Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (Division 311)


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

For centuries, non-Africans have thought of Africa in terms of myths, stereotypes and images. There were the images of mystery, strangeness and darkness of various times in the past, and those of political instability, hunger and refugees in more contemporary times. Also, in the pre-independence era, educated Africans tended to depict Africa cultures and civilization in a highly idealized fashion. The basic premise of this course is that none of these approaches help us to get an accurate picture of social and political reality in Africa. The general argument of this course will be that Africans constitute an important branch of the human family and, like human beings elsewhere, have been concerned and are concerned with making a living, raising families, and with giving meaning through symbols, signs etc. to the natural and physical world around them. This course attempts to look at the societies, economics, cultures and politics of Africa in the context of the continent's historic ties with the external world. This course is designed, first, to offer a comprehensive but selective survey of the diverse ways in which Africans have adapted to and sought to control their environment. The theme will be the overall relation between cultures, societies and politics. Second, this course will examine shaping trends, focusing on the ways in which Africans have coped with structural transformations; the characteristics of the transformations will be outlined, and the ways in which they have influenced the rise of modern nation states will be analyzed. Lectures, films, and class discussion will be the main methods of instruction. Students will write two examinations and two short research papers on various aspects of the topics discussed in class. Previous knowledge of Africa is desirable, but not required.

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

This course is a continuum of 360, and provides the information and the dialogue to escort the minds of the students into a closer examination of the interrelationship of the arts, how they are influenced by society and an Afrocentric approach toward analysis (using both Logic and Reason). The Afroamerican cultural experience is brought under close scrutiny by observing the historical, political, sociocultural, philosophical, religious, aesthetic and ideological aspects of its' existence and its' encounters. The course continues to examine the relationships of West African cultures to both South and North American insistencies. We make attempts to recognize the function the Afrocentric aesthetic and how it influences Western culture and lifestyles. Of course it is also recognized that such view are provocative to the Western mind, however the challenge is where the dialogue plays its' most important role. There is a lecture each week and discussions from assigned readings. Additional classroom supplements are video tapes, slides and films. Occasional guest lecturers give additional reference for stimulating and challenging verbal and mental exchange. The interdisciplinary approach is valid preparation for course in history, art, art history, sociology, literature, psychology, political science and anthropology. Course Requirements. (a) Three short papers, three to five pages each, typewritten. (b) An analytical overview from either a video presentation, guest lecturer or audio presentation. Five typewritten pages minimum. (c) An in-class final group presentation. This course is expected to be communal interactive, intensive, informative and spiritual; creating countless opportunities for students to involve themselves, strengthen their skills and establish a clearer, more substantial concept of identity, purpose and direction. Required Text: Black American Literature, Ruth Miller; Flash of the Spirit, Robert Farris Thompson. Suggested Reading. African Religions and Philosophy, John Mbiti. Art Afroamerican, Dr. Samella Lewis. Office Hours Wednesdays 1-4, Room 233, Lorch Hall, Telephone: 764-55l3 or 487-5550. (Lockard)

400. History of Afroamerican Music I. (3). (HU).

This course surveys the evolution of Afroamerican music, starting with the early contributions of African musical and cultural traditions. The class will consider the cultural meanings and social circumstances that have shaped different musical forms rural and urban, sacred and secular in the New World African Diaspora, particularly in the United States. Topics undertaken include Afroamerican folk music such as the worksongs, field hollers, and regional varieties of the blues; popular forms that have incorporated significant European musical elements, such as minstrel music and ragtime; and cultivated music such as the works of the nationalist Black composers. The historical overview proceeds from the African material up to New Orleans jazz, musical theatre, classical blues, and other Afroamerican musical traditions of the 1920's. History of Afroamerican Music II follows this course in the departmental sequence. The method of instruction in History of Afroamerican Music I includes lecture and discussion, films, and extensive use of recorded examples. No prior background in music is required of students in this course. Grading is based on exams and a paper of moderate length. (Fairfax)

404/Hist. Art 404. The Art of Africa. (3). (HU),

See History of Art 404. (Maurer)

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.

