AAS Course Offerings




AAS 100 (also HIS 100): Introduction to African Studies
Instructor:  Stephen Davis
Meeting Times: MWF 1:00-1:50

This course provides a basic overview of African histories, cultures, and societies.

AAS 200-001:  Introduction to African American Studies
Instructor:  Derrick White 
Meeting Times: TR 9:30-10:45

African American Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study, meaning it uses a variety of disciplinary analytical methods from the social sciences, arts, and humanities. The field of study puts race and racism at the center of its analysis. Broadly speaking, this occurs in three interrelated ways. First, African American Studies attempts to understand how the belief in black inferiority emerged and infected American social, political, and cultural institutions. Second, African American Studies examines the socio-political terrain of black struggle. Finally, African American Studies explores the cultural creations that have maintained black communities in an often inhumane world. 

AAS 235 (also SOC 235):  Inequalities in Society
001:  MWF 1:00-1:50, Alessandra Boisvert Del Brocco
201:  Online asynchronous, Part of term course, Kevin Alejandrez

This course seeks to promote an understanding of inequalities in American society by considering them in the context of the social origins, development, and persistence of inequalities in the United States and other societies. Bases of inequality that may be considered include race/ethnicity, class/status, gender/sexuality, age, political and regional differences as these relate to politics, social justice, community engagement, and/or public policy

AAS 254 (also HIS 254): History of Colonial & Postcolonial Africa
Instructor:  Francis Musoni
Meeting Times: TR 9:30-10:45

The western media coverage of developments in Africa usually present the ugly aspects of life in the continent—such as poverty, disease epidemics, wars, dictatorships, and so forth—often without analyzing their histories. This course will help students to develop a better understanding of current developments in Africa by exploring the history of the continent from the 1880s to the present. Among other themes, the course materials, lectures, discussions and assignments will examine the reasons behind the European conquest of Africa in the late 19th century; how Africans responded to the European invasion; the challenges and opportunities that came with European colonial rule; the rise of African nationalism and anti-colonial movements; as well as the challenges and opportunities for development in post-colonial Africa. In exploring these themes, the course will provide students the opportunity to engage with the “African perspective” that is largely missing from western accounts of the continent.

AAS 261-001 (also HIS 261):  African American History 1865-Present
Instructor:  Anastasia Curwood
Meeting times:  TR 9:30-10:45

It is impossible to understand United States history without knowing African-Americans' history. This course teaches African-American history from Reconstruction to the present—that is, since Emancipation. We will be guided by the theme of Meanings of Freedom in three eras: after the end of slavery, during the long black freedom struggle, and amidst recent change and challenges. Beginning with the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, we will explore the changing political, social, and economic realities through the rise and fall of Jim Crow, violations and assertions of civil and human rights, the movements of people of African descent throughout the United States and the Atlantic World, and the cultural inventions and expressions of black Americans.

AAS 264:  Introduction to Black Writers

201:  TR 9:30-10:45, Online (see course catalog for meeting times), Nazera Wright
202:  TR 11:00-12:15, Online (see course catalog for meeting times),  Nazera Wright

An introduction to written and oral works by Black authors of Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. The course includes writers such as Chinua Achebe (Africa), Wilson Harris (Caribbean), and Toni Morrison (USA), as well as others from the diverse field of literature written by African-American authors and authors of color worldwide. Attention will be paid to student writing, particularly to devising a thesis, crafting an argument, and learning how to use supporting evidence.

AAS 301-001:  Introduction to the African Diaspora
Instructor:  Kamahra Ewing    
Meeting Times: TR 11:00-12:15PM

The course will explore the making of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds through a combination of historical and ethnographic studies.  How did men and women of African descent come to populate and shape the cultures, economies, and politics of the Americas and South Asia? The course will begin with precolonial Africa, then the advent of the Atlantic slave trade. The spread of Islam and Christianity and the growth of empires in East and West Africa will be discussed as part of understanding the traditions and practices which Africans brought with them to the Americas and throughout the Indian Ocean world. We will look at the development of the African Diaspora in the Middle East and South Asia to contextualize the western development of the diaspora more fully. The course ends with an examination of African Americans in the United States.

