African-American Studies


Chris W. Gallagher, PhD
Professor and Interim Chair

201 Renaissance Park
617.373.2625 (fax)

The Department of African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary department with a mission of teaching and conducting research in social sciences and humanities fields on the historical and contemporary experience of Africans and African- Americans throughout the Diaspora. The department offers a major and a minor in African-American studies, a minor in African studies, and a host of elective courses. International studies and contemporary public policy issues, particularly health-related and international development issues, are also integral elements of the program. All courses are open to all students. Department faculty lead intensive, summer study-abroad programs to Ghana, Kenya, the Caribbean, and other parts of the African Diaspora.

Academic Progression Standards

Same as university-wide standards described under “Academic Status.”

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Bachelor of Science (BS)


African-American Studies Courses

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 1102. Research and Writing in the African Diaspora 1. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to academic research, college-level writing techniques, and scholarly inquiry. Offers students an opportunity to develop critical-thinking skills. Focuses on the interpretation and analysis of current events and the diverse topics and scholarly texts of the African Diaspora through writing. Emphasizes identifying patterns of organization, providing supporting evidence, documenting sources, and practicing editing techniques and the process of revisions. Requires students to produce multiple written drafts to build a comprehensive writing portfolio.

AFAM 1103. Research and Writing in the African Diaspora 2. 4 Hours.

Designed to expand students’ grasp of diverse styles and genres of writing from among the African Diaspora. Explores fiction, nonfiction, and writing for multimedia. Expands upon the analysis and interpretation of scholarly texts, with a particular focus on the interpretation and analysis of literature of the African Diaspora through writing. Offers students an opportunity to expand their writing portfolio as well as deliver oral presentations. Requires students to develop original, qualitative research through a semester-long research project. Prereq. AFAM 1102.

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. Prereq. 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 1135. John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom. 4 Hours.

Studies the life of John Coltrane, one of the greatest musicians of all time. Presents his growing up in a Black North Carolina community during the era of U.S. apartheid to becoming a world-class artist whose music touched listeners around the globe and continues to be a major influence in current times. His advanced and innovative conceptions (melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic) and stylistic contributions to African-American creative improvisation changed the way to play the music forever. Emphasizes his immense impact on jazz and other improvisational music and expressive art forms, as well as his spiritual legacy, which focused on using music for the improvement of humanity. Prereq. Not open to students who have taken MUSC 1135.

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 1220. African-American Theatre. 4 Hours.

Surveys the history of African-American theatre artists in the United States from the time of Ira Aldridge to the present day. Also examines the works of African-American playwrights from the Harlem Renaissance to the present, with an emphasis on the period beginning with Baraka’s Dutchman.

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. Cross-listed with HIST 1225 and WMNS 1225.

AFAM 1270. Economic Status of Ethnic Minorities. 4 Hours.

Examines the economic conditions and processes as they impact minorities within the U.S. economy. Considers the role of national economic policies undertaken to address general economic and social conditions, as well as policies targeted at minority markets and institutions. Emphasis is on empirical analysis; historical and cultural materials may be incorporated.

AFAM 1300. The African-American Experience through Short Fiction and Black Cinema. 4 Hours.

Surveys the expressions of African-Americans through the lens of short fiction and black cinema. Engages both the traditional and contemporary forms of cultural expression, grounding the lineages through numerous African forms, contributions from the West and Far East, and looking toward futuristic engagement.

AFAM 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

AFAM 2301. Foundations of Black Culture 2. 4 Hours.

Continues AFAM 1109. Provides an interdisciplinary approach to the cultural production of African-based traditions in the Americas and elsewhere in the African Diaspora. Forms of cultural production include film, theatre, the visual arts, literary arts, and dance. While several issues in theory and practice in the arts are discussed, emphasis is on the ways in which an African-based tradition is rooted in the intellectual and cultural histories of African descendants in the United States, the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Great Britain.

