Course Offerings

Winter 2021

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Introduction to Africana Studies

AFCA 130 - Hill, Michael D.

 
This seminar, taught collaboratively in four discrete modules, introduces students to the issues, debates, and moments which have shaped and continue to shape the broad and complex field of Africana Studies and the multifaceted experiences and aspirations of peoples of African descent. Among other effects, students who take this class gain a broad appreciation of the historical and philosophical context necessary for understanding the specific identities and contributions to world cultures and civilizations of Africans, African Americans, and Africans in the greater Diaspora; and develop thinking, analytical, writing, and collaborative skills as students complete a major project with one or more of their classmates.

Seminar in Africana Studies

AFCA 295A - Hill, Michael D.

Students in this course study a group of African-American, African, or Afro-Caribbean works related by theme, culture, topic, genre, historical period, or critical approach. In the Spring Term version, the course involves field trips, film screenings, service learning, and/or other special projects, as appropriate, in addition to 8-10 hours per week of class meetings. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2021, AFCA 295A-01: Seminar in Africana Studies: The Art and Politics of Rap Music (3). Since its emergence in the 1970s, hip hop culture has changed the United States and the world. Rap music has played a huge role in those changes.  Looking at rap as an art form, a political expression, and a commodity, this class will study how from 1988 to 2018, rap music used end-rhymed verse and sampling to refine black self-expression. Analyzing singles and albums, we will explore the socio-historical context out of which the music arose, the diverse creative strategies that its practitioners employed, and the major shifts in the art form's development. Additionally, we will think about the eras in rap music's history and the prospects for its future. This course will provide a space to meditate on the relationship between cultural products, racial identity, political progress, and economic destiny. More specifically, it invites students to confront the myths and the truths surrounding one of the late twentieth centuries more controversial artistic permutations, the rise of rap music. Hill.

Directed Individual Study

AFCA 403 - Kamara, Mohamed


This course facilitates individual reading, research, and writing in an area of Africana Studies not covered in-depth in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit and/or used for the capstone requirement in the minor in Africana Studies.

African-American Literature

ENGL 366 - Millan, Diego A.

A focused engagement with the African-American literary tradition, from its beginnings in the late 18th century through its powerful assertions in the 21st. The focus of each term's offering may vary; different versions of the course might emphasize a genre, author, or period such as poetry, Ralph Ellison, or the Harlem Renaissance.

Winter 2021, ENGL 366-01: African-American Literature: Make a Body Riot: Laughter, Resistance, and African American Literature (3). Prerequisite: Take one English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. Discussing writing as a mode of salvation in Black Women Writers (1950-1980), Toni Cade Bambara writes, "While my heart is a laughing gland, near that chamber is a blast furnace where a rifle pokes from the ribs." What does it mean for Bambara to defend her heart, her "laughing gland"? Is laughter/comedy gendered? How does what makes us laugh position us, either as spectator or collaborator? What does the intersection of comedy and performance have to show us about the formation and regulation of racial, class, and gendered identities? How can we, as readers of written texts, account for laughter's ephemeral and acoustic valences? How might laughter—as release, as physical expression, as indicator of an interior life, or even as protest—help us better understand many aesthetic, thematic, rhetorical, and political aspects of African American literature? In posing these questions, this course centers recurring themes and genres in the development of African American literature throughout the twentieth century—such as the role of Black literature in society; the intersections of race, class, and gender in relation to power; "the afterlives of slavery"; the historical novel; and the role of humor in community formation, among others. Possible authors include Charles Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, Fran Ross, Langston Hughes, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Paul Beatty. (HL) Millan.

African American Intellectual History

HIST 359 - Dennie, Nneka D.

Since their earliest arrivals in the New World, African Americans crafted liberatory ideas as they articulated a desire for equality, justice, and self-determination. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, black intellectual thought took shape against the backdrop of processes of enslavement, emancipation, racial violence, and state-sanctioned oppression. Indeed, the discursive spaces that black political thinkers created became major sites of knowledge production and provided momentum for black mobilization. Beginning with David Walker's Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World  (1829), this course will probe landmark texts by and about African American thinkers including Maria Stewart, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X., and Angela Davis. Students will evaluate historical perspectives on topics including racial uplift, feminism, black nationalism, and Pan-Africanism. They will also identify major debates that shaped the development of African American intellectual history.

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

PHIL 242 - Bell, Melina C.

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

Conceptions of Race and Health: Black & White=Gray

SOAN 279 - Chin, Lynn G. (Lynny)

This seminar tackles the question of what is "race" and how does it affect health? In the United States, "race" is a concept  frequently taken for granted. But what does "race" signify? Does race denote something inherently biological, cultural, or structural about one's ancestry, background, or lifestyle? Is race truly a stable "ascribed" characteristic that has predictive implications for peoples' everyday well-being? By specifically concentrating on the case study of health disparities for African-Americans in the United States, we explore the concept of "race", and how societal conceptions of race affect health policy, people's health outcomes, their access to healthcare, and their relationship to the medical establishment. 

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

WGSS 242 - Bell, Melina C.

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society

Fall 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Directed Individual Study

AFCA 403 - Kamara, Mohamed


This course facilitates individual reading, research, and writing in an area of Africana Studies not covered in-depth in other courses. May be repeated for degree credit and/or used for the capstone requirement in the minor in Africana Studies.

Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

CBSC 269 - Woodzicka, Julie A.

This course examines cognitive and affective processes involved in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Causes and social implications of prejudice involving various stigmatized groups (e.g., African-Americans, women, homosexuals, people of low socioeconomic status, overweight individuals) are examined. Participants focus on attitudes and behaviors of both perpetrators and targets of prejudice that likely contribute to and result from social inequality.

The History of the African-American People to 1877

HIST 259 - Dennie, Nneka D.

An intensive study of the African-American experience from the colonial period through Reconstruction. Special emphasis is given to the slave experience, free blacks, black abolitionists, development of African-American culture, Emancipation, Black Reconstruction, and racial attitudes.

Spring 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Seminar in Africana Studies

AFCA 295 - Hill, Michael D.

Students in this course study a group of African-American, African, or Afro-Caribbean works related by theme, culture, topic, genre, historical period, or critical approach. In the Spring Term version, the course involves field trips, film screenings, service learning, and/or other special projects, as appropriate, in addition to 8-10 hours per week of class meetings. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2020, AFCA 295-01/ENGL 295-04: Adolescence in the African-American Novel (3). Adolescence names a complicated moment in human development. Considering this complexity, it is not surprising that writers use this theme to convey the knotty realities that attend black self-definition. Focusing on the post-Harlem Renaissance era, we examine novels about adolescence. We identify sexuality as a key theme in these works. By term's end, students should emerge with a mature understanding of how adolescent sexuality symbolizes black participation in American democracy. (HL) Hill.