Africana Studies Minor Requirements

2016 - 2017 Catalog

Africana Studies Minor

A minor in Africana studies requires completion of 21 credits. In meeting the requirements of this interdisciplinary minor, a student must use at least nine (9) credits not also used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor.

1. AFCA 130: Introduction to Africana Studies

2. Africa-focused course. One course chosen from among HIST 273, 276, 277; POL 215, 249; and, when appropriate, AFCA 295, ECON 288, 295; FREN 280; HIST 269; POL 288

3. African Diaspora-focused course. One course chosen from among ECON 232; ENGL 366; HIST 259, 260; MUS 221; POL 250; 350, 360; SOAN 228; and, when appropriate, AFCA 295, FREN 344, HIST 269

4. Three additional courses from categories 2 and 3 above and the following courses: ECON 233; ENGL 350; HIST 131, 279, 366; LACS 257; LIT 259; PHIL 242, 243 (POV 243); PSYC 269; and, when appropriate, ECON 280; FREN 397; LIT 295

5. Capstone Experience: AFCA 403 or a relevant individual project, senior thesis, or honors thesis approved in advance by the Africana Studies program committee and supervised by a member of the program faculty, typically taken after completion of other minor requirements.

  1. Required:
    • AFCA 130 - Introduction to Africana Studies

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter

      This seminar, taught collaboratively in four discrete modules, introduces students to the issues, debates, and moments which have shaped and continue to shape the broad and complex field of Africana Studies and the multifaceted experiences and aspirations of peoples of African descent. Among other effects, students who take this class gain a broad appreciation of the historical and philosophical context necessary for understanding the specific identities and contributions to world cultures and civilizations of Africans, African Americans, and Africans in the greater Diaspora; and develop thinking, analytical, writing, and collaborative skills as students complete a major project with one or more of their classmates.


  2. Africa-focused course. Take one course from among the following:
    • HIST 273 - East Africa: A Thousand Years

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3

      Detailed study of East Africa (the area today occupied by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda) during the past millennium. Topics include the Swahili city-states of the coast, farming and herding societies of the Rift Valley, Great Lakes kingdoms, Zanzibar Sultanate, European colonial rule, and successes and failures of modern nation-states.


    • HIST 276 - History of South Africa

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years

      This course aims to study the history of the country of South Africa with particular attention to both the uniqueness and the commonalities of its colonial history with other settler societies. Unlike other Anglophone settler colonies, South Africa never reached a demographic majority where white settlers became predominant. Instead, European settlers made fragile alliances against the African and Indian populations in their midst, solidifying a specific form of minority settler rule. This rule was crystallized in the near half-century of apartheid, the legal discrimination of the vast majority of the country for the benefit of a select few. Students emerge from this course as better scholars of a different society and of many of the historic pressures and struggles that are part of the history of the United States.


    • HIST 277 - Speaking and Being Zulu in South Africa

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2016 and alternate years

      "Sanibonani, abangani bami!" ("Greetings, my friends!") Want to learn more about an African language and culture? We spend the first two weeks intensively learning isiZulu, a language spoken by over 10 million people in South Africa. We also learn about the history of the Zulu people in southern Africa, covering topics from colonialism, racial discrimination, gender and sexuality, and music, and we enjoy Zulu music and film. "Masifunde ngamaZulu!" ("Let's learn about the Zulus!")


    • POL 215 - International Development

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter

      A study of international development and human capability, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The course analyzes theories to explain development successes and failures, with a focus on the structures, institutions, and actors that shape human societies and social change. Key questions include measuring economic growth and poverty, discussing the roles of states and markets in development, and examining the role of industrialized countries in reducing global poverty. The course explores links between politics and other social sciences and humanities.


    • POL 249 - African Politics

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2014 and every fourth year

      This course focuses on the politics, society, and economy of Africa during the 20th and 21st centuries. Major topics include: politics and economics of development, poverty, and human capability; authoritarian rule and transitions to democracy; causes and consequences of social change; and relations between Africa and the rest of the world. The course enables students to select country case studies for individual and group research, with a view toward testing hypotheses and formulating theories about comparative politics in Africa.