AAS 301-002:  Introduction to the African Diaspora
Instructor:  Bertin Louis    
Meeting Times: TR 2:00-3:15

This course will take a critical look at the culture and history of the African Diaspora. Some of the topics we will cover are the making of the African Diaspora, race, gender, religion, transnationalism, and social justice. There will be a special emphasis placed on anthropological literature and the lives and experiences of people of African Descent in the Americas. This course has been cancelled for Spring 2022. 

AAS 400-001 (also HIS 349-001): Special Topics in AAAS: Black Paris: France in the 20th Century
Instructor:  Hilary Jones   
Meeting Times: MWF 9:00-9:50

Black Paris examines the history of modern France through the lens of African American expatriates like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin and French speaking African and Caribbean intellectuals, writers, and soldiers who came to Paris between World War I and World War II as subjects of the French colonial empire.  You will compare French attitudes towards African Americans with their concept of Africans and Caribbean of the French colonies and you will learn more about the emergence of Paris as a multicultural and multiracial city by the late twentieth and early twenty-first century.  Assignments include bi-weekly journal entries, a reflection statement on the idea of global citizenship, compiling an annotated bibliographies history, an analytical essay, and two exams. 

AAS 400-002 (also ANT 352-001 & ANT 580-001): Special Topics in AAAS: Disasters and Racial Ecologies
Instructor:  Crystal Felima
Meeting Times:  TR 2:00-3:15
Whether caused by natural events or human activity, flooding, deforestation, famine and public health epidemics are all examples of disasters. This course provides an overview of how these disasters emerge from the confluence of a natural or man-made forces, risk, and vulnerability from an anthropological perspective. We will consider the ideas and constructs of gender, sexuality, and class to help us shape our understanding of racial ecologies. With special attention to Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in the United States, ecological inequalities as well as environmental activism will be highlighted. Additional topic areas include environmental racism, eco-feminism, the environmentalism of the poor and the dispossessed, indigenous environmental movements, the ecological debt, climate justice, food sovereignty, land grabbing, and water justice. We will draw on key socio-cultural theories and environmental concepts from anthropology, sociology, and feminist analysis to examine differences in culture, power, and knowledge relating to the racial ecologies. 

AAS 400-003 (also GWS 301):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Hip Hop Feminism
Instructor:  Aria Halliday
Meeting Times:  TR 12:30-1:45

This is a new course offering that highlights the history of women and gender fluidity within hip-hop since its inception in the late 1970s. Students will learn how hip-hop and feminism have similar concerns and yet provide an opportunity for individual and cultural expression of the oppressed. Students will be able connect music, lyrical analysis, visual culture, and history to understand the ways gender, race, class, sexuality, and a host of other issues are all relevant to contemporary discourses and visual aesthetics in hip-hop global cultures.

AAS 400-004 (also ENG 460G):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Black Futures
Instructor: Regina Hamilton
Meeting Times:  TR 3:30-4:45

In this course we will be using the oeuvre of Octavia Butler to interrogate the speculative and often dystopian elements of black futures in contemporary African American literature. For all of us, questions about the future of humanity abound. What will be the future of Blackness, gender, or sexuality? What will be the future of human beings as a species on a planet we seem hellbent on  destroying? In the universes of Butler’s texts, there are many different answers, and with the space of a few decades, perhaps we are more primed than ever to accept and/or interrogate the answers as well as the questions we find in Butler’s work. In this course, we will take a Black feminist approach to Butler’s literature by also engaging theoretical texts from Alys Eve Weinbaum, Hortense Spillers, Saidiyah Hartman, Sylvia Wynter, and others.

