Africana Studies Courses

Afs 501 Emerging Concepts of Affirmative Action (3)

Examination of the apparently defeating elements in past affirmative action patterns.

Afs 502 Workshop Practices in Affirmative Action (6)

Intensive readings, tested in a variety of workshop type experiences, prepare participants to become leaders of in-agency briefing sessions in affirmative action practices.

Afs 503 Human Services and the Black Community (3)

Students will examine the roles of professionals/ practitioners with reference to historic in-group and out-group perceptions of and prescriptions for people of African descent in the U.S,  including especially African Americans, Afro-LatinX, Afro-Caribbean Americans and other under-represented groups of the African Diaspora in the U.S.

Afs 504 Seminar in African American History I (4)

This course will provide a fundamental and comprehensive overview of African American History from the American Colonial period to the Civil War. Various historical themes will be reviewed, and students will have an opportunity to explore research topics related to the following: The Transatlantic Slave and Domestic Trades, Colonial and Antebellum slavery, African Americans and the Revolutionary War, Free Black Societies, Black Abolitionists, African Americans and the Civil War.

Afs 505 Seminar in African American History II (4)

This course will provide a fundamental and comprehensive overview of African American History from 1865 to the present. Various historical themes will be reviewed, and students will have an opportunity to explore research topics related to the following: Reconstruction, The Age of Jim Crow, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, The Great Depression and New Deal era, World Wars I and II, The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, and contemporary African American History.

Afs 509 Planned Social Change: Design, Structure Control, and Goals (4)

Lecture and guided research program for serious and creative participants who will identify, examine, and evaluate specific cases of planned social change involving selected groups (such as nations, classes, and social and religious groups) to determine what elements, if any, recur to form the basis for a conceptual framework of theory and practice.

Afs 510 Seminar in Urban Affairs and Human Development (3)

Critical examination and discussion of the impact of urbanization on the development of human resources, with particular attention to the life styles and residual needs of "hard core" urban minorities. Present and possible future programs for human development will be considered.

Afs 520 African Economics (4)

This course is designed to provide an understanding of economics of Africa with a multidisciplinary orientation.  The selection of topics is not exhaustive, but attempts to explore some key areas in the analysis of economic structure and institutions.  The dynamics and processes of development and transformation are also examined.  Two term papers of 30 pages each are required.

Afs 524 Economic Development in the Black Community (3)

This course discusses alternative means and programs for the development of individual or collective Black ownership of resources, the expansion of Black participation in the economy, and the historical antecedents of both problems and proposed remedies. The related economic problems of other communities of color will also be discussed.

Afs 528 Black Political Organizations (3)

Study of leading black political organizations, their goals and structures. An analysis of black community needs and resources which give rise to these organizations. Term project required.

Afs 529 (Lcs 530, Wss 530) Environmental Justice: Racism, Classism, Sexism (3-4)

In Environmental Justice: Racism, Classism, and Sexism we will explore how, racism, classism and sexism effect current environmental "events", including environmental policy-making, public health outcomes, and the rhetoric and politics of environmentalism. Surveying the development of environmental awareness among the public, philosophies behind such awareness and resulting shifts in policy, we will focus on the growth of the environmental justice movement, and will consider how various groups have addressed environmental degradation and justice. Also, under consideration will be a set of related issues: how globalization has effected these events, the feminist critique of science and its impact, relationships between grass-roots activism (for example, native American activists and other Environmental Justice group) and between these groups and more scholarly approaches and contributions by artists, labor-rights groups, religious leaders, animal rights activists, and deep ecologists. Prerequisite: Students, at whatever level, are welcome. The requirements will differ for graduate and undergraduate students. For example, graduate students will be reading more theoretical articles, and will be responsible for explaining these to the undergraduate students. In addition, graduate students will be required to submit a final research paper that is much longer (12-20 pages) than that required for undergraduate students.

Afs 530 Law and the Black Community (3)

This course focuses on African American Legal Studies.  The students study Case Law starting with 1607 through the present.  The course focuses on the development of the Law and on questions concerning equality and fairness within the Black community.  The primary source of legal analysis will be Supreme Court decisions and the evolution of constitutional rights and civil rights.  The history of Blacks in America is studied to provide context for understanding legal decisions.  The history and impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 will also be analyzed. Students who have received credit for AAFS 400 cannot receive credit for this course.