    • and, when appropriate,
    • AFCA 295 - Seminar in Africana Studies

      Credits: 3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring

      Students in this course study a group of African-American, African, or Afro-Caribbean works related by theme, culture, topic, genre, historical period, or critical approach. In the Spring Term version, the course involves field trips, film screenings, service learning, and/or other special projects, as appropriate, in addition to 8-10 hours per week of class meetings. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


    • ECON 288 - Supervised Study Abroad

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring

      For advanced students, the course covers a topic of current interest for which foreign travel provides a unique opportunity for significantly greater understanding. Emphasis and location changes from year to year and is announced each year, well in advance of registration. Likely destinations are Europe, Latin America, Africa, or Asia. This course may not be repeated.


    • ECON 295 - Special Topics in Economics

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit

      Course emphasis and prerequisites change from term to term and are announced prior to preregistration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. A maximum of nine credits chosen from all special topics in economics courses may be used, with permission of the department head, toward requirements for the economics major.

      Fall 2016, ECON 295A-01: Demographics and Development In South Asia (3). Prerequisite: ECON 101. Preference to ECON majors during the first round of registration. Other majors are encouraged to add to the waiting list after registration re-opens for all class years. This course uses economic theories and methods to understand economic demography and development in South Asia. Some of the peculiar demographic and development aspects of the South Asian economy, and hence, the topics of the course include youth bulges, migration, markers of social identity, education, child labor, corruption, public health, and targeted initiatives for development in the region. While we focus exclusively on the South Asian countries, students will be able to apply the concepts learned in this class to study any developing country in the world. Silwal.


    • FREN 280 - Civilisation et culture francophones

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall

      A study of significant aspects of culture and civilization in francophone countries. Topics may include: contemporary Africa, pre-colonial Africa, West Indian history and culture, and Canadian contemporary issues. Readings, discussion and papers in French further development of communication skills.


    • HIST 269 - Topics in United States, Latin American or Canadian History

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3 in fall or winter; 4 in spring

      A course offered from time to time, depending on student interest and staff availability, on a selected topic or problem in United States, Latin American or Canadian history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


    • POL 288 - Supervised Study Abroad

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2012 and every third year

      This spring-term course covers a topic of current interest for which foreign travel provides a unique opportunity for significantly greater understanding. Topics and locations change from year to year and is announced each year, well in advance of registration. This course may be repeated if the topics are different. Offered when interest and expressed and department resources permit.


  3. African Diaspora-focused course. Take one course chosen from among:
    • ECON 232 - African-American Human Capital Development: Challenges and Opportunities

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring. Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources exist

      The course analyzes policies and institutions in the U.S. that influence African-Americans in their development of human capital. Examples of topics explored include early child development, K-12 education, postsecondary education, wealth, job training programs, housing segregation, and access to quality health care.


    • ENGL 366 - African-American Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016 and alternate years

      A focused engagement with the African-American literary tradition, from its beginnings in the late 18th century through its powerful assertions in the 21st. The focus of each term's offering may vary; different versions of the course might emphasize a genre, author, or period such as poetry, Ralph Ellison, or the Harlem Renaissance.


    • HIST 259 - The History of the African-American People to 1877

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2015 and alternate years

      An intensive study of the African-American experience from the colonial period through Reconstruction. Special emphasis is given to the slave experience, free blacks, black abolitionists, development of African-American culture, Emancipation, Black Reconstruction, and racial attitudes.


    • HIST 260 - The History of the African-American People since 1877

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2016

      An intensive study of the African-American experience from 1877 to the present. Special emphasis is given to the development of black intellectual and cultural traditions, development of urban communities, emergence of the black middle class, black nationalism, the civil rights era, and the persistence of racism in American society.


    • MUS 221 - History of Jazz

      FDR: HA
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall

      A study of the development of jazz from its roots in turn-of-the-century New Orleans to contemporary styles. Strong emphasis is placed on listening and recognition of the performers and composers discussed.


    • POL 250 - Black American Politics

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter

      A study of important black figures in American political thought. The course focuses on the intellectual history of black Americans but also considers contemporary social science and public policies dealing with race in America.


    • POL 350 - Seminar: Ralph Ellison and the American Dream

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2015 and alternate years

      The goal of the seminar is to discern the social and political implications of Ralph Ellison's conception of America. Students read his classic novel, Invisible Man (1952), as well as many of his other works of fiction and non-fiction, as a way to examine the American Dream in the context of the gap between American political principle and practice.


