Undergraduate Bulletin, 2002-2003

Department of Africana Studies



Allen Ballard, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
Harvard University

Iris Berger, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin

Leonard A. Slade, Jr., Ph.D., L.H.D.
University of Illinois

Jogindar S. Uppal, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota

Associate Professors

Helen R. Desfosses, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
Boston University

George A. Levesque, Ph.D.
State University of New York at Binghamton

Kwadwo A. Sarfoh, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati

Marcia E. Sutherland, Ph.D.
Howard University

Adjunct Associate Professor

Kirk Smith, Ph.D.
Shenandoah University

Assistant Professors

Sharon Parkinson, Ph.D.
Purdue University

Oscar Williams, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University

Adjuncts (estimated): 6
Graduate Assistants (estimated): 10

The objective of the department is to provide a multi- and interdisciplinary education in African/African-American studies and related fields. Students are expected to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the social, political, economic, psychological, and historical consequences of institutional arrangements as they affect the life experiences of African/African-American people.

The department offers full programs leading to the B.A. and M.A. degrees. Students may specialize in African studies and African-American studies. Sub-areas in African studies are the history, economics, politics, and culture of the following regions: Eastern Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa. Sub-areas in African-American studies include: African-American history and culture, urban economic development, central city politics and institutions, African-American literature and criticism, and urban planning. Though the major concentrations are Africa and the United States, students may design programs that will enhance their knowledge of other Black cultures; e.g., the Caribbean and Haitian.

Students are prepared for careers in teaching, counseling, state and local social welfare programs, urban planning, administrative program direction, and international relations.

Special Programs and Opportunities

Undergraduate students in the department are provided an opportunity to apply theory through community projects, both within formal courses and other such special programs that may be designed by the department. Students participating in the latter may work directly with New York legislators or legislative committees. For further information contact the Department. Students are also provided an ongoing colloquium series featuring locally and nationally known African and African-American scholars. The senior seminar enables students and faculty to explore common research interests.

Degree Requirements for the Major in African/Afro-American Studies

General Program B.A:  A minimum of 36 credits (at least 12 credits of which must be at the 300 level or above) including A Aas 142, 219 or 219Z, 286 or 287, and 490. The additional department courses, as advised, must include 6 credits at the 200 level and 6 credits at the 300 level or above.


A Aas 110 (= A Thr 110) The Black Theatre in America (3)
Study of the historic background of Black involvement in the American theatre and of the role and functioning of the Black theatre in Contemporary American society. Only one of A Aas 110 and A Thr 110 may be taken for credit.

A Aas 142L African/African-American Literature (3)
Survey of Black authors from diverse cultures and an analysis of their relationship to Black thought. [DP HU]

A Aas 150 Life in the Third World (3)
Introduction to cultural variation and fragmentation among third-world developing communities. Some lectures and discussions are led by third-world graduate students. Whenever possible, distinguished visitors from third-world countries are also involved in the course.

A Aas 209 (= A Mus 209) Black American Music (3)
An introduction to Black American Music. Study will include music from West Africa as well as musical/social influences throughout American history. Musical styles will include spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz and classical.

A Aas 213 History of Civil Rights Movement (3)
This course is designed to introduce the student to the historical development and maturation of the movement for civil rights in the United States. It will examine the development of resistance movements and the philosophies of those involved within the movements during the antebellum, Post Civil war and contemporary times. [DP US*]

A Aas 219 Introduction to African/African-American History (3)
Survey of the cultural and historical background of African-American from their African heritage to their present role in American society. A Aas 219Z is the writing intensive version of A Aas 219; only one may be taken for credit.

A Aas 219Z Introduction to African/African-American History (3)
A Aas 219Z is the writing intensive version of A Aas 219; only one may be taken for credit. [WI]

A Aas 220 Black and White in America (3)
In America Blacks and Whites have been organically connected by the space of national geography and centuries of time. With current events an ever-present concern, this course explores the cultural significance and the social meaning of the long and ever-changing relations between black and white Americans and its import for the national welfare. [DP US*]

A Aas 220Z (formerly T Aas 220Z) Black and White in America (4)
A Aas 220Z is the Writing Intensive version of A Aas 220. Only one may be taken for graduation credit. [WI]

A Aas 221 The Economic Structure of the Black Community (3)
Analysis of old and contemporary models of Black entrepreneurship and formal economic organization and its effect in the community.

