AAS Course Offerings

AAAS Spring 2017 Courses:  


African American and Africana Studies Program SPRING 2017 Course Offerings:
A PDF version of the course flier is available here

AAS 200-001: Introduction to African American Studies: explores the historical, social, economic, cultural and political realities of black people in the African Diaspora with an emphasis on the United States. This class explores how macro structures such as slavery, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and globalization shaped and continue to circumscribe the lives of Black people across various geographic regions. In addition the class discusses the multiple strategies/efforts Black people employ, both past and present, to ensure the survival of the self and the community. Anastasia Curwood, TR 11:00-12:15pm.

AAS 235 (also SOC 235): Inequalities in Society: 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. Sections: AAS 235-001: David Luke, MWF 12:00-12:50 I AAS 235-401: Alicia Hullinger, MW 6:00-8:00pm
AAS 254-001 (also HIS 254): Colonial and Post-Colonial History of Sub-Saharan Africa: The western media coverage of developments in Africa usually presents the ugly aspects of life in the continent, including poverty, disease epidemics, wars, dictatorships, and so forth, without examining the African perspectives on those issues. In this course, students will have the opportunity to critically engage with such stereotypes by exploring the history of the African continent from the 1880s to the present. The lectures, assignments and other activities in this course will deploy an Afro-centric approach to help students engage with an African perspective that is largely missing from western accounts of the continent. Francis Musoni, TR 9:30-10:45am.
AAS 264 (also ENG 260): Introduction to Black Writers: 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. Sections: AAS 264-001: Rynetta Davis TR 9:30-10:45am I AAS 264-002: Michael Trask, TR 3:30-4:45pm
AAS 360-001 (also HIS 360): Race and Sports in America: This reading seminar examines the history of race and sport in America. Gerald Smith, W 3:30-6:00pm
AAS 400-001 (also CLA 480G): Special Topics in AAAS: Blacks and the Classics: In the course we will explore the very controversial, but important question: Is Classics for whites only? We will explore the relationship between the Greek and Roman Classics, on the one hand, and race, racism, and ethnic prejudice, on the other. We will approach the question from a historical and literary analytical perspective and interrogate the presumption (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) that began to pervade Western culture with the advent of racialized slavery in the West in the mid-15th century, the presumption that continues to this day in some circles, the presumption that the Greek and Roman classical tradition not only excludes the study of Ancient Africa and Ancient Africans, but also excludes people of African descent from studying the disciplines. In the first part of this course, students will compare the way race and ethnicity were constructed in antiquity, in particular how literature and art were used by the Greeks to construct Greekness as a hegemonic identity over and against other identities, notably Roman, Persian, Jewish, Egyptian, and African. We will examine the use of Classical works in the Ethiopian Romance of Heliodorus, a “barbarian” ancient writer, to gain a sense of how this hegemonic Greekness was problematized in antiquity. We will then explore the role that the ancient hegemonic construction of Greekness played in the construction of “Caucasian” or “White” identity, especially in the rhetorical use of Classics both to justify racialized slavery and to support its abolition. We will also consider the role Classics continues to play in today’s racialized identity-politics in the USA and other former British Colonies where the legacy of enslaving Africans still looms large. Finally we will examine the role played scholars of African descent in reshaping the Classics as a more inclusive and diverse discipline. With this background in the history of the relationship between Classics and race and racism, in the second part of the course, students will turn to African-American, African, and Afro-Caribbean authors, poets, playwrights, film-makers, and artists, who have revised and re-imagined classical models to challenge and refute the discourses of racism and imperialism. Jackie Murray, TR 2:00-3:15pm
AAS 400-002: Special Topics in AAAS: Performing Black Feminisms: Performing Black Feminisms examines the convergence of black feminist theory and aesthetic practice. In other words, we will explore how ideas of black women’s social, political, and economic liberation (theory) manifest in and through various modes of artistic expressions (aesthetic practice). As a class we will become familiar with and draw from a range of texts: novels, theatrical productions, scholarly writing, videos, music, and poetry to develop a definition for black feminist aesthetics. This course maintains a body-centered knowledge of black feminism and will draw on exercises, performances, and improvisations to deepen theoretical engagement. Moreover, we emphasize black feminisms, in its plurality, to make intellectual and creative space for the specificity of black feminist expression across nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and gendered presentation. Nicole Martin, TR 12:30-1:45pm
AAS 400-003 (also GWS 300): Special Topics in AAAS: Damned Sex in Folktales: This course examines the carnal violence and brutality associated with sex and gender in folktales and fairytales from the Americas. In so doing, this course will also put European and African folklore in conversation with the New World’s oral traditions. Though students will examine many stories from the African Diaspora, students will also ponder the extent to which trauma born out of colonial rule has impacted inhabitants of the Caribbean and the Americas, irrespective of gender or ethnicity. Students in this class will thus study folktales as sites of both abjection and healing. They will study stories that illustrate how individuals protect their identity and bodily integrity. We will discover how storytellers from the Americas have responded to the effect of colonization and colonialism through literary works that underscore the cultural and psychological characteristics as well as the resilience of their communities. Jacqueline Couti, TR 2:00-3:15pm
AAS 400-004 (also HIS 351): Special Topics in AAAS: Life and Legacy of MLK: Gerald Smith, T 3:30-6:00pm
AAS 401-001: Independent Reading/Research in AAAS: For African-American & Africana Studies minors. The student pursues a course of reading and research under the guidance of a faculty/staff member, completes a major research project, and takes an examination. A written contract defining the area of study is negotiated between student and instructor at the beginning of the course. Ashley Sorrell, MWF 2:00-2:50.

