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Undergraduate Course Offerings

101-6-20 – First-Year Seminar: Feminist Afrofuturisms

In “Feminist Afro-Futurisms,” our class will explore the long history of black feminist speculative production, beginning with the turn of the twentieth-century. We will explore black feminine subjectivity in the 1903 novel by Pauline E. Hopkins, Of One Blood, along with later twentieth-century works by Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson. By situating these works side-by-side, along additional literary works and black feminist literary theory and criticism, this course bridges more recent writing and concerns of black women feminists with the lesser known works of nineteenth century Black New Women. We will also interrogate the legacy of black feminine creative production spanning the century.  These issues include but are not limited to the position of black women as mothers and family members, concerns of sexual violence, hypersexuality and hypervisibility, questions of canonicity, and the ongoing marginality of black women’s works within the academic classroom. This is a reading and discussion-based class, and regular class participation is a must. Come prepared to tackle issues of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Assignments will include leading in-class discussion, two small papers, and a multi-media group final.

101-6-20 – First-Year Seminar: Education For Black Liberation

This class considers what it means to conceptualize, articulate, and actualize a liberatory Black educational project within U.S. public schools structured by anti-Black solidarity. In the first section of the course, we explore the fight to desegregate public schools and the ways the historic Brown v. Board of Education case transformed schooling for Black children and their communities. In considering the impact of the Brown decision on the experiences of Black students in U.S. public schools, we interrogate the rebukes of Brown including the various educational projects (community control, Panther freedom schools, the Black independent school movement etc.) advanced in Brown's aftermath. In the second section of the course, we explore the myriad ways Black students experience antiblackness and anti-Black racism in U.S. public schools contemporarily, as well as the ways Black students, educators, administrators, community and family members, and scholars have articulated what the notion of liberation may mean in the face of antiblackness. In the final section of the course, we consider the tensions and possibilities in the desire to "get free" within the confines of U.S. public schools.

210-0 – Survey of African American Literature

Literature of blacks from slavery to freedom. Works of major writers and significant but unsung bards of the past.

211-0 – Literatures of the Black World

Introductory survey of fiction, poetry, drama, folktales, and other literary forms of Africa and the African diaspora. Texts may span the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods and will cover central themes, such as memory, trauma, spirituality, struggle, identity, freedom, and humor.

212-1 – Intro to African American History 1

1. Key concepts in African American history from 1700 to 1861. Includes African origins; the Atlantic slave trade; origins of slaving and racism in the United States; life under slavery in the North and South; and religion, family, culture, and resistance. 2. Key concepts in African American history from emancipation to the beginnings of the civil rights era. Focus on constructions of class, gender, and community; the rise of Jim Crow; strategies of protest; and migration and urbanization. Taught with HISTORY 212; students may not earn credit for both courses.

212-2 – Intro to African American History 2

See Above

213-0 – History of the Black World

Introductory survey of the history of Africans and their descendants across the globe. African civilizations prior to European colonialism, encounters between Africa and Europe, movements of "Africans" to the Americas and elsewhere, and development of black communities in and outside Africa.

214 – Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

Problems and experiences of racialized minorities: blacks, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina/os. Comparison of their relationships with each other and with the majority society.

215 – Intro to Black Social and Political Life

Analysis of class, gender, sexuality, immigrant status, and ethnic origin in black society and politics. Focus on demographic trends, lived experiences, and ideological debates.

218 – Asian-Black Historical Relations in the U.S.

Comparative historical analysis of Asian-black relations in the United States, including racialized and sexualized discourses structuring interracial relations and social, political, and economic location. Slavery, immigration, model minority myth, cross-racial politics. Taught with ASIAN AM 218; students may not earn credit for both courses.

220 – Civil Rights and Black Liberation

The Northern and Southern civil rights movements and the rise of black nationalism and feminism, 1945-72.

225 – African American Culture

Survey of African American culture from slavery to the present. Relation of African American culture to African and Euro-American cultures; the Black Atlantic as a unit of analysis; and representations of blackness in the public imagination.

