency occurs while small group work is taking place on site.
- Share three strengths and three weaknesses of each group member’s work ethic and learning approach (for example: are you a procrastinator? If so, how can your group anticipate potential challenges?).
- Develop a description of goals and tasks for what your group hopes to contribute to the class website and what individual roles will be to achieve that learning goal. Will one person be in charge of identifying archival documents and historical images? Who will edit your portion of the websites’ content? Who will upload your group’s content? Are there creative or multimedia elements you want to develop (e.g. a podcast)? In short: every team member must complete a final project that contributes to the group’s whole.
- How will group members contact each other and how will you contact each other while abroad? Exchange phone numbers, emails, and/ or social media information and agree how you will communicate as a group.
- You will need to agree whether or not you are comfortable with team members tagging you or checking you into sites on social media and/ or sharing your likeness online. We will discuss in our first meeting safety concerns related to social media and travel.
- You need to agree how long group members can take to respond to each other when working and planning meetings (1 hour, 24 hours?).
- A list of dates and times that group members will meet during Spring 2018 for pre-work and research.
- A discussion of how groups will settle intellectual disagreements should they arise. Will the group leader have the last say, will majority rule, or do you require a consensus?
- Read and understand the “summary of contributions” sheet. The purpose of this form will be to allow each group member the means to formally communicate his/ her contributions to the final project to his/ her fellow group members and the instructor. All members of the group should print and sign his/ her name and give a brief summary of their contributions. Group members will also sign it to confirm the accuracy of contributions. You will submit this completed form with your final project.
Attendance in Paris
This course formally meets Monday – Thursday in Paris for three weeks. In addition, students will meet once a week with the instructor and with fellow students for group fieldwork and digital humanities projects that convene on Fridays. We will meet for required film screenings, community events, and performances that will sometimes be scheduled in the evenings . Onsite lectures will introduce material that is not replicated in course readings, class outings, or fieldwork and will introduce you to skills that are important for completing course assignments. Attendance is mandatory. If you need to be absent from class, you must contact your professor and provide proper medical documentation. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class session and group work day. Students are expected to be on time and come prepared to participate in class discussions. Class will begin promptly as we will often have prearranged scheduled meetings for archives and museums. Students arriving more than 15 minutes late will be counted as absent for that class. TWO absences will result in the drop of a full letter grade on your final grade. To be clear: as attendance will be taken at each session, missing two sessions in one single day can drop you an entire grade. If you absolutely have to miss one of the site visits, this will require a more substantial make-up assignment. The reason for this policy is not simply to encourage you to attend class, but to put appropriate emphasis on the crucial and collaborative nature of on-site based study that is central to this class.
- Participation. 15% of your grade.
This course is driven by site-based study and discussion; the success of this class hinges on active engagement by all students. Site visits are essential. Participation involves preparation, thoughtful contribution, and engaging with your peers. Students will participate in both small group work and large class discussions where we will aim to explore and creatively engage with the cultural landscape on multiple levels while making connections to the readings. Please respect our classroom environment (wherever we might be). Turn off cell phones while in class unless you are explicitly asked to use your phone for a digital activity. Additional rubrics of sufficient participation include punctuality to each visit site, care and respect in each new environment we meet at, and on-time submission of all collaborative work.
Guidelines for Dialogue / Community Expectations
- Our primary commitment is to learn from each other. We will listen to each other and not talk at each other. We acknowledge our differences in backgrounds, skills, interests, and values. We realize that it is these very differences that will increase our awareness and understanding through this process.
- We will not demean, devalue, or “put down” people for their experiences, lack of experiences, or difference in interpretation of those experiences.
- We will trust that people are always doing the best they can.
- Challenge the idea and not the person. If we wish to challenge something that has been said, we will challenge the idea or the practice referred to, not the individual sharing this idea or practice.
- Speak your discomfort. If something is bothering you, please share this with the group. Often our emotional reactions to this process offer the most valuable learning opportunities.
- Step Up. E mpower yourself to speak up.
- Daily Blog Assignment. 25% of your grade. Each night you will have a short assignment that is due by 11 P.M. These assignments will ask you to apply course readings and might range from brief primary source analyses, close reading objects, digital mapping exercises, collaboratively annotating a passage, responding to prompts, and so forth. Each day, one student will be designated in charge of our “Social Media Takeover” to show our followers Paris Noir through their eyes. The “Social Media Takeover” student will also be responsible for drafting our evening newsletter in place of their daily blog post. All “Social Media Takeover” content should be e-mailed to Editors@USHistoryScene.com.