AFAM 2312. Black History of Boston. 4 Hours.

Examines the social, economic, political, and educational history of Boston’s black community in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The development of the black community and its institutions is a major focus, and students are encouraged to study the past in an attempt to understand the present and interpret the future. Research data include participant observation, oral history, interviews, and primary and secondary source materials. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2320. The Black Family. 4 Hours.

Studies how the black family functions, both interpersonally and as a social unit. Anthropological and sociological theories deal with variations in family structure and the function of the black family in black society. The effects of slavery and colonization on the black family structure and functions are also explored. Discusses some of the differences and similarities between African, African-American, and African-Caribbean families. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2325. African-American Women. 4 Hours.

Examines themes and topics in the history of African-American women using an interdisciplinary approach. Themes and topics include women’s lives in precolonial Africa, their role in the transatlantic slave trade, women and American slavery, community and institution building after Emancipation, black women and labor, stereotypes of black women, black women and civil rights, and black women today. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2337. African-American History before 1900. 4 Hours.

Covers the development of black America from slavery through the Booker T. Washington-W. E. B. DuBois controversy, with emphasis on the historical links between Africa and America that have shaped the African-American experience. Includes in-depth discussion of slavery’s impact, the role of the antebellum free black, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the black response to the new racism of the late nineteenth century. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2338. African-American History since 1900. 4 Hours.

Examines the modern development of black America, with major emphasis on the twentieth century and the rising tide of African-American nationalism. Provides an historical perspective regarding key contemporary issues including the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Marcus Garvey back-to-Africa movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Muslims, the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the idea of Black Power. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2339. Analysis of American Racism. 4 Hours.

Discusses the cycle by which racism in our institutions helps form our attitudes and the manner in which our attitudes, in turn, shape our institutions. Emphasizes the practical, day-to-day aspects of racism, rather than the theoretical and historical. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2344. Contemporary Black Politics. 4 Hours.

Analyzes the evolution of black political thought in the United States and examines the sociopolitical contexts that have served as catalysts to modern black political movements. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2345. The Black Experience in the Caribbean. 4 Hours.

Offers a descriptive and interpretive analysis of the growth of the modern black community in the Caribbean. Although the focus is the contemporary period, the course examines that period in the context of colonialism and slavery in the Americas. Important racial, social, political, economic, and religious issues are addressed. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 2350. History of Blacks in the Media and the Press. 4 Hours.

Offers a historical and visual examination of the development of the African-American experience in the U.S. mass media and press. Analyzes contemporary and historical literature, films, and people with respect to history, racism, images, psychology, and social movements. Newspapers, film, television, and radio are prime focal points, and are used to help form strategies for the future of black Americans. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

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 2365. Blacks and Jews. 4 Hours.

Compares the black and Jewish experiences in the United States. Themes include remembered slavery and commemoration of freedom; Holocaust and genocide; religious expressions of politics; black-Jewish relations; and black Judaism.

AFAM 2367. Race and Social Identity. 4 Hours.

Provides an interdisciplinary look at the social, political, and psychological factors shaping contemporary African-American identity. Explores several different factors that interact with blackness to shape the diversity of African-American experience, such as skin color, gender, culture, and class. Studies black identity as it has been conceptualized, measured, and researched by psychologists. Readings include essays written by important African-American thinkers, fiction, and autobiographical narratives, as well as empirical research in the field of psychology. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

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. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

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.

AFAM 2991. Research Practicum. 2-4 Hours.

Involves students in collaborative research under the supervision of a faculty member. Offers students an opportunity to learn basic research methods in the discipline. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above and permission of instructor.

AFAM 3402. African-American English. 4 Hours.

Addresses topics in the study of African-American English or Ebonics. Investigates the hypotheses about the origins of African-American English as well as arguments about the relationship of the dialect to English and other languages. Considers issues regarding the use of the dialect in schools. Prereq. LING 1150 or ENGL 1150; sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3422. Blacks in Science and Medicine. 4 Hours.

