Students are encouraged to study an African language through the SILP program (Arabic, Swahili or Xhosa) and to go on a program abroad in Africa (Sénégal or South Africa).


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2020-2022 CATALOGUE

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2020-2022 HWS Catalogue (REVISED)

2018-2020 CATALOGUE

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2018-2020 HWS Catalogue (REVISED)

2016-2018 CATALOGUE

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Reflecting the experience of Africa, African Americans, and the African Diaspora, the Africana Studies program offers students academically challenging courses that develop their analytic, critical and creative thinking and writing skills. As an interdisciplinary field of study, our courses explore the dynamic intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, class and culture. These courses aim to foster an in-depth understanding of the history, culture, literature, intellectual heritage and social, political and economic development of people of African descent.

The program offers an interdisciplinary major in Africana Studies and interdisciplinary minors in African Studies, Africana Studies, and African American Studies. All courses to be counted toward a major or minor must be completed with a grade of C- or higher.

interdisciplinary, 10 courses
One introductory Africana Studies course (AFS 110 Introduction to Africa, AFS 150 Foundations of Africana Studies, AFS 180 Black Atlantic or approved substitute), eight courses in one of three concentrations (African, African American, Africana) and a 400-level seminar course or internship. Within the eight courses of the concentration, there must be at least one course exploring each of the following perspectives: historical (H), contemporary (CP), artistic/literary (AL), anthropological (A), and comparative or cross-cultural (C). An independent study may substitute for the seminar if such a course is not offered.

interdisciplinary, 5 courses
An introductory course and four courses from the African concentration list. At least three different perspectives (historical, contemporary, artistic/literary, anthropological, and comparative or cross cultural) must be represented within these four courses. One perspective must be historical, the other two should be chosen in consultation with an adviser in the program.

interdisciplinary, 5 courses
An introductory course and four courses from the African American concentration list. At least three different perspectives (historical, contemporary, artistic/literary, anthropological, and comparative or cross cultural) must be represented within these four courses. One perspective must be historical, the other two should be chosen in consultation with an adviser in the program.

interdisciplinary, 5 courses
An introductory course and four courses from either the African or African American concentration lists. At least three different perspectives (historical, contemporary, artistic/literary, anthropological, and comparative or cross-cultural) must be represented within these four courses. One perspective must be historical, the other two should be chosen in consultation with an adviser in the program. Students are encouraged to take as many comparative or cross-cultural courses as their program permits.

Introductory Courses
AFS 110 Introduction to African Experience
AFS 150 Foundations of Africana Studies
AFS 180 Black Atlantic

African Concentration
AFS 201 South Africa: An Orientation (CP, H, A)
AFS 203 African Voices: Identity and Colonial Legacy in Recent African Literature (AL)
AFS 208 Growing Up Black (AL)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (AL, C, CP)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee
ANTH 296 Africa: Beyond Crisis, Poverty & Aid (A, C)
ANTH 354 Food, Meaning & Voice (A, C)
ARAB 101 Beginning Arabic I (CP, C)
ARAB 102 Beginning Arabic II (CP, C)
ARAB 201 Intermediate Arabic I (CP, C)
ARAB 202 Intermediate Arabic II (CP, C)
DAN 110 Introduction to Global Dance Forms (AL)
DAN 907 Introduction to Jamaican Dance (AL)
DAN/DAN 950 Jamaican 2 (AL)
DAN/DAT 955 Global Dance Techniques (AL)
FRN 352 Advanced Francophone Topics: Maghreb Literature (AL)
HIST 112 Soccer: Around the world with the Beautiful Game
HIST 203 Gender in Africa (H)
HIST 353 “The Invention of Africa
HIST 283 South Africa in Transition (H, CP)
HIST 284 Africa: From Colonialism to Neocolonialism (H)
HIST 331 Law in Africa (H)
HIST 332 Slavery in Africa (H)
HIST 364 Seminar: African History (H)
POL 258 Comparative Politics of the Middle East (CP)
POL 259 African Politics (CP)
POL 285 International Politics of the Middle East (CP)