A Aas 224 Cities as People (3)
Survey of the human aspects of the urban environment, historically and in practical terms today, with an emphasis upon the central city's opportunity for field research in urban life.

A Aas 240 (= A Lcs 240 and A Wss 240) Classism, Racism and Sexism: Issues (3)
Analysis of the connections between and among classism, racism and sexism, their mutually reinforcing nature, and the tensions arising from their interrelations. Emphasizes the ideological and personal aspects of these phenomena as well as the institutional guises in American society. Only one of A Aas 240, A Lcs 240, & A Wss 240 may be taken for credit. [DP]

A Aas 267 (= A Arh 267) African-American Art of the Twentieth & Twenty-First Centuries (3)
Study of paintings and drawings by African American artists in the 20th and 21st centuries and of the cultural context within which the art was produced. A wide range of artistic styles and media is explored. Consideration is also given to the impact of European, African, and Asian visual arts on the work of African American artists.

A Aas 269 (= A Lcs 269 and A Ant 269) The Caribbean: Peoples, History, and Cultures (3)
Peoples, history and cultures of the 20th century Caribbean. Special emphasis will be placed on responses to colonialism and nationalism. Same as A Lcs 269 and A Ant 269. Only one of A Aas 269, A Lcs 269, & A Ant 269 may be taken for credit. [BE]

A Aas 270 (= A Gog 270) Geography of Africa (3)
Geographic analysis of the continent of Africa. The diversity of the African continent is stressed by examining its physical environment; resources; social, cultural, economic and political systems. Emphasizes the demographic as well as spatial planning aspects of geography. Only one of A Aas 270 & A Gog 270 may be taken for credit.

A Aas 275 (= A Arh 275) African Art (3)
Study of art produced on the west coast and central region of sub-Saharan Africa. Includes a wide range of artistic styles, with particular attention given to artifact designs and to their functional or ceremonial use in particular societies. Also explores the impact of African art on European and American Modernism.

A Aas 286 (= A His 286) African Civilizations (3)
Africa from prehistoric times to 1800 with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, the development of indigenous states and their response to Western and Eastern contacts. Only one of A Aas 286 & A His 286 may be taken for credit. [BE]

A Aas 287 (= A His 287) Africa in the Modern World (3)
Africa since 1800: exploration. the end of the slave trade, the development of interior states, European partition, the colonial period, and the rise of independent Africa. Only one of A Aas 287 & A His 287 may be taken for credit. [BE]

A Aas 311 History of Slavery in the Western Hemisphere (3)
The institution of slavery and its effects in the Western Hemisphere, its origins, bases of continuance, and contemporary residuals. Prerequisite(s): A His 100 or 100Z, and 101 or 101Z.

A Aas 320 Black Nationalism: Political Perspective in Africa (3)
Examination of selected freedom movements in Black Africa with a focus upon one-party politics and the continuing tensions between socialism and democracy. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 219 or 219Z.

A Aas 322 Developing African Nations (3)
Systems analysis of the contemporary social, political, cultural, and economic institutions crucial to the economic maturation of developing African nations. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 219 or 219Z; A Aas 286 and 287 recommended.

A Aas 325 Introduction to Research Methods (3)
An introduction to paradigms, theories and models on research and the Black community. Emphasis will be placed on methodological concerns of validity, reliability, instrument development, data collection, data analysis and reporting of research outcomes. The ethics of research on people of African descent will be discussed.

A Aas 331 The African/African-American Family (3)
In-depth study of the African/African-American family as an institution, the dynamics of intra-family relations and the effects of social institutions on Black family life. Prerequisite(s): A Soc 115M.

A Aas 333 The Black Community: Continuity & Change (3)
Overview of the socio-historic factors which impact upon the current conditions of the African-American community. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 219 or 219Z or permission of instructor.

A Aas 340 The Black Essay (3)
Essays written by Black American writers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 142.

A Aas 341 African/African-American Religion (3)
Analysis of the relationship of the religion of Black people to Black culture. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 219 or 219Z.

A Aas 342 (= A Ant 342) Sub-Saharan Africa: Peoples and Cultures (3)
Culture areas of Africa south of the Sahara. Historical and geographic background studies of selected societies. Culture change and contact during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Only one of A Aas 342 & A Ant 342 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 286.

