Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (Division 311)

105(205). Introduction to African Studies. (4). (SS).

Introduction to African Studies provides an overflow of significant periods in African history, from the ancient past to the present. Beginning with a brief discussion of Africa as the "birthplace" of humankind, the course examines ancient African kingdoms and their relationships to Europe and Asia; Africa and the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the impact of the European colonial presence on Africa's development; the problems and issues confronting independent African countries in the contemporary period. Students will be introduced to the main features of indigenous African societies and cultures, including: types of family organization, political and economic structures, religion and philosophy, and aesthetics. Major currents of social change in the twentieth century will also be covered. Course readings range from Joseph Harris' concise history of Africa entitled Africans and Their History to Chinua Achebe's internationally acclaimed novel Things Fall Apart. Several films on Africa will be shown. One short research paper (approx. ten pages), a midterm, and a final exam will be required. (Sudarkasa)

326. The Black American Family. (3). (SS).

This course examines the structure and functioning of Black American families and their historical and contemporary contexts. Emphasis is placed on how efforts to maximize life chances in adverse circumstances influence the unique aspects of Black families. A special focus in this course will be on the impact of economic circumstances upon the structure, family relationships and other features of Black family life. (Hatchett and Bowman)

327. Psychological Aspects of Black Experience. (3). (SS).

This course is designed to introduce and familiarize students with theory and research relevant to psychological aspects of the Black experience. The course will consider the theoretical controversy surrounding the concept of "Black Psychology." Special emphasis is placed on the issues of racial identity and psychological assessment as well as sources of stress and coping resources within Black communities. In most instances, we will examine the traditional treatment of these issues in the psychological literature and contrast this treatment with more recent alternative explanations and interpretations. (Bowman)

330. African Leaders. (3). (SS).

The main purpose of thesis course is to enable the student to understand the kinds of long-term effects that different types of African political leaders can have on the direction their countries take. We will study African political leaders in terms of their relationships to the problems of development and other outstanding issues of twentieth-century Africa; single-party versus competitive party systems; socialist vs. neo-liberal models of development, etc. Samora Michel of Mozambique, Nkrumah of Ghana, Houphuet-Boigny of Ivory Coast, Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and Nyerere of Tanzania will be among those whose ideas, programs, and effects we will discuss. (Twumasi)

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

This course examines Black women in America from an 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. (Wilson)

340/American Culture 340. A History of Blacks in American Film. (4). (HU).

This course will examine the portrayal of Blacks in American films as one method of analyzing the complex relationship between Black and American popular culture. Hollywood films from 1915 to 1970 will be the primary source materials. Other source materials will include independent Black films, documentaries, drama and a wide variety of reading in Afroamerican cultural history literacy and film criticism. Major themes will be 1) the transformation of 19th century literary stereotypes of Blacks in works of Melville, Twain and Stowe to the screen; 2) the influence of the changing socio-political status of Afro-Americans on screen images; 3) the influence of Black music, drama and literature on American popular culture and; 4) the effort of Blacks to combat negative stereotypes in films beginning with the "Birth of a Nation" and to launch an independent Black cinema. No special background is necessary. There will be two hours of lecture and one hour of discussion plus evening film screenings. A film fee will be required. Students will a) keep a journal; b) write three short papers or do a research project as well as; c) a midterm and a final. (Wilson)

361. Comparative Black Art. CAAS 360. (3). (HU).

This course provides an interdisciplinary overview and introduction to the area of culture and its influences on society via the visual arts, music, dance, theatre, literature, television and education. Historical, political, sociocultural, philosophical, religious, aesthetic and ideological perspectives are brought to bear on the analysis of the African American cultural experience. The course tends to: (a) Introduce students to a primary body of knowledge reflective of a fundamental basis capable of establishing an overview of West African cultures and their relationships to Afroamerican culture, (b) Develop reference on a broad level for Afrocentric aesthetic and point of view, (c) Encourage greater insight and exploration into the arts of African and Afroamerican 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 lectures and discussions with weekly readings, video and audio tapes, slides and guest lecturers as reference and motivation for stimulating and challenging exchange. Course requirements include three short papers (three-five pages each), an analytical overview from a video presentation, guest lecturer or audio presentation (five 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. (Lockard)

401. History of Afroamerican Music II. (3). (HU).

The course begins with contributions of African and European musical traditions and surveys the evolution of Afroamerican music through colonial to contemporary periods. Emphasizing the development of an overall tradition of ethnic identification and values in music, early topics will include folk music, crystallization of the blues, religious music, and music for various social occasions - all presented in their social contexts. The role of protest, solidarity, and nationalistic motives in Afroamerican music will be balanced against an overview of its place in the general development of music in the U.S. Later topics will include minstrel music, ragtime, choral music, and sacred and secular music in the 20th century. The importance of ideologies and social conditions will be stressed in surveying Black musicals, academic music, and the phases of jazz and popular music. Finally, the course will overview the contemporary international connections of the Afroamerican music, especially to the West Indies and Africa. No special background is required of students. Instruction will take the form of lectures, with considerable reference to recorded musical examples and other audiovisual resources. Students will be evaluated on two examinations and one paper/presentation. (Fairfax)

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

Arrangements may be made for adequately prepared students to undertake individual study under the direction of a departmental staff member. Students are provided with the proper section number by the staff member with whom the work has been arranged.

