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. WL:4 (Barkley-Brown)

Historical Perspectives

230/Hist. 274. Survey of Afro-American History I. (3). (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. WL:4 (Kelley)

Politics, Economics, and Development

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. WL:4 (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. WL:4 (Woods)

Literature and the Arts

108/Hist. of Art 108. Introduction to African Art. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 108. (Quarcoopome)

274/English 274. Introduction to Afro-American Literature. (3). (Excl).

See English 274. (Awkward)

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

See Theatre and Drama 222. (Jackson)

342/Theatre 233. Acting and the Black Experience. Permission of instructor (brief interview). (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 notion 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. Course 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. [WL:4] (Lockard)

404/Hist. Art 404. The Art of Africa. (3). (Excl).
Ancestors, Spirits and Divination.
See History of Art 404. (Patton)

406/Amer. Cult. 406. Literature of the Caribbean World. (3). (Excl).
Introduction to Caribbean Thinkers, a Course on the Great books of the Caribbean.
Many of the leading thinkers of the diaspora were from the Caribbean. They were not only thinkers but also activists, and therefore make an interesting study on the connection between ideas and change. For some these ideas were a contribution to the developing body of political and literary work on imperialism, race, colonialism and capitalism. Although there have been many great Caribbean thinkers and writers, not all produced great books, some produced great revolutions, among these would be Marcus Garvey and Che Guevarra. These will be included through biographies and a serious examination of their ideas. The classic books that will be taught in this class are: Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth; C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins; Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery; V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas; Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. The works of other thinkers like Elsa Gouveia, Oliver Senior, Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire will also be included. WL:4 (Haniff)

470/Film-Video 470. Cultural Issues in Cinema. (3). (Excl).

This course is designed to explore developments in the cross-cultural use of media-from Hollywood feature films to ethnographic documentaries, from Caribbean liberationist literature to African allegories of colonialism, from indigenous use of film and video to Black Diasporan "oppositional" film practice. This course, at once theoretical, historical, and metacritical in its focus, is divided into two parts. The first deals with dominant Western paradigms (Hollywood and ethnographic films) and the representation of ethnic minorities and other cultures, while the second part will profile recent productions revealing counterimages that call into question many of the assumptions that shape conventional film history. The "reading" of films from various perspectives will help us to comprehend the manner in which "positive" or "stereotypical" images of the "other" are constructed enabling us to penetrate beneath the surface of the film into its structure, thereby uncovering the source of its effects. In considering the theoretical, methodological, cultural, and political issues responsible for the production, distribution, exhibition, and consumption of such media, we will foreground recent debates concerning Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, multi-culturism, racism, sexism, and class bias as reflected in films and discourse about films. Some of the films screened include: IMITATION OF LIFE, UNCLE MOSES, THE SEARCHERS, PASSION OF REMEMBERENCE, FACES OF WOMEN, SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT and NICE COLORED GIRLS. Readings, screening and written assignments required. Cost:4 WL:3,4 (Ukadike)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

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. 427/Women's Studies 427. African Women. One course in African Studies, anthropology, or women's studies; or permission of instructor. (3). (SS).

The remarkably 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, 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 religion 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 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 to reserve the downward spiral of economic degeneration. WL:4 (Clark)

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: Modern Afro-American Poetry, 1900-1980.
For Fall Term, 1992, this course is jointly offered with English 479. (Chrisman)

Section 003: Race, Ethnicity and Gender in American Cultural Arts. Afro-American cultural history historically surveyed within the multi-racial, multi-ethnic evolution of American cultural arts. Examined are the origins of cultural arts developments from Colonial American 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 Minstrelsy" in American music, dance and theatrical forms is examined as the root-origin of the "Negro Stereotype": the influence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" on the literary genre of the white authors' approach to the Black and Indian music themes into American 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, Africanisms and Americanisms in the evolution of popular American dance; Blacks (and ethnicity) in the modern American 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 (1917-1930) seen as the artistic literary and aesthetic cross-cultural, trans-racial 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) impact on the (Seven) cultural arts up to World War II. An interpretive survey 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. WL:4 (Cruse)

Section 004: African American Political Thought. See Political Science 496-003. (Dawson)

Section 005: Music of the Caribbean. For Fall Term, 1992, this course is jointly offered with Music History and Musicology 406. (McDaniel)

459/Anthro. 451. African-American Religion. One introductory course in the social sciences. (3). (Excl).

See Anthropology 451. (Williams)

478/Latin American and Caribbean Studies 400/Hist. 578. Ethnicity and Culture in Latin America. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

See Latin American and Caribbean Studies 400.

486. Communication Media in the Black World. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001: Communication Media and the Black World.
This course will consider the registry of the Black experience in radio, television and film. Special attention will be paid to the technical, economic, and social properties of modern mass media and how they affect the replication of the reality of Black life in the United States and elsewhere. We will study the reproduction of Black stereotypes in modern film and television, from early dramas and musicals, on through to contemporary coverage of athletic events and news broadcasting. Particular attention will be paid to the problems of semiotics, reunification and hegemony posed by the monopoly nature of mainstream mass media. In addition, attention will be paid to films and programs that have sought to accurately record the complexity of Black life, and such study will include independent Black film and television producers. WL:4 (Chrisman)

558. Seminar in Black World Studies. Graduate standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001: Women and Development.
The question is an urgent one for women in societies affected by intentionally managed socioeconomic change, and for those of us contemplating work and research projects among them. This course considers the varied and contradictory meanings development has for international agencies, donor and national governments, non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations and local citizens wanting better lives. We use questions about women and gender as a window into theories and experiences of incorporation into the world system, including historical and contemporary change processes. African examples and contexts receive the most attention, but comparisons with other continents are substantial. We also address the complex issues raised by the involvement of social science professionals in these processes - discussing conceptual, epistemological, political, ethical, pragmatic and personal questions in the context of specific projects and jobs. We start by surveying conservative, critical and radical approaches to development theory, particularly those used by and for women, and continue with how these models are enacted in concrete policy arenas such as structural adjustment, particularly development and agriculture. Students will research and present issues and examples from further topics and areas of their own interest. WL:4 (Clark)

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. WL:3


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