Featured Courses

Students in Ghana

This Winter!

AAS 216 "Intermediate Swahili II"
Credits:   4
Advisory Prerequisites: AAS 215.
Lang Req: This course is part of the Language Requirement sequence.
Repeatability: May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor: Mpesha,Nyambura 

While it continues to emphasize conversational fluency and increased facility in reading and writing skills, this course introduces students to Swahili literature through which a survey on cultural aspects and more advanced grammar is undertaken. Students will be able to understand and analyze the main ideas and significant details of materials in Swahili such as a magazine articles, short stories, poetry, short novels, films, and plays illustrative of East African cultural issues, Swahili grammar, and development of expository writing. Ideally this course would be best taught in a Swahili speaking country. A third year of Advanced Swahili Course which includes Swahili literature is offered either on campus or abroad in a Swahili speaking country.

AAS 206: "Issues in African Studies: African Christianities"
Credits: 3
Advisory Prerequisites: AAS 111.
Other Course Info: (African Studies).
Repeatability: May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor: Osinulu, Adedamola

The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st were marked by a shift in the center of gravity of Christianity from Europe and North America to the global south: sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By 2005, 389 million of the world’s 2.1 billion Christians were to be found in Africa. Yet Christianity in Africa is not a monolithic phenomenon. There are multiple histories of its emergence across the continent and its doctrines have been translated into a variety of expressive forms. Here, we can think of Africanized iterations of Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, and Pentecostalism, but we can also think of indigenous African Christianities developed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and African Independent Churches (AICs). Despite being shaped by local conditions, African Christianities extend their reach globally, forcing reconsiderations of both theology and doctrine in the old centers of the faith. Further, African immigrants and “reverse-missionaries” carry their understandings of the faith with them to North America and Europe. Our task in this class is to pay attention to the various histories of Christianity in Africa and the expressive forms that have emerged in response to particular circumstances. We are also tasked with discerning the social and political implications of Christianity’s adaptation to the interests of African congregations.

AAS 358 "African Diaspora Conversations"Section 005

African Diaspora Conversations
Credits: 3
Repeatability: May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor: Gillam, Reighan Alexandra
Relations between African Americans and other diasporic groups, such as West Indians and Africans, have been characterized as tense and full of friction. Yet, people of African descent in Latin America, the U.S. and Africa have engaged each other in order to create strategies of Black uplift, discuss the conditions in which they live, and provide sources of inspiration for each other. This class will examine the circulations of cultural practices between the U.S., East Africa, and Brazil. Students will complete final presentations at the end of the semester examining Black power, hip hop, president Barack Obama, Afrocentrism, or Black television in an African diasporic perspective.
AAS 495 "Caribbean Folklore, Spirits, and Magic" Section 002

Credits: 4
Requirements & Distribution: ULWR
Lab Fee: 20.00
Advisory Prerequisites: Upperclass standing.
Other Course Info: (Cross-Area Courses). (Capstone Course).
Repeatability: May be repeated for a maximum of 8 credit(s).
Primary Instructor: Khan, Aliyah R

This senior seminar course is an in-depth study of Caribbean folkloric, spiritual, and magical traditions and their transnational literary adaptation to the socio-political contexts of Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, and diasporic Caribbean communities in North America.
As the Guyanese writer Wilson Harris notes, the shapeshifting Yoruba trickster-spider Anansi crossed the Middle Passage with his people, modeling their transformation into “natives” of the Caribbean. Our class will explore folkloric and magical figures that are both brand new and syncretically new to the Caribbean. We will examine how they have served as political and metaphorical representations of resistance and adaptation to:
slavery and indentureship;
patriarchy;
tourism and environmental degradation;
racial infighting;
postcolonial poverty and global economic policies; and
traditional Anglicanism, Hinduism, and Islam.
Folkloric figures we will study in detail include the bloodsucking soucouyant, the Haitian goddess Erzulie, trickster Anansi, and the orishas/lwas of various African-derived religious-spiritual practices. We will also examine the anticolonial resistance politics of the musical genre of calypso and carnival mas practices.