African American Concentration
AFS 200 Ghettoscapes (AL, C)
AFS 208 Growing Up Black (AL)
AFS 211 Black Earth: Nature and African American Writing (AL)
AFS 230 New World Voices (AL)
AFS 305 The African American Autobiography: Race and Revolution (AL)
AFS 309 Black Cinema (AL, C, CP)
AFS 315 #blacklivesmatter
AFS 326 Black Popular Culture (H, AL)
AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee
ARTH 201 African American Art (AL)
ECON 243 Political Economy of Race (H, CP)
EDUC 337 Education and Racial Diversity in the U.S. (C)
ENG 165 Introduction to African American Literature I (AL)
ENG 361 Readings in Multi-Ethnic Women’s Literature (AL)
ENG 362 Body, Memory, and Representation (AL)
FRN 253 Paris-outre-mer (CP, AL, C)
FRNE 218 Memory, Culture and Identity in French Caribbean Literatures (AL)
HIST 227 African American History I (H)
HIST 228 African American History II: The Modern Era (H)
HIST 306 Civil War and Reconstruction: 1845-1877 (H)
POL 215 Racial and Ethnic Politics (CP)
POL 270 African American Political Thought (C)
POL 348 Racism and Hatreds (CP)
REL 238 Liberating Theology (C)
REL 241 Rastaman and Christ (C)
SOC 221 Sociology of Minorities (C)
WRRH 251 Black Talk/White Talk (C)

AFS 110 Introduction to African Experience The African continent houses fifty-four countries, more than two thousand languages, and the most genetically diverse population in the world. This course introduces you to the major themes in the study of African history, culture, literature, politics, and economics. From the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the HIV/AIDS crisis, from precolonial oral traditions to contemporary cinema, we will explore both the challenges facing Africa and the continent’s rich cultural and political tradition. Major themes will include the impact of colonialism on African politics and culture; the determinants of economic growth and human development; and debates about “modernity” and “tradition” in the African context. (Offered annually)

AFS 130 Radical Black Freedom and its Discontents The struggle for Black freedom is as old as Black oppression. The battle took place on plantations, in hosed-down public streets, in jail cells but it has also taken place in newspaper editorials, in scholarship, and in art. This course is close reading of the other side of 'civil rights' the discursive universe that radical black freedom finds itself thrust up against. We look at court opinions, newspaper articles, scientific writing etc., that argue 'whether measuredly or aggressively' against expressions of racial justice and black liberation. Writings from the counter abolitionist era and contemporary right-wing journalism, colonial memoirs and today's missionaries, tracts, clansmen pamphlets and alt-right speeches will be studied, compared and in some cases matched with one another. We will ask: are there through lines in arguments against Black liberation? How do we understand liberal white supremacy? Black white nationalism? How are anti-black impulses masked in 'objective' language? Has racism reinvented itself rhetorically to survive in spaces putatively hostile to it? Are we, today, witnessing a sea change in the permissibility of anti-black speech or something new? Through detailed study of logic and argumentation students will be introduced to methods of reading and writing in Africana studies.

AFS 150 Foundations Africana Studies This course provides the foundations and context for Africana Studies from a historical and contemporary perspective. It defines the geographical parameters which include the study of Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora (Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean). It also clarifies concepts and corrects false perceptions of Africa and Africans, with a focus on inclusiveness and diversity of both the traditional and the modern. This course is multidisciplinary cross-cultural, taught from an African-centered perspective sensitive to race, gender, and class. Faculty members from the departments of anthropology, economics, French, history, political science and sociology participate as guest lecturers. (Offered annually)

AFS 180 The Black Atlantic The concept of the “Black Atlantic” was created by Paul Gilroy to counteract the divisive forces of nationalism and race, which gives rise in people of African descent to a ‘double consciousness’. In the Black Atlantic, we seek to understand how the conceptualization of nation/culture around “race” creates a double consciousness and how, in spite of this, peoples of African descent have sustained cultural links that stretch across the Atlantic, uniting Africa, Europe and the Americas. Starting with possible pre-Columbian voyages, through the Middle Passage to the return voyages of contemporary Americans to Africa, we chart these connections across time and space.

AFS 200 Ghettoscapes More than ever, the ghetto has come to dominate the American imagination. Mainstream media has portrayed the inner city as a place of fear and to be feared. In reaction to this view, many African American and Latino writers and filmmakers have forged powerful images of community and effort. This course focuses on films and literary texts that take up the imagery of the ghetto and its role in modern American society. In addition, students consider the role of the inner city as the crucible for hip-hop culture, including its international manifestations. (Jiménez, offered occasionally)

AFS 203 African Voices The challenges to African literature described by Ngugi wa Thiong’o in his Decolonising the Mind form the basis for our discussions of recent African literature. Principal themes of the course then are the critique of social structures both traditional and colonial, the position of women, modalities of resistances, and the exploration of expression within and against the conventions of European literature. While relying primarily on the novel to represent diverse cultures and approaches to questions of identity, the course will also include essays, memoir, poetry, and film. (McCorkle, offered occasionally)