236 – Intro to African American Studies

Key texts and concepts in African American studies from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

245 – The Black Diaspora and Transnationality

Examination of events, movements, theories, and texts that have shaped the development of the African diaspora. Topics include slavery; abolitionism; Pan-Africanism; the culture/politics nexus; hip-hop; AIDS; linkages among gender, sexuality, and diasporic sensibilities.

250 – Race, Class, and Gender

Introduction to scholarship and key theories that treat race, class, and gender as intersecting social constructs. Includes analysis of race, class, and gender in: work; family and reproduction; education; poverty; sexuality; and consumer culture. Examines how race, class, and gender inform identity, ideology, and politics to incite social change.

251 – The Mixed Race Experience

Exploration of demographic and interracial and interethnic marriage trends in various US Asian, white, and black communities to highlight the complexity of the American experience. Special attention to mixed-race experience portrayed in film and novels. Taught with ASIAN AM 251; students may not earn credit for both courses.

259 – Intro to African American Drama

Thematic and historical survey of African American drama. Covers sociopolitical context; the aesthetic reflected in the work; and impact on African American and general theater audiences.

261 – Queer Literatures in the African Diaspora

Advanced introduction to critical theories of race, gender, and sexuality in the African Diaspora from the 19th century to today.

310 – Contemporary Asian-Black Relations

Examines divides between Asians and blacks; areas of positive crosscultural collaboration. Historical analysis of reparations, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and affirmative action. Crossracial exchange in youth expressions, popular culture, and hip hop. Taught with ASIAN AM 310; students may not earn credit for both courses.

315 – Religion in the Black Atlantic

Afro-Atlantic religions since the 1400s; traditions of Orisa devotion and monotheisms; religion and revolution in African slave religion; racialization and empire; theories of religion, materialities, and diaspora.

319 – Race, Ethnicity, and the American Constitution

Investigation of how race and ethnicity have influenced the evolution of the U.S. Constitution and legal debate and practice. Topics include affirmative action, school integration, and the death penalty. Prerequisite: 220, POLi SCI 220, or POLi SCI 230.

320 – The Social Meaning of Race

Race as a social concept and recurrent cause of differentiation in multiracial societies. Impact of race on social, cultural, economic, and political institutions. Discussion of prejudice, racism, and discrimination.

327 – Politics of Black Popular Culture

Examination of the debates within African American communities about the proper role and function of black art and artists in relation to black politics.

330 – Black Women in 20th Century United States

Experiences and leadership of African American women in major events in recent history, including anti-lynching, women's suffrage, civil rights movements, and World War II.

331 – The African American Novel

Readings in classic black American fiction and studying the author as creator and participant. Includes the works of Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, and others. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

334 – Gender and Black Masculinity

Perceptions and constructions of black masculinity within African American and "American" cultures in the United States; readings in gender and sexuality studies, feminist theory, African American studies, and cultural studies.

335 – Race and Literature in 19th Century America

Examination of the evolution and persistence of the notion of "race" in 19th-century America, with attention to the origins of the idea of race in the West. Focus on the multiracial character of 19th-century America.

339 – Unsettling Whiteness

Making the historical, political, and cultural formation of whiteness in western modernity visible and narratable for commentary and analysis. Particular reference to contemporary culture.

342 – Comparative Slavery

Traces slavery across historical epochs and geographic contexts, with an emphasis on Latin America, the Caribbean, and the territories that became the United States.

345 – Afro-Latin America

Afro-Latin communities, cultures, and identities throughout Latin America and the Hispanic diaspora after 1800. Emergence of race and nation in modern Latin America, migration, gender, Afro-Latin spiritual systems and religion, family, and politics.

348 – Africans in Colonial Latin America

History of Africans and African-descended people throughout Latin America from 1492 to 1800, emphasizing the varied experiences of slavery and freedom struggles, the emergence of race and colonial categories of difference, and the gendered lives of racialized colonial subjects.

350 – Theorizing Blackness

Advanced introduction to critical theories of race and racialization. Investigation of blackness as a category of critical analysis for analyzing Afro-diasporic formations. Consideration of how blackness is shaped by gender, class, sexuality, and nationality.

355 – Diaspora Studies

Interdisciplinary examination of the significance of diasporas, their histories, and common dynamics, illustrated with examples drawn from a wide range of cases.

