Africana Studies

A concentration in Africana Studies consists of at least 9 courses: 101; 201; two courses selected from among: 220, 221, 224, 306, 382, or 405; 549; 550; and three electives. We encourage students to take at least one course focused on women or gender.

The senior program (549, 550) is a two-semester program culminating in a written thesis based on original research. The fall term course involves learning methodology and building a thesis proposal presented to the department faculty at the end of the term. Students with an average of at least 3.4 in the concentration may receive honors through distinguished work in 550.

A minor in Africana Studies consists of 101, 201, one course selected from 220, 221, 224, 382, or 405; and two electives.
Concentrators and minors to fulfill their core and elective requirements may use the following courses. Certain elective courses from other disciplines not listed may be substituted with permission of the chair. Please consult the appropriate departments and programs for full descriptions of courses, requirements and prerequisites.

101F,S Introduction to Africana Studies.
Examines the nature, methods and development of black/Africana studies. A comparative and interdisciplinary introduction to the study of African and diaspora cultures and history. Emphasis will be on an exploration of some of the key texts and issues. Writing Intensive in the Spring. Westmaas and Ortiz-Minaya.

103F Principles of Geoscience: Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East.
An interdisciplinary study exploring the influence of environment, water resources, climate change and bedrock geology of North Africa and the Middle East on prehistory, history, international relations and prospects for the future. Special emphasis on developing GIS skills. (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning.) (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Three two-hour class sessions per week. Required field trip to the Adirondack region. Not open to students who have taken any other course in Principles of Geoscience. (Same as Geosciences 103.) Maximum enrollment, 15. Tewksbury.

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105F Blackness in American Popular Culture.
This course explores representations of blackness in American popular culture. Readings and films serve as a point of departure for questioning what constitutes popular culture and considering its function in our society. Using an interdisciplinary lens that takes into account social, political, cultural, and historical realities we interrogate how representations of blackness circulate and assess how they impact individuals and the larger society. The course is organized thematically, covering popular culture in a variety of contexts from print media to visual arts. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ortiz.

120F Introduction to Afro-Latina/o History and Cultures.
Examines Afro-Latino culture and history, developing a broad historical overview while focusing on the continuing demographic changes of the present generation in and across the Americas. A focus on important historical and cultural links between African Americans and Latinos of African descent. Exposure to a variety of historical, literary and artistic sources, and the perspectives of important scholars and theorists, permits a critical introduction to the works and ideas that have formed the core of the growing field in Afro-Latino/a studies. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ortiz.

140S Understanding Caribbean Carnival.
Introduces the Carnival tradition in the Caribbean, examining the rise of Carnival from its slavery and post-emancipation roots; the political and historical dynamic associated with Carnival customs; the complex cultural expressions forged by Carnival’s unique mix of folklore and religion including vodun, dance and dress styles, satire and musical forms like reggae and calypso; the interrelations between the economic and cultural products created by Caribbean peoples, and the spread, content and impact of modern Carnival to large North American cities. Westmaas.

160F History of Jazz.
A study of jazz from its origins (its African heritage, blues and ragtime) to 1950. A survey of jazz styles, including New Orleans and Chicago styles, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop and cool jazz. Open to seniors with consent of instructor. (Same as Music 160.) Woods.

[170] The Mestizo Metropolis: Racialization and the American Global City.
Focuses on the strategic roles that emerging Latino/a and African communities play in urban centers like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and San Antonio. Explores how both groups establish and maintain distinctive social and cultural identities in the American metropolis. Film, literature, art, architecture and the media will examine the varying forms of cultural expression and representation of both groups. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

190F Stand: New Voices of Protest.
This course explores the contributions of a new generation of black leadership including students, women and community organizers during the civil rights and Black power movements. We will consider the contributions of well-known figures like Huey Newton and Malcolm X and lesser known figures like Septima Clark, the director of the freedom schools. (Writing-intensive.) Open to first-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 20. Carter.

201S Diversity Reconsidered.
An examination of the emergence of Africana Studies as a transdisciplinary field of social and cultural critique and politics. Explores the work of foundational (e.g., W.E.B Dubois and Anna Julia Cooper) and contemporary figures. Topics include but are not limited to the history of Africana thought, race and global racial formation, resistance and politics, intersectionality, gender and sexuality, representation, white privilege, belonging, Blackness, and diaspora. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 101 or permission of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Carter D.