AAS 400-005 (also A-H 308):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Ancient Egypt and its Legacy
Instructor:  MB Visona
Meeting Times:  MWF 10:00-10:50

The sands of Egypt’s deserts have preserved art works created over a vast time span, allowing us to trace an art history that is longer than that of any other African civilization. Furthermore, this corner of the African continent has served as a crossroads for African, Asian and European travelers, and its ancient monuments have influenced the art of distant peoples throughout the millennia. This course will survey the historical development of art in ancient Egypt, or Kemet, and then will explore the influence of those ancient artworks on the art and ideas of later cultures, both African and non-African.

AAS 400-006 (also A-H 526): Special Topics in AAAS:  African Artists at Home and Abroad in the 21st Century
Instructor:  MB Visona

Meeting Times:  MW 3:00-4:15
Over the last fifty years, artists have contributed to the cultural life of modern nations on the African continent, and they continue to nurture creative enterprises from Cairo to Cape Town. This course will examine the careers of professional artists engaged with a broad variety of social issues in order to place individual painters, sculptors, architects, cartoonists, photographers, cinematographers, and performance artists within national and global artistic practices on the African continent. It will explore the reception of African contemporary art in both local and international markets.

AAS 400-007 (also GEO 365-001): Special Topics in AAAS:  Black Geographies: Protest and Resistance
Instructor:  Priscilla McCutcheon
Meeting Times: MWF 11:00-11:50

This course will center on the role of space and placemaking in Black studies. Black geographies is a growing interdisciplinary subfield of geography that draws on geography, history, literary studies, and Black feminist thought (among other fields) to make the argument that “Black matters are spatial matters.” We also use storytelling and experience, which are critical to our understanding of Black people and places across the Diaspora. We will end the class with a discussion of Black ecologies, which brings to focus environmental dangers facing Black communities and the ways in which Black communities resist these dangers.   

AAS 400-008 (also GWS 302-002): Special Topics in AAAS:  Gender & Sexuality in African History
Instructor:  Elizabeth Williams
Meeting Times: MWF 1:00-1:50

This course will explore the role of gender and sexuality in African history. The time range will be expansive-- from ancient Egyptian history, through the period of colonization, and up to (nearly) the present day. Along the way, students will gain an overview of African history, but with a continued focus on how issues of gender and sexuality impacted, shaped, or were shaped by major historical events. What can Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh, tell us about ancient African civilizations' attitudes towards female leadership-- and why did she insist on being depicted with a beard? How did women and girls experience the slave trade in both East and West Africa, and in what ways was the slave trade a process of creating (un)gendered commodities? Why is understanding East African gendered divisions of labor key to understanding the extraordinarily high death rates among soldiers in the "Carrier Corps" of WWI? And what role did ideas of femininity/masculinity play in anti-colonial movements? Guiding Questions include: How have gender and sexuality operated in various times and spaces in Africa--and how do this compare to norms in the US? What can we learn by centering the voices of African feminists in our analysis? Where does the idea that African women and sexual minorities require "saving" come from, and why should we challenge it? What image of "Africa" do we hold in the US, and to what extent does that image reflect the reality? 

AAS 400-009 (also HIS 351-002): Special Topics in AAAS:  Civil Rights & Black Power
Instructor:  Nikki Brown
Meeting Times: MW 3:00-4:15

Though Civil Rights and Black Power are often described as two separate movements, in this course we’ll look at the post-World War II Civil Rights Movement in the United States as a continuum.  We’ll start with legal challenges to racial discrimination, like the Brown decision of 1954.  Then we’ll move to nonviolent direct action from 1955 to 1965, also known as sit-ins and marches.  Finally, we’ll examine the quick evolution to armed resistance, also known as Black Power, from 1965 to 1980. This class will feature many stories from Kentucky in the Civil Rights Movement, like the integration of UK and the rise of Muhammad Ali.  This class will also have a one-week, optional study away visit to Washington, D.C. We’ll attend the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the MLK Monument, the Library of Congress, Howard University, and Wildcats on the Capitol. 

