Faculty Profile

Patricia van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Distinguished Chair in Africana Studies (2009)

Contact Information

moonsamp@dickinson.edu

Althouse Hall Room G20
717.245.1894

Bio

Patricia van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Business Administration from San Francisco State University. Her scholarly interests lie at the intersection of expressive culture, social activism, and the politics of representation and subjectivity in the post-colonial Caribbean. With funding from the National Science Foundation, she conducted fieldwork in Trinidad and Tobago, exploring the dynamic relationships that exist between people of African and South Asian Indian ancestry and documenting how these are expressed though performance. At Dickinson College, Dr. van Leeuwaarde Moonsammy teaches courses on the African Diaspora and the Caribbean, and continues to engage in research on performance, activism and identity politics in the Caribbean.

Education

  • B.A., San Francisco State University, 1986
  • M.A., University of Michigan, 2002
  • Ph.D., 2009

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

LALC 200 Approaches to Africana Studies
Cross-listed with AFST 200-01.

AFST 200 Approaches to Africana Studies
Cross-listed with LALC 200-02.

LALC 200 Get Up, Stand Up! Bob Marley
Cross-listed with AFST 220-01.This course situates reggae superstar Bob Marley within a larger framework of artist/activists, Pan-Africanists, and postcolonial revolutionary figures. The face of Bob Marley is emblazoned on T-shirts sold in mainstream department stores, and figures prominently on posters and textiles that adorn American college students’ dorm rooms. His music is celebrated in regions as diverse as the UK, Japan, New Zealand, and Tanzania. We’re all familiar with commercials promoting tourism in Jamaica that feature Bob Marley’s track, “One Love.” Less familiar is the history of Bob Marley—the socio-political environment in which he was raised, the cultures that shaped his music, the historical figures that influenced his ideology and politics, the development and nature of his spirituality, and the commodification of his image in transnational global markets. These are among the issues that will be explored in this course. Bob Marley is a cultural icon whose music continues to have a significant impact on the development of postcolonial and counter-hegemonic consciousness, artistic production, and activism in the Caribbean, Africa, Britain, and the US. The course will introduce students to scholarly and popular writing about, as well as filmic representations of, Bob Marley’s life, art, and politics.

AFST 220 Get Up, Stand Up! Bob Marley
Cross-listed with LALC 200-01.This course situates reggae superstar Bob Marley within a larger framework of artist/activists, Pan-Africanists, and postcolonial revolutionary figures. The face of Bob Marley is emblazoned on T-shirts sold in mainstream department stores, and figures prominently on posters and textiles that adorn American college students’ dorm rooms. His music is celebrated in regions as diverse as the UK, Japan, New Zealand, and Tanzania. We’re all familiar with commercials promoting tourism in Jamaica that feature Bob Marley’s track, “One Love.” Less familiar is the history of Bob Marley—the socio-political environment in which he was raised, the cultures that shaped his music, the historical figures that influenced his ideology and politics, the development and nature of his spirituality, and the commodification of his image in transnational global markets. These are among the issues that will be explored in this course. Bob Marley is a cultural icon whose music continues to have a significant impact on the development of postcolonial and counter-hegemonic consciousness, artistic production, and activism in the Caribbean, Africa, Britain, and the US. The course will introduce students to scholarly and popular writing about, as well as filmic representations of, Bob Marley’s life, art, and politics.

Spring 2016

AFST 100 Intro to Africana Studies
Cross-listed with LALC 121-01.

LALC 121 Intro to Africana Studies
Cross-listed iwth AFST 100-01.

LALC 200 Performativity
Cross-listed with AFST 310-01 and THDA 302-02.Performance in Africa and throughout the Black Diaspora assumes a deep level of interaction between the performer and the audience. In many societies and performance contexts, the boundary between “performer” and “audience” is difficult, if not impossible to define. Whereas some performance contexts are structured around a lead performer issuing a call to which the wider audience responds, other spheres of social activity enable more egalitarian, communal, multi-directional connections between participants. In this course, students will learn the history of the development of the field of performance studies, and explore a range of theories that interrogate the idea of performance and performativity as modes of expressive culture and communication. Using case studies from Africa and the African Diaspora, students will investigate how performance theory has been applied in a range of scholarly and popular genres. In addition to exploring a wide range of call and response performance interactions as expressions of social, political, religious, and emotional engagements and commentaries, this course also seeks to understand the concept of “blackness” in various temporal and spatial settings, and as a framework for understanding political and cultural connections between groups of people separated by wide expanses of land and sea. A central aim of this course is to challenge the idea that blackness exclusively means Africanness, and rather, to explore the nuances of what blackness signifies.

