African-American Studies (AFAM)

AFAM 1101. Introduction to African-American Studies. 4 Hours.

Explores several of the possible historical, sociological, cultural, and political avenues of study in the broad interdisciplinary spectrum of African-American studies. Provides an introductory overview of the field and offers an opportunity to identify areas for more specific focus.

AFAM 1104. The African-American Experience through Music. 4 Hours.

Explores the various musical traditions of African Americans, with a specific focus on the United States. Examines the impact of African, European, and Native American traditions on African-American music as well as the role of music as an expression of African-American aesthetics, traditions, and life. Considers historical and contemporary forms of African-American music, with selected video presentations. Not open to students who have taken MUSC 1104.

AFAM 1109. Foundations of Black Culture 1. 4 Hours.

Studies music, literature, visual and performing arts, and other cultural and artistic traditions as they have evolved among African, African-American, and Caribbean peoples.

AFAM 1113. Black Popular Culture: Music, Movies, and More. 4 Hours.

Surveys Black popular culture from the mid-1950s to the present through music, movies, music videos, and other forms of multimedia, paying close attention to social commentary, political critique, economic inference, cultural formation, explications of religious and spiritual beliefs, and the like. Issues of representation, identity, values, and aesthetics are pondered and discussed. Seeks to cause students to rethink and reexamine the intent and impact of Black popular culture as a method and means of expression and communication.

AFAM 1140. Introduction to African-American History. 4 Hours.

Surveys the development of African Americans in the United States from their African background to the present. Covers medieval and early modern societies in West and Central Africa; the transatlantic slave trade; the evolution of slavery from the colonial period through the Civil War; free blacks; Reconstruction; migration; civil rights; and black nationalism. Considers gender relations throughout the entire period and emphasizes how an historical perspective helps to inform discussions of contemporary issues.

AFAM 1225. Gender, Race, and Medicine. 4 Hours.

Examines the basic tenets of “scientific objectivity” and foundational scientific ideas about race, sex, and gender and what these have meant for marginalized groups in society, particularly when they seek medical care. Introduces feminist science theories ranging from linguistic metaphors of the immune system, to the medicalization of race, to critiques of the sexual binary. Emphasizes contemporary as well as historical moments to trace the evolution of “scientific truth” and its impact on the U.S. cultural landscape. Offers students an opportunity to develop the skills to critically question what they “know” about science and the scientific process and revisit their disciplinary training as a site for critical analysis. AFAM 1225, HIST 1225, and WMNS 1225 are cross-listed.

AFAM 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

AFAM 2270. Race and Ethnic Relations. 4 Hours.

Focuses on racial and religious groups, particularly with reference to the United States. Emphasizes historical development, specific problems of adjustment and assimilation, and present-day problems and trends. SOCL 2270 and AFAM 2270 are cross-listed.

AFAM 2296. Early African-American Literature. 4 Hours.

Surveys the development and range of black American writers, emphasizing poetry and prose from early colonial times to the Civil War. ENGL 2296 and AFM 2296 are cross-listed.

AFAM 2360. Politics of Poverty. 4 Hours.

Explores how and why there is poverty, how it affects people’s lives, and how it can be eliminated. Examines the relations between poverty, racial and ethnic factors, and the economic, political, and administrative systems. Evaluates a number of alternatives and provides an opportunity for clarifying individual assumptions and feelings about poverty.

AFAM 2399. Black Community and Social Change. 4 Hours.

Explores the dynamic changes experienced by black communities in the United States since the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s. Includes discussions and applications of key concepts and methods in several fields of the social sciences, and seeks to understand the relationship of race, class, gender, and social change in addressing the current search for policies and programs for community development.

AFAM 2455. American Women Writers. 4 Hours.

Surveys the diversity of American women’s writing to ask what it means to describe writers as disparate as Phillis Wheatley, Edith Wharton, Toni Morrison, and Alison Bechdel as part of the same “tradition.” With attention to all genres of American women’s writing, introduces issues of genre and gender; literary identification; canons; the politics of recuperation; silence and masquerade; gender and sexuality; intersectionality; sexual and literary politics, compulsory heterosexuality, and more. AFAM 2455, ENGL 2455, and WMNS 2455 are cross-listed.

AFAM 2549. Public Policy and Black America. 4 Hours.

Examines the impact of public policy on African Americans and the role of African Americans in the formulation of public policy. These roles include protest, interest-group politics, electoral politics, and blacks as policy researchers and advisers. The process of public policy formulation as it affects blacks is explored through a series of case studies ranging from the formulation and enforcement of fugitive slave laws in the pre–Civil War era to strategic military and foreign policy, affirmative action, welfare reform, and reparations in our own time.

AFAM 2600. Contemporary Issues: Race, Science, and Technology. 4 Hours.

Examines the social impact of diverse forms of technological development and application that will have sweeping effects on the everyday lives of individuals, groups, governments, and societies in the twenty-first century. The global, transforming effects of technology as it affects communities of color in the United States and internationally are explored in three main areas: the computer, DNA, and quantum revolutions. Topics include the digital divide, minority media ownership, human cloning, the “” phenomenon, race and cultural representations in cyberspace, and biopiracy. Lectures, class discussions, fieldwork, and interaction with leaders in these various fields are integral elements of the course.

AFAM 2639. Globalism, Racism, and Human Rights. 4 Hours.

Explores the historical stages of globalization as a geopolitical and social phenomenon having significant impact on social change. Focuses on multiple effects of racism and the gradual emergence of human rights as an extension of basic freedoms internationally. Topics and themes include the African and Latino Diaspora, North-South debates, gender, Third World countries, democratization, poverty, healthcare/pandemic disease, censorship, political repression, new development strategies, and the role of the United Nations and other international organizations in increasingly complex societies.

AFAM 2990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

AFAM 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

AFAM 4640. Topics in African-American History. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in African-American history. May be repeated without limit.

AFAM 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.

AFAM 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.