AAS 432-001 (same as SOC 432): Race and Ethnic Relations:
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. Kaitlyne Motl, TR 12:30-1:45pm
AAS 433-001 (same as SOC 433): Topics in Social Inequalities: Gender and Mental Health:  Since the late 19th century, the development of psychiatric medicine in the U.S. has encouraged a steadily growing concern for the mental health of Americans, with mental health being a catch-all phrase that has encompassed a range of ailments from nervousness to substance abuse, depression and psychosis. Our understanding of what constitutes optimal or poor mental health has changed dramatically over this time, but there has persisted an understanding in professional circles and popular culture that women and men differ in their experiences of poor mental health. What explains these differences? And, what are the consequences of these differences? Our task this term is to explore these questions. Toward this end, we will consider assumptions associated with how we define masculinity and femininity, and examine the theoretical and practical consequences of dominant gender conceptions in mental health research and policy.
Robyn Brown, TR 9:30-10:45am.
AAS 471-1001 (same as PS 471): Race, Ethnicity, and Politics: An examination of the role that race and ethnicity play in the political arena, with a focus on lessons that can be learned from scientific research. Students will explore the nature of race, racism, and ethnocentrism, as well as their impact on political institutions and public policy. Particular attention will be given to elections, public opinion, mass media and social movements in the United States. Taught in Spring 2016 by Prof. Stephen Voss, who has published research on immigration attitudes, on racial redistricting, and on the politics of racial backlash. Stephen Voss, MW 3:00-4:15pm
AAS 550-201 (same as EDC 550): Education in Culturally Diverse Society: This course assists future educators in developing strategies to create an equitable teaching/learning environment where all students are validated, stimulated, and nurtured. Course participants explore the rationale for their current belief systems and perceptions of other cultures; investigate how and why their personal attitudes, behaviors, and expectations affect the academic and social development of children and youth, and examine contemporary educational issues. TBD, Jan 11-May 5: Please see course catalog for specific days/times.
AAS 616-001 (same as EDP 616): Multicultural Psychology: This course is designed to increase one's sensitivity to and respect for individual differences. Models, frameworks, techniques and experiential exercises are presented to increase one's skill level in working with persons from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Sycarah Fisher, M 1:00-3:30pm AAS 635-001 (same as SOC 635): Global Racism: This interdisciplinary seminar studies racism globally and historically. We will analyze anti-Semitism and the Nazi’s final solution, anti-black U.S. racism, the denial or racism and the persistence of paternalist racism and colorism in Latin America, and the transformations of racism in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. We will also review critical race theory debates. We will focus on Omni and Winant’s racial formation theory, the debate between Eduardo Bonilla Silva and Mara Loveman, and Pierre Bourdieu and Loïc Wacquant debate with Michael Hanchard. Carlos De La Torre, R 4:00-6:30pm


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