Afs 531 The Sociology of Segregation (3)

Designed to systematically analyze the process of socioinstitutional segregation and/or inequality in the United States. The history of the black man's relationship to cultural, economic, and political processes as they relate to visibility and arbitrary differential distribution of resources will be examined. Some attention is given to certain theories of social inequality and segregation that have negatively affected the life value, life chances, and life styles of black people.

Afs 532 Urban Life Styles (3)

Comparative study of life styles as they have developed in the twentieth century with particular attention to the life styles of urban blacks.

Afs 533 (His 532) Topics in African History (4)

Intensive study of a particular theme in African history. May emphasize a particular country or group of countries or a selected theme such as labor history, women, or nationalist and national liberation struggles. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor. Students who have received credit for AAFS 498 cannot receive credit for this course. 

Afs 541 (Wss 540) Black Women in U.S. History (3)

Examination of the history of black women in the United States from the slave era through the post World War II reform movements: focus on the range of demands black women faced during the Gilded and Progressive eras their participation in the suffrage movement, black struggles for liberation, cultural expression, labor force, etc.

Afs 545 (Lcs 545, Wss 545) Black Diasporas, Feminisms, and Sexual Politics (3-4)

This course will explore in global perspective concepts of blackness and its relationship to feminist and other women-led and gender-based political movements that have shaped complex discourses on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality.  Challenging such terms as the “African Diaspora” – a reference to the dispersed locations of African-descended people across the globe – or even the “Black Atlantic” – as coined by Paul Gilroy – we will expand the geopolitical spheres of Europe, America, Africa, and the Caribbean to traverse different oceanic spaces that include “Black Australia” and Afro-Asia.  Through these transnational lenses, we will question how blackness, and black femininity in particular, shift meanings in varied locations but also converge in formations of global identities, marginalized experiences, and political movements.  Topics covered may include history-telling and memory-making, cultural representations of the “black” body in arts and popular culture, sex trafficking and migrations, articulations of “black feminisms” and sexual identities, and social crises and social change.

Afs 551 Jazz, Identity and the Human Spirit (3)

This course will explore issues of identity, spirituality, entrepreneurship, cultural transmission and politics viewed through the lens of the musical tradition called jazz. Topics will include saxophonist John Coltrane’s musical-spiritual search, the musical-mythos of bandleader Sun Ra, musician-led organizations and movements with a focus on the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), jazz and social protest, ideas about black experimentalist traditions and controversies about the use of electronics in the work of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, the cultural roots of jazz and questions about the nature of musical genres and boundaries. The course will include lecture, listening, small group presentations and class discussion.

Afs 560 African History (3)

History of the African continent through a topical approach with emphasis on indigenous and regional developments in the nineteenth century.

Afs 595 The Slavery Experience in America (3)

Examines the slave community, slave family and religion, the politics and economics of slavery, and related topics within a context of changing historiographical interpretation, e.g., Phillips, Elkins, DuBois, Genovese, et. al.

Afs 596 African-American Literature (4)

An examination of the themes, style, conventions, and literary techniques (devices and figures of speech) used by African and African-American authors in genres, such as novels, plays, short stories, essays, poetry, biographies, and autobiographies.  Students will develop critical thinking and oral and writing skills. Students who have received credit for AAFS 499 cannot receive credit for this course. 

Afs 598 Topics in African Studies (1-4)

Specific topics to be examined will be announced during preregistration period. May be repeated for credit.

Afs 599 Topics in Afro-American Studies (2-4)

Specific topics to be examined will be announced during preregistration period. May be repeated for credit.

Afs 611A,B Socio-Methodology for African and Afro-American Studies (4,4)

A year course which will focus on methods of social research, introduction to the computer, and oral history methodology. Students will be expected to complete short projects about which they will make class presentations.

Afs 612 Race Theory and Social Thought (3)

Systematic examination of the theories of the most prominent non-African social thinkers from the nineteenth century to the present.

