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 eras, and from the colonial 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 an instance when a "labor imperative" determined the relations between African 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. (Omer)

Historical Perspectives

231/Hist. 275. Survey of Afro-American History II. (3). (SS).
This course, in the most general terms, is a study of the history and culture of African Americans since the Civil War. We will be particularly concerned with internal community development, including class and gender dynamics within Black communities, exploring the various ideological developments in late nineteenth and twentieth century African American communities, and understanding the ways in which African American, by their own thoughts and actions, shaped their own lives and history in the United States and forged and nurtured their own culture even though they had to do this against a background of racial, social, and economic exploitation. Grading: Midterm exam, final exam, 8-10 page paper; class participation will be a significant portion of the grade. (Barkley Brown)

448/Hist. 448. Africa in the Twentieth Century. (4). (Excl).
See History 448. (Atkins)

Politics, Economics, and Development

418/Pol..Sci. 419. Black Americans and the Political System. Two courses in political science or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
See Political Science 419. (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. (3). (Excl).
See Political Science 459. (Twumasi)

Literature and the Arts

108/Hist. of Art 108. Introduction to African Art. (3). (Excl).
See History of Art 108. (Quarcoopome)

338/English 320. Literature in Afro-American Culture. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

See English 320.001. (Chrisman)

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. CAAS 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.WL:4 (Lockard)

400/MHM 457. The Music of Black Americans. Music background preferred. (3). (Excl).
See MHM 457. (McDaniel)

440/Film-Video 440. African Cinema. (3). (Excl).
This course will provide a critical and interdisciplinary look at the development of African cinema from its inception in the 1960's to the present. In looking at this period, we will move from the sociopolitical upheavals of late colonialism to the recent phase of introspection and diversification. The relationship of cinematic practices to transformations in the social and economic sphere will be examined, as well as the creation of distinctively African film styles based on oral traditions. In pursuing these topics, we will consider the impact of technology, history and culture, ties to the cinema of other developing nations, and co-productions. The films to be screened include: Halfaquine (Tunisia), Baadis (Morocco), Angano...Angano (Madagascar), Faces of Women (Cote d'Ivoire), Xala (Senegal), Harvest: 3,000 Years (Ethiopia), and Yaaba (Burkina Faso). Written assignments, midterm and final paper are required. WL:4 (Ukadike)

475/English 477. Early Afro-American Literature. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
See English 477. (Gunning)

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 dependancy will be addressed. [WL:4]

335/Religion 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: From Bebop to Hip Hop: African-Americans and Popular Culture Since 1945.
Through an examination of popular music, dance, language, dress and hair styles, film and television, we will critically reassess the relationship between Black politics and cultural forms emerging from within African-American communities, the commodification of those forms, and the representation of the African-American image in the mass media. Our primary goal is to explore the extent to which African-American cultural practice particularly youth subcultures are oppositional. Beginning with postwar jazz and its accompanying "hipster" subculture, we will explore, among other things, the African-American origins of rock and roll, the meaning of Black culture for a new generation of emergent white artists, the development of blaxploitation films, the shifting ideological meanings of hair and dress styles, the history of Soul, disco, and hip hop music in relation to contemporary social and political transformations, and the broader impact that Black working-class creativity has had on mass-mediated popular culture in the U.S. WL:4 (Kelley)

Section 002. Social Science and the African American Experience. For Winter Term, 1992, this course is jointly offered with History 396.002. (Barkley Brown)

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

452. Education of the Black Child. (3). (Excl).
This course deals with overlooked but crucial questions related to the education of Black children in the United States. The area of primary concern will be public schooling, and the emphasis will be laid on analyzing the social, cultural, political and economic forces which act to influence the learning experiences of Black children. AAS 452 will thus consider, on the one hand, the theoretical framing of ideas about the growth, development and learning of children in different life settings and styles, and, on the other, the existing structural, socio-political attempts to find ways and means of relating the philosophy and objectives of public education to the needs of Black children. In the process, this course examines the defects of present-day educational theories which are based on empirical data drawn from studies of less than 1% of the population. The course will test for the applicability and generalizability of such data to other population groups, examine their implications for different cultural systems, and assess what is thus contributed to cognitive variation and performance and competence in the learning process. (Wagaw)

454/Anthro. 453. African-American Culture. One introductory course in the social sciences. (3). (Excl).
See Anthropology 453. (Williams)

458. Issues in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 004: Black Feminist Thought.
Although there is great deal of feminist writing by Black women and women of color, these writings are used primarily to describe the views and realities of Black women and women of color. The work however is more than descriptive commentaries or documents. From the earliest writing of the literate slave Harriet Jacobs to the works of Paula Giddings, Bell Hooks, Alice Walker, Cherrie Morarga and Janice Mirikitani, Black women and women of color have been engaged in feminist struggles and discourse although they have not often been named as such. The objectives of this course are: (a) To establish the tradition of Black feminist thought through the current and historic feminist writing of women of color and African American women (b) To examine the issues of feminism as they emerge from these writings; (c) To compare the feminism of African-American women and other women of color through their feminist writings and identify the similarities and differences in these feminisms. WL:4 (Haniff)

486. Communication Media in the Black World. (3). (Excl).
Section 002: Communication Media and the Black World.
This course will consider the registry of the Black experience in radio, television and film. Special attention will be paid to the technical, economic, and social properties of modern mass media and how they affect the replication of the reality of Black life in the United States and elsewhere. We will study the reproduction of Black stereotypes in modern film and television, from early dramas and musicals, on through to contemporary coverage of athletic events and news broadcasting. Particular attention will be paid to the problems of semiotics, reunification and hegemony posed by the monopoly nature of mainstream mass media. In addition, attention will be paid to films and programs that have sought to accurately record the complexity of Black life, and such study will include independent Black film and television producers. WL:4 (Chrisman)

Independent Study

410. Supervised Reading and Research. Permission of instructor. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission.
Students who can show appropriate preparation in courses previously taken, the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies offers course credit for independant study. A full-time faculty member must agree to supervise the undertaking and to meet with the student during the term. The proposed course of study may not duplicate the material of any course regularly offered by the Center. The reading and writing requirement should be comparable to that required in a regular course for the same number of credits; and all the work must be completed by the final day of class in the term. After consultation with and approval from a CAAS faculty member, applications for independent study along with statements describing the schedule of readings and of writing assignments must be filled out. Such applications must be signed by the faculty member involved and turned in before the end of the week of the term. It is therefore advisable to submit applications (available in Room 200 West Engineering Building) in advance of the beginning of the independent study term, upon approval, and Override (Election Authorization Form) will be issued.


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