- Group Walking Tour Project Due June 2, 2018. 30% of your grade. Each group is expected to complete their own thematic project that will add up collectively to an interactive class-built website and walking tour. You will also give a final presentation of your project on our last day together in Paris. Your final project will grow out of your small group work. Each group will contribute a part of our collaboratively built digital, public history class website examining black histories in Paris while mapping its representation in artworks, objects, texts, music, and performance as well as physical spaces historical subjects lived and memorials. You will receive a separate assignment rubric, outlining your individual and group expectations.
- Final Individual Research Project. Rough Draft Due June 8, 2018 and Final Project Due June 14, 2018. 30% of your grade. Each student will finish a final individual research project of their choosing, in consultation with the instructor. You will receive a separate assignment rubric.
- Office Hours and Orientation. After registration, I will circulate a signup sheet for one-on-one meetings so I can get to know more about you, your intellectual goals, and interests.
- Late Work. All late work will be docked 2 points automatically, and one additional point for every late day. No exceptions.
- Grading Rubric.
94-100 = A | 90-93 = A- | 87-89 = B+ | 84-86 = B | 80-83 = B- | 77-79 = C+ | 74-76 = C | 70-73 = C- | 67-69 = D+ | 64-66 = D | 60-63 = D | > 59 = F
Required Texts, Films, Performances, & Audio
This class includes required film screenings, performances, and audio. You are required to attend all film screenings and performances. We will also use short video clips, analyze images, and listen to music that will be available on our class website. You will be responsible for all material presented, just as you are responsible for the assigned readings.
- Himes, Chester, If He Hollers, Let Him Go: A Novel (De Capo Press, Reprint Edition 2002, originally 1945).
- Clifton C. Crais and Pamela Scully, Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (Princeton University Press, 2009).
- Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008)
- Catel & Bocquet, Josephine Baker (2017).
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015).
- Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) [Available on Netflix]
- Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2017) [Available on Hulu & Amazon Prime]
- Recommended film, though not required: Burke, Koshland, Burke, Joanne, Burke, David, Koshland, Phylssa, and Walking the Spirit Tours , Production Company. Paris Noir : African Americans in the City of Light / Blue Lion Films Presents ; Director, Joanne Burke ; Writer, David Burke ; Producer, Phylssa Koshland. 2016. [Available at Libraries on DVD]
Warning of Graphic Material
The subject matter of this course—both in imagery and description—can and will at times be graphic. Understanding that each individual’s level of sensitivity can be different, if some part of the course is overly distressing or disturbing please feel free to discuss such problems with the instructor.
Academic Honesty and Classroom Conduct
You are encouraged to discuss the readings and ideas in the course with your fellow classmates and others. However, your written work should be planned, developed, and written by you alone unless you are explicitly directed to work collaboratively in groups. Plagiarism—the representation of ideas or words by another source as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words—is cause for an automatic failing of this course. Words taken directly from another source (whether the item was found in published or unpublished print material, manuscript source, or the internet) should be presented in quotation marks, with the source clearly indicated in footnotes. Ideas paraphrased from another source should also be footnoted to indicate and credit the source. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus in Section 11, “Behavior Violating University Standards.”
Discrimination, sexual assault, threats, and harassment are not tolerated by the university while on campus or abroad. You are encouraged to report any incidents that occur in person or online to the Office of Equity and Diversity or to the Department of Public Safety. This is important for the safety of the whole community. Another member of the university community – such as a friend, classmate, advisor, or faculty member – can help initiate the report, or can initiate the report on behalf of another person. The Center for Women and Men provides 24/7 confidential support, and the Sexual Assault Resource Center webpage describes reporting options and other resources.
Spring Semester 2018: Orientation meetings on campus will be held March 23, 2018.
To prepare, please read “Planning to Study Abroad in Paris.”
WEEK 1: Black Culture in the Age of Enslavement and Atlantic Revolutions
Travel Friday-Sunday morning to Paris at leisure.
Sun. May 13: Check into hotel Sunday at 3 P.M. Meet in the lobby of our Hotel at 6 P.M. to travel to Welcome Dinner.