418/Poli. Sci. 419. Black Americans and the Political System. Two courses in political science or permission of instructor. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 419. (Rich)

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

See Cultural Anthropology 411. (Owusu)

430. Education and Cultures of the Black World. (3). (SS). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

This new course is a comparative study of education and culture of Black people of Africa, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific Islands. It is designed to help the student gain a systematic understanding of the dynamics and interplay of education and culture as related to the Black people of these regions whether they live within self-governing independent nation-states, or as minority members of multiethnic societies whose access to education and full cultural participation have been long proscribed. The lack of equity in access to full opportunities to education and culture have led to underdevelopment, social disequilibrium and alienation in many of these societies. In addition the variety, differences and contrasts in social institutions, values, and beliefs of the respective societies which may give the shape and texture of the quality and magnitude of access to the means of development and integration will be examined. A combination of the lecture-discussion methods will be used. Film strips, and guest speakers will be used as they become available. Evaluation will be based on daily participation and performances on a assigned tasks and periodically administered written tests. Three to six credit hours. The course may be repeated for up to six credit hours. For the Winter 1985 term we will deal with Africa and the Americas. In the subsequent term with the other regions. There is a list of required and suggested reading available in the CAAS office. (Wagaw)

449/Poli. Sci. 459. Africa: Development and Dependence Prior or concurrent study of the Third World; Poli. Sci. 465 is recommended but not required. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 459. (Elaigwa)

458. Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (SS).
Section 001 Politics and Letters: That Which the Soul Lives By.
There is an interesting moment at the beginning of Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men. In it, the folklorist and novelist outlines the process whereby her book and her self-awareness were simultaneously created: "I was glad when someone told me, 'You go and collect Negro folklore.' In a way it would not be a new experience for me. When I pitched headforemost into the world I landed in the crib of negroism But it was fitting me like a tight chemise. I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings, that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spyglass of Anthropology to look through at that." It is this process that will be the focus of our concern this term. Using the lives, times, and works of Zora Hurston, Jomo Kenyatta, and Frantz Fanon; we will explore the means by which voyages of discovery become devices of self-definition; we will consider the paradox of identity as that which is given but which yet remains to be created. Our thought will include the ways in which these authors were both shaped by and were shapers of their historical moments moments which also contained particular realizations of Black identity. Core readings will include Mules and Men, Facing Mt. Kenya, Black Skin White Masks. Other works such as Rosengarten's All God's Dangers, the Life of Nate Shaw, and Higgins' Harlem Renaissance, will provide insight into the times in which our authors lived, while still other works such as Culler's On Deconstruction, Gate's "The Blackness of Blackness: A Critique of the Sign and the Signifying Monkey," and Said's Orientalism will provide our theoretical spy-glasses. Evaluation will be based upon class participation and two written assignments. (Davis-Roberts)

Section 002 South Africa: The Historical Origins of the Current Crisis. This course examines the historical origins of South Africa's contemporary problems. It will combine a survey of South African history from the time of the first significant interracial contact in the seventeenth century through the impact of Dutch and British colonization in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the effects of the rise of an industrializing economy in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, together with concentration on a number of recurring issues. The latter will include investigation of the nature and extent of white supremacy in thought and action, the origins and rise of Afrikaner nationalism, the role played by mining capital in the development of segregation and apartheid, the changing nature of the South African state, the role of Africans in the economy, and the problems besetting the growth of African nationalism and Black consciousness. Course requirements include one short essay (5-10 pages), a midterm and a final. (Worger, William)

Section 003 Stress, Vulnerability, Resiliency: Black Families and Children. This course will examine aspects of the lives of Black Americans in terms of stress, coping, and mental health. Special attention will be given to economic and occupational issues. We will explore how occupational milieu and various aspects of the structure and organization of work life shape family dynamics, parental childbearing, and children's personality development. The ways in which unemployment, poverty, and associated conditions (e.g., female-headed households, welfare, latch key phenomenon) affect the psychological well-being of children and parents will be examined. Finally, special attention will be given to those environmental and personality factors that appear to help individuals cope effectively with adversity. Major term paper required. Seminar format. Junior or senior standing or permission of instructor. (McLoyd)

Section 004 Seminar on Current Issues in Africa's Development. This course is designed to address the current pressing socioeconomic, education, and cultural problems of the continent of Africa. Problems of population growth, drought, famine, human, movements (refugees), militarism as well as shifting alignments in relation to world super powers will be examined. Emphasis will be placed on the most critical regions of the continent, namely, the Northeast Horn and South Africa. Instruction methods include lecture and discussion by the professor and guests, films and discussion of student research papers. Evaluation will be based on daily class performance, seminar paper, and one written examination. (Wagaw)


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