Studies the contributions that African Americans have made to the development of science and technology in America. Examines the cultural and social factors that have encouraged blacks to work in the fields of science (biology, chemistry, physics, and medicine) and technology (engineering). Certification of blacks within the U.S. scientific community and the availability of science to the past and contemporary African-American communities are also explored. Uses readings, discussions, individual research topics, and interviews with black scientists, inventors/engineers, and doctors. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3441. Third World Political Relations. 4 Hours.

Offers a comparative regional analysis of the political systems of Third World nations of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Emphasis is on development strategies; problems of development, including national identity, political socialization and participation, national defense, and urbanization; and the positions of Third World nations in the international community. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3454. Black Elderly in the Americas. 4 Hours.

Examines in historical context the economic, healthcare, and cultural issues surrounding the aging process among blacks in the Americas, with emphasis on the United States. Identifies the treatment of elders in traditional African societies, major diseases with differential incidence among the black elderly (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes), racial health disparities, and institutions that African Americans have developed to cope with the conditions of elderly blacks. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3458. Labor, Unions, and Work in Black Society. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the nature and meaning of work in black society in the United States, especially the interface between black workers and organized labor. Explores the long-term exclusion of black workers from many unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AF of L) in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the efforts of industrial unions affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO); the rise of such black unions as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; and more recent efforts to organize public employees. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3485. Education Issues in the Black Community. 4 Hours.

Focuses on some of the important issues in today’s urban elementary and secondary education systems. Examines the historical development of these issues, and students are encouraged to think about and discuss the issues’ future significance. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3663. The Black Novel. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the black novelist’s place in the history of American fiction. Emphasis is given to Chesnutt, Toomer, Wright, Ellison, and contemporary novelists, and to their different perceptions of the black experience in America. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3664. Black Poetry and the Spoken Word. 4 Hours.

Focuses on the black poet’s place in the history of American poetry. Considers black poetry as both written words and spoken words. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFAM 3990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

AFAM 4501. Contemporary Issues: Hip-Hop Culture. 4 Hours.

Surveys the global impact of hip-hop culture on a new generation of young people. Begun in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States as a cross-cultural expression of black and Puerto Rican traditions, it has become a major force worldwide. Using an interdisciplinary and practice-oriented approach, addresses such issues as youth identity formation, the role of women and gender in rap music, and the use of novel expressive forms. The combination of fieldwork and weekly critiques on contemporary public debates (such as censorship and the U.S. Constitution, violence and aggression, and sexism and misogyny) yield a final document to be presented to the University community and to be deposited in the Twenty-First Century Hip-Hop Library and Archive Project. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFAM 4507. Afro-Cuban Culture—International Study. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity to obtain fundamental knowledge of the legacy of African-based cultures in Cuba, from historical to contemporary times. Examines origins of Africans in Cuba, including study of plantation culture, transculturation, African-derived religions, the visual arts, music literature, images of blacks in film and the mass media, and African-derived culture in Cuban daily life. Also includes visits to temples and other ritual spaces, meetings with writers, encounters with artistic troupes, meetings with priests or priestesses, visits to cultural organizations, and possible participation in rituals or ceremonies (tambor, cajón, violin).

AFAM 4533. Field Research Seminar. 4 Hours.

Enables advanced students to design and execute research studies in the field utilizing such methods as community surveys, courtroom observation, archival research, archaeological excavation, and participant observation. Includes performance studies. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFAM 4544. Seminar in Black Leadership. 4 Hours.

Enables students to conduct in-depth studies of significant black leaders-male and female-in a wide range of fields. Focuses on black leadership in the political arena as elected officials, leaders of pressure groups, leaders of protest organizations, black nationalist organizations, and feminist/womanist groups, and as advisers to political parties and presidential administrations. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFAM 4588. Literature in Context. 4 Hours.

