Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (DIVISION 311)

Historical Perspectives

336/WS 336. Black Women in America. (3). (SS).

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. (Brown)

Politics, Economics, and Development

203. Issues in Afro-American Development. (3). (SS).
Section 101 Black Women and Violence.
This course will survey important issues relating to violence against African-American women. Using a sociological approach that is largely structural and social psychological, we will examine the causes and consequences of various forms of violence against women, including sexual assault, and domestic violence and Black women's responses to such violence. Most importantly violence against women and the social structures which contribute to it will not be studied in isolation from other social problems, but will be linked to race and class based forms of oppression. In addition, students will be consistently encouraged to develop critical thinking skills and to think critically about the issues presented. Because of the prevalence of violence against Black women, the issues presented and discussed in this seminar are practical ones issues with which most students will be forced to grapple at some point in their lives. Therefore, we will approach our subjects from a perspective which connects theory to practice. (White)

Literature and the Arts

340/Amer. Cult. 340. A History of Blacks in American Film. (3). (Excl). Laboratory fee ($15) required.

This course focuses on the developing and burgeoning film industry emerging from the African American experience and/or its cultural context. It considers the historical circumstances that have impeded a reasonable representation of Black Americans in American cinema, while investigating the forms and styles expressed in independent and commercial productions. This includes an historical overview, but focuses on more recent works since the Civil Rights Movement of the '60s and '70s. Both documentary and feature films are examined and considered in terms of their cinematic techniques and aesthetic characteristics as well as for their social and political themes. The course will consider major Black directors and will attempt to view at least one of their works, and preview others. There will also be a comparative analysis of the feature and the documentary on Malcolm X. The examination and discussion of the films will require the use of cinematic vocabulary. (Boyd)

470/Comm. 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, 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

303/Soc. 303. Race and Ethnic Relations. An introductory course in Sociology or CAAS. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Sociology 503. (3). (SS). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

See Sociology 303. (Bettinger)

431. Topics in Black Education. CAAS 430 recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 101 Education and Social Transformation in Southern Africa.
The course examines problems of education in the process of social transformation in Southern Africa. The emerging problems of education in South Africa will be the focus, but efforts will be made to draw from the experiences of the American South and other Sub-Saharan African countries. The question of education will be examined in its various manifestations, such as formal and informal, K-12, vocational, postsecondary, adult literacy and training. The historical framework that gives rise to problems of present day society will be examined. Issues of education policies, equity in educational opportunities for the various ethnic groups, student and teacher integration, the reconstruction of accommodative curricula, and the challenges of achieving and maintaining the notion of excellence will be considered. To reinforce our understanding of the major issues of the course guest lecturers will be invited from time to time. No prerequisite is required. (Wagaw)

Independent Study and Special Topics

200. Issues in Afro-Caribbean Studies. CAAS 100 recommended. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 Re-reading "Difference" in Haiti and Jamaica.
This course will challenge stereotypes of the Caribbean by exploring the differences, similarities and "oddities" in the countries and among the peoples within the region. Focus will be on Haiti and Jamaica, two islands which are plagued by misrepresentations and myths that are perpetuated by the media. While Haiti is associated with "economic" refugees formerly known as "boat people," extreme poverty, political turmoil, U.S. invasions and voodou; Jamaica is better known as the island of ganja and rastas and reggae, all-inclusive package tours in Negril and Montego-Bay and more recently for its bobsled team, dancehall DJs Buju, Petra and Shabba and transnational drug posses. Through in-depth readings of historiographies, ethnographies, literature and popular culture within specific theoretical frameworks, we will examine the complex identities, beliefs, cultural patterns of Haitians and Jamaicans and the extent peoples of these two islands are and have been producing and reproducing their social, political and economic systems. (Ulysse)

358. Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 101 Gender and Law in Colonial Africa.
This course provides a forum for advanced undergraduate students to discuss the construction of colonial legal systems in Africa, focusing on their role in shaping gender relations. The course introduces students to the current literature on the interplay between colonial law, power and gender, and exposes them to some of the issues of critically reading primary legal sources. (Miescher)


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