Sylvie Coulibaly joined Kenyon in 2003 as visiting faculty and subsequently became an assistant professor in 2007.
Areas of Expertise
African American intellectual tradition; immigration, border studies and transnationalism; Atlantic history.
1987 — Master of Arts from National Univ, Abidjan, SA
1984 — Bachelor of Arts from National Univ, Abidjan, SA
Courses Recently Taught
This course is a thematic survey of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students will examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, largely Protestant society into a powerful and culturally diverse urban/industrial nation. Topics will include constitutional developments, the formation of a national economy, urbanization and immigration. The course also will discuss political changes, the secularization of public culture, the formation of the welfare state, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War as well as suburbanization, the civil rights movement, women's and gay rights, and the late 20th-century conservative politics movement and religious revival. This counts toward the history requirement for the major. This course is the same as HIST 102D. This course must be taken as HIST 102D to count towards the social science requirement. No prerequisite.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to United States history from the 12th century to the mid-19th century. Students will gain a more developed understanding of American history by examining the interactions among diverse cultures and people; the formation and use of power structures and institutions throughout the colonial, Revolutionary and antebellum eras; and the processes behind the "Americanization" of the North American continent. Central to this course is a comparison between two interpretations of American history; a Whiggish, or great American history, and the more conflict-centered Progressive interpretation. Not only will students gain a general knowledge of this time period, but they also will understand the ways in which the past can be contextualized. Students are expected to understand both the factual basis of American history as well as the general interpretive frameworks underlying historical arguments. This counts toward the premodern requirement for the major and minor. This course is the same as AMST 101D. This course must be taken as HIST 101D to count towards the social science requirement. No prerequisite.
This course is a thematic survey of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students will examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, largely Protestant society into a powerful and culturally diverse urban/industrial nation. Topics will include constitutional developments, the formation of a national economy, urbanization and immigration. The course also will discuss political changes, the secularization of public culture, the formation of the welfare state, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War as well as suburbanization, the civil rights movement, women's and gay rights, and the late 20th-century conservative politics movement and religious revival. This course is the same as AMST 102D. This must be taken as HIST 102D to count towards the social science requirement. This counts towards the modern requirement for the major and minor. No prerequisite.
The stock market crash of 1929 is remembered as the beginning of the longest and most severe economic crisis in the history of the United States. With the near collapse of the banking and financial systems, widespread unemployment and crushing poverty, what had started as a crisis morphed into what is known as the Great Depression. The Depression was the result of several historical processes that may be traced as far back as the Gilded Age. The Depression destroyed Herbert Hoover’s political career and gave rise to the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal. In the process, F.D.R redefined the relationship between government and the people, revolutionized the role of government and ushered in a new era in U.S. politics with the emergence of modern Liberalism. Farmers, city people, agrarian conservatives, labor, the unemployed, politicians, demagogues, free market versus national planning, progressive ethos versus conservative ideology, men and women, white, black, Hispanic and Native Americans, are some of the themes this course will focus on. Additionally, the course will assess the social, cultural and intellectual currents of the Great Depression era. This counts towards the modern requirement for the major and minor. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
Until the 1960s, historians of the United States’ past largely ignored the experiences and the roles of women and of other minorities. Gerda Lerner was among the first historians to use gender as a tool of historical analysis and to challenge a narrative that relegated women to the margins. This course will trace how from settlement in the 17th century to the present day, American women have shaped the historical process of the nation and beyond. We will examine broad themes including the legal definitions of womanhood, women’s economic status, their work, consumption, sex, sexuality, reproduction and marriage as well as the social and political aspects of clothing. Religion and spirituality as well as women’s role in politics will be among the other themes this course will focus on. We will also analyze the ways in which notions of gender have changed over time and how a wide variety of women have created and responded to changing domestic and global economic, political and social environments. No prerequisite. Offered every other year.