[202] African Americans and Cinema.
Exploration of the history of cinema produced by African Americans and the representation of African Americans in cinema. Topics include early cinema, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation; Oscar Micheaux and the “race films” of the 1920s-1940s; early jazz films; Richard Wright’s Native Son as novel and film; Hollywood “problem pictures” of the 1940s-1950s; radical 1960s-1970s experiments by William Greaves, Melvin Van Peebles, and the “LA Rebellion”; Daughters of the Dust; Spike Lee, and Marlon Riggs. Course hosts visits by accomplished filmmakers and scholars. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 202 and Art History 202.)

203F African-American History to 1877.
Traces African-American history from the slave trade through the end of Reconstruction. Course material will include secondary and primary sources, including slave narratives, court documents, photography, music, and advertisements. The course will consider broad themes, including agency and resistance, the relationship of race to categories of gender, class, and sexuality, and the meaning of freedom. (Same as History 203.) Day Moore.

204S African-American History from 1877 to the Present.
Examines the history of African Americans in the post-emancipation United States, looking closely at black communities during periods of industrialization, migration, war, and globalization. Lectures and discussion will draw on primary sources, including films, novels, poetry, radio and television, and speeches. Conversations will focus on the diversity of experiences and identities that have comprised the African-American experience in the United States. (Same as History 204.) Day Moore.

209F Insurgent Places.
Highlighting place and self-making through case studies that focus on hidden and open sites of subversion and opposition, we examine slave ships, maroon communities, pan-africanist movements, anti-colonial and black power struggles, community politics, lunch counter sit-ins, occupation of public spaces, youth social centers and religious sites. Explores the making of Black spaces, anti-blackness and Blackness as spatially lived creative subterfuge, evasion, fugitivity and insurgency. Geographical span is global, especially the U.S., Europe, Caribbean, Latin America. Merrill.

215F Global Race and Sport.
The course is designed to examine race and diversity issues in the world of sports from the early 20th century to the present. Topics will examine and provide critical inquiry on the impact of race and racism in major world sports and the Olympic movement, including football(soccer), tennis, boxing, cricket, baseball, American football and athletics. The course is inter-sectional in scope and interrogates issues of masculinity, gender, the structures of power, as well as new forms of global capitalism in sports, and individuals that have personified their areas of sporting achievement. Westmaas.

[216F] Caribbean Literature in the Crucible.
A critical overview of Caribbean literatures in the light of the complex legacies that have given rise to a body of creative work that seems to constantly fashion and refashion itself. Such literary recasting helps to communicate an intricate history of genocides, survival, exile, resistance, endurance, and outward migrations. Particular attention to writers such as Roger Mias, Martin Carter, George Lamming, Derek Walcott, Patricia Powell, Earl Lovelace, Paule Marshall and Michelle Cliff. (post-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History or Identity and Difference) (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 216.)

218S Politics of Africa.
Comparative examination of the domestic politics of sub-Saharan Africa. Central focus on explaining the recent rise of both multi-party democracy and state collapse across the continent. Examination of the colonial legacy, the nature of the African state, ethnic conflict, class divisions, the role of the military and the problems of economic underdevelopment. Prerequisite, 112, 114 or Africana Studies 101. (Same as Government 218.) Olarinmoye.

[219] South African Women: Contemporary and Historical Issues, 1913-Present.
Examines historical and contemporary isuues affecting South African women in the pre and post-Apartheid eras. There is an urgent need for critical reexamination of the nature of citizenship and gender in South Africa as mediated by structures of power: the state, the nation, the family. The legacy of political transformation shaped by the social movements women developed during the anti-apartheid struggle will be explored through various forms of cultural production: literature, art and film.

220F Imagining Africa.
The idea of Africa historically has served as a metaphor for exoticism, sexuality or savagery in western discourse. In the contemporary world, it has been imagined as the site of seemingly insoluble problems such as the collapse of the state, genocide and famine. The course explores popular notions of Africa and its relationship to a global African Diaspora. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Carter.

221S Africa in Diaspora.
Examines the experience of African people in the Americas, Europe and Africa from the 13th century to 1968. Themes include slavery and resistance, the return to Africa, freedom after emancipation, the struggle for democracy and a place in civil society, the struggle against empire and imperialism, migration and immigration, race and color ideology, revolution and rebellion, and the struggle for civil liberty. Explores the historical meaning of being black in the Atlantic world and how African people have shaped and been shaped by the historical developments of the past seven centuries. H Merrill.

