Africana Studies

Donald M. Carter
Mark Cryer
A. Todd Franklin, chair
Shelley P. Haley (on leave spring 2017)
Heather Merrill
Angel David Nieves
Vincent Odamtten
Nigel Westmaas (on leave fall 2016)


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

[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.

[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.) 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.

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.

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.

[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.) Maximum enrollment, 16.

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.

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.