Places writers in the context of a special theme; for example, students might discuss a group of writers influenced by their common interest in psychoanalysis, by the social consciousness, or by an interest in the settlement of America. Prereq. ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102.

AFAM 4618. Laboratory in Community Psychology. 4 Hours.

Familiarizes students with some of the research methods employed by psychologists and other scientists working in the area of community psychology. Community psychologists study people in their social contexts, with emphasis on the mutual influences that individuals and communities have upon each other. Rather than attempt to understand and treat problems at the individual level, research in community psychology aims to offer practical solutions to social problems, focusing on prevention. Familiarizes students with a particular community, which they utilize for data collection. Students develop survey instruments/interview schedules, collect data, and analyze and interpret the findings with a qualitative design if possible. Prereq. PSYC 2320, PSYC 3406, and junior or senior standing.

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

Covers special topics in African-American history. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFAM 4642. Topics in African-American Art History. 4 Hours.

Explores special topics in African-American art history in this advanced seminar. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFAM 4663. 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. Prereq. ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102.

AFAM 4670. Modern African-American Literature. 4 Hours.

Surveys the development and range of black American writers in poetry and prose from the post-Civil War period to the present. Prereq. ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102.

AFAM 4700. Advanced Seminar. 4 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to prepare a professional research paper under the close supervision of a scholar interested in students’ particular research areas. The senior thesis is required of all African-American studies majors. Fulfills experiential education requirement. Prereq. Senior standing.

AFAM 4710. Field and Lab Methods for Researching Afro-Caribbean Music. 4 Hours.

Designed to provide students with principles and practices of ethnomusicological field techniques and research focused on selected African-based music cultures throughout the Caribbean. Offers students an opportunity to obtain a firm foundation so that they may be able to explore research in various genres, forms, and styles of Black music across the globe. Combines theory and practice in an experiential course.

AFAM 4900. Seminar: Authors in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Enables students to conduct in-depth studies of significant bodies of work-both fiction and nonfiction-by individual authors of the African Diaspora such as Chinua Achebe, W. E. B. DuBois, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Frantz Fanon, and Leopold Senghor.

AFAM 4939. Afro-Caribbean Music Research. 4 Hours.

Examines the highly diverse and unique African-based music cultures of the Caribbean. Exposes students to musical repertories, ideas about music, relationship of music to culture, musical instruments, musical contexts, musicians, dancers, and musical syncretism. Examines the roles and functions of music within human life. Taught as part of the Afro-Caribbean Music Research Project while in the field in various Caribbean contexts and takes advantage of firsthand aspects of the specific music culture being studied. Activities include study of historical and contemporary musical history of the Caribbean as well as applied ethnomusicological field research methods, techniques, approaches, and procedures.

AFAM 4970. Junior/Senior Honors Project 1. 4 Hours.

Focuses on in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Combined with Junior/Senior Project 2 or college-defined equivalent for 8 credit honors project.

AFAM 4971. Junior/Senior Honors Project 2. 4 Hours.

Focuses on second semester of in-depth project in which a student conducts research or produces a product related to the student’s major field. Prereq. AFAM 4970.

AFAM 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

AFAM 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

AFAM 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

AFAM 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

AFAM 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work.

AFAM 4995. AAMARP Practicum. 4 Hours.

Offers students mentoring by artists-in-residence at the African-American Master Artists in Residency Program (AAMARP). Students gain hands-on studio experience mainly in the graphic and visual arts and in the preparation and management of artistic exhibitions mounted at the AAMARP gallery and other local and regional venues where AAMARP artists exhibit their work.

AFAM 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major.

African Studies Courses

AFRS 1101. Introduction to African Studies. 4 Hours.