222F Race, Gender and Culture.
A critical philosophical examination of the normative categories of race, gender and culture. Topics include the origin, character and function of racial, gender and social identities. Analysis will focus on questions concerning the malleability of these identities, as well as questions concerning their psychological and social significance. (Writing-intensive.) Open only to 1st and 2nd year students. (Same as Philosophy 222 and Women's Studies 222.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Franklin.

[223] Black Female Voices: Writing Women of Color in the African Diaspora.
Explores the different ways black women have struggled for equality, constructed their own identity and understood their own place in American history. Emphasizes critical thinking about African American women's history and focuses on the many forms with which we tell the stories of women's lives. (Same as American Studies 223.)

[224S] Gender, Space and Identity in the African Diaspora.
This course examines how racialized and gendered identities are made in relation to space. How does gender intersect with race, class and other power relations embedded in the places we live? How do women and men come to occupy different places in the world – literally and figuratively – or occupy the same places in different ways? Case studies focus on identity making in relation to the body, in diverse contexts such as homes, public and national spaces, across the African Diaspora. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Women's Studies 224.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[230] Black Internationalism: The Making of Black Political Culture.
An examination of the development of a vibrant black political culture that was transnational in scope and predicated on the shared experiences of people of African descent. Drawing upon the networks of communication created by the spread of ideas, news and rumor during the slave revolts in the Caribbean at the end of the 18th century, as well as writings that included novels, political tracts, speeches, newspapers and magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 101 or one course in government, history or sociology. Maximum enrollment, 20.

233F Geographies of Race and Gender.
Examines how “natural” differences of gender and race are created through discourses, images and everyday practices in particular spatial contexts. Using historical and fictional texts, ethnographies, theoretical discussions and films the course explores the production of racial and gender differences in European development and imperialist expansion. Focuses on three historical periods in the production of racialized and gendered geographies: plantation/slave societies in the Americas, African Colonialism, contemporary globalization and ethnic diversity in Europe. (Same as Women's Studies 233.) Merrill.

[238] African-American Theatre from Ira Aldridge to August Wilson.
Study, discussion and oral performance of selected works of drama by African-Americans from the 1860s to the present. Focuses on themes within the plays in relation to the current social climate and how they affect the play's evolution in the context of changing U.S. cultural and political attitudes. (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, 110 or 120. Open to sophomores and juniors only. (Same as Theatre 238.)

242S The Black Self: Identity and Consciousness.
A philosophical exploration of a variety of historical and contemporary works that illuminate and influence the phenomenological experience of being black. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in philosophy or Africana studies, or consent of instructor. (Same as Philosophy 242.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Franklin.

255F The Marrow of African-American Literature.
Exploration of how African-Americans, in the face of enslavement, exclusion and terror, produced literature expressing their identities and aspirations. In examining themes such as abduction, separation and resistance, students will assess the inscription of self on the emergent national culture by writers such as Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Wilson, Frances Harper, Sutton Griggs and Charles Chesnutt (1660-1900). Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. (History or Identity and Difference) Open to sophomores and juniors only. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 255.) Odamtten.

259S Studies in Jazz.
A study of the life, times and music of selected jazz musicians from 1950 to the present. Emphasis on the range of jazz styles from that era including funky, fusion and free jazz. Prerequisite, 160 or consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years. (Same as Music 259.) Woods.

[262/362S] African-American Popular Music.
A study of the music of selected popular African-American artists, including rhythm-and-blues artists, black gospel soloists and performers of soul music and rap music. Focus on the social issues, musical modes of expression and cultural importance of the artists. Prerequisite, one full-credit course in music. Music 362 has an additional independent project. Registration at the 300-level only with instructor's permission.Offered in alternate years. (Same as Music 262/362.)

278F South Africa, 1652-1998.
Survey from the first Dutch settlement on the Cape in 1652 through the first multiracial democratic election in 1994. Issues will be explored through the experiences of indigenous peoples, such as the Khoisan, Zulu and Xhosa, migrant laborers from Asia, the “coloured” community, Afrikaners and British settlers. (Same as History 278.) Grant.

