Splash Biography


Major: History and South Asian Studies

College/Employer: Yale

Year of Graduation: 2019

Picture of Alex Williams

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Not Available.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

C3299: Law as Spectacle in Sprout Fall 18 (Sep. 29 - Oct. 13, 2018)
Law operates in society on a number of levels, some of which are always churning in the background while we barely notice. This humdrum operation of the law probably describes most people’s lived experience with legal systems - applying for licenses, making claims for injuries, filing for divorce, etc. Some operations of the law, however, are eminently visible - they are loud, spectacular. This class hopes to interrogate some of the ways that law functions as spectacle in society - how law channels emotions, sentiments, and broader political narratives in the public sphere, and how legal events create social spaces for competing ideas. The class will focus primarily on legal trials in the United States, India, and on the international stage; trials I am hoping to cover include post-WWII war crimes trials at Nuremberg, Tokyo, and around the Indian Ocean; the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, the Nanavati Case in 1959 Mumbai, the trial of Nazi administrator Adolf Eichmann in Israel in 1961, the 1969 trial of the “Chicago Seven”, and the 1922 trial of Mahatma Gandhi for sedition.

H3178: The Black Panthers in New Haven, 1970 in Splash Spring 18 (Apr. 07, 2018)
On May 1, 1970, thousands of protestors gathered in downtown New Haven to protest the trial of nine members of the Black Panther Party for the murder of Alex Rackley, a fellow Panther. In this class, we will take a step back almost 50 years in the past and look at the events surrounding the 1970 Black Panther trials, and what they meant for New Haven and the world.

H3179: The Declaration of Independence, 1776-1970 in Splash Spring 18 (Apr. 07, 2018)
We all learned about the Declaration of Independence in school. But what is the actual history behind the Declaration? How do we explain the fact that many signers of the Declaration, which declared that "all men are created equal", were slave owners? This class will try to address these questions. The class will also look at the Declaration in the context of world history, and at how revolutionaries all over the world have dealt with the legacy of the document.

C3021: "It's Bigger than Hip Hop": Rap as Resistance in Sprout Spring 18 (Feb. 17 - Mar. 03, 2018)
In the age of Trump, "resistance" is an increasingly important theme in American life. This class looks at rap and hip-hop since the 1980s through the lens of resistance. We will look at some of the roots of hip-hop in black power, in resistance to racism, police brutality, the police state, and state surveillance; the role of hip hop as a form of political resistance in Palestine, Chile, India, and Iran; and finally, the use of rap and hip-hop as a form of resistance for women and queer communities. DISCLAIMER: Some music presented in class will feature explicit language.

C2791: South Asia, 1500-1947 in Sprout Fall 17 (Sep. 30 - Oct. 14, 2017)
This class is on the history of South Asia (focusing on the area that is present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) since around the year 1500, shortly before the founding of the Mughal Empire. The first class will be an introduction to the region and a lecture on the Mughal Empire and its contemporaries. The second class will cover the fracturing of the Mughal Empire and the rise of the East India Company in the Indian subcontinent. The third and final class will discuss the British Raj from its formal inception in 1858 to its demise in 1947. Issues I hope to emphasize include the idea of empire in its pre- and post-colonial forms, the history of religion and religious differences in South Asia, the relationship between racism, colonialism, and capitalism, and that between power, colonialism, and knowledge production.

E2792: Desi Rap and Hip-Hop in the United States in Sprout Fall 17 (Sep. 30 - Oct. 14, 2017)
This class is on the work of South Asian-American rap and hip-hop artists, particularly the engagement of these artists with political themes, such as black-brown solidarity, Islamophobia and racism after 9/11, white supremacy, and racial profiling. Artists discussed will include Swet Shop Boys, Heems, M.I.A., Chee Malabar, and others.

A2896: Hip Hop in South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora in Splash Fall 17 (Nov. 11, 2017)
An exploration of the music created by South Asian rappers in the Indian subcontinent and abroad, focusing primarily on music since 2010. The class will look at how these artists engage with a broad range of topics, including the history and politics of South Asia, the lived experiences of diasporic individuals, the politics of colonialism and imperialism, racism and islamophobia in the United States, and mass poverty.

H2897: Colonialism and Race in Splash Fall 17 (Nov. 11, 2017)
Racism and white supremacy are among the most critical problems facing the world today. But what are the historical roots of racial injustice? This class looks at European colonialism from 1500 to 1950 and the ways in which it produced racist systems of power and knowledge.