    • POL 360 - Seminar: Lincoln's Statesmanship

      FDR: SS2
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter

      This seminar examines the political thought and practice of Abraham Lincoln. Emphasis is on his speeches and writings, supplemented by scholarly commentary on his life and career.


    • SOAN 228 - Race and Ethnic Relations

      FDR: SS4
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall

      An analysis of minority groups in America. Theories of ethnicity are examined focusing on the relationship between class and ethnicity, and on the possible social and biological significance of racial differences. Attention is also given to prejudice and discrimination, as well as to consideration of minority strategies to bring about change.


    • and, when appropriate,
    • AFCA 295 - Seminar in Africana Studies

      Credits: 3 credits in fall or winter, 4 in spring

      Students in this course study a group of African-American, African, or Afro-Caribbean works related by theme, culture, topic, genre, historical period, or critical approach. In the Spring Term version, the course involves field trips, film screenings, service learning, and/or other special projects, as appropriate, in addition to 8-10 hours per week of class meetings. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


    • FREN 344 - La Francophonie

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter

      An analysis of styles, genres, and themes in relation to particular cultural contexts, as represented in literary works written in French by authors from countries other than France. Of particular interest is French language literature from Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada. May be repeated for degree credit if the topic is different.


    • HIST 269 - Topics in United States, Latin American or Canadian History

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3 in fall or winter; 4 in spring

      A course offered from time to time, depending on student interest and staff availability, on a selected topic or problem in United States, Latin American or Canadian history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


  4. Three additional courses from categories 2 and 3 above and the following courses:
    • ECON 233 - Colorism

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring. Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources exist

      Colorism is the allocation of privilege and disadvantage according to the lightness or darkness of one's skin. The practices of colorism tend to favor lighter skin over darker skin, although in rare cases the opposite practice also occurs. Colorism is present both within and among racial groups, a testament to its role as something related to but different than race. Colorism is enacted among racial groups in various contexts, from preferences in classroom settings and hiring decisions to patterns in sentencing. This course draws on analytical structures and insights from the social sciences -- especially economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology -- as well as material from the humanities to explore the socio-economic consequences. The investigation is global in perspective and makes use of film and music in to enrich insights gained from course readings and classroom discussion. The course fosters the development and use of critical thinking, effective writing, and oral presentation skills while exploring the colorism.


    • ENGL 350 - Postcolonial Literature

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall 2019

      A study of the finest writers of postcolonial poetry, drama, and fiction in English. The course examines themes and techniques in a historical context, asking what "postcolonial" means to writers of countries formerly colonized by the British. Topics include colonization and decolonization; writing in the colonizer's language; questions of universality; hybridity, exile, and migrancy; the relationship of postcolonial to postmodern; Orientalism; censorship; and the role of post-imperial Britain in the publication, distribution, and consumption of postcolonial literature.


    • HIST 131 - Modern Latin America: Túpak Katari to Tupac Shakur

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter

      A survey of Latin America from the 1781 anticolonial rebellion led by indigenous insurgent Túpak Katari to a globalized present in which Latin American youth listen to Tupac Shakur yet know little of his namesake. Lectures are organized thematically (culture, society, economics, and politics) and chronologically, surveying the historical formation of people and nations in Latin America. Individual countries (especially Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru) provide examples of how local and transnational forces have shaped the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of North and South America and the Caribbean, and the cultural distinctions and ethnic diversity that characterize a region too often misperceived as homogeneous.


    • HIST 279 - Africa in the Western Imagination

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3

      From benefit concerts to AIDS charities to study abroad literature, Africa is everywhere. And yet it is frequently explained only in absence or in suffering. Rather than being a place that is defined by what it is, often Africa is viewed by what it is not, and the term 'Afro-pessimism' has been coined by some to criticize such solely negative depictions of a vast and varied continent. What, then, is 'Africa': a location on a map, a geographical boundary? Who are 'Africans'? What does the idea mean and how is it used? This course draws on literature and popular culture to discuss the very idea of 'Africa' and how the concept has been created, redefined, re-imagined, and (de)constructed in differing times and spaces.