[303S] Black Popular Culture.
Examines black popular culture of the African diaspora through an exploration of a series of representations, cultural practices and folk traditions. Participants will interrogate the "black experience" and its legacy in aspects of consumer culture, film, music (jazz, hip hop, blues), television, social class and gender. Considers the methodological and theoretical implications of these approaches for both anthropological inquiry and Africana studies. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[304] Seminar in e-Black Studies: Race and Cyberculture.
The term “eBlack studies” describes the ongoing application of current digital information technology toward the production, dissemination and collection of historical knowledge critical to the discipline of black studies and to the overall black experience. Explores the future of scholarship, teaching and community work through the use of eBlack studies and explores digital culture as it critically interrogates, interprets, defines and documents the experiences of people of African descent. Applications like Google, Facebook, MySpace and Second Life will be examined. Maximum enrollment, 12.

306S Seminar: Black Europe.
Europe is a contested site of identity, citizenship and belonging where post-colonial African and other populations are increasingly visible. This crisis constitutes a critical moment in European history. Focusing on the lives of people of African descent the course examines such issues as colonial legacies, what it means to be part of this new Black diaspora, political subjectivities, citizenship and belonging, gender, anti-blackness, border conflicts, and the international refugee crisis. (Proseminar.) (Same as Anthropology 306.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Merrill or Carter.

[307S] Pan-African Perspectives in the 21st Century.
A focus on Pan-Africanism as a philosophy, social movement and cultural phenomenon, specifically focusing on the impact of the movement and the thrust for dignity by African peoples globally. Within Pan-Africanism itself the course will seek to redefine critical aspects of Pan-Africanism in light of interventions by African feminists to end the silences relating to patriarchy and gender oppression. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[308F] Reclaiming an Ancient African Past.
Examines the ancient evidence for the Afrocentric claim of the African genesis of Western civilization. Explores the modern political context of and debate around the backlash of eurocentric scholars against these claims as well as the epistemological framing of the sociology of knowledge. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Classics 308.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

311 Black Women's Experience in the United States.
Examination of the experiences of black women in the United States from 1800-2006. Emphasis on the intellectual history of black women. Topics include the legacy of slavery, the role and influence of religion and the black church, the history of black women's education, the development of black feminism, the roles of and attitudes toward black lesbian and bisexual women, the role and impact of black women in popular culture and music. (Writing-intensive.) (Oral Presentations.) Prerequisite, 101 or consent of instructor. (Same as American Studies 311 and Women's Studies 311.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Haley.

[313F] Ghanaian Literature: From Colony to Post-Colony.
Through a close examination of selected works by West African writers such as Kobina Sekyi, Casley-Hayford, Mabel Dove, Ayi Kwei Armah, Efua Sutherland, Ama Ata Aidoo, Kofi Awoonor, Atukwei Okai, Yaw Asare, Akosua Busia, Kofi Anyidoho and Amma Darko, students will examine how the Slave Castles, the Sankofa Bird and Ananse the Spider have shaped the manner in which Ghanaian writers portray their society (post-1900). (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature (204, 205, 206 or 264 preferred). (History or Identity and Difference) (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 313.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[321] Haiti and the Caribbean.
An introduction to Haiti’s history since the 1791 slave revolt and the creation of the Haitian state. Examines the historical, political, geo–political relationships that Haiti held with Europe and its Caribbean and North American neighbors; Haiti’s antislavery impact on the Americas and the Caribbean; the consequences of the U.S. occupation of Haiti; Haiti’s political and economic tragedy in the 20th century from the reign of the Duvaliers to the consequences of the tragic earthquake of 2010. Prerequisite, 221.

[328S] Globalization and African Diaspora in Europe.
Europe is a contested site of identity, citizenship and belonging where postcolonial populations have become increasingly visible. Focusing on the lives people of African descent and the border between Europe and Africa, explores globalization in contemporary Europe while examining such issues as economic and political restructuring, border politics, colonial legacies, national and ‘hybrid’ identity, transnationalism, the meaning of ‘home’, humanitarianism and refugees, European immigration policies and detention spaces, and the politics of fear. (Proseminar.) (Same as Anthropology 328.) Maximum enrollment, 16.

[330] Digital History and New Media: Theories and Praxis.
Focuses on the process of creating digital history and the impact of digital media technologies on the theory and practice of U.S. history and critical race theory, broadly defined. Readings, labs/workshops and discussions address the philosophy and practice of digital history, questioning how digital tools and resources are enabling and transforming analysis both in traditional print scholarship, and in emerging digital scholarship across the humanities. (Same as American Studies 330 and Cinema and Media Studies 330.) Maximum enrollment, 12.

340S Race and American Democracy.
Survey of the role of race and equality in American democracy. Special emphasis on understanding how notions of racial equality have advanced and declined throughout American history and the role of race in current American politics. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in American politics. (Same as Government 340.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Klinkner.

