AAS Course Offerings



AAS 100 (same as HIS 100):  Introduction to African Studies
Section 001:  TR 9:30-10:45, Francis Musoni
This course provides a basic overview of African histories, cultures and societies.  This course meets the UK Core requirement for Global Dynamics.

AAS 200:  Introduction to African American Studies
Section 001:  TR 11:00-12:15, Derrick White
An interdisciplinary course which establishes the intellectual context for an examination of the African American experience; it introduces students to the various approaches scholars use to analyze that
experience. This course employs a topical framework which permits focus on issues reflecting the diversity and richness of African-American experience across geographic boundaries.  This course meets the UK Core requirement for Community, Culture, and Citizenship in the US

AAS 235 (same as SOC 235):  Inequalities in Society
Section 001:  MWF 10:00-10:50, Aimee Imlay
This course seeks to promote and 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 relates to politics, social justice, community engagement, and/or public policy.  This course meets the UK Core requirement for Community, Culture, and Citizenship in the US.

AAS 253 (same as HIS 253):  History of Pre-Colonial Africa
Section 001:  TR 3:30-4:45, Hilary Jones
The 2018 blockbuster movie Black Panther, based on the comic book of the same name, introduced audiences to Wakanda, a fictional country on the African continent that had never experienced colonization or westernization. Take this course to learn about how Black Panther, the movie, drew upon historical evidence of African state building, advanced and profitable African economies, and illustrations of traditional African dress and cultural practices while imaging Wakanda as a bridge between continental Africa and the African Diaspora.  You will learn about ancient African states, Africa’s role in global trade networks like Indian Ocean and Trans-Sharan trade, West and West Central Africa in the era of the transatlantic slave trade, African oral tradition, and the religions of Africa.  The course concludes with a consideration of the dilemmas faced by African rulers on the eve of European wars of colonial conquest.  This course meets the UK Core requirement for Global Dynamics.

AAS 260 (same as HIS 260):  African American History to 1865
Section 001:  MWF 11:00-11:50, Nikki Brown
African American history has many beginnings all over the Atlantic World in Europe, North and South America, and Africa. This course begins with by blending and connecting the histories of many continents then moves on to focus on the lives of Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and African Americans in what became the United States of America. Students will learn about the social construction of race in early America, the development of America's system of chattel slavery, and the expansion of the "peculiar institution." Students will also learn about free people of color, resistance to slavery, and the contributions of African Americans to American politics and society. The course concludes with the American Civil War and the Reconstruction, an era when African Americans asserted their political presence in new ways and actively redefined American freedom. Students will be required to read and write critically by thinking about how race, class, and gender intersect. Students will also engage both primary and secondary sources to hone their analytical skills, to improve their academic writing, and to better understand the African American past. This course meets the UK Core requirement for Community, Culture, and Citizenship in the U.S.

AAS 264 (same as ENG 260):  Intro to Black Writers
Section 201:  Online asynchronous, Nazera Wright
Section 202:  Online asynchronous, 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. This course meets the UK Core requirement for Intellectual Inquiry in the Humanities.

AAS 301: Introduction to the African Diaspora.
Section 001: TR 12:30-1:45, Kamahra Ewing
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 an examination of African cultures in the centuries leading up to European colonization of the Americas and 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 in order to more fully contextualize the western development of the diaspora. The course ends with an examination of African Americans in the United States.

AAS 400 (same as A-H 304) Special Topics in AAAS: The Global Impact of African Art
Section 001: TR 11:00-12:15, Monica Visona
Throughout history, visual arts from the African continent (architecture, sculpture, painting, body arts, textiles, photography and performance) have inspired artists from around the world. This course examines a selection of artforms from the distant past that represent Africa’s cultural heritage, and more recent art that has shaped European and American cultural histories and created a global modernity.

AAS 400 (same as GWS 301):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Black & Latina Women in U.S. Politics
Section 002:  MWF 12:00-12:50, Frances Henderson
This course examines Black and Latina women’s participation in American politics as citizens, voters, activists, and elites. Central to this course are the meaning and nature of gender equality and the ways that gender intersects with race, ethnicity and class. Throughout the course, we will interrogate ideas about citizenship and participation through the lens of Black and Latina women. Politics will be broadly conceived to account for the various ways in which women of color participate both inside and on the margins of formal politics and political processes in the US. Thus, topics will likely include: analysis of the mobilization of women of color around reproductive justice, the carceral state, immigration and education, in addition to Black and Latina women’s mobilization into politics through the suffrage movement and the modern women’s movement. The course will also analyze the role of gender and race in shaping public opinion and electoral behavior; public opinion and electoral behavior on gender issues; women’s activities within the political parties. Throughout the semester, we will be following the role of Black and Latina women and gender issues in the 2020 election. This course will provide students with a limited introduction to the study of gender and U.S. politics including some central questions, concepts, and debates in the field. Students will develop intersectional theoretical frameworks and analytical tools for studying gender and politics in the United States. 

