Courses in AFROAMERICAN AND AFRICAN STUDIES (DIVISION 311)

Introductory Courses

100. Introduction to Afro-American Studies. (4). (SS).

This course introduces and provides a general overview to the area of Afroamerican Studies. It employs a multi-disciplinary perspective which combines elements from conventional historical, political, sociocultural and behavioral orientations in the analysis of Afroamerican culture and institutions. The course format is lecture-discussion with three weekly lectures. Students meet with T.A.'s once weekly to discuss course readings and lectures. The course will be supplemented by guest lectures, selected CAAS colloquia, films, special projects and field trips. Course requirements include three short papers (3-5 pages), a written book report (2-3 pages), and three in-class examinations. No final examination. (Allen)

Politics, Economics, and Development

351/Pol. Sci. 359. The Struggle for Southern Africa. Lectures: 2 credits; lectures and discussion: 4 credits. (SS).

See Political Science 359.

425. Politics of Black Movements in America. CAAS 230 and 231; or permission of instructor. (4). (SS).

The organization of the African-American community has taken various forms over the last two centuries. Movements for integration, separation and emigration have all been part of the unique experience. Resistance and struggle have been continuous themes as African-Americans have sought to secure a place for themselves within this society. By using an interdisciplinary perspective this course will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of past and current movements seeking social and political change on behalf of African-Americans. The Civil Rights Movement, Back to Africa Movement, and independent political movements will all be topics for discussion during the term. Thoughtful, critical analysis will be stressed throughout the course in discussion and writing. Other course objectives: (1) Discussion of the content and organization of major Afro-American political movements; (2) Comparative analysis of leadership styles and effectiveness; (3) Considerations of the most significant social, economic and political influences upon the African-American experience; (4) Examinations of the interface between ideology and organizational effectiveness. (Kamara)

426. Urban Redevelopment and Social Justice. (3). (SS).
Urban Redevelopment and Social Justice Can We Have Both? A Seminar for Future Professionals.


Taught from the perspective of a registered architect, this course is organized around topical issues of design, professionalism, and equity in urban resources development. Intended primarily for students with non-architectural backgrounds, the course seeks to provide a spirited exploration of the explicit (and subtle) connections between people, land and power in our cities and the specific affects of these linkages upon contemporary urban rebuilding. In the main, our explorations are aimed at providing a broadened philosophical understanding of the "Who?" and "Why?" of contemporary urban redevelopment policies particularly as such policies impact on the emerging "central city." As a class we will meet once each week for three hours. A seminar format will be followed, combining formal and informal lectures, color slide presentations, selected case studies, selected readings and a series of student-generated workshops. Throughout all discussion, there will be continuing class focus on the necessity for our making critical distinction between "effecting" (carrying out) and "affecting" (influencing the formation of) various environmental policy. Continued active class participation and the preparation of a ten minute audio cassette tape for presentation near the end of the term are basic course requirements. Ongoing class dialogue will be augmented periodically with urban field trips and invited guests. Enrollment limited to 22 students. (Chaffers)

450. Law, Race, and the Historical Process, I. (3). (SS).

LAW, RACE, AND THE HISTORICAL PROCESS, I. Law is a central feature of Afro-American history. It defines the status and prospects of Blacks, occupies a key role in Black ideological debates and organizational activity, and reflects dominant crisis in United States and world history. Law is a medium through which to better understand the several forces that have shaped the Black past and present. This course, the first of a two-part sequence on the legal experience of Blacks in the United States, adopts this approach. Chronologically, it covers the time period from the initial interaction between Blacks and the processes of law in Colonial North America to the beginnings of the modern Civil Rights era. It thus reviews such subjects as the law of slavery and the slave trade, the Constitution and the Black status in the antebellum period, Constitutional and legislative developments during Reconstruction and the legal circumstance of Blacks in the era of Jim Crow segregation. The course also examines several themes which characterize the operation and role of law in Afro-American history. For example, the course routinely considers such items as the concept of multiple causation in the formulation of law, and the law as a component of Black intellectual and political discourse. Through its emphasis on the nexus between law, race and the historical process, this course hopes to meet three major aims. One is to assist students in gaining knowledge of the legal particulars, norms and events that have figured most prominently in the historical saga of Blacks up to the mid-twentieth century. The second is to cultivate an understanding of law as a central dynamic in the human experience. The third is to aid students in acquiring and refining techniques of critical inquiry, theme identification and thesis construction. COURSE READINGS AND MECHANICS. Required books for the course are RACE, RACISM AND AMERICAN LAW by Derrick Bell, and MUTINY ON THE AMISTAD: THE SAGA OF A SLAVE REVOLT AND ITS IMPACT ON AMERICAN ABOLITION, LAW AND DIPLOMACY by Howard Jones. Highly recommended is Bell's CIVIL RIGHTS LEADING CASES. Additional readings on reserve in the library or available as course packs may also be assigned. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with reserve items and library materials pertinent to the course, and to consult them in preparation for class. Daily consultation of local, national and international news sources will provide additional perspective on matters being studied throughout the term. (Woods)

