Faculty Feature: Christopher Tinson
Christopher Tinson, assistant professor of African American Studies, earned a Ph.D. from the W.E.B. Du Bois department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds an M.A. in ethnic studies from San Francisco State University and a B.A. from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
His interdisciplinary research and teaching focuses on the intersections between Africana radical traditions, U.S. Ethnic Studies, Hip-Hop culture, critical media studies, incarceration, community-based education, and race and sports. His writings have been published in The Black Scholar, The Journal of African American History, The Nation, and Radical Teacher. He currently resides in Holyoke, Massachusetts and has conducted workshops at various college campuses, high schools, and juvenile detention centers in the area, and serves as a youth mentor. Since 2006 he has hosted TRGGR Radio, a Hip-Hop-rooted social justice radio program. To find out more about Professor Tinson, visit his faculty bio page, here, or his hampedia page, here.
Warfare in the American Homeland (Fall 2013)
Professor and activist Angela Davis recently asked “Are prisons obsolete?” And Grier and Cobb once noted “No imagination is required to see this scene as a direct remnant of slavery.” Since the 1980s state and federal authorities have increasingly relied on the costly and unsuccessful use of jails and prisons as deterrents of crime. This upper division course will grapple with ideas of incarceration and policing methods that contribute to the consolidation of state power and how it functions as a form of domestic warfare. This course takes a close look at how race (especially), but also class, gender, age and background intersect in shaping attitudes and perceptions towards incarceration and often determine who is incarcerated and who is not. While a number of individuals and organizations continue to push for prison abolition, dependence on advance methods of incarceration persists. As such, we will analyze the historic and contemporary tensions between incarceration and ideals of democracy, citizenship, family, community and freedom. Topics will include: criminalization, racial profiling, surveillance, and police brutality. This course will also acquaint students with many of the active local and national reform and abolition initiatives. It is expected that students have taken an introductory African American Studies or a U.S. history course prior to enrolling in this course. This course may include a community engagement component, site visit, or field trips.
African Americans and the Politics of Reparations (Spring 2012)
Racial reparations have been and continue to be one of the most explosive contemporary issues. Some argue that this country’s history of enslavement renders some form of reparations necessary to the quest for social justice; that understanding reparations is central to honest conversations about race and racism. Others argue that reparations for past injustices such as slavery are unfair. Still others refuse to discuss the topic altogether. This course is concerned with the historic and contemporary reparations debate as it pertains to African Americans. We will pay close attention to how historians, artists, legal scholars, political scientists, grassroots community activists and legislators have approached this issue, and gauge its relevance in our “post-racial” moment.