Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (Division 311)


Introductory Courses

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

Present a broad overview of epochal moments in the African history and societies from the pre-colonial to colonial, from colonial to post-colonial eras. Man's Garden of Eden's (Africa) ancient kingdoms and acephalous (decentralized, "tribes without leaders") societies will be examined in the terms of their internal dynamics as well as interaction with the outside world, especially with the Arab world and Western Europe. Other themes to be discussed include the "labor imperative" phase in relations between Africa and the West (i.e., the trans-Atlantic Slave trade), the "territorial phase" (colonialism and imperialism), the "market and energy phase" (contemporary phase including the difficulties confronting the post-colonial African states in the current period). The class will delve into the dominant characteristics of African societies, the indigenous, the Islamic and Western contributions: political and economic configurations, culture and cosmologies, religions and philosophies. All the major forces shaping contemporary Africa will be investigated. A midterm exam, a research paper of approximately 10-15 pages, and a final exam (in that order) will be required. A list of the relevant literature is available separately. Several films including select programs from Ali A. Mazrui's The Africans: A Triple Heritage will be shown in due course. Required texts: Mazrui, Ali, The Africans: A Triple Heritage (New York. 1986); Basil, Modern Africa (London, 1983); Achebe, Chinua, Things Fall Apart (Fawcett, 1959), Wole The Man Died (London, 1972); Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy; Olaniyan, R. African History and Culture. Recommended: Kenyatta, Facing Mount Kenya; Ayisi, E.O. An Introduction to the Study of African Culture and Bakari, M.B.M, The Customs of the Swahili People, Mazrui and Tidy, Nationalism and New States in Africa. More materials, drawn from journal articles and chapters from a variety of books are to be assembled in a course pack and are to be made available from Kinko's. Books and other materials will be put on reserve in the undergraduate Library and the Library for the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (100 West Engineering) (Kokole)

Historical Perspectives

230/Hist. 274. Survey of Afro-American History I. (4). (SS).

This is a lecture course in which we will examine the history of Afro-Americans from their African origins to the present. Readings and lectures will focus on key events and topics of the Afro-American experience: the African background and development of Afro-American culture; slavery and emancipation; the rise of sharecropping and Jim Crow; urbanization and the Civil Rights Movement. Three major themes will shape our inquiry: 1) the process of cultural and institutional development and change, 2) the material and social conditions that have shaped the various responses of Afro-Americans to racial oppression; and 3) how Black Americans have shaped their own history. Requirements include a short paper, a midterm and a final paper. (Holt)

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

See History 448. (White)

Politics, Economics, and Development

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

This course will focus on how the continuing struggle for Black empowerment has helped to shape both the current American political environment as well as the social and economic conditions of the Black community. While this course focuses on Afro-American politics since WWII, some attention is paid to the period before the war in order to lay a firm foundation for the analysis of modern Black politics. The unique nature of the Afro-American necessitates a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject. Consequently materials and lectures will also show how the study of race relations, psychology, economics and sociology can inform our understanding of the critical importance of Black politics to American politics. After considering such topics as the politics of the Civil Rights and Black Power eras, fiscal retrenchment, Blacks and governmental institutions, this course will end by considering whether a "New Black Politics" has emerged and the impact of the nation's move toward the political right on Afro-American politics. This course is a lecture course. Consequently the primary basis evaluation of students' work will be numerous writing assignments and a take home final. Previous coursework in political science and/or Afro-American studies will be helpful but is not required for this course. (Dawson)

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. (Wilson)

451. Black Communities and Legal Rights. (3). (SS).
The Law of Apartheid; Race and Law IN South Africa and The United States.
With a particular emphasis on the law of apartheid, AAS 451 will be a study of law and race in South Africa. Under this broad theme, we will consider several topics. We will first set the backdrop for the course by considering comparative perspectives on the historical evolution of South Africa and the United States. Of particular concern here will be the interaction of culture, demography, economics, geography and politics, and the role of law in defining relationships in the two societies. We will then move to the major focus of the course, the institutionalization and operation of the law of apartheid. In studying the legal components of apartheid we will first explore the concepts of grand and petit apartheid. We will then examine specific areas such as education, influx control, labor, political participation, and territorial separation. In addition, attention will be given to the issues of civil liberties, human rights and political detention. This part of the course will also consider the current impasse in South Africa. We will be particularly concerned here with the possibilities and limitations and law as mechanism of control and as a medium of reform. The course will conclude with the comparative look at race and law in the two societies. The aims of AAS 451 are to gain familiarity with the legal particulars of apartheid, to acquire an appreciation for comparative experiences of the United States and South Africa and to broaden the understanding of law and its relationship to the social order. (Woods)

456/Pol. Sci. 409. Comparative Black Political Thought. Two courses in political science or permission of instructor. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 409. (Mazrui)

Literature and the Arts

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)

433/French 433. African/Caribbean Francophone Literature in Translation. A literature course or any course dealing with the Black experience in Africa or the Americas. (3). (HU).

See French 433. (Ngate)

476/Engl. 478. Contemporary Afro-American Literature. Permission of instructor. (3). (HU).

In this course, we will examine Afro-American literary texts (plays, essays, novels) written in the last fifty years in order to determine the ways in which these texts constitute an identifiably unified body of literature. The issues that we will be discussing include: the significant changes in Afro-American literature over the period of time; various arguments in Afro-American letters about the most appropriate thematic concerns for the aesthetic approaches to literature; the recent burgeoning of Afro-American women's writing and its implications for what had been a literary tradition dominated by males; a prediction about the contours of Afro-American literature in the 1990's. Texts will include: Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, Dutchman, Of Love and Dust, Song of Solomon, The Color Purple, and Do Lord Remember Me. (Awkward)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

335/Religion 335. Religion in the Afroamerican Experience. (3). (HU).

See Religion 310. (Miles)

458. Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (SS). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 002 Oppression, Domination, Resistance: Cross Cultural Perspective.
This is a course about dominant/subdominant group relationships. In the course we look at oppression, domination and resistance in comparative perspective. Using examples from Black America and the Third World we attempt to accomplish the following objectives: (1) To examine selected dominant/subdominant group relationships, (2) To specify key historical, socio-economic, political, institutional and interpersonal factors by which dominant/subdominant relationships are determined, (3) To illustrate how differences by gender, ethnicity, social class and education within the oppressed group create internal zones of inequity, and (4) To detail the processes by which members of subdominant groups resist their oppression. Course format will be seminar-type, lecture-discussion. Course requirements will include three papers (8 pages) and three in-class hourly examinations. Among the course texts are: John Gwaltney's Drylongso; Paula Giddings' When and Where I Enter; Winnie Mandela's Part of My Soul Went With Him; Susan Brownmiller's Against Our Will; Roger Wilkins' A Man's Life and Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Course lectures and readings will also be supplemented by guest speakers, films and audio tapes. (Allen)

Independent Study

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 department staff member. Students are provided with the proper section number by the staff member with whom the work has been arranged. This course may be used to satisfy the Honors junior tutorial requirement for Afro-American concentrators.


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