    • HIST 366 - Seminar: Slavery in the Americas

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3

      An intensive examination of slavery, abolition movements and emancipation in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America. Emphasis is on the use of primary sources and class discussion of assigned readings.


    • LACS 257 - Multiculturalism in Latin America: The Case of Brazil

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Offered in Spring when interest is expressed and faculty resources permit

      This seminar studies Brazil as an example of a multicultural society. Students examine the meaning of multiculturalism and related concepts of identity, heterogeneity, and Eurocentrism, not only in regard to the Brazilian context, but also, comparatively, to that of US culture. The course focuses on the social dynamics that have engaged Brazilians of different backgrounds, marked by differences of gender, ethnicity, and class, and on how multiculturalism and the ensuing conflicts have continuously shaped and reshaped individual subjectivities and national identity. Some of the key issues to be addressed in class are: Brazil's ethnic formation; myths of national identity; class and racial relations; and women in Brazilian society. Readings for the class include novels, short stories, poetry, and testimonial/diary


    • LIT 259 - The French Caribbean Novel

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3

      A stylistic and thematic study of identity acquisition through exile, marginalization, struggle, reintegration and cultural blending or any other sociologically significant phenomenon reflected in the literary works of the most important post-colonial French West Indian authors. Spawned largely by Aimé Césaire's book-length poem, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land , French Caribbean novels have proliferated since the end of World War II. After taking a brief look first at this seminal poem, the course then focuses analytically on novels written by authors such as Haitian Jacques Roumain, Guadeloupeans Simone Schwarz-Bart and Maryse Condé, and Martinicans Joseph Zobel, Raphaël Confiant, and Édouard Glissant. Several films based on, or pertaining to, Césaire's poem and to certain novels are also viewed.


    • PHIL 242 - Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter

      An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.


    • PHIL 243 - Martin Luther King Jr.: Poverty, Justice, and Love

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years

      This course offers students the opportunity to examine the ethics and theology that informed the public arguments about poverty made by one of the 20th century's most important social justice theorists and activists, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the competing views of his contemporaries, critics, forebears, and heirs. The course asks the following questions, among others: How do justice and love relate to one another and to poverty reduction? What role should religion play in public discussions and policies about poverty and justice? Are the dignity and the beloved community King championed the proper goal of anti-poverty efforts?


    • POV 243 - Martin Luther King Jr.: Poverty, Justice, and Love

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years

      This course offers students the opportunity to examine the ethics and theology that informed the public arguments about poverty made by one of the 20th century's most important social justice theorists and activists, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as the competing views of his contemporaries, critics, forebears, and heirs. The course asks the following questions, among others: How do justice and love relate to one another and to poverty reduction? What role should religion play in public discussions and policies about poverty and justice? Are the dignity and the beloved community King championed the proper goal of anti-poverty efforts?


    • PSYC 269 - Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall

      This course examines cognitive and affective processes involved in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Causes and social implications of prejudice involving various stigmatized groups (e.g., African-Americans, women, homosexuals, people of low socioeconomic status, overweight individuals) are examined. Participants focus on attitudes and behaviors of both perpetrators and targets of prejudice that likely contribute to and result from social inequality.


    • and, when appropriate,
    • ECON 280 - Development Economics

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter

      A survey of the major issues of development economics. Economic structure of low-income countries and primary causes for their limited economic growth. Economic goals and policy alternatives. Role of developed countries in the development of poor countries. Selected case studies.


    • FREN 397 - Séminaire avancé

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall

      The in-depth study of a topic in French literature and/or civilization. Recent offerings include: La Littérature francophone du Maghreb; La littérature Beure; La France sous l'occupation; Les femmes et l'écriture au XVIIe siècle; Les écrivains du XXe siècle et la diversité culturelle; L'affaire Dreyfus. Students are encouraged to use this course for the development of a personal project. May be repeated for degree credit when the topics are different.

      Fall 2016, FREN 397A-01: Séminaire avancé - Femmes écrivaines africaines: s'écrire et écrire le monde (3). Prerequisites: Three French courses at the 200 level. While providing an overview of the trajectory of women's writing from its beginnings in the late 60s, the course will focus more heavily on the literary endeavors of women from the late 70s to the twenty-first century.  Through representative works from this extended period, we shall examine how women address such issues as patriarchy, tradition, modernity, the self in society, as well as the question of feminism itself. (HL) Kamara.