AAS 400-010 (also CLA 462G):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Black Classicisms: Anna Julia Cooper and her Classicist Sisters
Instructor:  Jackie Murray
Meeting Times: TR 2:00-3:15

This course will focus on the life and works of Anna Julia Cooper, dealing specifically with her interest and work on the ancient world and her use of the Classics in her role as an educator of young African Americans in the 19th and early 20th century. This course will put her intellectual and educational achievements in context with her contemporaries, notably Ida B. Wells, Pauline Hopkins, Mary Church Terrell and Drusilla Dunjee Houston. The course has an optional study away unit “Anna Julia Cooper’s D.C.” that student may take. No prerequisite.

Black Classicisms:  Anna Julia Cooper’s Washington, D.C. This class will have a one-week, optional study away visit to Washington, D.C.  We will survey key sites in African American and civil rights history.  Here’s a brief list of the places we’ll visit: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Ben’s Chili Bowl, Howard University, Martin Luther King Memorial, and the Library of Congress. There will also be an open day where participants can see personal places of interest, like the National Portrait Gallery or the National Air and Space Museum. All museum visits are free. 

AAS 400-011 (Also HIS 351-003/HIS 595-001):  Global Black Freedom Struggle
Instructor:  George Wright
Meeting Times:  W 3:00-5:30

This seminar will cover the period from the 1870s to the present.   The last decades of the 1800s witnessed the end of slavery and the determination by whites, in the United States, Brazil, and Africa, to create a new racial order with black people, indeed, all “people of color,” remaining at the bottom of society. Racial discrimination, in virtually every area of society, became a reality.  Also, racial violence occurred with the primary goal of ensuring that black people clearly understood “their place.”  Yet, significantly, by the early 1900s, in various places in the world, the struggle for racial equality and justice had started.  The seminar will examine a number of key leaders:  courageous women such as Ida Wells Barnett, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois, and several leaders whose actions continued for much of the 20th Century: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  The seminar concludes by examining where significant changes have occurred and where aspects of the racist past still remain firmly entrenched.

AAS 401-001: Reading/Research in AAAS: Race and Racism
Instructor:  Kishonna Gray
Meeting Times:  T 2:00-4:30

This course examines the construction and dissemination of race through mediated structures including but not limited to news, television, children’s literature, advertising, movies, music, social networking sites, virtual gaming communities, video games, etc.  We will examine these through an Afrocentric critique as well as other race theories, feminist frameworks, and other critical cultural approaches. 

W.E.B. DuBois, arguably the father of American sociology, said that “the problem of the twentieth century will be that of the color line.”  These words are applicable today as race is still at the center of much of the public (and private) discourse in American society; importantly, media plays a huge role in the dissemination of race and how we understand racialized bodies.  Since many would agree that media is a powerful and prevalent generator and conveyor of cultural meanings, it is premature to ignore the role that it plays.  Since media is effective in relaying cultural meanings, as students of social justice, we must continually examine it for the role it plays in framing racial minorities.  An overarching question we will continue to ask is ‘what role does media play in constructing and sustaining of racialized identities

AAS 469-001:  The Kentucky African American Experience
Instructor:  Gerald Smith
Meeting Times: T 3:30-6:00

This course offers a general perspective of the African American experience in Kentucky. Students will discuss the social, political, economic, and cultural dimensions of black life in the state form the earliest settlement to the present. This course will also highlight the people, places, events, organizations, and institutions that have been pivotal to the Kentucky African American experience.

AAS 470-001:  The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.  
Instructor:  Gerald Smith
Meeting Times: Online, W 3:30-6:00

This course will review Martin Luther King Jr.'s religious and political thought as well as his rise to national leadership. It will explore the man, the movement, and the message within the context of the black freedom struggle.

AAS 500-001: African American Lives
Instructor:  Vanessa Holden
Meeting Times:  Online Asynchronous, Part of Term

This course will introduce students to the study of African American life, culture, and history as well as interdisciplinary modes of inquiry that engage the arts, history, literature, and social science. Major topics covered will be the history of race in America, the long Black freedom struggle, and African American epistemologies and methodologies.