AFS 208 Growing Up Black The recognition and construction of race, the interactions among children and between children and parents regarding race, and the intersections of race, class, and gender as seen through the lens of coming- of-age narratives from the Caribbean, the United States and the continent of Africa will be the focus of the course. Through novels, autobiographies, and selected essays we examine the diversities of childhood experiences and the myriad relationships that inform childhood—ranging from nurturant familial environments to conditions defined by race, class, colonialism, and migration. Through the course’s central topic, you will be introduced to some of the central novels and autobiographical writings of the Africana tradition. (McCorkle, alternate year’s relative to AFS 211)

AFS 211 Black Earth Writing about nature—whether from the tradition of the sublime or as an expression of American potentiality or from the perspective of eco-criticism—has excluded considerations of the contributions of African Americans. What concepts of nature and one’s interaction with nature that survived the Middle Passage, the relationship of slavery, migration, and rural and urban life as well as contemporary appraisals of the environment will be among the topics considered. In particular, through literary works-whether essays, novels, or poems-environmental concerns and approaches to nature are addressed. The course proposes there is a decided and profound tradition within the African American community of addressing nature that both parallels and is quite distinct from European traditions. Secondly, the course proposes to examine the conjunction of discrimination and environmental degradation, that the bifurcation of humans from nature is intrinsically linked to social injustice and inequality. (McCorkle, alternate year’s relative to AFS 208)

AFS 230 New World Voices Among the aims of this course, and corresponding to the mission of Africana Studies, is to provide an understanding and appreciation of cultural transactions: that we are always in the process of exchanging and renewing culture and language, specifically African and Western, is a fundamental goal. Secondly, the course will provide an introduction to two of the most influential Caribbean poets as well as a variety of contemporary poets and poetics that exemplify West African, African-American, and Caribbean poetry. The development and practice of close reading constitutes a third but no less important aim of the course. Readings include works by Kamau Braithwaite, Derek Walcott, Niyi Osundare, Harriet Mullen, Claudia Rankine, and Will Alexander. (McCorkle, offered occasionally)

AFS 300 Black Auteurs In this course we will analyze closely the work of five black ‘auteurs,’ filmmakers who by choice or necessity have written, directed and sometimes also filmed and edited their own work. Their status as auteurs has allowed them to develop a distinctive style and themes; examples of auteurs include Oscar Micheaux, Ousmane Sembene, Soulemayne Cisse, Haile Gerima, Charles Burnett, Julie Dash and of course, Spike Lee. In some instances, the label auteur refers to a long-standing collaboration between one or more individuals, such as Spike Lee and Ernest Dickerson. By analyzing more than one film from each, students will be able to trace the stylistic and thematic constants that define the work. The choice of filmmakers to feature may change each time the course is taught. (Jimenez, offered occasionally)

AFS 305 African American Autobiography The memoir or autobiography is often cast as a personal narrative; this course proposes that the memoir, and in particular the African American memoir, serves as not only the record of one’s life, but also as having political agency and intention. Beginning with Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Malcolm X’s Autobiography and Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of my Name, to Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, the course will consider the autobiography as an argument for political and social change; as a witness to one’s life, it also enacts a re-visionary process of social justice. To what degree does the structure of the slave narrative continue to inform contemporary narratives? In what ways might there be a definitive element for African American autobiographical writing? How do the community and writers interact and are interdependent? What is at stake for the African American autobiographer? (McCorkle, offered occasionally)

AFS 309 Black Cinema This course examines films by African, African American, and other African diaspora directors. It focuses on the attempt by different filmmakers to wrest an African/diasporic identity and aesthetic from a medium that has been defined predominantly by American and European models. Students analyze the implicit and explicit attempts to formulate a black aesthetic within film, as well as the general phenomenon of the representation of blacks in film. Directors considered include Haile Gerima, Ousmane Sembene, Souleymane Cisse, Charles Burnett, Camille Billops, Julie Dash, Spike Lee and others. (Jimenez, offered alternate years)

AFS 310 Digital Africana Studies If Africana Studies is perpetually engaged in theorizing the contemporary moment, how does it frame the digital age and the era of the internet? In Digital Africana Studies, students will explore the contributions of scholars whose work brings together questions of race, Blackness, and coloniality with the problems of digital and virtual life such as Ruha Benjamin, Andre Brock, Shaka McGlotten, and Alondra Nelson, among others. We will compare the methodologies used by different digital race scholars, like Wendy Hui Kyong Chun who theorizes race itself as a technology or Safiya Noble whose work; Algorithms of Oppression unveils how technology reifies racial discrimination. Over the semester, students will develop their own research projects to interrogate the intersection of technology, race, and power. (Pre-requisites: One AFS course and JR or SR standing or permission of instructor. Goding-Doty, Fall Semester.)

