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.

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.

Politics, Economics, and Development

424/Anthro. 513. Urbanization and Technological Change in Africa. Junior standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course focuses on West Africa which has a rich heritage of trade and city life dating centuries before colonial rule. We will study the political and ecological transitions related to increasing urbanization that have also made the Sahel and other West African regions prime examples of the African food crisis. We will examine the social organization of urban/rural relations, from both urban and rural perspectives, especially their impact on food production and distribution. We will also consider the impact of climate, population levels, family roles, political relations, local marketing systems, food imports, colonial and independent government policies and foreign aid which contribute as causes and as part of the potential solution to Africa's food problems, comparing West Africa to other parts of the continent. We will then analyse specific development programs that promote technological change in agriculture, from West and Southern Africa, for their success of failure to address these issues. (Clark)

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)

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. (Woods)

Literature and the Arts

338/English 320. Literature in Afro-American Culture. (3). (Excl).

See English 320. (Zafar)

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

See Theatre 222. (Jackson)

341/Theatre 233. Acting and the Black Experience. Permission of instructor (brief interview). (3). (HU).

See Theatre 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)

476/Engl. 478. Contemporary Afro-American Literature. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course will focus on an increasingly manifested and increasingly provocative-contemporary phenomenon: the dramatization of twentieth century Afro-American novels in cinema (both by Hollywood's commercial movie industry and by network television). If, as the Afro-American writer Toni Morrison has asserted, contemporary Black novels represent a potentially effective means by which to preserve and update traditional Black folk wisdom and cultural beliefs for current and succeeding generations. What happens to the messages of these Black-authored texts when they are filtered through various commercial Hollywood lenses whose primary function is to project potentially popular, "universal" images? What, in other words, is the relationship between Black-authored novels and their (typically) white-directed film adaptations? By closely examining such areas of scholarship as film theory, literary theory, and narrative theory, we will seek to determine the conventions of storytelling with which Afro-American authors and white directors-"adaptors" are forced to work. Also, we will study literary and film criticism specifically related to the novels and films in order to get some sense of the issues and, in some cases, controversies, surrounding both narrative forms. The narratives we will examine will, in all likelihood, include: Wright's NATIVE SON (and the 1986 film); Hurston's THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD (and Spike Lee's update/adaptation, "She's Gotta Have it"); Naylor's THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE (and the 1989 ABC miniseries based on the novel); and Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE. (Awkward)

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.

358(458). Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.

PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN AMERICA. The African society is undergoing rapid changes-economically, politically and socially. While these structural changes are being vigorously pursued for the purpose of "development," they most times have a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of the people. This is partly because these changes which are usually established-based, may not directly address the needs of the people and besides, fail to involve the people in the change process. It is the aim of this course to identify and examine such physical and mental health problems that are associated with social changes in Africa. In this connection, an identification would be made of "Stressors" and an examination on the effects of stress on the individual. Other topics will include: stress and mental health, stress and gender differences, stress and the family, stress and children's educational achievement, socio-economic class and stress and the somatization of stress. Existing methods of coping with stress as well as adjustment mechanisms would be examined and suggestions made for new directions. (Eyetsemitan)

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

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. (Clark)

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

See Anthro. 414. (Owusu)

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

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF AFRICAN ORGANIZATIONS. One explanation given for Africa's underdevelopment is lack of efficiency and effectiveness in African organizations, especially public-owned organizations. This has sometimes led to the unfortunate stigmatization of the African worker as being lazy and indolent. However, a systems view approach would lead to a better understanding of this problem. Thus, in this course, three levels of analyses, namely: the organizational structure, man-organization interface and the individual would be carried out in order to identify issues relating to efficiency and effectiveness in African organizations. Topics to be covered include: motivation of workers, commitment behavior, person-organization fit models, personnel selection procedures, organizational cultures, organizational processes and structures, work values and attitudes, industrial relations, decision-making, training and manpower development. Also, the performance of African organizations and workers would be placed in historical context, to reflect pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial times. (Eyetsemitan)

Section 002 RACE, ETHNICITY AND GENDER IN AMERICAN CULTURAL ARTS. Afro-American cultural history historically surveyed within the multi-ethnic evolution of American cultural arts. Examined are the origins of cultural arts developments from Colonial America to the 20th Century related to Blacks, Indians and other ethnics. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson's views on Black and Indian "cultures" in the "Anthropological" sense of the meaning "culture," the creative and artistically interpretive perceptions of race and ethnicity are examined through the cultural arts. For example, the long range influence of "Negro Ministrelsy" in American music, dance and theatrical forms is examined as the root-origin of the "Negro Stereotype"; the influence of Harriot Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" on the literary genre of the white authors' approach to the Black and Indian music themes into America music composition, the Anton Dvorak-Jeanetta Thurber Thesis of the 1890's; the origins of the Ragtime-Jazz-Blues continuum in popular music culture; Puritanism, Africanism, and Americanism Theatre; the Eugene O'Neill thematic and dramatic revolution and the aesthetics of the Black image on the American stage as perceived by white (and Black) dramatists, 1917-1930; the Harlem Renaissance adaptation, accommodation and cross-fertilization in American music, literature, graphic arts, theatre and dance, the 1930's and the New Deal's Work Project Administration (WPA), the (Seven) cultural arts up to World War II. An interpretive study of post-World War II to the 1980's will be open-ended depending upon the general results of classroom discussions based on the topical choices elected by students themselves. Course requirements: One thoroughly researched term paper on a student-chosen topic related to the historical survey substance of the course. The course will be taught seminar-style; choices of term paper topics must be agreed upon by the instructor. An adequate reserved reading list will be provided plus additional sources suggested by the instructor. (Cruse)

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. After consultation with the proposed instructor complete the application along with a statement describing the purpose of the proposed course and a schedule of reading and writing assignments. The application must be signed by the faculty member and turned in before the end of the first full week of the term. An override will be issued by the office upon approval.


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