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 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. (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 Americans, 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. (Patterson)

448/Hist. 448. Africa Since 1850. (3). (SS).

See History 448. (Atkins)

Politics, Economics, and Development

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)

479/Pol. Sci. 479. International Relations of Africa. (3). (SS).

See Political Science 479. (Twumasi)

Literature and the Arts

214/Hist. of Art 214. Introduction to African-American Art. Hist. of Art 102 or CAAS 108 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 214. (Patton)

274/English 274. Introduction to Afro-American Literature. (3). (HU).

See English 274. (Gunning)

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

This course will survey the oral and literary forms, themes and traditions of Afro-American literature. Critical attention will be paid to the Black oral tradition as manifest in folktales, sermons, devotional music, blues, worksongs and contemporary forms. In addition, study of Black literate forms such as the slave narrative and the application of the autobiograph, the autobiographical essay, the novel of confrontation and liberation, as Afro-American authors use them to formulate Black identity and consciousness, will also be considered. Particular attention will be paid to the special problematic that a dual literary tradition, one based upon an oral medium, the other upon the devices of literacy poses for Black authors in registering the Afro-American experience in literature. Two short papers and a research project. (Zafar)

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

See Theatre 222. (Jackson)

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

See Theatre 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. WL:4 (Lockard)

380/Hist. of Art 360. Special Topics in African Art. CAAS 108 or 214. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 360. (Quarcoopome)

404/Hist. of Art 404. The Art of Africa. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 404. (Strother)

406/Amer. Cult. 406. Literature of the Caribbean World. (3). (Excl).

A powerful body of literature has been produced in the Caribbean, especially over the last fifty years. This writing, with its compelling mixture of African influences and British colonial traditions, has produced outstanding works which have become part of the English literary heritage. This course examines the works of a number of Caribbean writers including that of 1992 Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul, Kamau Braithwaite, George Lamming, Olive Senior, Samuel Selvon, and Vic Reid. It will attempt to demonstrate how generations of writers, raised to believe in the exclusivity and supremacy of great British traditions in literature, have sought to validate themselves and their existence by appropriating those traditions for their own ends. This course will be taught by the Caribbean writer, Lorna Goodison. (Goodison)

435/Hist. of Art 425. 20th Century African-American Art. CAAS 214 or Hist. of Art 272. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 425. (Patton)

489/English 479. Topics in Afro-American Literature. CAAS 274 and/or 338 strongly recommended. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.

See English 479. (Artis)

562/Hist. of Art 560. African Art and Archaeology. CAAS 108 or 404. (3). (Excl).

See History of Art 560. (Quarcoopome)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

303/Soc. 303. Racial and Cultural Contacts. One of the following: Soc. 100, 101, 102, 195, 202, 203, 400, or 401; or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Sociology 503. (4). (SS).

See Sociology 303.

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. WL:4 (Wilson)

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

See Religion 310. (Miles)

427/Anthro. 427/Women's Studies 427. African Women. One course in African Studies, anthropology, or women's studies; or permission of instructor. (3). (SS).

The remarkably active roles that African women play in their communities bring them respect, but also heavy responsibilities. The degree and kind of independence and resources they enjoy has changed radically in specific societies from pre-colonial to contemporary times, while their responsibilities continue to multiply. This course follows the themes of autonomy and control of resources, such as land, labor, income and cattle, and social resources, such as education, religion, and political power. Critical discussions of these alternatives and changes for women will include their relevance to African and U.S. development policy and to our own personal options. From cities to nomadic tribes. African women usually have independent incomes and statuses, but limited access to major resources. Women farmers grow 90% of Africa's food, but often without controlling their crops and land. Economic changes, from cash crops to apartheid, eroded women's traditional rights in marriage and property. Female leaders and groups, represented in many local political hierarchies, were restricted or dropped under the colonial rule. The powerful contribution women made to many independence struggles rarely translated into significant power in national governments, or consideration in education, legal or economic policies. Indigenous religions that give prominent places to female gods, ancestors and priests have also yielded prestige to Islam and Christianity, although women retain influence in syncretic cults. Recent crises endanger women and their families by increasing their responsibilities while attacking their social and ecological resource base. Examples of development policies and projects show that women need both autonomy and adequate resources to reserve the downward spiral of economic degeneration. WL:4 (Clark)

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. WL:4 (Wagaw)

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

See Anthropology 453. (Williams)

487. Communication Media in the Black World: Electronic Media. No credit granted to those who completed CAAS 486 in Winter Terms, 1990-93. (3). (Excl).

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, reification 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 and Special Topics

358. Topics in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 African American Women's Literary Traditions.
For Winter Term, 1994, this section is jointly offered with English 315.001. (Awkward)

Section 002 The African American Experience in South Africa. For Winter Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with History 397.005. (Atkins)

410. Supervised Reading and Research. Permission of instructor. (1-6). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit with permission of the concentration advisor.

Students who can show appropriate preparation in courses previously taken, the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies offers course credit for independent 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 an override (Election Authorization Form) will be issued.

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

Section 001 Women in International Development. This course examines the effects of international economic development on women. It stems from the premise that the conscious developmental efforts over the past half century or so have a negative impact on women in both developed and developing countries. The unequal economic development has resulted in an ethnic and sexual divisions of labor that marginalized women and people of color around the globe. The course will follow a seminar format. Students will be asked to develop case studies of particular experiences of women in relation to one or more of the development issues to be discussed and make class presentations. Prerequisites for this course are at least one course in women studies and some familiarity with issues in international development, and/or permission of the instructor. Cost:2 (Omer)

Section 002 Richard Wright. Prerequisites: CAAS 274 or CAAS 338, or permission of instructor. Richard Wright's published work consists of five novels, two autobiographies, two short story collections and five major non-fiction works. We will read Wright's major texts, first tracing his origins in the naturalist school of fiction, the Marxist and Black nationalist consciousness in his works, his later Freudian and existentialist thought, and his treatment of the psycho-sexual dynamics of racism. Attention will be paid to Wright's vision of alienation, the role of violence in achieving liberation, his sense of group man and spontaneous rebellion and of tragedy deriving from the absurd contradictions of racism. Assignments will consist of four short essays and a research paper. (Chrisman)

Section 003 Creole Languages & Caribbean Identities. For Winter Term, 1994, this course is jointly offered with Linguistics 492.001. (Degraff)

490. Special Topics in Black World Studies. Junior standing or permission of instructor. (1-2). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
Section 001 Unfree Labor in the Post Emancipation Caribbean: Haitians on Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations.
The terms and conditions of employment of Haitian braceros in the Dominican Republic are so inhumane as to be likened by human rights monitors to plantation slavery. The course will situate the coercive labor practices of today's Dominican sugar industry in regional historical context, through readings of recent labor histories of the post-emancipation Caribbean. Classroom discussion will focus largely on continuities and discontinuities in the ways large proprietors sought to control labor, and keep labor costs down, before and after emancipation, and examine how former slaves and their descendants attempted to distance themselves from direct plantation control. Reading knowledge of Spanish and/or French, though not required, will enable students to understand better the points of view of various observers of the Dominican case. (Martínez)

Section 002 Race and Sentimentally in Early Black Women's Writing. Mini course meets March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6. (Foreman)


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