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 eras, and from the colonial to the post colonial. In the process, the continent's ancient kingdoms and acephalous (decentralized, "tribes without leaders") societies will be examined in terms of their internal dynamics as well as in their interaction with outside forces, especially with the Arab world and Western Europe. This is an approach that will therefore highlight dominant characteristics of African societies in contexts provided by indigenous, Islamic, and Western contributions. Students will be provided with an introduction to African politics and economics as well as to the continent's many cultures and cosmologies, religions and philosophies. Other themes to be discussed include the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (seen as instance when a "labor imperative" determined the relations between Africa and the West); the "territorial phase" which imperialism and colonialism represented; and the difficulties associated with Africa's current post-colonial "market and energy" phase. We will draw upon various media in this course. They will range from Ali Mazrui's television series THE AFRICANS to Achebe's novel THINGS FALL APART, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's prison memoirs, THE MAN DIED, and John Mbiti's AFRICAN RELIGIONS AND PHILOSOPHY. (Kokole)

Historical Perspectives

231/Hist. 275. Survey of Afro-American History II. (4). (SS).

This course surveys Black social, cultural, economic and political history in America from 1877 to the present, emphasizing Black families, Black institutions, Black organizations, Black leadership and Black politics and concepts such as Pan-Africanism, domestic colonialism, and Black Power. (Dykes)

Politics, Economics, and Development

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

This course will review the history of the ideas and practice of Pan-Africanism beginning with 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 of the 21st century development of Africa. Students will be expected to read assigned materials, as well as develop and present research essays.

Literature and the Arts

341/Theatre 222. Introduction to Black Theatre. (3). (HU).

See Theatre 222. (Jackson)

342/Theatre 223. Acting and the Black Experience. (3). (HU).

See Theatre 223. (Jackson)

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

This course is a continuation of AAS 360, an accelerated course which provides an interdisciplinary overview of Afro-American culture and art. AAS 361 develops further information and dialogue for a closer examination of the interrelationship of the arts, and of how they influence and are influenced by society. The approach continues to be interdisciplinary, and Afrocentric. The Afro-American cultural experience and its various forms of existence and encounters are brought under close scrutiny in a variety of contexts: these will range from the historical and political to the philosophical, the religious, and the aesthetic. In the process, this course also examines the relationship of West African cultures to both south and North American insistencies. The course also recognizes and will examine the controversies surrounding the impact of the Afrocentric aesthetic on Western culture and lifestyles. Slides, films, and guest appearances will supplement lectures. But this course is also designed to be interactive and communal and to create opportunities for students to strengthen their skills and establish a clearer, more substantial concept of identity, focus and direction. (Lockard)

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

This course is intended to acquaint students with the many musical styles of the music of Black Americans. The following are among the topics and areas that we will cover during the term: Afro-American music and its African Roots; Slavery in America and its sacred and secular constructs: the Spirituals and the Blues; Precursors of Jazz: Ragtime, Classic Blues, and Syncopated Dance Bands; Early Jazz: Armstrong, Morton, Oliver; The Jazz Age: Basie and Ellington; Gospel Music; The Black Revolution: Bebop, Post-bop, Avant-garde; Crosscurrents: Contemporary Popular Music; Art Music by Black Composers: From Nationalists to Experimentalists.

AAS 400/MHM 457 will examine critical issues related to the social and cultural history of Afro-Americans and align those issues with their corresponding musical developments. The texts for this course will be: Eileen Southern's THE MUSIC OF BLACK AMERICANS; Amiri Baraka's BLUES PEOPLE; and Richard Demory's INTRODUCTION TO JAZZ HISTORY. These texts will be supplemented with readings from papers from the 1985 University of Michigan Black Music Symposium. (Brown)

407. African Literature. (3). (HU).

In this course, we will read and discuss several African novels to see what they tell us about the artistry of the novelist, the life of the people in the author's country, the country's history, the author's "philosophy" what if anything is distinctly African in the aesthetic system of this fiction, changes or trends in African fiction the class discerns, and any other pertinent matters the class wishes to raise. Students will occasionally be asked to write a short essay about a book, scene, character, etc. (Each topic will be assigned if the student does not suggest one.) Students will be encouraged to read history, journalism or other matters that add to their knowledge of the events and issues against which these novels are set. Students will take turns presenting the data to the class in 10-minute oral reports; they may gather this material individually or in small groups. There will be one 2-hour exam and one longer paper. (Woodford)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

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

This course provides students with an introduction to the scientific study of Black American Family life. Specifically, the course is intended to: 1) Review previous research on Black families. 2) Evaluate theories, methods and findings commonly cited. 3) Analyze Black family organization and functions. 4) Encourage systematic study by students of self-selected, specialized aspects of Black family life. 5) Facilitate constructive exchange of viewpoints over contemporary issues in Black family studies. There will be, among other types of exercises, a "Family History Exercise" in which students will engage in the analysis of a real-life Black family of their own choosing. Students will be expected to gather information on the family's genealogy, significant historical events, organization and structure, current social setting and goals, and sources of stress. (Haniff)

