Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (Division 311)

Introductory Courses

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

This course presents a broad overview of epochal moments in 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 Basil Davidson's TV series AFRICA and Ali Mazrui's, THE AFRICANS: A TRIPLE HERITAGE. 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; Alisi. 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 THE 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 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, (200 West Engineering) (Kokole)

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 Afro-American politics 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. (Mazrui)

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

See Political Science 409.

461. Pan-Africanism I. (3). (SS).

This course will review the history of the ideas and practice of Pan-Africanism beginning with the 19th century movements in the diaspora and continuing through contemporary organizations struggling for continental unity. Issues of ideology, leadership, location, structure and resources will all be reviewed in our explorations of this fascinating theme. Films, speakers, and special presentations will highlight this critical examination of an important issue for the 21st century development of Africa. Students will be expected to read assigned materials, as well as develop and present research essays. (Kamara)

Literature and the Arts

400/MHM 457. The Music of Black Americans. Music background preferred. (3). (HU).

An explication of the development of the Afro-American musical traditions from African and Afro-American folk origins to Black American music in the twentieth-century. Topics include blues, jazz, gospel, contemporary popular music, and art music. Lecture material will be supplemented by required readings from books and articles, and recorded music (available at the School of Music listening room). Student performance will be evaluated by means of a one-hour midterm exam, a midterm analytical paper (5-7 pages), and a final research and analytical paper (10-15 pages). Non-music concentrators by permission of instructor. (Brown)

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 and 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; INVISIBLE MAN; DUTCHMAN; OF LOVE and DUST; SONG of SOLOMON; THE COLOR PURPLE; and DO LORD REMEMBER ME. (Awkward)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

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 changes 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. (W.R. Allen)

335/Rel. 310. Religion in the Afro-American Experience. (3). (HU).

See Religion 310. (N. Miles)

358(458). Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.

Section 001 POLITICAL STRATEGY OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. This is a course designed for students interested in working in a presidential campaign of their choice. While students are expected to spend considerable time in the field working on presidential campaigns, they are also expected to attend class once a week for lectures and analysis of various campaigns, and caucus as they unfold, and lectures and discussions on skills needed to be effective in such campaigns. Students are expected to be involved in a Presidential Computer Conference with their classmates on various campaign issues. Each student is to spend two hours a week on computer conferencing and eight hours a week working in campaigns. Student input into the conference will be graded weekly by a set of specific criteria. Although there is no textbook for the course, students will be expected to select articles and to keep abreast of information in the news media and journals. The computer conference and the readings will be the basis of weekly logs which will be graded. A portion of the grade will be based on class attendance. (Bryant)

Section 002. In Winter Term, 1988, this section is offered jointly with English 319.002. See CAAS (200 W. Engineering) for further information. (Govender)

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

See Cultural Anthropology 411. (Owusu)

452. Education of the Black Child. (3). (SS).

The course is designed to make it possible for students to engage in the examination and analysis of the public education philosophies, laws, and practices as related to the education of Black children in the past and at present. It considers the theoretical frameworks of growth, development and learning of children in different settings and at different life space on the one hand and the existing structural, socio-political and psychological conditions of the public school systems on the other and attempts to find ways and means of relating the objectives and philosophies of the schools to the needs of Black children. (Wagaw)

458. Issues in Black World Studies. (3). (SS). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.

Section 001 RACE and ETHNICITY in AMERICAN CULTURAL ARTS; AFRO-AMERICAN CULTURAL HISTORY historically surveyed within the multi-racial, multi-ethnic evolution of American cultural arts. Examined are the origins of cultural arts developments from Colonial America to the 20th Century related to Blacks, Indians and other ethnics. Beginning with Thomas Jefferson's views on Black and Indian "cultures" in the "ANTHROPOLOGICAL" sense of the meaning "culture," the CREATIVE and ARTISTICALLY interpretive perceptions of race and ethnicity are examined through the cultural arts. For example, the long range influence of "Negro Minstrelsy" in American music, dance and theatrical forms is examined as the root-origin of the "Negro Stereotype"; the influence of Harriet Beecher Stowe's, "UNCLE TOM'S CABIN" on the literary genre of the white authors' approach to the Black image; the short-lived attempts to incorporate Black and Indian music themes into American music composition, the Anton Dvorak-Jeanette Thurber Thesis of the 1890's; the origins of the Ragtime-Jazz-Blues continuum in popular music culture; Puritanism, Africanisms and Americanisms in the evolution of popular American dance; Blacks (and ethnicity) in the modern American Theatre; the Eugene O'Neill thematic and dramatic revolution and the aesthetics of the Black image on the American stage as perceived by white (and Black) dramatists, 1917-1930; the Harlem Renaissance (1917 to 1930) seen as the artistic, literary and aesthetic cross-cultural, trans-racial adaptation, accommodation and cross-fertilization in American music, literature, graphic arts, theatre and dance; the 1930's and the New Deal's Work Project Administration (WPA) impact on the (Seven) cultural arts up to World War II. An interpretive survey of post-World War II to the 1980's will be open-ended, depending upon the general results of classroom discussions based on the topical choices elected by students themselves. COURSE REQUIREMENTS-ONE thoroughly researched term-paper on a student-chosen topic related to the historical survey substance of the course. The course will be taught seminar-style; choices of term-paper topics must be agreed upon by the instructor. An adequate RESERVED READING LIST will be provided, plus additional sources suggested by the instructor. (Cruse)