A Aas 345 The Black Novel: Black Perspectives (3)
Systematic study of the novel written by Black Americans from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. The novels studied express the cultural, political, and socio-historical consciousness of the writers to demonstrate their awareness of the struggle of Black people. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 142.

A Aas 355Z Introduction to African and African-American Poetry (3)
Intensive study of poetry drawn from the black experience. Emphasis on aesthetic forms, meanings, tone, diction, imagery, symbol, sentences, rhythm, rhyme, allusion, etc. Common characteristics of black poetry will also be discussed. [WI]

A Aas 370 The Psychology of the Black Experience (3)
In-depth examination of the extant psychological literature on blacks. Analyzes varying themes, theories, perspectives, and research that relate to the psychology of blacks. Focuses on the contemporary work of black behavioral scientists involved in the quest for scholarly self-determination and for redefinition of the psychological fabric of the black experience. Selected topics are identity, personality, motivation, achievement, and mental health. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing.

A Aas 375 Black Popular Culture (3)
The course explores the historical and contemporary constructions of "blackness" within the popular realms of film, television, and popular music and the relationship of those constructs to the realities of African-American life and culture.

A Aas 386 (= A His 386) Race and Conflict in South Africa (3)
Study of the historical origins and development of racial conflict in South Africa with a concentration on economic, political, social and religious change in the 20th century. Topics will include changing state structures and ideologies, the impact of industrialization, transformations of rural and urban life, African religious movements, political and religious connections with Black Americans, gender relations, and changing forms of popular resistance against white domination. Only one of A Aas 386 & A His 386 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): 3 credits of A His or A Aas course work, or junior or senior class standing.

A Aas 393 Topics in African History (1-4)
Specific topics to be examined will be announced during advance registration. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing or 3 credits in history.

A Aas 393Z Topics in African History (3-4)
Specific topics to be examined will be announced during advance registration. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing or 3 credits in history. [WI]

A Aas 400 The Law and African-America (3)
The central city as a center of dominance, inner city legal problems as an aspect of social control. Students examine selected central city agencies related to law enforcement. Alternate possibilities for reform and improvement are explored. Term project required.

A Aas 416 (= A Wss 416) Contemporary Black Women and Their Fiction (3)
Evaluation of the style, technique, content, and nature of the discourse in which contemporary Black women writers are engaged. Readings include at least one work by Toni Cade Bambara, Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, Paule Marshall, Gayle Jones, and Alice Walker. Only one of A Aas 416 & A Wss 416 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): senior class standing, at least one literature course, and permission of instructor.

A Aas 430 Black Social and Political Thought in the Americas (3)
Seminar on the social and political ideas and strategies of selected African/African-Americans from the late 18th century to the present. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing.

A Aas 432 The African-American Woman: Contemporary Issues (3)
Socio-historic look at the American women of the African diaspora with particular attention to: (1) Black Liberation; (2) feminist movements; (3) sex role socialization; and (4) issues of sexism and racism. Prerequisite(s): A Aas 219 or 219Z, or permission of instructor.

A Aas 435 Blacks and the American Political Process (3)
An examination of the American political process as it impacts upon the Black community in the United States. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing.

A Aas 440 (= A His 440 and A Wss 440) Black Women in United States History (3)
This seminar will examine the history of black women in the United States from the slave era through the post World War II reform movements. It will focus upon the range of demands black women faced during the Gilded and Progressive eras-their participation in the suffrage movement, black struggles for liberation, cultural expressions, labor force, etc. Only one of A Aas 440, A Wss 440 and A His 440 may be taken for credit.

A Aas 490 Senior Seminar for African/African-American Studies Majors (3)
An extensive examination of critical issues involving the experiences of Africans and African Americans in historical, cultural, and social contexts. A central theme will be selected for each semester's work. Students will synthesize and apply knowledge acquired in the major and will discuss their experiences. Attention will also be given to the interrelationships of the values and ideas indigenous to African/African-American Studies, with a discussion of these with a senior faculty member. Students will review basic research methodology and will evaluate their experiences in a 20-page research paper. Prerequisite(s): major in the department and completion of 18 credit hours in the major.

A Aas 498 Topics in African Studies (3)
Specific topics to be examined are announced during advance registration. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing.

A Aas 499 Topics in African-American Studies (3)
Specific topics to be examined are announced during advance registration. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior class standing.

University at Albany