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University Course - Historic Black Nashville

Fisk Jubilee Singers Toussaint Louverture Cemetery Fisk Students    

Historic Black Nashville (UNIV/HIST 2655 & UNIV/HIST 5655) will explore the under-developed history of black Nashville from settlement to the early twentieth century.  Through instructor and guest lectures, digital humanities instruction, site visits, and independent research in local archives, students in this multicultural university course will recover and document the lives of the city’s enslaved and free people of color as well as the community institutions and social and artistic movements that defined the black experience in Nashville, As students gain substantive expertise, they will also learn research methods and multiple media and technologies for telling historical narratives.


Jane LandersJane Landers , Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History.  Landers is an historian of Colonial Latin America and the Atlantic World specializing in the history of Africans and their descendants in those worlds. She wrote  Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions(Cambridge, Mass., 2010) which was awarded the Rembert Patrick Book Award.

Daniel Sharfstein Daniel Sharfstein, Professor of Law and History. Sharfstein’s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the United States. He received a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on a book-length exploration of post Reconstruction America.


Course Overview

Key features:

  • Site visits to previously neglected historical sites for Black Nashville, such as black businesses like Hotel Afrique, black communities like Tolbert Hollow, and Civil War sites like Fort Negley.
  • Keynote address from a guest lecturer who is an expert in the subject matter.
  • Participation in student-led research utilizing digital media strategies that will result in a tangible academic product via website and app construction.
  • The course will culminate with a conference at which students will present their research alongside proposed esteemed guest speakers, experts, and representatives from other institutions.

Degree requirements fulfilled:

  • Blair School of Music: History/Social Science requirement or as an Academic Elective for the Liberal Arts Core.
  • College of Arts and Science: History and Culture of the United States (US) requirement of AXLE.
  • Peabody College: Cultural Studies requirement of the Liberal Education Core for all Peabody majors except Human & Organizational Development. Social Science requirement of the Liberal Education Core for the following Peabody majors: Human & Organizational Development, Child Development, Child Studies, and Cognitive Studies.
  • School of Engineering: Liberal Arts Core requirement.
  • History major/minor: Early America and United States History concentration.
  • Graduate School: Will count towards the 72 credit hours required for graduation.
  • Law School: Will count towards the 88 credit hours required for graduation as part of the 6 credits of non-Law courses allowed within the degree.