AAS 111: Introduction to Africa and Its Diaspora
Kelly Askew and Fernando Arenas
AAS 111 is a team-taught course that introduces students to the study of Africa and its Diaspora in the Americas and West Indies, as well as Europe. The course takes a multimedia, interdisciplinary approach to a range of historical, literary, artistic, religious, economic, and political questions crucial to the understanding of the experiences of people of African descent. Using maps, films, the visual arts, music, important historical texts, and contemporary writings, the course will focus on four major themes:
1. migration and the middle passage
2. slavery and resistance
3. segregation, colonialism, and freedom movements
4. comparative dimensions of race.
AAS 260: The Political Economy of African Development
The course introduces students to the confluence of political and economic forces at the local, national, regional and global levels that have helped shape the trajectory of African development. The course is divided into two parts: the first examines the meaning and evolution of the political economy of development in the context of Africa’s unfolding history, while the second applies an understanding of political economy to topical development issues and case studies. Part one will incorporate the following: i. Introduction to political economy and alternative perspectives on development ii. Analysis of the historical legacy of pre-colonial and colonial periods and their influence on development in post-colonial Africa iii. Examination of early-independence politics and economics, focusing on the state formation and the developmental impact of adopted economic strategies iv. Critique of neoliberalism in Africa, analyzing the political economy of its formation, its evolution and its impact on the continent particularly on agriculture. Using the above historical and methodological background, Part Two will examine a number of development related topics, including: i. Conflict ii. Health iii. International Aid (including debt and debt-relief) iv. Africa and the global economy. We will conclude by critically examining future prospects for African development by evaluating four case studies, from: Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
AAS 263: Race, Housing, and Employment
Why are neighborhoods and workplaces still segregated 48 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act? This course critically examines the role that race and racial politics play in housing market and labor market outcomes. Through analysis of the evidence, class discussion, conducting an empirical study, and written assignments, we will increase our understanding of what causes racial inequality, how it is maintained, and the consequences of racial isolation.
UC270: Section 005: Exploring Current Research in Afroamerican and African Studies
AAS 271: Introduction to Afro-American Literature - 20th/21st-Century African American Literature
By surveying poetry, narratives – fictive and autobiographical – prose essays, and drama produced by Black writers over the course of their presence in America, we attempt to investigate the nature of these authors' imaginative responses to Afro-American peoples' situation in a society simultaneously both hostile to and keenly dependent upon their presence.
AAS 290: Selected Topics in Black World Studies - Anansi Stories: Caribbean Folklore and Resistance (Mini-Course)
This mini-course introduces students to Afro- and Indo-Caribbean folkloric traditions and their transnational literary adaptation to the socio-political contexts of Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, and diasporic Caribbean communities in North America. As the Guyanese writer Wilson Harris has noted, the shapeshifting Yoruba trickster-spider Anansi crossed the Middle Passage with his people, modeling their transformation into “natives” of the Caribbean. This class will explore folkloric figures that are both brand new and syncretically new to the Caribbean, and the ways in which they have served as political and metaphorical representations of resistance and adaptation to: slavery and indentureship; patriarchy; tourism and environmental degradation; racial infighting; postcolonial poverty and global economic policies; and traditional Anglicanism, Hinduism, and Islam. Folkloric figures we will study in detail include the bloodsucking soucouyant, the Haitian goddess Erzulie, trickster Anansi, and the orishas/lwas of various religious-spiritual practices. We will also examine the anticolonial resistance politics of the musical genre of calypso and related carnival mas practices. Throughout the course we will interrogate the idea of folklore as (1) crucial to casting the Caribbean as the metaphor for religious, spiritual, bodily, and geographic hybridity, but (2) nonetheless a site of cultural retention and resistance.
AAS 417: Studying African Americans: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Robin Means Coleman
What meanings do viewers bring to, and take away from, the television series The Wire? How do media consumers make sense of the Oscar performances of Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, or Octavia Spencer? What is the relationship between media and its audiences? What makes Tyler Perry so popular? This writing-intensive seminar provides an introduction to qualitative research. Emphasis is placed on participant observation, in-depth interviewing, autoethnography, and focus group research methods as a means to study African American communities and/or individuals, and their relationships to media.
AAS 421: Religions of the African Diaspora
This survey course offers an overview of the religions of the African Diaspora. Beginning with a theorization and genealogy of the concept of diaspora itself, the course provides introductions (both in historical context and contemporary manifestations) to the following: Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda; Cuban Santería and Palo Monte; Haitian Vodou; Jamaican and globalized Rastafarianism; the ancestor religion of the Garifuna of Honduras, Guatemala and Belize; Obeah/ orisha practices of Trinidad; and the Afro-Baptist tradition and Pentecostal roots of the Black Church in the U.S. Key issues will include the way "Africa" is recreated in ritual practice, the experience of exile and transculturation, and common ritual tropes such as spirit possession, altars devoted to material exchange and sacrifice, performative codes of clothing and music, and many others.
AAS 458.00: Issues in Black World Issues - Afro-Latin America
This course examines the African Diaspora in Latin America in countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador. Afro-Latin Americans have waged social movements that have taken them from invisibility to political and social visibility in many countries. This course will explore ideologies of racial democracy or racial mixture that have historically obscured the recognition of Black identities and populations. It will then cover how Afro-Latin Americans have forged new notions of identity, citizenship, and blackness. According attention to a variety of national contexts, this course reveals the vibrant voices of Afro-Latin Americans.
AAS 471: Higher Education and African-American Social Development
This course will provide an empirically informed overview and analytical engagement of the various factors central to understanding the role higher education has played in the social development of the African-American population in the United States. Historically most African Americans have understood that access to higher education (i.e., colleges and universities) can have a fundamental impact on their future life opportunities within the American social structure. Many African Americans also view higher education access and attainment as proven vehicles for achieving desired social and economic well-being. The various benefits associated with advanced education include higher incomes and upward social mobility for the poor, enhanced career and social opportunities, and access to the knowledge and resources needed to acquire a desirable standard of living. It is not clear, however, that there is a broad understanding of how the mechanisms (i.e., social and political) by which higher education has enhanced African-American social status have been advanced or impeded in the struggle for equal opportunity and racial democracy in American society. In this course we will examine those mechanisms and their consequences from detailed conceptual and disciplinary perspectives.
AAS 480: Visual Culture as History in Africa
This course examines visual culture in Africa from an explicitly historical perspective. Most of the artifacts from Africa that reside in the world’s museums were produced in the last one hundred fifty years. Though there are exceptions, most of the work undertaken in the field of art history has focused on traditions of the recent past — these studies have been situated in the colonial and postcolonial periods of Africa’s history. This course offers an interdisciplinary examination of the visual cultures of pre-colonial Africa. Employing the interpretive methods of art history, archaeology, and history, we will examine artifacts and architecture from a number of African societies as historical “documents” of the past, as agents of social, political, religious, and economic processes that were used to shape the histories of these societies. The course is not exhaustive — we cannot consider all the traditions of the entire continent. Instead it considers a dozen “place/moments,” beginning with rock art from southern Africa and ending with the visual evidence of the first interaction between Europeans and Africans along the west coast of the continent. Studying these cultures over the course of the academic term will involve examining the evolution of scholarly thinking about these societies and the effect this thinking has had on perceptions of Africa’s past. This, in turn, will provide an opportunity to touch upon a related set of issues concerning the collecting of Africa’s material past; we will look at the modern Western tradition of collecting African art, specifically the notion of authenticity and the ethical problems associated with collecting other people's cultures.