Mon. May 14: Collecting and Exhibiting People & Other Cultures in Paris: Scientific Racism and Saartjie Baartman the “Hottentot Venus”
Meet at 10 A.M. outside the French National Museum of Natural History to analyze the Grand Gallery of Evolution. Here, we will engage in our first on-site analysis and document representations of race in tangible things that are on view and historical and controversial exhibits that are represented abstractly.
- *Mary Jo Arnoldi, “From the Diorama to the Dialogic: A Century of Exhibiting Africa at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History,” Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 39 (155/156), 1999, 701-726.
- Clifton C. Crais and Pamela Scully, Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (Princeton University Press, 2009). Read chapter 6 with extra care and attention.
- *Images, artwork, and scientific studies related to “the Hottentot Venus” on course website
- Susan Goldberg, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It,” featured in “The Race Issue” by National Geographic, March 2018.
- Elizabeth Kolbert, “There is No Scientific Evidence for Race: It’s a Made Up Label” featured in “The Race Issue” by National Geographic, March 2018.
Tues. May 15: An Enslaved American or Free African in Paris?
Morning Activity: Meet outside Cafe Lateral at 10 AM. We will then walk to the Arc de Triomphe and conduct an onsite analysis of this memorial with fascinating and hidden commemorations to Africans, Haitians, and African Americans who participated in French warfare.
At 11AM we will visit 92 Ave des Champs-Elysées (Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson’s former residence while Ambassadors to France) and the home of Sally Hemings.
We will conclude at the Egyptian Obelisk.
- Annette Gordon Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), Read “Part II: The Vaunted Scene of Europe”
Wed. May 16: Slavery, Culture, Colorism: The Dark Side of Enlightenment
10 A.M. Meet outside Shakespeare & Co. Book Store near site of printing of Thomas Paine’s revolutionary treatise Common Sense. We will also visit Enlightenment sites and monuments related to John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the Treaty of Paris. We will analyze how these monuments frame American-French relations and public memory as it relates to complex ideas about human rights and freedom in the age of American and French slavery. Many of these individuals also owned slaves. Where is there evidence of these slaves’ lives in the landscape?
Afternoon Activity: Meet in courtyard at Hôtel de Sully for discussion of representations of the “New World” and Africa in architecture at 3 PM.
- *Excerpt, Immanuel Kant, from “Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime” (1764)
- *Excerpt, Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787)
- *Phillis Wheatley, On Being Brought From Africa to America (Poem)
- *Excerpt, Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself Vol. I. available on UNC’s Documenting the American South (1789)
- *Excerpt, Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho: An African (1782)
Thur. May 17: 10AM. Meet outside the Louvre. View works featuring black bodies in the Louvre including Adoration of the Magi images, Delacroix’s Women of Algiers, Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa, Marie-Guillemine Benoist Portrait of Negress, Coypel’s Young Black Holding a Basket of Fruit, etc.) and discuss in terms of black bodies in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Compare to Kehinde Wiley’s contemporary paintings reinterpreting these works like Barack Obama’s recent Presidential portrait, that takes a reflective perspective on art history. To further this discussion, students will then consider the trans-Atlantic spatiality of artworks and art histories by examining the works in Faith Ringgold’s Dancing at the Louvre quilt and twelve-story quilts. No blog post tonight.
Fri. May 18: Small Group Research Day
Weekend of Sat. & Sun.: On Saturday, I would suggest a visit to the Musée d’Orsay to discuss major black artists versus major Parisian impressionist exhibits. Optional free Gospel Show at the American Church in Paris and site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sermon on Sunday.
WEEK 2: Black Popular Entertainment in a New Global Age
Mon. May 21: Interracial Art in Revolutionary Paris & Haiti: The Dumas Family
Morning Activity:#1 Meet in lobby of Hotel at 10 A.M to travel together. Class analysis of major statues and public installations in Paris commemorating three generations of the Dumas Family from details on the Arc de Triomphe, Place du General Catroux trio of statues, and the Haitian Embassy in Paris.
Morning Activity #2: Discuss William Wells Brown and Frederick Douglass’ retracing of the Dumas Family in Paris and “Fugitive Slave Tourism”
- *Haitian Constitution of 1805 (1 Page)
- Read “Frederick Douglass: Refugee” The Atlantic
- *Excerpts of classic Dumas Literature
- *Excerpt, William Wells Brown, Three Years in Europe
- Explore the website “Frederick Douglass: Fugitive Slave in Great Britain”
Tues. May 22: World Fairs and Racialized Architecture in Paris
Morning Activity: Meet at the Eiffel Tower at 10 A.M. Collectively analyze and discuss images from “Du Bois Albums of Photographs of African Americans in Georgia Exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900” and “Double Consciousness” excerpt from Souls of Black Folk as they relate to World Fair architecture.