From “Birth of A Nation” to “Spartacus,” “Milk,” “Seabiscuit” or “Ali,” films that are “based on actual events” or “based on a true story” attract scores of audiences to the theater. Both art and products of mass consumption, films exert a tremendous influence in shaping popular culture, both in the US and abroad. Films do not just entertain us; their stories shape how we think of ourselves as individuals and vehicle powerful ideas about race, gender, class, sexuality and nationhood. Films, TV series and documentaries are perhaps the most influential medium through which Americans learn about the past, especially the American past. While this course will analyze the birth of cinematography and the rise of the film industry, the goal will be to understand the relationship between history, historians and films that represent the past. Our inquiry into this complicated and sometimes conflictual relationship will be guided by questions that include: What are historical films? How are historical films made and why? Are historical films a valid way to learn about the past? Are historical films a valid historical source? What do historical films tell us about ourselves? What is the relationship between history, film and propaganda? How do history, film and power intersect? No prerequisite.
This course will examine the circumstances and factors leading to World War II and to the U.S. entry into the war. The course will focus on the disruption of the world order through the rise of German, Japanese and Italian imperialism. The course will analyze the effect of the worldwide economic depression of the 1930s. Other topics include the military strategies and conduct of the war, its impact on the home front, and its long-term effects on U.S. foreign policy.
We will examine how successive waves of immigrants, from the eve of the Civil War to the present, have shaped cities, markets, suburbs and rural areas, while altering education, labor, politics and foreign policy. The course will address such questions as: Why do people leave their homelands? Where do they settle in America and why? What kinds of economic activities do they engage in? How do the children adapt? How does assimilation work? What are the effects of immigration on those born in America? This counts toward the modern requirement for the major and minor. No prerequisite.
This course will examine the emergence of black intellectual life in the United States from the early 19th century to the present. The course will focus on the changing role of black intellectuals as individual figures and political and social leaders. The course also will focus on how slavery, racism and gender discrimination have affected black thought. Works of fiction and films will be used extensively. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major and minor.
At the end of the Gilded Age, Pastor Lyman Abbott of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn lamented, “What shall we do with our great cities? What will our great cities do with us? These are the two problems which confront every thoughtful American today.” Yet, in “The Great Gatsby,” looking over New York, Nick Carraway remarked that the most unique possibility the city offered was for reinvention, saying that, “‘Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge.’ I thought; ‘anything at all… Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.’” These words highlight the centrality of the city in American life and culture from the turn of the 19th century to this day and the tensions between proponents of the metropolis who celebrate its economic dynamism, cultural prominence and diversity, while its detractors decry the same. This course will trace the history of how New York City became the archetype of the modern American city from its rise as a global economic, cultural and political center to its fall during the desegregation era and its renewal in the last decade of the 20th century. Race, gender and class will provide the frameworks of analysis to explore such themes as economic transformation in the industrial age and beyond, urban planning and technological advances, the concept of public space, utilities and welfare policies, as well as immigration, cosmopolitanism, community and identity. This counts toward the modern and Americas/Europe and modern requirement for the major and minor.
Novels and films are powerful tools of historical projection in modern societies, and Africa is no exception. The sub-Saharan African novel is a recent phenomenon, dating back, for the most part, to the early 20th century. The African film is of even more recent vintage and to a large extent remains a marginal form of expression for most of sub-Saharan Africa. However small a group they remain, sub-Saharan novelists and filmmakers have had a considerable impact on the societies that produced them. We will examine the influence of African novelists and filmmakers on the political and social realms of their societies and attempt to determine the relationship between novels, films and the historical reality of sub-Saharan Africa from the 1940s to the present. We also shall focus on how novels and films have in turn been shaped by the historical forces they have attempted to transcend. Finally, we will analyze the vision Africans have of their past and their judgment of that vision. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major and minor.
This course focuses on the conceptual frameworks used by historians and on debates within the profession about the nature of the past and the best way to write about it. The seminar prepares students of history to be productive researchers, insightful readers and effective writers. The seminar is required for history majors and should be completed before the senior year. Open only to sophomores and juniors. This counts toward the practice and theory requirement for the major. Prerequisite: history or international studies major or permission of instructor.
The goal of this course is to give each history major the experience of a sustained, independent research project, including formulating a historical question, considering methods, devising a research strategy, locating and critically evaluating primary and secondary sources, placing evidence in context, shaping an interpretation and presenting documented results. Research topics will be selected by students in consultation with the instructor. Classes will involve student presentations on various stages of their work and mutual critiques, as well as discussions of issues of common interest, such as methods and bibliography. Open only to senior history majors. This counts toward the senior research seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: HIST 387. Offered every fall.