LALC 300 Anthropology/Music – Caribbean
Cross-listed with AFST 310-02 and ANTH 345-01.This course explores the contours of Caribbean society, thought, and culture through attention to artistic expression, in general, and music, in particular. Using films, music videos, ethnographies and other critical readings, we analyze how musical production and music events help us to define the Caribbean region and to understand the lives of the people who call it home. Employing case studies drawn from the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, we look at how individuals and groups have used music to write their own histories, preserve their spirituality, assert their unique identities, form alliances across groups, resist oppressive regimes, build nations, and celebrate life.

THDA 302 Performativity
Cross-listed with AFST 310-01 and LALC 200-01.Performance in Africa and throughout the Black Diaspora assumes a deep level of interaction between the performer and the audience. In many societies and performance contexts, the boundary between “performer” and “audience” is difficult, if not impossible to define. Whereas some performance contexts are structured around a lead performer issuing a call to which the wider audience responds, other spheres of social activity enable more egalitarian, communal, multi-directional connections between participants. In this course, students will learn the history of the development of the field of performance studies, and explore a range of theories that interrogate the idea of performance and performativity as modes of expressive culture and communication. Using case studies from Africa and the African Diaspora, students will investigate how performance theory has been applied in a range of scholarly and popular genres. In addition to exploring a wide range of call and response performance interactions as expressions of social, political, religious, and emotional engagements and commentaries, this course also seeks to understand the concept of “blackness” in various temporal and spatial settings, and as a framework for understanding political and cultural connections between groups of people separated by wide expanses of land and sea. A central aim of this course is to challenge the idea that blackness exclusively means Africanness, and rather, to explore the nuances of what blackness signifies.

AFST 310 Performativity
Cross-listed with LALC 200-01 and THDA 302-02.Performance in Africa and throughout the Black Diaspora assumes a deep level of interaction between the performer and the audience. In many societies and performance contexts, the boundary between “performer” and “audience” is difficult, if not impossible to define. Whereas some performance contexts are structured around a lead performer issuing a call to which the wider audience responds, other spheres of social activity enable more egalitarian, communal, multi-directional connections between participants. In this course, students will learn the history of the development of the field of performance studies, and explore a range of theories that interrogate the idea of performance and performativity as modes of expressive culture and communication. Using case studies from Africa and the African Diaspora, students will investigate how performance theory has been applied in a range of scholarly and popular genres. In addition to exploring a wide range of call and response performance interactions as expressions of social, political, religious, and emotional engagements and commentaries, this course also seeks to understand the concept of “blackness” in various temporal and spatial settings, and as a framework for understanding political and cultural connections between groups of people separated by wide expanses of land and sea. A central aim of this course is to challenge the idea that blackness exclusively means Africanness, and rather, to explore the nuances of what blackness signifies.

AFST 310 Anthropology/Music – Caribbean
Cross-listed with ANTH 345-01 and LALC 300-03.This course explores the contours of Caribbean society, thought, and culture through attention to artistic expression, in general, and music, in particular. Using films, music videos, ethnographies and other critical readings, we analyze how musical production and music events help us to define the Caribbean region and to understand the lives of the people who call it home. Employing case studies drawn from the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, we look at how individuals and groups have used music to write their own histories, preserve their spirituality, assert their unique identities, form alliances across groups, resist oppressive regimes, build nations, and celebrate life.

ANTH 345 Anthropology/Music – Caribbean
Cross-listed with AFST 310-02 and LALC 300-03.This course explores the contours of Caribbean society, thought, and culture through attention to artistic expression, in general, and music, in particular. Using films, music videos, ethnographies and other critical readings, we analyze how musical production and music events help us to define the Caribbean region and to understand the lives of the people who call it home. Employing case studies drawn from the Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, we look at how individuals and groups have used music to write their own histories, preserve their spirituality, assert their unique identities, form alliances across groups, resist oppressive regimes, build nations, and celebrate life.

AFST 400 Writing in Africana Studies
This course will build on experiences in the methods course. Students in this course continue research toward and writing of a senior thesis. The emphasis is on writing skills and course material; assignments link those skills to work in Africana Studies. Seniors in the major will work independently with the director of Africana Studies and a second faculty reader (representing a discipline closer to the senior's interest) to produce a lengthy paper or special project which focuses on an issue relevant to the student's concentration. Under the direction of the director of Africana Studies, students will meet collectively two or three times during the semester with the directors (and, if possible, other Africana Studies core and contributing faculty) to share bibliographies, research data, early drafts, and the like. This group will also meet at the end of the semester to discuss and evaluate final papers and projects. Prerequisites: 100 and 200; four 200/300-level AFST approved courses (2 Africa, 2 Diaspora); three 300-level (in area of concentration).