Courses in Afroamerican and African Studies (DIVISION 311)

Introductory Courses

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

Briefly, the aim of AAS 105 is exploratory. Rather than provide pat answers to complex questions and problems, this is a course in which we will explore, by way of literary texts and films, the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of attempts (by Africans and non-Africans) to define and to understand Africa. Questions, analyses, and discussion are therefore going to be critical in our approach. The course will be divided into five sections, and required texts and films in each section will form the bases of lectures and discussions. Among the texts that will help give shape and focus to various points of emphasis are the following ones: D.T. Niane, SUNDIATA, AN EPIC OF OLD MALI; Anta Diop, THE AFRICAN ORIGIN OF CIVILIZATION and Walter Rodney, HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA; Chinua Achebe, THINGS FALL APART; Mariama Ba, SO LONG A LETTER and Nawal el Saadawi, WOMAN AT POINT ZERO; Caroline Ifeka-Moller, "FEMALE MILITANCY AND COLONIAL REVOLT, THE WOMAN'S WAR OF 1929, EASTERN NIGERIA" and Julius Nyerere, "UJAMAA-THE BASIS OF AFRICAN SOCIALISM." Meanwhile, our examination of how Africa is represented by non-Africans will lead us through approaches in Joseph Conrad and Rider Haggard; Lorraine Hansberry (RAISIN IN THE SUN); and, from the Caribbean, Aime Cesaire and Frantz Fanon. (Esonwanne)

Historical Perspectives

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

This course examines the life and history of African Americans during the industrial phase of American history. Beginning with emancipation, it explores the efforts of Blacks to define the meaning of freedom and secure their full place in the nation's political economy. Of major concern is the life cycle transition of Jim Crow from adolescence to adulthood and the simultaneous movement of Afro-Americans into industrial jobs. We will closely examine migration patterns, shifts in race relations, changes in opportunity structures, the advent of the civil rights movement as well as the persons and personalities who dominated Afro-American history. Our primary concern, therefore, is power and how African Americans tried to empower themselves between the 1860's and the 1970's. (E. Lewis)

Politics, Economics, and Development

408. African Economies: Social and Political Settings. (4). (Excl).

The theme of this course is CLASS, CULTURE, AND CONSCIOUSNESS. The course focuses on the interplay of history, culture, and human agency in processes of social reproduction and transformation in contemporary Africa. Readings and discussion will explore the various ways in which African communities have interpreted and responded to new economic and political realities within the colonial and post-colonial contexts. REQUIREMENTS: active participation in class discussion, a special report (oral and written), and a research paper. (Grosz-Ngate)

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

See Political Science 419. (Dawson)

Literature and the Arts

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

See Theatre and Drama 222. (Jackson)

342/Theatre 233. Acting and the Black Experience. Permission of instructor (brief interview). (3). (HU).

See Theatre and Drama 233. (Jackson)

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

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)

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

See description under English 478. (Zafar)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

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

In this course theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of African American families are explored and critiqued. We will examine the structural features of these families in today's American society and assess the role of historic, economic, and other systemic factors as determinants of such structures. Attention will be given to interactional patterns in African American families with the aim of identifying models that account for their strengths and resilience. Finally, current topical issues affecting the African families, such as, teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, and welfare dependency will be addressed. ] (Wilson)

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

See Religion 310. (Miles)

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

Section 001 BLACK LIFE AND HISTORY IN MICHIGAN. This course will survey the experiences of Blacks in the state of Michigan, emphasizing trends, events and activities significant for their local statewide, national and/or international significance. Topics covered include slavery in Michigan, Black migration and geographical distribution, the development of Black churches, organizations and community institutions, Black leaders, Black business developments, occupational opportunities and the development of Black urban workers, Black professionals, the activities of Black women, health care, housing patterns and changes in education, social and economic status from the 19th through the 20th centuries. Special attention will be given to Black involvement in politics and civil rights activities from the 1800's to the present and how suburbanization and technological change have affected Blacks since World War II. (De Witt Dykes)

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

Among the texts that are required or recommended for this course which will introduce students to the nature and the dynamics of the unity and the diversity of sub-Saharan African cultures and societies are the following ones: AFRICA AND AFRICANS (Bohannan and Curtis); PEOPLES AND CULTURES OF AFRICA (Skinner, ed); COLONIALISM AND CHANGE and "ETHNOGRAPHIES OF AFRICA: THE USEFULNESS OF THE USELESS" (Owusu); AFRICAN HISTORIOGRAPHIES: WHAT HISTORY FOR WHICH PEOPLE? (Jewsiewicki & Newbury, eds.); and "ON THE CONCEPTS OF 'TRIBE' AND 'TRIBAL' SOCIETY'" (Fried). The focus of AAS. 422/Anthro. 411 is on institutional characteristics. And it is within that framework that a variety of topics will be covered. They will include: ecology and environment; the distribution of races and peoples; economic institutions; religious, magical, and witchcraft beliefs and practices as well as music, dance and the arts. (Owusu)

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

This course is a comparative survey of the education and cultures of Black people in 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 objectives of the education of Black people in these regions, whether they live within the self-governed "independent" nation-states or as minority members of multi-ethnic societies. The lecture and discussion methods will be used. Film strips and Guest speakers will be used as these become available. Evaluation will be based on the performances on assigned tasks and periodically administered tests. This course may be repeated for a total of 6 credits. [Cost:4] [WL:3] (Eyetsemitan)

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

Section 001 AGING AND OLD AGE IN BLACK CULTURES. This course will focus on issues of Aging and Old Age that are common and dissimilar to Black people everywhere, including the U.S. and Africa. In doing this, the course will cover topics relating to the basic understanding of the Aging process as well as the socio-cultural, psychological and economic dynamics of Aging and Old Age. A comparative understanding of Aging and Old Age among other racial groups will be considered as well. The lecture and discussion methods will be used. Film strips and guest speakers will be used as these become available. Evaluation will be based on performances on assigned tasks and periodically administered tests. [Cost:2] [WL:3] (Eyetsemitan)

Section 003 This is a lecture-seminar course. It will examine the nature of religion in the lives of humans, within the framework of culture, and as a pervasive social institution. The course will focus on the special case of intensive and involved character of religion in the history and the lives of Afro-Americans. These special uses of religion create special problems. We will analyze those problems. (Williams)

486. Communication Media in the Black World. (3). (Excl).

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. This overview will include historic and contemporary newspapers and magazines, with more intensive study of contemporary print media. Varieties of Black electronic media will be studied, with consideration of the debates that often accompany them. Some study will also be given to comparative aspects of Black media in the Third World. Grades will be based upon attendance, participation, two short papers and a research project. (Chrisman)

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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