AFS 315 #blacklivesmatter This course examines the history of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It considers it in its historical specificity as a 201 Os US activist movement, in its global (and viral) dimensions, and in its departures and intersections with other black intellectual movements. The course examines invisibility and spectacle in black death, voyeurism, and the significance of the destruction of the black body in the new public square. We ask whether it is true that black lives are more easily taken and black bodies destroyed with less legal consequence than others: What are the ways in which black lives do not matter? In search for our answers this course analyzes media coverage and debates on social media about black death. We place these discussions in conversation with the critique of race and racialized violence offered in literature, music, film and social theory. We also consider the ways in which all lives matter, racist universalisms and white supremacist antiracist ideology paying particular attention to #AllLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter and #MarchForOurLives. Students will develop, employ, and critique a number of methodological approaches to the study of racialized violence and engage with intersectionality, critical race theory, womanism/feminism, queer theory, and anti- colonial theory and Marxist-Fanonist theory. Open to first-year students. (Y. Marshall)

AFS 325 The Apartheid City in East Africa This course is about the settler-colonial city in East Africa, especially Nairobi.  It is a study of the efforts to build a segregated paradise upon the shifting sands of colonial capitalism. We focus on the 'White Man's Country' of Nairobi and supplement this study with examples from colonial Algiers, Apartheid in South African cities, and Rhodesia. What accounts for the universality of the white separatist dream in settler-colonial Africa? How do we explain the persistence of the ideal in post-colonial Africa? What accounts for its failure(s)? In search for answers we read the literature, political rhetoricians, and editorialists of European supremacy as well as theories of the space and the city in Africa. In particular we examine African forms of transgression, invasion, and squatting in white- only space, including that of migrant, sex, and domestic workers. We will also look at the legacies of the White-only city is well as contemporary White-only spaces such as Orania in South Africa and the Ozarks. Authors include Frantz, Fanon, Hendrik Verwoerd, Elspeth Huxley, Ewart Grogan, J. M. Coetzee. Films include e.g. Come Back, Africa; Tsotsi

AFS 410 Deconstructing the Police This senior seminar examines the origins, evolution and ideas about policing.   We consider theories, perspectives and critiques of policing including those that consider policing to be disciplinary power, as an apparatus of class rule, a white supremacist instrument, as democratic institution etc. We ask where do the police come from? What do they do? Whose interests do they serve? How are they or might they be legitimized? Why might they be necessary? Why night they be abolished? Are the police different from policing? What accounts for the apparent tension between policing, gender, race and class? Is policing an inherently anti-black institution? We will look at the writings of critics such as Louis Althusser, Michael Foucault, Karl Marx, Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, Frantz Fanon, da B. Wells. Mgela Davis, Vladimir Lenin, and Mark Neocleous and consider editorials, film, and political tracts from the late nineteenth century through the present day in an attempt to (theoretically) deconstruct the police. Perquisites: One AFS course or Junior or Senior Status or permission of instructor.

AFS 430 The Films of Spike Lee The work of Spike Lee encompasses many genres—drama, musicals, documentary, musicals, action and commercials—and addresses some of the most controversial racial and intra-racial issues of our time; for these reasons, he has become a defining cultural icon, and his films have sparked considerable academic interest. Moreover, Spike Lee’s own writing about his films in their production and post-production stages gives us the opportunity to look at the creative process in a unique way. Thus, in this course we will study Lee’s work not only from the usual critical and academic perspective but also from Lee’s perspective as an artist. Prerequisites: Africana Studies major or minor; other students by permission, space permitting. (Jimenez, offered alternate years)

AFS 465 Africana Studies Capstone The capstone course in Africana Studies is a required seminar for senior majors to learn advanced forms of intensive writing, critical reading, oral presentation, and media application for conveying and analyzing Africana Studies knowledge. It reviews the major methodological and theoretical interventions of the field through the study of diverse topics (race, gender, ethnicity, and identity) that will model different ways of analyzing the Black experience in the contexts of political, cultural, and economic powers in North America, Africa, and the Diaspora. Students build on the fundamental interdisciplinarity of Africana Studies to design and present their own independent research projects. While the form of each course varies by the instructor, students will be guided in practicing the skills of developing a research project that centers Africana studies concerns; compiling or exploring an archive; applying Africana Studies methods in their analysis; and presenting their findings. Students must be senior AES majors or have permission of the instructor. (Staff, offered annually)


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.