[358] Post-Conflict Truth, Reconciliation and Social Justice: South Africa and Rwanda.
Explores moments of political and social violence in contemporary eastern and southern Africa, and efforts to promote peace-building and social justice in the aftermath of violent conflicts including creating institutions that will foster lasting peace, stability and reconciliation. In the context of South Africa and Rwanda, explores a variety of international and national mechanisms for pursuing peace-building and justice, including apologies, truth and reconciliation commissions, war crimes tribunals, reparations and reconstruction. Maximum enrollment, 12.

372S Unraveling Cleopatra.
Cleopatra was a witness to and a shaper of the history of ancient Egypt and the late Roman Republic. To posterity the historical Cleopatra is an enigma, but her image in film, literature, art and popular culture is ever present. Through authors such as Horace, Plutarch, Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw and through cinematic treatments from the 1940s-1970s, explores how the historical figure of Cleopatra became both the signifier and embodiment of sexual and racial politics across historical periods. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in classical studies or Africana studies. (Same as Classics 372 and Women's Studies 372.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Haley.

[374] Ancient Egypt.
A study of the history of ancient Egypt and of its interaction with other ancient African kingdoms, including Nubia, Kush and Punt. Examination of Egypt’s prehistory, language, social and gender relations, and cultural development. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One Classical Studies or Africana Studies course. (Same as Classics 374.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[376F] Africana Literatures and Critical Discourses.
An examination of literature produced by writers of former European colonies in Africa and its Diaspora, with particular attention to literary and theoretical issues, as well as responses to such developments as Negritude, feminism and post-colonialism. Readings will include selected twentieth and twenty-first century writers. Assignments will involve both written and digital work. (Post 1900) (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. (Theory or Intermedia) Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 376.) Maximum enrollment, 20.

[381] Freedom.
This course offers a broad, interdisciplinary exploration of the concept of freedom in the U.S.. Ultimately, it is designed to provide students with an appreciation for the ways in which our understanding of freedom---what it represents and what it requires-- continues to evolve. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 220, 221 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20.

382S Global African Social Movements.
A broad, interdisciplinary introduction to global social and political movements in Africa and the Americas throughout a 200-year period from the revolutions at the end of the 18th century to the modern political and social movements. Addresses theories of social movements, their racial and cultural formation, the variations in type and consequence of movements, and the contexts in which they arose. Examples of movements to be studied are the anti-slavery movement, the Pan-Africanist movement, the women’s movement and the rise of modern NGOs. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 101, 220, 221 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Westmaas.

405F Seminar: Black Feminist Thought.
Interdisciplinary examination of the tradition of black feminist thought as it spans African and African-American heritages. Exploration of how black women are not simply victims of oppression but visionary agents of change. Areas examined include history, literature, music, art, education, sociology and film. Prerequisite, one course in women's studies or consent of instructor. (Same as Women's Studies 405.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Haley.

[435F] Seminar in Urban Worlds.
An important part of the black experience in the Americas has been shaped by and unfolded in complex black urban worlds. As a symbol of an imagined black experience the notion of the ghetto often serves as a flashpoint in popular culture, policy debates and social memory. Explores the idea of the isolated inner city community or ghetto in history as well as the great creativity, challenges and triumphs of black urban life. Prerequisite, 220, 221 or 381. Maximum enrollment, 12.

[473/573] Seminar: Major African Writers.
A comprehensive comparative investigation into works by two or more contemporary African writers. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, gender, class and geographic region to determine the multiple articulations among authors, texts and audiences (post-1900). Prerequisite, three courses in literature or consent of instructor. Open to juniors and seniors only. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 473/573.) Maximum enrollment, 12.

[495] Topic: TBA.
A course designed to examine race and diversity issues in the sporting world from the early 20th century to the present day. Topics will examine the impact of race and racism in major world sports and the Olympic movement - inclusive of soccer, tennis, boxing, cricket, baseball , and athletics . Open to juniors and seniors only. Concentrators and minors given priority. Maximum enrollment, 12.

549F Senior Seminar in Africana Studies.
The research process at it relates to fulfillment of the senior project, including the formulation of a research project, methodological approaches, frames of research, research design, collection of data, and analysis. Culminates in presentation of a thesis/project proposal. Maximum enrollment, 12. The department.

550S Senior Program.
An interdisciplinary project to be approved by the committee. Limited to senior concentrators. The Department.

(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)