Small Group Afternoon Activity Option #1: Meet at the Bois de Vincennes for discussion of World’s Fairs in Paris. At this site, you will study the architectural remnants and gardens of the Paris Colonial Exhibition (1931), a monument for black soldiers that died for France, a colonial troops monument, the ruins of the Congo pavilion, and the new Indochina Pavilion.
Small Group Afternoon Activity Option #2: Meet at the Great Mosque of Paris (open 2PM to 6PM)
- James W. Cook, “Finding Otira: On the Geopolitics of Black Celebrity,” Raritan(Fall 2014), 84-111. 2013
- *Excerpt, David L. Lewis, A Small Nation of People: WEB Du Bois & African American Portraits of Progress (Library of Congress, 2003).
- Patricia A. Morton, “National and Colonial: The Musee des Colonies at the Colonial Exposition, Paris, 1931,” The Art Bulletin 80 (2), June 1998, 357-377.
- Shawn Michelle Smith, “Looking at One’s Self Through the Eyes of Others”: WEB Du Bois’s Photographs for the 1900 Paris Exposition” African American Review Vol. 34, No, 4 (Winter, 2000), p. 581-599.
Wed. May 23: World War I and the Beginning of Paris Noir’s Jazz Age
Meet at 9 A.M. outside jazz club TBD. Lecture topics will include James Reese Europe, the 369th Infantry Regiment, Buddy Gilmore, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Frank De Bronte, Eugene Bullard, and Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Bessie Coleman, the Pan African Conference and Marcus Garvey, and the African American Gold Star Mothers in Paris.
- Catel & Bocquet, Josephine Baker (2017)
- *Du Bois, W.E.B. “Returning Soldiers,” Crisis (No. 17, May 1919), 13-14.
- *Excerpt, Tyler Stovall, African Americans in the City of Light, Chapter 1
- *Class Jazz Set List
Thurs. May 24: Blackface Minstrelsy to Black Stars: Josephine Baker, Chocolat, & Julia Perry
At 10 AM in hotel lobby. We will walk over to the Folies Bergère followed by the L’église de la Madeleine. Today’s visits include Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Casino de Paris, L’Église de la Madeleine, Château des Milandes, café La Coupole, and Olympia. Discussions will engage the black female body and black bodies in motion picture and stage performance.
Meet 4:40 PM for an optional free performance by Etienne Alsamia at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival.
- Class Set List (Shuffle Along, All Coons Look Alike To Me, Josephine Baker’s Solo Hits, Julia Perry’s compositions, etc.)
- *McMahan, Matthew. “‘Let Me See You Dance’: Ada ‘Bricktop’ Smith, the Charleston, and Racial Commodification in Interwar France.” Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 29, no. 2 (2015): 43-61.
Optional (at your own expense) 9PM Performance by Kunda Toure at the New Morning Jazz Club.
Optional (at your own expense) a performance by Roberto Fonseca.
Fri. May 25: Working Groups & African Fashion in the City Tour with Senegalese & Parisian Fashion Designers & Journalists
Group 1 will meet at 10:30 A.M. at 13 rue Clignancourt for an introduction to Dutch and African textiles in Paris, African designers involved in startups and Paris Fashion week like Maison Cheatu Rouge, and contemporary African immigration. Grup 2 will meet at 2PM. The final group will meet at 10:30 AM on Saturday 5/26.
- Bruggeman, Danielle. “Vlisco: Made in Holland, adorned in West Africa, (re)appropriated as Dutch design.” Fashion, Style, & Popular Culture 4, no. 2 (2017): 197.
Working Groups will meet when you are not on the African Fashion in the City Tour
Sat. and Sun.: At your leisure. Suggested (and free) activities including visiting contemporary galleries showcasing black diaspora artists Les Arts Dernier, A Ethiopia, and Noir d’Ivoire. Visit studios of American ex-patriot artists (Joe Johnson and Ealy Mays). For day trips, try Versailles.