456/Pol. Sci. 409. Comparative Black Political Thought. Two courses in political science or permission of instructor. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 409. (Mazrui)

479/Pol. Sci. 479. International Relations of Africa. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 479. (Mazrui)

Literature and the Arts

338/English 320. Literature in Afro-American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

This course will focus on literature by Afro-Americans which explores the manifold obstacles to Afro-American culture's survival in American society. Our initial course meetings will be devoted to formulating both a general definition of the word culture and an acute understanding of Afro-American culture. Our attention will subsequently focus on literary texts (most of which are novels) whose dramatic action to a significant extent results from protagonists' often-problematic attempts to situate themselves in personally advantageous positions where Afro-American culture and American ideology are concerned. Such a focus will (I think necessarily) lead to general discussions of related topics such as ethnicity's value in a pluralistic America and gender's role in the resolution of a dual (ethnic and American) citizenship. Texts will include: Richard Wright's BLACK BOY; Toni Morrison's SONG OF SOLOMON; James Weldon Johnson's THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN EX-COLOURED MAN; Jean Toomer's CANE; and Paul Marshall's PRAISE SONG FOR THE WIDOW. Course requirements: one brief (2-4 page) essay; two medium length (6-8 page) essays; frequent quizzes; AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATION. (Awkward)

341/Theatre 222. Introduction to Black Theatre. (3). (HU).

See Theatre and Drama 222.

342/Theatre 233. Acting and the Black Experience. (3). (HU).

See Theatre and Drama 233.

360. Afro-American Art. (3). (HU).

ARTS AND CULTURES OF AFRICAN AND AFRO-AMERICAN SOCIETIES. This course provides an interdisciplinary overview and introduction to the area of culture and its influences on society via the visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature, television and education. Historical and political influences are examined in the development and analysis of the African/ American cultural experience and reality. The course intends to: (a) Introduce students to an overview of a primary body of knowledge reflective of the fundamental basis that establishes the principles of West African cultures and their relationships to Afro-American culture. (b) Develop references on a broadened level for an Afrocentric aesthetic and point of view. (c) Encourage greater insight and exploration into the arts of African and Afroamerican people and the spirits and realities that influence and MOTIVATE the "arts." (d) To create a living vehicle capable of a broader understanding and the resolving of problematic CULTURAL PATTERN LEVELS which disturb, confuse and cancerize our historic and our contemporary lives. Thus, we then see in art broader spectra than we were often accustomed to. The course has two weekly lectures and discussions with assigned readings, video and audio tapes, slides and guest lectures as reference and motivation for stimulating and challenging verbal and mental exchange. Readings point toward cultural realities of the African/American in a hostile environment, centering on the marvelous productions created. Video and audio tapes may include the History of the Black Athlete, Imamu Baraka (Leroi Jones), Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael), Maulana Ron Karenga, Fannie Lou Hamer, Harry Belafonte and Elma Lewis; Bing Davis, Robert Stull, Jon Lockard and Allen Crite. Excerpts from Africa, Surinam and Brazil are included. (Lockard)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