Uses a multidisciplinary approach to offer an introduction and overview of the geographical, demographic, socioeconomic, and political conditions of the African continent, emphasizing sub-Saharan Africa. Africa, “the cradle of humankind,” is a vast, complex continent of diverse peoples that has fascinated observers and evoked multiple images. Topical areas of interest range from ethnic relations, politics, colonial experience, and international relations to religion, environment, health, economic development, gender, culture, and literature. Course materials aim to provide contemporary African perspectives and analyses that offer students an opportunity to acquire and interpret broad knowledge about the continent.

AFRS 1128. The African Experience through Music. 4 Hours.

Surveys various African musical traditions with respect to their historical, social, and cultural heritage. Examines traditional and contemporary African music, instruments, and performance traditions. Prereq. Not open to students who have taken MUSC 1128.

AFRS 1180. African History. 4 Hours.

Explores the history of the African continent from 1000 C.E. to the present era. Topics include medieval kingdoms (Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Zimbabwe, the city-states of East Africa, and the Kongo kingdom); slave trades (Indian Ocean, trans-Saharan, and transatlantic); the partition of Africa and European colonization; and the decolonization process. Due consideration is given to the interactions of African peoples with the rest of the world, particularly the relations between Africa and Europe after 1500 C.E.

AFRS 1185. Gender in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Studies variations in gender roles throughout the African Diaspora, from precolonial Africa to the modern United States. Areas of the African Diaspora include Africa, the West Indies, Latin America, Europe, and the Islamic world. Issues include sexuality, labor, reproduction, and social constructions of gender. Cross-listed with INTL 1185 and WMNS 1185.

AFRS 1270. Introduction to Global Health. 4 Hours.

Introduces global health in the context of an interdependent and globalized world focusing on four main areas of analysis: infrastructure of global health; diseases; populations; and terms, concepts, and theories. While the focus is on lower-income countries, the course examines issues in a broader global context, underscoring the interconnections between global health disparities and global health policy response. Applies case studies describing interventions to improve healthcare in resource-poor settings in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere to help illuminate the actors, diseases, populations, and principles and frameworks for the design of effective global health interventions. Cross-listed with PHTH 1270.

AFRS 1990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

AFRS 2307. Africa Today. 4 Hours.

Provides a basic survey of the latest innovations and cultural and socioeconomic trends of 21st century Africa. Examining the political transformations of 54 nations, the course focuses on a culturally and ethnically diverse continent of five regions, linguistic and religious diversity, and tribal societies reflecting an ancient triple heritage—Indigenous, Arab, and European. Presents complex and critical perspectives on topics including governance and civil strife, gender empowerment, the impact of globalization, trade and investment developments, public health challenges, the visual and performing arts, identity formation among a rising youth demographic to pervasive mobile technology, food security, and the new “African” passport. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 2348. Arts and Culture of Africa. 4 Hours.

Presents a multidisciplinary approach to the study of art and culture of an African nation taught in a specified African country. Students have the opportunity to interact with master artisans in the areas of music, art, dance, literature, and film. Offers students the opportunity to gain a more global understanding of the role of art and culture on the development of African countries.

AFRS 2390. Africa and the World in Early Times. 4 Hours.

Addresses the place of Africa in the world, from human evolution to the establishment of large-scale iron-making societies. Examines debates on the evolution of man in Africa and migrations to other regions. Traces the formation and spread of language groups, the rise of agriculture, formation of family and political structures, and patterns of trade up to 1000 C.E. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 2391. Modern African Civilization. 4 Hours.

Explores African history and culture from the early 1500s to the present era. Emphasizes the relationship between Europe and Africa, the circumstances surrounding the imperialist partition of Africa, and the decolonization process. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 2392. African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Explores the creation and transformation of the African Diaspora-connections among communities of African descent in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Centers on the years from 1500 to the present and emphasizes connections among themes of migration, identity, and popular culture. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 2414. Global Revolution. 4 Hours.

