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 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. (Ukadike)

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. (Barkley-Brown)

333. Perspectives in Afro-American History. (4). (Excl).
Section 001 Perspectives in Afroamerican History: Family History Research: A Multi-Ethnic Approach.
This course will explore a variety of research techniques needed for students to complete a term paper on their individual family histories. Readings will cover the social history of American families with a special emphasis upon ethnic variations in family experiences, lifestyles, customs, values, etc. African American families and Native American families will be highlighted and compared to European and Caucasian American families. The required texts are: Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Families, Free Press, 1988; Herbert Gutman, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1725-1925, Random House, 1976; Elmer Martin and Joanne Mitchell Martin, The Black Extended Family, The University of Chicago Press, 1978; Johni Cerny and Arlene Eakle, Ancestry's Guide to Research: Case Studies in American Genealogy, Ancestry, Inc., 1986; Where to Write for Vital Records, Supt. of Documents, GPO, Washington, DC. (Dykes)

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

See History 448. (Atkins)

Politics, Economics, and Development

203. Issues in Afro-American Development. (3). (SS).
Section 001 Political Thought and Culture.
This course will attempt to define and survey the broad contours and core concepts of African American political thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our examinations will range from the Black womanhood treatises of Maria Stewart in the 1830s to the nationalist exhortations of the Hip-hop group Public Enemy in the 1990s. Many of the works we will read will be primary sources so to capture the historical context, language, genius, and contradictions of many influential African American activists and thinkers. Yet, we will always be mindful that many of the motivations underlying Black political thought stem from varying mass experiences of oppression; despite the singular eloquence with which individual thinkers and activists reformulate and rearticulate particular ideas. (Shaw)

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

A study of factors which contribute to current economic conditions in Africa: the problems and the potential for change, traditionalism and modernism in African economics, colonial economics, colonial economic policies. Uses case studies of representative countries. (Twumasi)

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. (Widner)

451. Law, Race and the Historical Process, II. CAAS 450. (3). (Excl).

AAS 451 is the second half of a two course sequence on the constitutional and legal history of African Americans. It covers the phase of this history beginning with the advent of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and extending to the present. In this course, we will approach law as an institution which is constantly shaping and being shaped by the cultural, economic, political and social environments around it. In looking at the interaction between law, race and historical process in the latter half of the twentieth century, the course will explore the reciprocal relationship between law and the societal order, the role of law in the philosophical and social discourse of African Americans, and the function of law in the developmental strategies adopted by them. AAS 451 will routinely examine the constitutional and legal experience of African Americans as a case study in how ideas are transformed by historical forces in malleable principles of law. (Woods)

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

See Political Science 479. (Twumasi)

Literature and the Arts

204. Cultural History of Afro-America. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Exploring the African American Aesthetic.
"Black is Beautiful!" Is it merely a leftover cliché from the Sixties? Is there a conception of what is artistically valid or beautiful that is unique to African American cultural expressions? Or should we drop all the Euro-centric philosophical verbiage and start rappin' about "Kuumba," "Imani," "Umoja" and the other principles of Kwanzaa as they relate to our sense of the "blues," a Jon Onye Lockard masterpiece, or Ntozake Shange's knack for turning a phrase. Together we will discuss and dialogue with local and nationally recognized visual artists, dancers, poets, gospel singers, and whoever else is willing to show up. The goal of the class is to collectively and individually develop "a simple philosophy, but not a simplistic one" (Robert L. Douglas, 1994) that Honors the breadth and depth of the poly-rhythmic, interconnections of Blackness. Come prepared to read, write, play, and create. (Bryant)

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)

338/English 320. Literature in Afro-American Culture. (3). (HU).

See English 320. (Chrisman)

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)

442/Film-Video 442. Third World Cinema. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 The Cinema of Resistance.
For the Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with Communication 500.002. (Ukadike)

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

See English 477. (Gunning)

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. (Ross)

Individual Behavior, Cultural Systems, and Social Organization

303/Soc. 303. Race and Ethnic Relations. An introductory course in Sociology or CAAS. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Sociology 503. (4). (SS). (This course fulfills the Race or Ethnicity Requirement).

See Sociology 303. (Bonilla-Silva)

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)

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

See Anthropology 411. (Owusu)

439/Ling. 449. Creole Languages and Caribbean Identities. (3). (Excl).

See Linguistics 449. (DeGraff)

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)

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 Racism, Nationalism and Ethnocentrism: The Politics of Supremacy in the African Diaspora.
This seminar provides a critical examination of scholarship on the politics of racism and ethnocentrism in comparative societies throughout the African Diaspora. Specifically we will seek to expand our understanding of the concept and construction of identities such as "race", "nation", "ethnicity", and in doing so, examine various theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of cultural domination and oppression. This course will also seek to engage in cross national theory building, arguing that racial oppression must be understood in a comparative perspective. We will examine the construction of race and racial oppression throughout the African Diaspora, with particular attention to North America, Europe, Latin America, and ethnic conflict on the African continent. (Holliman)

458. Issues in Black World Studies. (3). (Excl). May be elected for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 Caribbean Women: Realities and Representations.
In this course, we will study the socio-economic and cultural roles of Caribbean women in the context of race/color, class and gender relations and changing historical circumstances. Although themes will be determined by the historical and sociological context rather than the (literary) text, we will use literary texts, particularly novels, to expand and enrich our understanding of social context. Literary texts will also be used along with other expressive media, such as popular song to explore various representations of Caribbean women, whether fashioned by "others" or by "self." The course will remain primarily a sociological exercise. The focus will be on the English speaking Caribbean and on Afro-Caribbean women but, throughout the course, references will be made to other language and ethnic groups. Additionally, the scope of the course will be stretched somewhat to include the experiences of Caribbean women abroad, i.e. as migrant to/in "Northern" metropoles. (Green)

558. Seminar in Black World Studies. Graduate standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits.
Section 001 Empowering Families and Communities.
For Winter Term, 1995, this section is offered jointly with Psych. 501.003. (Barbarin)


lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.