    • LIT 295 - Special Topics in Literature in Translation

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3 credits in Fall or Winter; 4 credits in Spring
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit

      A selected topic focusing on a particular author, genre, motif or period in translation. The specific topic is determined by the interests of the individual instructor. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Fall 2016, LIT 295A-01: Germanic Heroes and Arthurian Legends (3). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. The German Middle ages gave us beautiful courtly love poetry, a blossoming of Arthurian legends, and the larger than life Nibelungen heroes. Readings include the amorous, playful and sometimes naughty Minnesang, Wolfram's epic of the Grail Parzival, Gottfried's tragic love story Tristan and Isolde and the German national epic Song of the Nibelungen. We also trace the late Medieval origins of the Faust legend and view the early years of the Reformation through the lens of Martin Luther and of the shoemaker-poet Hans Sachs. (HL) Crockett.

      Spring 2016, LIT 295-01: Tang Xianzu Meets William Shakespeare: Classical Theater of China and the Encounter between Two Cultures (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. This course introduces the classical theater of China and its intercultural attempts with regard to Shakespeare in contemporary times. We examine various aspects of classical Chinese theater, its musical construction, stage presentation, the virtuosity of the actor, role types, costume and make up, and so forth. We read classic works of Chinese opera authors and explore the cross-cultural issues that arise when Shakespeare's plays meet and mix with various forms of classical Chinese theater. In addition, students learn the basics of Chinese theater by participating in a full-immersion theater workshop session with professional actors. (HL) Xie.

      Spring 2016, LIT 295-02: The Arab World through Film (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FDR FW requirement. The geopolitical importance of the Arab world and the legacy of Orientalism reduce "the Arab" and the region to stereotypes and misrepresentations. In order to challenge these depictions, we start by asking how Arab cinema represents contemporary Arab society'. This course introduces the student to the vibrant societies and dynamic cultures of the Arab world through the medium of film. This course analyzes, upholds, and challenges issues of social and cultural significance in the region. (HL) Edwards.

      Spring 2016, LIT 295-03: The Human Rights Question in African Literature (4). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. May be used as an elective toward any major in the Romance languages. From the days of African empires, through the slave trade, colonization, the cold war, civil wars, to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and today's persistent debates over the benefits and deficits of immigration and globalization, human rights have always been present, even in their absence, at the core of Africa's relations with herself and with others. No mode of expression in Africa has interrogated this issue more than the continent's literature. What are human rights? How are notions of human rights in Africa different from those derived from western (Enlightenment) traditions? Or, are they different? What does the 13th-century French declaration of individual and collective rights, "La Charte du Mandé," occasioned by Emperor Sundjata Keita's 1235 victories, have in common with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among others? Are human rights the same as natural rights, the same as peoples' rights, individual rights? How do women's and children's rights, for example, fit into the universal and universalizing concept of the 'droits de l'homme' or the 'rights of man'? These vexing questions and others are explored through discussions of mostly literary texts and films. (HL) Kamara.

      Spring 2016, LIT 295-04: The Medieval Epic from Beowulf to Game of Thrones (3). The medieval epic celebrates warrior culture and the values that enhance clan loyalty, group cohesion, the defeat of enemies, the expansion and defense of territory, and the prosperity of families and kingdoms. Modern versions of the medieval epic retain some of these values, discard others and introduce new concerns. To understand this transformative process, this course studies Beowulf, Song of Roland, and Poem of the Cid in modern English and compares them to their film versions as well as to popular epic cycles such as Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars.  (HL) Bailey.

      Spring 2016, LIT 295-05: Brecht: Drama, Prose, Theory (4). Prerequisite: Completion of the FW FDR requirement. An in-depth investigation of the dramas, prose  fiction, poetry and theatrical practice of Bertolt Brecht, a leading playwright and drama theorist of the early 20th century. Readings include The Threepenny Opera; masterworks The Life of Galilei, Mother Courage, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle; representative narratives and poems; and theoretical writings on acting and set design. (HL) Crockett.


  5. Capstone Experience:
  6. AFCA 403 or a relevant individual project, senior thesis, or honors thesis approved in advance by the Africana Studies program committee and supervised by a member of the program faculty, typically taken after completion of other minor requirements.