Introduces the tensions that produce conflict throughout the world and the African Diaspora and explores how social justice emerges in societies worldwide. Global unrest, street protests, and citizen activism are happening everywhere as broad political struggles that express civil discontent about social and economic inequalities and lead to crisis, conflict, revolution, and change. Globalization has affected the dynamics of power, the interdependence of nations, struggling democracies, global citizenship, and how civil society and community organizing are challenging political repression and corruption and improving the quality of life for all. Covers the Arab Spring in Africa and the Middle East, Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Together campaigns, international debates on climate change and immigration reform, and the digital age and open courseware.

AFRS 2465. The Scope and Dynamics of Conflicts in Africa. 4 Hours.

Surveys the faces, character, and manifestations of violent and nonviolent conflicts across the landscape of continental Africa. Addresses the causes/sources of conflict, types of conflicts and their impact on society, and the conflict resolution mechanisms. The contemporary history of the continent of Africa is defined most markedly by conflict that has impacted heavily on the continent’s diverse multicultural societies, polities, and economies. The structure of conflicts in the continent is complex and, indeed, exhibits diverse faces; conflicts differ in their roots, causes, and explanations, and between the different regions and population groups in the south, east, central, west, and north. The course critically analyzes this broad range of aspects with specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa using country- and case-based analyses and critical thinking.

AFRS 2900. Swahili, Culture, and Politics in Kenya. 4 Hours.

Introduces and immerses students in Kenyan African culture, the Swahili language and politics, and studies their impact on the everyday life of the local population. Offers students an opportunity to learn Swahili, which is the national language of Kenya; its use in a context of varied indigenous languages; and cultural dynamics. Exposes students to the major issues that characterize everyday life in rural and urban settings through visits to and stays in the rural areas and transect walks in villages and urban communities. Students visit projects run by community-based organizations, observing the everyday life of ordinary Kenyans and attending formal and informal classes and settings on Swahili language, culture, and the local politics.

AFRS 3310. Applied Research in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to three major types of evidence used in basic and applied research in Africa and its worldwide Diaspora: written documentation; orally gathered information; and visual materials, artifacts, and material culture. Covers methods of data gathering such as archival research, participant observation, interviews, and archaeological excavation. Discusses various qualitative and quantitative techniques of verifying, analyzing, interpreting, and reporting or displaying the research findings. Emphasis is on selecting types of evidence and techniques of analysis appropriate to the topics selected. In addition to reading examples of research on Africa, and on the African Diaspora in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, students usually develop their own research projects. Prereq. (a) ENGW 1111, ENGW 1102, ENGL 1111, or ENGL 1102 and (b) junior or senior standing.

AFRS 3410. Religion and Spirituality in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Examines religious thought and rituals and the Diaspora in a comparative context. Topics include traditional religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in Africa, and the Diaspora. Emphasizes the transformation of religions practiced in Africa when African captives were forced into the three slave trades affecting the continent of Africa: trans-Saharan, Indian Ocean, and transatlantic. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3424. Epidemiology of Pandemic Diseases and Health Disparities in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Examines the epidemiology and determinants of diseases and the public health practice among continental African peoples and African-derived populations in the Americas and elsewhere in the African Diaspora. Emphasizes such epidemic diseases as malaria, yellow fever, tuberculosis, smallpox, the current AIDS pandemic, obesity, and cancer. The course also aims to critically address the breadth of factors behind these pandemics, such as socioeconomic, political, health system, behavioral, and genetic. A cross-cutting theme throughout the course is the entrenched health disparities in society. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3428. African Languages. 4 Hours.

Seeks to prepare students for serious theoretical and practical study of the West African language and literature known as Kwa, the largest language subgroup in the Niger-Congo family. Explores the classification of African languages, the application of basic linguistics, and the history of these languages in Africa and the Western hemisphere, all leading to an introduction to spoken Yoruba and Igbo. Prereq. LING 1150 or ENGL 1150; sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3460. Contemporary Government and Politics in Africa. 4 Hours.