357 – Performing Memory in the Black World

Exploration of the ways in which peoples of the Black Atlantic remember slavery and fashion identities through novels, film, folktales, and drama.

360 – Major Authors

In-depth examination of a selected author's body of work. Choice of author varies. May be repeated for credit with change of author.

363 – Racism in Western Modernity

Impact of racism in the formation of Western modernity. Critical conceptual and historical analyses of the social formation of "race" and the historical implications of racism in the contemporary West.

365 – Black Chicago

Surveys the social, cultural, and political history of African Americans in Chicago, including: the Great Migration; the black political machine; black Chicago music; racial segregation; internal class stratification; and the role of black churches.

375 – Postcolonial African American Studies

Develops critical approaches to African American studies from the perspectives of postcolonial analysis. In particular, examines the meaning of the colonial in the formation of African American experiences and the significance of modernity, race, and black politics in the historical contexts of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

378 – Harlem Renaissance

African American political and social movements and cultural production in theater, music, visual arts, and literature from 1915 to 1930. Prerequisites: 210-0 or another African American literature course.

379 – Black Women Writers

Intensive, multigenre examination of the contribution of black women to African American, women's, and American literature, with consideration of the factors and figures that have influenced the reception of black women's writings across time.

380-0-21 – Topics in African American Studies

Advanced work on social, cultural, or historical topics. May be repeated for credit with different topic. Prerequisite: advanced student or senior.

380-0-21 – Topics: Feeling Black/Black Feeling

This course introduces and investigates the matter of black feeling. Does blackness have a feeling? What emotional baggage accompanies racial difference? How do emotions inform, distort, and even precede our notions of race and culture? And how do all types of feelings, personal and public, shape or interrogate the project of racial representation? Drawing together seminal and lesser-known works in African American literature with secondary texts from affect theory, black studies, postcolonial theory, and Afro-pessimism, we will explore the messy entwinement of blackness and emotion and identify how this entwinement is variously represented across the African American literary tradition.

380-0-20 – Topics: Gender and Sexuality in African American Women's Lives: The Nineteenth Century

This course will examine the lives of African American women between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Topics to be addressed include labor; family and community relationships; sexuality and intimacy; and political activism: free black women in the anti-slavery movement and enslaved women's resistance to enslavement. Students must participate in a Discussion Section on Fridays at either 1 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.

380-0-23 – Topics: Black Theology: From Black Power to Black Lives Matter

The Black Theology: From Black Power to Black Lives Matter course, engages Black Theology and its encounters with various historical moments, thinkers, philosophies, and theologies. Black Theology founder, James Cone, will sit at the center the course, as we discuss Black Theology's grappling with the American Liberal Theology, the Black Power Movement, African American Humanism, Womanist Theology, Black Marxism, Black Pragmatism, the Obama Era, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

380-0-21 – Topics: African American Politics

Course Description TBA.

380-0-22 – Topics: Sex and the American Empire: Journalism and Frames of War

This course will be an intensive study in understanding the relationship between American journalism and the U.S. military in creating an American empire. By focusing on how the U.S. military has segregated service members by race, sexuality, gender, and gender identity—and on how U.S. media has covered the military—students will study how identity roles have been formed by both the military and the media in American society. Readings will include primary sources, works of journalism, and scholarship. Topics covered will include the histories of LGBTQ rights; "pinkwashing" and "homonationalism"; "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; racial segregation; the development of the condom; government management of HIV/AIDS; subjectivity and objectivity; and, essentialism. The course is intended for journalism majors and non-majors alike, and will be centered on helping both analyze news media critically in order to better understand how race, gender, sexuality and American identity are constructed.

381 – Topics in Transnational Black Studies

Making the historical, political, and cultural formation of whiteness in western modernity visible and narratable for commentary and analysis. Particular reference to contemporary culture.

390 – Research in African American Studies

Methods of researching the African American experience. Identification of research problems; location, selection, and critique of relevant literature; data gathering and analysis; report writing. Topics vary. Prerequisite: advanced student or senior standing.

394 – Professional Linkage Seminar

Description missing from Catalog

396 – Internship in African American Studies

Topics vary by instructor.

399 – Independent Study

Open to advanced students with consent of instructor. Prerequisite: advanced student or senior standing.

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