AAS 400 (same as HIS 351-003 & HIS 595-002):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Slavery, the Crown, and the Constitution, 1619-1865
Section 003:  W 3:00-5:30, George Wright & William Thro
This seminar will explore the relationship between the institution of slavery and the British Crown and United States Constitution during the period from 1619 to 1865.  Although both the British Crown and, after independence, the United States Constitution reinforced the institution of slavery, both also undermined slavery and paved the way for its abolition in 1834 (British Colonies) and 1865 (end of Civil War and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment). This paradox between support and undermining shows up repeatedly in both legal traditions.  The seminar is taught by George C. Wright, Professor of History, specializing in slavery and race relations and William Thro, a Constitutional Scholar. 

AAS 400 (same as GEO 365):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Carceral State
Section 005:  MWF 11:00-11:50, Lydia Pelot-Hobbs
Why did mass incarceration develop when and how it did in the US? How do calls to defund the police fit into longstanding movements for abolition democracy? Since the founding of the United States, carceral logics and practices have been used to manage periods of political, economic, and social crisis from above and below. In this course, we will examine how the geographic prototype of the plantation and colonial enclosures continue to shape the US carceral state. We will give particular attention to how the spatialization of criminalization produces and is a product of power relations of race, capital, gender, sexuality, citizenship and empire. Together we will trace how punitive power has shifted across space and time in relation to the demands of racial capitalism and how social movements have sought to undo the carceral state in pursuit of geographies of freedom.  

AAS 400 (same as HIS 351-006):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Slavery Records Practicum
Section 006: TR 2:00-3:15, Kathryn Newfont
In this hands-on course students will work with primary documents from Fayette County public records and make professional contributions to the Fayette County Deeds Project, a major research and digital history initiative of the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies at UK. To do so we will study enslavement history in the U.S. and the Commonwealth, learn from scholars and community partners engaged with the Deeds Project, and work collaboratively to read and transcribe digitized nineteenth-century public records held in the Fayette County Clerk’s Office. The deeds we study and the draft transcripts we create will contribute to the Fayette County Deeds digital history project currently under development. This practicum course offers students the opportunity to “make history” through undergraduate research and professional collaboration. Students in the course will join fellow undergraduates, members of the Clerk’s Office staff, a wide range of community partners, and a UK team of historians, library professionals, and history graduate students to help develop this extensive digital humanities project focused on slavery in Central Kentucky.

AAS 400 (same as HIS 351-004):  Special Topics in AAAS:  History Detectives
Section 007: MWF 1:00-1:50, Nikki Brown

AAS 400 (same as HIS 351-005):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Slavery and Resistance
Section 008:  MW 3:00-4:15, Vanessa Holden
This course guides students through the interdisciplinary study of American chattel slavery with a focus on resistance, rebellion, and survival. Students will engage the history of the Atlantic World and the United States from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Students will also read contemporary creative work that depicts the era of Atlantic slavery, slave rebellion, and Black life in the Era of Emancipation. 

AAS 400 (same as HIS 355-001):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Borders in Africa
Section 009:  TR 12:30-1:45, Francis Musoni

AAS 400 (same as HIS 355-002):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Women, Culture, and Power in Africa
Section 010:  TR 11:00-12:15, Hilary Jones
This course examines the African past through the lens of women, gender, and sexuality.   Through readings, research, and discussion you will learn about how and why women held power and authority in African states and societies as well as in the spiritual world.  You will consider African gender principles and gender divisions of labor and power in African societies. Students who take this course will examine the gender impact of European colonialism on women in positions of power as well as African women’s responses to the social, economic, and political changes wrought by colonialism.  In this course, you will become familiar with the genre of life histories of African women and analyze case studies such as women in Ghana’s cocoa industry, women prophets of East Central Africa, female midwives in French West Africa, and African women in struggle against Apartheid. 

AAS 400 (same as HIS 355-003 & HIS 595-001):  Special Topics in AAAS:  The 1959 Cuban Revolution
Section 011:  TR 9:30-10:45, Devyn Benson
Few events shaped world politics during the second half of the twentieth century as profoundly as the Cuban Revolution of 1959.  Transformed by the leadership of Fidel Castro into a socialist country battling U.S. intervention, Cuba embodied the anti-imperialist aspirations of generations of Latin Americans whose economies and political destinies remained firmly bound to the policy goals of the United States. Cubans who lived the Revolution, however, differed in their reactions to it: while many celebrated the social impact of Cuba’s revolution, many others condemned the revolutionary state as nothing more than a repressive (albeit populist) dictatorship. 

