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 three 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, and special projects. Cost:3 WL:4

Section 6 Honors. Discussion section for Honors students and others with permission of instructor. Taught by Prof. Julius Scott, an historian whose main research interests are in the period of the Atlantic slave trade and the European colonization of the Americas. (Scott)

105. Introduction to African Studies. (4). (SS).

A multi-disciplinary introduction to the study of African societies, highlighting their internal dynamics, their interactions with the Arab and European worlds, and their struggle for political independence and economic development. The class draws on work in history, anthropology, politics, economics, and literature. Taught by Prof. Yaw Twumasi, a political scientist who studies modern African political economy. Cost:3 WL:4 (Twumasi)

Politics, Economics, and Development

425. Politics of Black Movements in America. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Politics of the Civil Rights Movement.
For Fall Term, 1995, this course is offered jointly with Political Science 480.001. (Walton)

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

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 crises in United States and world history. This course 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. 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)

457/Econ. 476. Political Economy of Black America. Econ. 101. (3). (Excl).

See Economics 476. (Whatley)

477/NR&E 477. Women and the Environment. Junior standing. (3). (Excl).

This course explores the relationship between women and the environment in industrialized and developing countries. It explores issues of race, social class, poverty, power, control, and natural resource use and abuse. Aid and international development is also analyzed in the context of women's access to resources. (De Gannes)

Literature and the Arts

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

See History of Art 108. (Quarcoopome)

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

See English 274. (Gunning)

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

See Theatre and Drama 233. (Simmons)

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

This course will (a) introduce students to a primary body of knowledge reflective 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. 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. Cost:2 WL:4 (Lockard)

385(407)/Engl. 385. Topics in African Literature. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.

See English 385. (Farred)

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

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. 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)

489/English 479. Topics in Afro-American Literature. CAAS 274 and/or 338 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

See English 479. (Chrisman)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

241/WS 231. Women of Color and Feminism. (3). (Excl).

See Women's Studies 231.

303/Soc. 303. Race and Ethnic Relations. An introductory course in Sociology or CAAS. (4). (SS). (This course meets the Race and Ethnicity Requirement).

See Sociology 303. (Wilson)

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

See Anthropology 414. (Owusu)

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

See Anthropology 451. (Williams)

486. Communication Media in the Black World: Print Media. (3). (Excl).

This course will study the recording of the Black experience in Black media, mainstream mass media, and special interest media in the context of the Black struggle for equality. It will address the problems of replication; the nature and function of stereotypes; ideology and propaganda; the process of reification; advertising and spectacle, as they impact upon communications concerning the Black experience. Beginning with Black oral media, we will study the canon of media that Blacks have developed to supplement and correct their representation in dominant media and to advocate and debate Black issues such as emigration, abolition, segregation, lynching, employment, self-improvement, self-defense, race relations, and civil rights. This overview will include historic and contemporary print media. Cost:2 WL:4 (Chrisman)

Independent Study and Special Topics

455. Seminar on Project and Research Planning. Upperclass standing. (3). (Excl).

The course this term focuses on African-American autobiographies as a way to explore research methods in Afroamerican and African studies. Students will examine four autobiographies in order to see how they are both individual memoirs and stories of larger social and historical contests. Highly recommended for Honors students in AAS. Taught by Prof. Earl Lewis, an historian whose recent research has dealt with issues of racial identity in the modern era. Cost:3 (Lewis)

458. Issues in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 Identities of Blackness in the Visual Arts.
This course will examine how the visual arts are used by artists, scholars and others to shape and establish identities of blackness in American (USA) society, from ca. 1750 until the present. A variety of visual materials including fine arts, vernacular arts, advertising and other popular media formats will be studied in this course. Creative productions by Black and white Americans will be examined. Topics include representations of the Black American in the fine arts, use and deconstruction of stereotypes, primitivism and Africa, and the interrelationship between scholarly and popular cultural enterprises. Coursework includes one or more focused projects, either individual or group, which will be presented in class, and two research papers. Course texts are a course pack and possibly one or two texts such as Albert Boime, The Art of Exclusion, Representing Blacks in the Nineteenth Century. Class instruction consists of lectures and class discussions. Cost:2 WL:4 (Patton)

Section 002 The Countryside and the City in African Politics. This course on the dynamics of politics in sub-Saharan Africa focuses on the relationship between city-based political elites and peasant producers. Ruling elites and rural cultivators are the dominant social forces in contemporary African politics and elite political control is rooted in the economic structures and social organizations of the countryside. After examining the historical processes by which rural cultivators were transformed into peasant producers in pre-colonial and colonial Africa we discuss: the involvement of rural populations in nationalist and liberation movements; surplus appropriation from the countryside; evasion and resistance of government policies by rural dwellers; and case studies of rural development projects and food production. Previous study of Africa is desirable, but not required. Cost:3 WL:4 ( Twumasi)


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