422/Anthro. 411. African Culture. Junior standing or permission of instructor. (3). (SS).

See Anthropology 411. (Owusu)

426. Physical Dimensions of Inner Urban Change. (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." As a class we will meet once each week for three hours. 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. (Tape productions are intended as an opportunity for sharpening 'ethical sensibilities' and as an opportunity for each of us to clarify and share our own personal convictions about people and designed environments.) In addition to lectures, audio-visual presentations, etc., ongoing class dialogue will be augmented periodically with urban field trips and invited guests. Enrollment limited to 35 students. (Chaffers)

448(537)/Hist. 448. Africa in the Twentieth Century. (4). (SS).

This is a general survey course dealing with such question as: reactions to colonial policy; Pan-Africanism; Afro-Americans and African Society; the rise of modern political parties; problems of nation-building and world affairs in independent Africa (the roots of neo-colonialism). (Uzoigwe)

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). (SS).

See Political Science 459. (Twumasi)

450, 451. Black Communities and Legal Rights. (3). (SS).

AAS 451 is offered Winter Term, 1984.

Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy. The South African Law of Apartheid; The Concept of African Diasporic Legal Studies. The premise of AAS 451 is that the nexus between law, race and the social order offers an enlightening view into the main currents of the human experience. AAS 451 considers a core of selected domestic, international and comparative legal issues. Its aim, is to survey the broader aspects of African diasporic legal history. Among the units to be covered are: (1) an overview of Afro-American legal history particulars; (2) domestic and international legal perspectives on civil dissonance and political opposition; (3) international norms and the Afro-Americans; (4) Haitian, Cuban, and African immigrants and refugees; and (5) a survey of the South African laws governing apartheid and a comparative look at the operation of law and race in the histories of the United States and South Africa. (Woods)

458. Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (SS).
Section 001.
Almost since its inception, the psychological and sociological study of Afro-American children has spawned heated debate. At issue most often has been the appropriateness of comparing the behavior of Afro-American children to that of Euro-American children, labeling as deficits differences found between these two groups, and using tests normed on Euro-American children to assess the development of Afro-American children. In this course, we will review the changing nature and perspectives of sociological and psychological research on Afro-American children between 1930 and the present. Social, political, and economic factors which conditioned the study of Afro-American children at various points in history will be identified. Special attention will be given to four volumes published by the American Council on Education including Negro Youth at the Crossways (E.F. Frazier, 1941), Growing up in the Black Belt, (Johnson, 1941) Children of Bondage (A. Davis & J. Dollard, 1940) and Color and Human Nature (Warner et al., 1941). Required reading will also include selected contemporary articles and book chapters with historical accounts of Black child development will be compared. Two research papers (15-20 pages each) will be required. No exams. Discussion/seminar format. Not recommended for freshpersons. Introductory psychology or sociology course preferred but not required. (McLoyd)

476/Engl. 478. Contemporary Afroamerican Literature. Permission of instructor. (3). (HU).

The last quarter of the century witnessed extraordinary developments in Afro-American literature: Its relationships to its own past, to American literature generally speaking, the vision and techniques of its male as against its female writers, all of these have raised and opened up often exciting or controversial art forms and artists. This course is designed to examine aspects of these developments. The writings of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison; of Amiri Baraka and Ishmael Reed, of Gwendolyn Brooks and Ralph Ellison; and of James Baldwin and Richard Wright will help us share responses to and discussion of these issues.

574. Child Rearing in African Societies. Upperclass and graduate standing. (3). (SS).

The overall aim of this course is to provide understanding of the philosophical and conceptual frameworks as well as the societal goal that give rise to the use of certain models of child rearing practices in African societies. Analysis will be made of the different methods of child rearing practices, the reasons for and how these practices are similar or vary from one region to the next, and what the implications of these would be in relation to formal schooling and modernization objectives. A comparative overview with the child rearing practices of non-African countries will be made. The understanding of the goals and practices of child rearing then will be placed in the larger context of personality development theories which in turn may explain certain characteristics in terms of certain traits such as styles of cognition, reflective thinking, abstraction, and world view. (Wagaw)


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