AAS 550-001 (also EDC 550): Education in Culturally Diverse Society
Instructor:  Cheryl Matias
Meeting Times: Online; see course catalog for meeting times

Education is a complex institution described as both participating in colonial, dehumanizing, and racist projects (e.g. Native American boarding schools, white supremacist educational policies, etc.) while also providing emancipatory, decolonizing, antiracist, and socially just projects. In advocating for a more just educational system the question then becomes, “What social structures influence education and how can I advocate for a more humanizing and just educational system?” This interactive course deeply examines the intersectionality of race (and whiteness) to gender, sexuality, class, and multiple abilities that manifest in both society and education. Students will learn larger social systems of power that structures education, especially with respect to race, racism, whiteness, and white supremacy. Using racially just theories like Critical Race Theory, Black Feminism, Critical Whiteness Studies, and other critical theories on race, students will understand the complex relationship between diverse societies and schools and learn strategies of how to advocate on behalf of them. Or, more poignantly, invest in racially just educational practices for society. Using periodic mandatory Zoom sessions, interactive online activities, course readings, individual and group assignments, video clips, and social media, students come away understanding the complexities underlying education in a culturally diverse society. No permission to record or to share any course material (e.g. lecture, discussions, online activities, etc.) without written approval of instructor.

AAS 656-001:  Black American Literature
Instructor:  Kamahra Ewing
Meeting Times: TR 12:30-1:45

This course surveys Black literary perspectives from the 1700s to the present. African American literary works are prime examples of African diaspora experiences as one of resistance, resilience, creativity, and ingenuity that imbues multi-faceted methods of survival. The texts within the course will primarily concentrate on Africana experiences in the Americas and the Caribbean. Examining the world through Black perspectives will take us on an exciting journey, beginning with slave narratives, the New Negro, the Harlem Renaissance, Modernism, Black Arts Movement, and Postmodernism. Examining cultural productions such as literary texts, poetry, art, and film we will delve into the divergent and convergent Afro-Americana /Caribbean experiences vis-à-vis the intersections of race, nation, politics, cultural production, religion, language, gender, class, sexuality, and social inequalities to unravel deeper layers of humanity. Some of the potential authors (but not limited) to cover the course themes are Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass, Harriet A. Jacobs, W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Audre Lorde, Zora Neale Hurston, Gayl Jones, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

DIP 600-005:  Politics and Foreign Relations of the Global South
Instructor:  Gregg Hall
Meeting Times:  R 10:00-12:30

This special topics graduate course surveys the political, economic, and social aspects of countries located in regions of the world collectively known as the Global South, or the “developing” world, which represents approximately two-thirds of humanity. This course begins with an examination of the socio-economic and political development experience of the various regions, to include topics such as race/ethnicity, religion, and domestic and regional affairs. The course then turns attention to the foreign affairs of the countries of these regions, with special emphasis on South-South and North-South dimensions.

ENG 266-001:  Survey of African American Literature II
Instructor:  Shauna Morgan
Meeting TImes:  TR 9:30-10:45

Designed as an introductory survey of texts and discourses within the African American literary tradition, this course will focus on literature from the post-Reconstruction era until the present, including Black musical traditions, the Harlem Renaissance, and cultural productions of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.  As we explore selected genres, periods, and thematic characteristics of the later African American cultural and literary experience through close textual readings and analyses, we will also investigate how these works reveal and respond to socio-cultural ideologies that shape formations of identity and notions of self. Fulfills ENG major Historical Survey Requirement. Provides ENG minor credit. 

ENG 369-001:  African American Women's Writing
Instructor:  Regina Hamilton
Meeting Times:  TR 2:00-3:15

This course is primarily concerned with the writing of Black women writers throughout the twentieth century. We will cover fictional works by Harriet Wilson, Pauline Hopkins, Nella Larsen, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and others. Contextualizing our discussion of these texts, we will also be engaging critical texts written by black women. In this course, we will examine topics such as the intersection of race and gender, genre and its limitations, black feminist theory, and writing as a revolutionary act.




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