AAS 353 - Urban Ethnography and the Black Experience
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Afroamerican & African Studies (AAS)
Department: LSA Afroamerican and African Studies
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Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


In Yo Mama's Disfunktional, leading Black historian Robin Kelley criticizes what he calls "the heyday of ghetto ethnography" - a period between the 1960s and late 1980s when representations of urban Black culture proliferated. Kelley argues that with few exceptions, insufficiently complex representations of Black life detrimentally shaped public policy, scholarship and social movements. Ironically, the liberal (and sometimes radical) ethnographers who produced this work sought to put forth a counter-view of Black people as respectable, rational, resilient and capable, in hopes of correcting neoconservative explanations of persistent black poverty as rooted in inferior culture. Since the heyday, Kelley and others have charted new urban ethnographic approaches that attempt to address some of the shortcomings of the past, by drawing attention to: historical processes of systemic oppression, sites of creativity and political organization, the heterogeneity of Black identity, the politics of activist ethnography and the meaning of cultural forms to their participants and practitioners. This course will introduce students to the U.S. Black, Black-feminist and urban anthropological traditions, with a focus on the use of ethnographic methods to attempt to revise traditional disciplinary standards of evidence, ethics and approach. In doing so, the course aims to expand students' understanding of the foundations and scope of anthropological thought and method and to hone the ability to critically evaluate representations of Black perspectives and experiences.


AAS 353 - Urban Ethnography and the Black Experience
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

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