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

This seminar has two major objectives. First, existing theoretical models for understanding issues of stress and coping in Black America will be critically reviewed. Strengths and limitations of popular biological, psychodynamic, cognitive and psychosocial approaches will be considered. Second, an integrative role strain-adaptation model will be highlighted, with a focus on its utility for guiding more meaningful empirical research and intervention on Black populations. In addition to other advantages, this role strain-adaptation model emphasizes both socially structured sources of personal stress and cultural strengths as sources of adaptive coping. Students will have an opportunity to: a) review recent empirical studies by African-American researchers, and b) work on a special interest project which considers how students, workers, family members or others cope with chronic role strain in valued social roles. (Bowman)

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

See Religion 310. (Miles)

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

This course is a comparative study of education and of the cultures of Black peoples in Africa, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean and South Pacific Islands. Among the texts that will help us define issues, isolate contexts for emphasis, and design relevant approaches within so broad a racial and cultural context are the following: Marvin Harris, PATTERNS OF RACE IN THE AMERICAS; Paulo Freire, PEDAGOGY OF THE OPPRESSED; Preiswerk and Perrot, ETHNOCENTRISM AND HISTORY; Vidya Mandal's UNESCO publication, EDUCATION ON THE MOVE; and Configuration of Culture and Education: An African Experience; (Wagaw). The readings and approach are designed to help students gain a systematic understanding of the dynamics and the interplay of education and culture as they relate to peoples of color in the regions listed above whether such people live within self-governing and independent nation-states, or whether they do so as minority members of multi-ethnic societies. In instances where such minorities and/or nation-states have been denied access to education or where full cultural participation has been long proscribed, we will look at how education and culture interact to correct or to aggravate subsequent patterns of disequilibrium, alienation, and underdevelopment. (Wagaw)

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

Section 001 COMMUNICATION AND THE BLACK EXPERIENCE. This course will study the recording of the Black experience in Black media, mainstream mass media, and special interest media, in the context of the Black struggle for equality. The course will address the problems of replication; the nature and function of stereotypes, ideology and propaganda; the process of reification; advertising and spectacle, as they impact upon communications concerning the Black experience. Beginning with Black oral media, we will study the canon of media that Blacks have developed to supplement and correct their representation in dominant media and to advocate and debate Black issues such as emigration, abolition, segregation, lynching, employment, self-improvement, self-defense, race relations, civil rights. The overview will include historic and contemporary newspapers and magazines, from FREEDOM'S JOURNAL and NORTH STAR on through CRISIS, EBONY, ESSENCE, and other Black publications, with more intensive study of contemporary print media. Varieties of Black electronic media will be studied, among them the television documentary, EYES ON THE PRIZE and its attendant paperback volume; the film THE COLOR PURPLE; the Jesse Jackson campaigns; and championship athletics, with consideration of the debates that often accompany them. Some study will also be given to comparative aspects of Black media in the Caribbean and Africa. (Chrisman)

Section 002 AFRICAN JEWS IN ISRAEL: MIGRATION AND ACCULTURATION. The migration of African Jews to Israel has accelerated since the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948. Today the "Oriental" population of the State constitutes 58% percent of the Jewish population and the vast majority of this is composed of people of African origin from North, Sub-Sahara, and to some extent, southern Africa. The mass migration of the Falashas or Ethiopian Jews in recent years have added yet another African dimension to this Middle East State which in addition to its Jewish particularisms, identifies itself with the Western world in broad cultural and economic terms. This course is designed to examine the rationale and purposes of migration, the policies of settlement and dispersion; the policies and instruments of absorption, employment, allotments of income and power; the demands made on the immigrants to institutionalize their behaviors and cultural orientations in line with the dominant European culture of the State; the resistance, accommodation, and dynamics of the interactions from the religious, political, and economic points of view. Particular attention will be paid to training and education policies and programs, the family, the role of traditional leadership, generational gap, and to ethnic or race relations among and between the various elements of the population. Comparison will be made with the United States and Canada regarding similarities and differences in policies and methods of immigrant absorption, as well as role expectations of the absorbing society and role performances of immigrants. For part of the substance the course draws upon the field study and research results carried on by the instructor over the last several years some of which are published, and some more are in the stage of being published or otherwise available for students in document, as well as audio-visual forms. In addition the rich and high quality literature available in this broad area will be at the disposal of students to further facilitate the learning endeavors. (Wagaw)

Section 005 RACE AND GENDER IN AMERICAN CULTURE: IMAGES OF DIFFERENCE. This course focuses on images of women and Africans/Afro-Americans in popular culture and folklore. In view of the dual focus on race and gender, images of African and Afro-American women will be of particular concern. The conceptualization of difference and "otherness" in American cultural media will serve as a point of departure, and the key role of stereotyping will be a major point of discussion. Exploration of popular culture and folklore theory will provide a base from which to consider theoretical approaches to analysis. Issues to be considered include the historicity of racial and gender imagery, the unidimensionality and distribution of such images, and the extent to which they overlap and differ. The potential ways in which such images may be interpreted by their audience will be examined, as well as the extent to which these images have had an impact outside the United States. (Arewa)

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 departmental staff member. Students are provided with the proper section number by the staff member with whom the work has been arranged.


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