Section 002 THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF AFRICAN ART. What does African art MEAN, in its original African cultural and historical contexts? How has it been uprooted and transformed, often enough, and what is its place in our lives, far from Africa? This course will provide an in-depth understanding of African art (and is meant to complement the African Art survey course taught by Dr. Evan Maurer of the Art History Department). We shall study a few societies in Africa such as the Dogan of the arid Sahel, the Yoruba of the lush West African coast, and the Tabwa of central Africa, all of which have produced aesthetically remarkable art. We will marvel at the formal properties of objects, from wooden sculpture to basketry to textiles; but we shall discover what these MEANT to earlier Africans, and what they MEAN to Africans today. We shall seek answers to intriguing questions: Is African art "primitive"? What are the criteria of African aesthetics, as Africans judge their own artistic creation? How is African art important to performances of various sorts, and why should it be considered part of a whole including motion, music, and other expressive forms? What roles does art play as a vehicle for religious practices, for ideological statement, for transforming people in healing or other rituals? How is art changed to allow people to think through, dramatize and cope with radical changes in society itself? We will take advantage of museum resources here at U-M, and will study the place and potential of museums in Africa. Evaluation will be based upon two projects (either papers or something else of your doing, to be negotiated) and two essay exams. Regular classroom attendance and participation (speaking up!) are expected. There will be several class-related activities at the U-M Museum of Art and elsewhere. (Roberts)

Section 003 WORLD OF THE BLACK FAMILY: BLACK FAMILIES IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. The purpose of this course is to examine child rearing practices among Black families in southern Africa. We will also look at child rearing practices among Black families in the United States to examine similarities and differences in these practices. This course will highlight the strengths of these families rather than emphasize their weaknesses. RATIONALE for the COURSE: Black families in Southern Africa account for a higher percentage of female headed families. This is due to the political and economic structure of Southern Africa. For example, a large percentage of men are recruited by the South African government to work in the gold mines on a migratory labor system. These men leave their families in the rural areas to fend for themselves. In the United States Black families also have a higher rate of unwed mothers and a high rate of divorce. In spite of the psychological and financial problems that single parent families are faced with, they have made great efforts to raise their children, to fit in the main society. OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE: 1) Examine theories of child rearing practices. 2) Apply these theories to the rearing of Black children in Southern Africa and in the United States. 3) Examine strengths and weaknesses of single parent families in the rearing of children. 4) Examine similarities and differences in child rearing in these groups. REQUIRED TEXT: Mindel, C.H., & R.W. Habenstein. (1981). ETHNIC FAMILIES in AMERICA. New York: Elsevier Science Publishing Company. (Goduka)

Section 004 MARRIAGE SYSTEMS IN AFRICA AND THE DIASPORA. The relations between individuals and social groups established through marriage are a central aspect of African life, at once the foundation and complement to relations between kin. This course allows students to deepen their understanding of African societies by analyzing the range and complexity of African and Afro-American marriage systems. The importance of marriage to pastoral and farm production, social and political organization and even chiefly bureaucracies will be explored in detail. These systems anchored a variety of indigenous societies, but also adapted vigorously to radical changes, whether from captivity in the Americas or economic and political transformations in Africa. Readings will consider the effects of cash crops, individual land tenure, labor migration, urbanization, capitalist and socialist development, colonization, Western education, Christianity and Islam, apartheid, war and economic crisis on relations between the sexes. A term paper and exams will be evaluated. Students will find an introductory course in cultural anthropology or African studies helpful, but not required. (Clark)


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