Exploring the precedents, processes, and legacies of the Cuban Revolution, this course will give students a better understanding of how and why the Cuban state has endured for so long in the face of U.S. hostility. We will read historical monographs, speeches by revolutionary leaders, and testimonies of Cubans living during the 20th century to access these themes.  And while the course begins in the late 19th century with the abolition of slavery on the island, it will end in the present and explore the meaning of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba in March 2016 (first sitting U.S. president to do so since 1928), the potential closure of U.S. prison camps in Guantanamo, and the transition of Cuban leadership from Fidel to Raúl and beyond.  In doing so, we will try to answer the question that is on the minds of most Cubans and scholars of Cuban history: What’s next?

AAS 400 (same as HIS 208):  Special Topics in AAAS:  History of the Atlantic World: Afro-Latin America
Section 012:  TR 12:30-1:45, Devyn Benson
From Mexico to Brazil and beyond, Africans and people of African descent have fought in wars of independence, forged mixed race national identities, and contributed politically and culturally to the making of the Americas.  Even though Latin America imported ten times as many slaves as the United States, only recently have scholars begun to highlight the role Blacks and other people of African descent played in Latin American history.  This course will explore the experiences of Afro-Latin Americans from slavery to the present, with a particular focus on Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia.  We will also read some of the newest transnational scholarship to understand how conversations about ending racism and building “raceless” nations spread throughout the Americas and influenced the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

In doing so, the course seeks to answer questions such as: What does it mean to be Black in Latin America? Why has racism persisted in Latin America despite political revolutions claiming to eliminate discrimination? What are the links between Blacks in Latin America and the United States? How have differing conceptions of “race” and “nation” caused the rise and decline of transnational black alliances between U.S. Blacks and Afro-Latin Americans?  All course readings will be in English and will include memoirs, films, and first-hand historical documents in additional to scholarly books and articles.

AAS 400 (same as ENG 460G):  Special Topics in AAAS:  Black Liberation
Section 013:  TR 9:30-10:45, Shauna Morgan
This course will explore the ideas and practices of Black artists and thinkers who engage questions of freedom, and it will examine the myriad ways in which ideas of freedom have been expressed and reconfigured. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to contemplate what it means to be free while mediating notions of power, resistance, and identity, we will critically explore and analyze a range of cultural productions particularly in literature, film, music, visual art, and critical thought with attention to the global linkages and disjunctions which emerge near or alongside social movements and independence struggles from slave insurrections to anti-apartheid fights to the freedom movements of the current era.  Students will move towards locating continuities and changes in the cultural productions of Black thinkers and artists, including exploring their engagement with radical epistemologies, probing the complex and conflicted relationship of Black artists/cultural producers to their audiences and critics, and situating Black artists and intellectuals engaging ideas of freedom in the broader context of global Black liberation movements.  

AAS 400:  Special Topics in AAAS:  Narratives, Race, and Digital Studies
Section 015:  TR 12:30-1:45, Regina Hamilton and Kishonna Gray

AAS 401 (same as ANT 582-002):  Readings and Research in AAS
Section 001: TR 11:00-12:15, Bertin Louis
This course will take a critical look at the concepts and lived realities of race and racism. There will be a focus on the African diaspora and the anthropological discipline’s centrality to the formation of scientific racism. The course will also cover Haitian and African-American vindicationist interventions in the anthropological past, anthropological pioneers of the critical study of race and racism, theories of race and racism, a sampling of approaches to the study of race in anthropological subdisciplines, as well as contemporary studies of race and racism. There will be a special emphasis placed on anthropological literature and on understanding race and understanding racism in local, national and international contexts.

AAS 401 (same as HIS 499-001):  Readings and Research in AAS
Section 002:  MWF 9:00-9:50, Anastasia Curwood
This course will teach participants how to create an original scholarly work using historical methods. Using weekly writing and research exercises, students will write final papers, based on their own historical research relating to the theme of the Black freedom struggle.

AAS 432 (same as SOC 432):  Race and Ethnic Relations
Section 001:  TR 12:30-1:45, Ana Liberato
Analysis of relationships between racial and ethnic groups and the behavioral products thereof. Sources and consequences of prejudice and discrimination. Situation and prospects of minorities. Strategies of change and tension reduction.

AAS 469 (same as HIS 469):  The Kentucky African American Experience
Section 001:  T 3:30-6:00, Gerald Smith
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 550 (same as EDC 550):  Education in Culturally Diverse Society
Section 201:  Cheryl Matias
Online; please see course catalog for specific meeting dates and times

COURSE OVERVIEW:  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, student 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. 

AAS 654 (same as HIS 654):  Readings in Modern African American History
Section 001: R 2:00-4:30, Derrick White
Introduces graduate students to the historical literature on 20th century African American history and major historiographical issues.