331. The World of the Black Child. (3). (SS).

This course has two objectives. They are, first, to introduce key areas of research and theory related to the socialization of African-American children and, second, to facilitate critical thinking regarding this body of research and theory. The course will focus on cultural and situational forces which affect the lives of Black lower- and middle-class children in the United States. In order to highlight the factors which contribute to the social conditions of the African-American child, a section of the course will look at the lives of specific individuals through their personal accounts and will compare the converging and diverging features of the socialization of African-American children and South African children. Topics to be discussed will include (1) family, peer, and community socialization, (2) the development of a sense of self and racial identification, (3) portrayal of Blacks in books for children, (4) school achievement and intellectual development, (5) language development, (6) teenage pregnancy, and (7) welfare, poverty, and father absence. Students will be required to complete two or three take-home essay exams. The exam scores will count equally toward your grade. Students will read two novels (autobiographies), selected book chapters, and a few journal articles. (McLoyd)

336/Women's Studies 336. Black Women in America. (3). (SS).

This course examines Black women in America from an historical and contemporary perspective. Understanding the full life cycle and multiple roles of Black women as wives, workers, mothers, daughters, sisters and social change agents is the principal focus of the readings, discussions, and research project. Reading materials will be drawn from literature, history, and the social sciences. Each student will be expected to complete an individual or group research project which will involve either primary research, oral history, or survey research. Class attendance and participation are required. (Wilson)

403. Education and Development in Africa. (3). (SS).

This course is designed for people who (1) plan for a career in international education as teachers or as other specialists; (2) practicing or perspective teachers who desire to broaden their understanding of the process and dynamics of educational development in other cultures, e.g., Africa; and (3) non-specialists but who wish to understand the problems and ramifications of educational development upon the development of national resources. For convenience of treatment the course will be organized under three broad divisions of time, i.e., indigenous (traditional), colonial and national education. (Wagaw)

427/Anthro. 353/Women's Studies 427. African Women. (3). (SS).

The remarkable active roles that African women play in their communities bring them respect, but also heavy responsibilities. The degree and kind of independence and resources they enjoy has changed radically in specific societies from pre-colonial to contemporary times, while their responsibilities continue to multiply. This course follows the themes of autonomy and control of resources, considering both economic resources, such as land, labor, income and cattle, and social resources, such as education, religion, and political power. Critical discussions of these alternatives and changes for women will include their relevance to African and U.S. development policy and to our own personal options. From cities to nomadic tribes, African women usually have independent incomes and statuses, but limited access to major resources. Women farmers grow 90% of Africa's food, but often without controlling their crops and land. Economic changes, from cash crops to apartheid, eroded women's traditional rights in marriage and property. Female leaders and groups, represented in many local political hierarchies, were restricted or dropped under the colonial rule. The powerful contribution women made to many independence struggles rarely translated into significant power in national governments, or consideration in education, legal or economic policies. Indigenous religions that give prominent places to female gods, ancestors and priests have also yielded prestige to Islam and Christianity, although women retain influence in syncretic cults. Recent crises related to drought, war and economic collapse further endanger women and their families by increasing their responsibilities while attacking their social and ecological resource base. Examples of development policies and projects show that women need both autonomy and adequate resources. With these, they have reserved the downward spiral of economic degeneration. Textbooks:
Hay and Strichter, AFRICAN WOMEN.
Hafkin and Bay, WOMEN IN AFRICA.
Bay, WOMEN AND WORK IN AFRICA.
Robertson and Berger, WOMEN AND CLASS IN AFRICA. (Clark)

444/Anthro. 414. Introduction to Caribbean Societies and Cultures I. Junior standing. (3). (SS).

See Anthropology 414. (Owusu)

452. Education of the Black Child. (3). (SS).

The course is designed to make it possible for students to engage in the examination and analysis of the public education philosophies, laws, and practices as related to the education of Black children in the past and at present. It considers the theoretical frameworks of growth, development and learning of children in different settings and at different life space on the one hand and the existing structural, socio-political and psychological conditions of the public school systems on the other and attempts to find ways and means of relating the objectives and philosophies of the schools to the needs of Black children. (Wagaw)

Independent Study

410. Supervised Reading and Research. Permission of instructor. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.

Arrangements may be made for adequately prepared students to undertake individual study under the direction of a departmental staff member. Students are provided with the proper section number by the staff member with whom the work has been arranged.


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