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 of 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 a lecture-discussion with four weekly lectures. Students meet with T.A.'s once weekly to discuss course readings and lectures. The course will be supplemented by guest lecturers, selected CAAS colloquia, films, special projects and field trips. (Haniff)

Historical Perspectives

230/Hist. 274. Survey of Afro-American History I. (4). (SS).

This course surveys Black historical and cultural developments through the Reconstruction Period emphasizing African backgrounds and African Cultural persistence, strength of Black families during slavery, the slavery experience. Black self-liberation efforts, the formation of Black institutions and organizations. (Dykes)

Politics, Economics, and Development

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

Southern Africa will be the last region on the African continent to attain formal political independence and Black majority-rule. Partly because of its contentious status the region is likely for the rest of the century to remain at the top of Africa's, and the international community's, agenda as well as world news. For the same reasons the region will probably continue to be the most violent and most turbulent part of Africa until Black majority-rule is introduced in the Republic of South Africa and formal political independence attained by Namibia. However, in spite of the centrality of the Republic of South Africa and Namibia in the region this course will be broader in its scope encompassing all the nine or ten countries that normally constitute the region, "Southern Africa." Integral to our exploration will be the events of the 1970's when some of these countries gained their political liberation (Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe). We will attempt to identify the factors that make Southern Africa a "region"-geographical, cultural, historical, economic, infrastructural, facets, etc. Inter-related structures as well as perspectives would be particular focus. (Kokole)

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." 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. (Chaffers)

449/Pol. Sci. 459. Africa: Development and Dependence. Prior or concurrent study of the Third World; Pol. Sci. 465 is recommended but not required. (4). (Excl).

See Political Science 459. (Mazrui)

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

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. 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/Poli. Sci. 409. Comparative Black Political Thought. Two courses in poli. sci. or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

See Political Science 409 for description. (Northrup)

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 devote itself to a comparison and contrast of the works and careers of Alice Walker and Richard Wright. Wright (1908-1952) left the Jim Crow South in 1927 for Chicago. His novel NATIVE SON (1940), freed Black literature from the cultural politics of Jim Crow by challenging its social and political premises through its critique of the Black man's role in capitalism, and became a model and standard for the next generation of Black writers. Wright's activism continued, shifting from communism on to existentialism and Third World ideology, with a significant body of fiction and non-fiction addressing these concerns. In quite a different but complementary way, Alice Walker (1944) has continued the revolutionary task of Black fiction, expanding Black reality beyond the social, economic and sexual barriers imposed patriarchy, notably in the novel, THE COLOR PURPLE, and non-fiction, IN SEARCH OF OUR MOTHERS' GARDENS, WOMANISH PROSE by Alice Walker. Winning both the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize (1983),-THE COLOR PURPLE has had a national impact similar to that of NATIVE SON. This course will pursue the similarities and differences between the two writers, not only in their fictive expressions, particularly in the representation of the Black life, but in their relationship to Euro-American culture, their quest in their art and politics of ideological alternatives to the present structuring of reality by the hegemony. (Chrisman)

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

See Theatre and Drama 222. (Jackson)

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

See Theatre and Drama 233. (Jackson)

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

This accelerated course provides an interdisciplinary overview and an introduction to the area of culture and art, and their influences on society. Students will look at the visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature, television and education. Historical, philosophical, religious, aesthetic and ideological perspectives are considered as we wrestle with the nation of the Afroamerican cultural reality. This course tends to: (a) introduce students to a primary body of knowledge reflective of a fundamental basis of thought capable of establishing an overview of West African cultures and their relationships to Afro-American culture; (b) develop reference on a broad level for an Afrocentric aesthetic and point of view; (c) encourage greater insight and exploration into the arts of African and Afro-American people and the spirits and realities that motivate the "arts"; (d) create a living vehicle capable of a broader understanding and resolution of problematic cultural pattern levels which disturb, confuse, and cancerize our historic and our contemporary lives. The course has two weekly lecture/discussion with weekly readings, video, audio tapes, and slides. Readings include David Walkers' APPEALS, Frederick Douglas, Charles Chestnut, Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Romare Beardon, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Martin Luther King. Video and audio tapes 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 Allan Crite. Courses requirements include three short papers (3-5 pages each), an analytical overview from a video presentation, guest lecturer or audio presentation (5 pages), and an in-class final group presentation. This course is designed to be "communal/interactive/intensive/informative/spiritual," creating countless opportunities for students to involve themselves, strengthen their skills, and establish a clearer concept of identity, purpose, and direction. Students must be prepared for discussion and interaction. (Lockard)

475/Engl. 477. Early Afro-American Literature. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

The first century of Black writing in America is far more various, interesting, and enjoyable than many critics have made it out to be. Recent developments in the archaeology of Afro-American letters have revealed a veritable gold mine of expressive writing in the files of nineteenth century Black journals and newspaper. Yet many works of relatively unknown artists are available to be read with enjoyment now. Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Elauaino, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Frances E.W. Harper are but some of a host of writers we may encounter. Students eager to have a greater understanding of the classic writers of our century Richard Wright and Toni Morrison, among others will find these earliest expressions of Black American creativity fascinating both as a first act to the show of contemporary literature as well as a chorus of intriguing voices from the past. To know these forerunners of the Afro-American tradition is to comprehend the whole of the literature. (Zafar)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

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

This course examines BLACK women in America from a 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. (Ransby)

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

See Anthropology 414. (Owusu)

458. Issues in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.

SECTION 001 BLACK CULTURE AND CONSCIOUSNESS. This course will examine presentations of African-American folklore in a number of discernible discourses, including scholarly and non-scholarly discussions, and considerations by African-Americans. Issues to be addressed include: views of the African-American folk, the motivations precipitating investigations of African-American folklore in African-American literature, and representations of African-American culture through folklore. Readings will include sections from:


Section 002. RACE AND ETHNICITY IN AMERICAN CULTURAL ARTS: AFRO-AMERICAN CULTURAL HISTORY. For Fall Term, 1989, this section is offered jointly with American Culture 310.002. (Cruse)

SECTION 003 BLACK AMERICAN THOUGHT. This course will survey the origins, development, and continuity of basic intellectual systems formulation by African-Americans, 1960-1980. The course will examine the Pan-African deal, its authors and practitioners; the concept of Black identity as an existential creation and thus an act of self-determination; Black separate state to maintaining Black economics that parallel the dominant economy; the critique of colonialism and the concept of de-colonization; Black aesthetics; with emphasis upon the problems of representation; the intellectual matrices of the Civil Rights Movement; the development of Black feminist philosophy; and the varieties of socialist thought. Attention will also be paid to the ideological, institutional, and cultural forms that embody these ideas and to the concept of ideas as manifestations emerging from the Black community as a whole. Authors and influences studied will include Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Frantz Fanon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, James Forman, Angela Davis, Cornel West, Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, and others. (Chrisman)

Independent Study

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

Students who can show appropriate preparation in courses previously taken, the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies offers course credit for independent study. A full-time faculty member must agree to supervise the undertaking and to meet with the student during the term. The proposed course of study may not duplicate the material of any course regularly offered by the Center. The reading and writing requirement should be comparable to that required in a regular course for the same number of credits; and all the work must be completed by the final day of class in the term. After consultation with and approval from a CAAS faculty member, applications for independent study along with statements describing the schedule of readings and of writing assignments must be filled out. Such applications must be signed by the faculty member involved and turned in before the end of the week of the term. It is therefore advisable to submit applications (available in Room 200 West Engineering Building) in advance of the beginning of the independent study term, upon approval, and override (Election Authorization Form) will be issued.

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