WEEK 3: POST WAR BLACK PARIS
Mon. May 28: Harlem’s Artistic Renaissance in Paris from Henry Ossawa Tanner to Lois Mailou Jones
Meet at 10 AM at Le Petit Journal – 71 Boulevard Saint-Michel – 75005 Paris directly outside the Luxembourg Garden.
Lunchtime suggestion: If you bring your own lunch, you could go into the Musée du Luxembourg and see Henry Ossawa Tanner’s paintings during break.
2 PM: After a morning class in the Garden, you will walk the streets and studios of Montparnasse to engage Paris’ grittier artistic neighborhood, home to many African American artists from the late 19th century through the 1930s. View the sites and discuss works by artists: No. 15 Rue Bréa (Laura Wheeler Waring), Rue Notre Dame des Champs (home to Chez Honey jazz club, and the Scandinavian School which featured Hale Woodruff, Aaron Douglas, and Augusta Savage) and No. 70 (Henry Ossawa Tanner) and William H. Johnson, Rue de la Grande Chaumière (Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Lois Mailou Jones, Herbert Gentry, Ed Clark), Rue Campagne Première (Jockey Club, Archibald Motley, and Lois Mailou Jones’ studio). Writer sites include Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Chester Himes.
- *Excerpt, Leininger-Miller, Theresa A. New Negro Artists In Paris: African American Painters and Sculptors In the City of Light, 1922-1934. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2001.
- *James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son, (1955), Read Part III
- *Rogers, Joel Augustus, “The American Negro in Paris,” New York Amsterdam News (September 14 and 21, 1927).
- *Achille, Louis. “L’Art et les Noirs/ The Negroes and Art,” Revue du Monde Noir (1931)
- *Wiggins, Edgar. “Artists Live Queer in Paris Latin Quarter,” Afro-American (May 13, 1933)
Watch: Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
Suggested for further reading:
Tues. May 29: Museum Gallery Analysis
Visit Musée du quai Branly (7 Euros admissions for students).
- Herman Lebovics, “The Musee du Quai Branly: Art? Artifact? Spectacle!,” French Politics, Culture, and Society 24 (3), Winter 2006, 96-110.
- James Clifford, “Quai Branly in Process,” October, 120, Spring 2007, 3-23. Elizabeth Harney, “‘Les Arts Premiers’ in Paris: Le Monument de l’Autre. African Arts 39 (4), Winter 2006, 1, 4 , 6, 8-9, 91-92, 96.
- Tamara Levitz, “The Aesthetization of Ethnicity: Imagining the Dogon at the Musee du Quai Branly,” The Musical Quarterly, 89 (4), Winter 2006, 600-642.
Optional (at your own expense): 8:30 PM Performance by Indra Rios Moore
Wed. May 30: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement in Paris
10 A.M. Analyze on-site café culture and how it facilitated interracial arts movements like jazz in Montmartre and Saint-Germain.
2 P.M. Meet at the Centre Georges Pompidou
- *Penny M. Von Eschen, Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006)
- *Ruth Feldstein, “‘I Don’t Trust You Anymore’: Nina Simone, Culture, and Black Activism in the 1960s,” Journal of American History 91 (March 2005), 1349-1379.
- *“Civil Rights March Planned by 50 Americans in Paris,” New York Times (November 29, 1966)
- *Excerpt, Robin Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, (Free Press, 2010), Read Chapter “France Libre!”
Watch: Liz Garbus, What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)
Optional (at your own expense): Blues Night in French at the New Morning Jazz Club
Thurs. May 31: 9 AM Conversation about contemporary African immigration, religion, and issues of representation in Paris. How is our own historical moment different? How is it similar? Does the representation of modern black life in Coates’ book match what you’ve seen while in Paris? Who are ‘The Dreams’? How is this book structured? Who is the audience? how does Coates think of Paris compared to Baldwin? How does his son think of Black Lives Matter in relation to Civil Rights at “home” or “abroad”? How does his experience relate to WEB Du Bois?
1PM: Working Group
- Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (2015)
Sat.: June 2: Final Group Presentations of Walking Tours and Goodbye Dinner
Sun: June 3: Travel back to Los Angeles or Adventure Onward in Europe at Your Leisure
Thurs: June 7: Rough Draft of Individual Research Project: Rough draft of multimedia project must be uploaded to the US History Scene dashboard. You will receive feedback on your work to date over the weekend.
Thur: June: Final Draft of Individual Research Project: Final draft due to US History Scene dashboard by 5PM Pacific Standard Time.