Explores contemporary politics in African nations south of the Sahara. Studies South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, among others. Examines apartheid, colonialism, Afro-Marxism, chieftaincy, development, and Pan-Africanism. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3464. Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. 4 Hours.

Examines the social dimensions of resource extraction. Focusing mainly on developing nations, studies global issues, including developments in industrial nations, to assess their impact on resource extraction and living and working conditions in resource-rich regions. Uses case studies of key countries producing oil/gas, minerals, and forest/agricultural commodities to illustrate the past/current causes of resource mismanagement; their social consequences; and how public policies, legislation, and financial and human resource management with industrialization can be used to avert or reduce the adverse effects of resource extraction, especially in poor countries. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above or permission of instructor.

AFRS 3467. Diaspora in Motion: Contemporary African and Caribbean Migration. 4 Hours.

Offers an introduction to the contemporary international migration of African and Caribbean people to North American and European countries. Emphasizes a sociological understanding of contemporary international migration, while drawing knowledge from multiple disciplines that influence the study of international migration. Focuses on these migrants’ social position as Black, foreign-born persons in contemporary Western societies. Introduces key topics, debates, categories, concepts, and theories of international migration and immigrant assimilation. Offers students an opportunity to read empirical research on Black African and Caribbean migrants in the United States, Canada, England, and France and to research African and Caribbean immigrants in Boston. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3470. Identity and Nationalism in Africa. 4 Hours.

Studies how centuries of imperialism, the struggle for national unity, and the continuing problems of racism and rivalry between factions have affected the present identities and nationalist movements in Africa. Explores problems peculiar to Africa and to any group of nations struggling against colonial ideas. Tribalism and the effects of European colonial partition on African identity are discussed. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 3645. National Model African Union. 4 Hours.

Offers students the opportunity to participate in teams and conduct research on political issues in assigned nations and then represent those nations in a model African Union role-playing exercise in Washington, D.C. Focuses on intra-African relations and the roles of Africans in international affairs, emphasizing the new African Union (AU) that replaced the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Examines the Pan-Africanist origins, challenges, and achievements of the African Union. Prereq. Sophomore standing or above.

AFRS 4500. Arts of the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Traces the historical development of the art forms and production practices of the African Diaspora, from traditional to contemporary styles in Africa, the Americas, and elsewhere in the African Diaspora. Emphasizes the study of art objects, the historical and social context in which aesthetic issues are shaped, and the impact of religion and external forces on creativity. Uses lectures, critiques, discussions, fieldwork, and hands-on interaction with art objects. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFRS 4585. Current Issues in the African Diaspora. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to present-day issues and problems that confront various segments of the worldwide African Diaspora. Includes the social, political, and economic aspects of the experiences of Africans in the Diaspora. Students are asked to assess the validity of several social theories in relation to the African Diaspora. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFRS 4690. Topics in African History. 4 Hours.

Covers special topics in African history. Prereq. Junior or senior standing.

AFRS 4939. Community Health, Culture, and Development in Kenya. 4 Hours.

Introduces the community health and development arena in Kenya. Community development has been presented as the panacea to many of Africa’s problems, including leadership, democracy, conflict, disease, and poverty. Through teaching, research, and action, the course seeks to expose and sensitize students to the global and local debate on poverty, primary healthcare, and community development. Offers students an opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in some of the major determinants and solutions to poverty and disease by interacting with community stakeholders and organizations in a variety of cultural, rural, and urban settings and through visits to, and participating in, projects run by community-based organizations.

AFRS 4990. Elective. 1-4 Hours.

Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions.

AFRS 4991. Research. 4 Hours.

Offers an opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision.

AFRS 4992. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

AFRS 4993. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Offers independent work under the direction of members of the department on a chosen topic. Course content depends on instructor.

AFRS 4994. Internship. 4 Hours.

Offers students an opportunity for internship work.

AFRS 4996. Experiential Education Directed Study. 4 Hours.

Draws upon the student’s approved experiential activity and integrates it with study in the academic major.