Afs 614A,B History of West Africa (3,3)

(A) West African history from the emergence or the neolithic period through the eighteenth century with emphasis placed on the political and social history of indigenous sudanic and forest states exemplified by ancient Ghana, Mali, Songhay, Benin, Oyo, and Asante. (B) West African history covering the nineteenth and twentieth centuries stressing dominant inter-African rivalries of the sudanic Jihads; control of trans- Saharan coastal trade routes; overt territorial expansion. The resistance of African states to European encroachment; colonial period; independence movements will be detailed.

Afs 622 Seminar in African Government and Politics (3)

The administrative, political, and economic structure Africa inherited from the colonial regime, the changes that have been made, and the problems that remain since independence. The political consequences of slow and uneven economic development, ethnicity, political parties, military coups, and socialist experiments are analyzed.

Afs 623 Africa in World Politics (3)

The seminar explores the role that African states play in internal affairs, and the paradigms and prisms through which other international actors view them. Seminar themes may include topics such as theoretical models, African unity, Africa’s role in the global economy and the North-South dialogue, and sources of conflict in African states. Case studies of specific African countries will be examined.

Afs 624 African Politics (3)

Analysis of main challenges confronting African political systems. The principal themes of the course include the colonial impact, models of political and economic development, ethnicity and militarism, and the contemporary crises stemming from the pressures of population on food resources, as well as the dissolution of apartheid.

Afs 628 Seminar in Urban Politics (3)

Critical examination of urban politics as new ethnic conflicts emerge in the latter twentieth century. Student projects with focus on the patterns of black participation in the light of largely black urban centers.

Afs 630 Biography and the Afro-American Experience (3)

Through the medium of biography, an exploration of the multi-cultural dimensions of black history and thought; i.e., arts, sciences, sports, theatre, education, reform, leadership, politics, etc.

Afs 640 Seminar on African Civilizations and Institutions (3)

Traditional African society and civilization prior to European contact with attention to those institutions which have evolved through the course of African civilization and have remained as solid guides for present and future generations of African peoples.

Afs 642 History of Eastern Africa (3)

History of Eastern Africa prior to European contact; the colonial period; the independence movements; the post-independence period.

Afs 643 Seminar in Problems in African and Afro-American History (4)

Principles of historiography as applied to specific periods of Afro- American and African life. The role of political and economic self- interest and of prevailing mores in objective reporting and interpreting. Required projects in either American or African history.

Afs 644 Seminar in Black Goals and American Public Policy (3)

The relationship of evolving goals among black America to developing American public policy. Emphasis on such concerns as integration and segregation, public vs. private responsibility, laissez-faire vs. planning approaches, and the impact of African nationalism and the United Nations' presence.

Afs 645 Seminar: African American Community (4)

A critical overview of the unity and diversity of the African American community with a focus upon major institutions and patterns of stratification. Point of departure will be African and African American linkages. Thus, course is Afrocentric in perspective. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

Afs 650 History of Southern Africa (3)

History of Southern Africa from earliest times to the present with emphasis on the civilization of Southern Africa prior to European contact; the evolution of white minority rule and Black liberation movements in the Republic of South Africa (Azania), Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Mozambique; the institutions and problems of apartheid.

Afs 662 (His 662) Readings in African History (4)

Study of selected major works on the history of Africa with emphasis on differing trends in historical interpretation. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

Afs 664 Seminar in African History (4)

Individual research on a specific aspect of the history of Africa, culminating in a research paper based on primary sources. Students will be introduced to a variety of methodologies and source materials. May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor

Afs 690 Seminar in African Diasporic Research: Migration and Citizenship (3)

Study of issues relating to the movement of peoples of African descent in contemporary times. This course will allow student to understand migration and immigration not only from a multidisciplinary approach but also from an immigrant-centered approach.

Afs 694 Independent Study and Research in Afro-American Studies (3-6)

Supervised reading in Afro-American studies. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and department chair.

Afs 697 Directed Readings in Afro-American Studies (3-6)

Independent study and conferences on selected topics in Afro-American studies for the graduate student. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and department chair.