African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

AFR 302M • Numbering Race

31340 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.404
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I. Course Description and Objectives

In this course, you will learn about quantitative methodology and statistics through the lens of race. You will have the opportunity to examine, analyze, and critique real-world data, quantitative research, and public discourse concerning race in America. Some empirical and quantitative skills you will learn this semester include (1) conceptualization and operationalization in quantitative measurement, (2) the calculation and interpretation of descriptive statistics and statistical relationships, (3) the application of statistical techniques to understand social phenomenon, and (4) techniques for presenting results from quantitative analysis. As we cover various statistical techniques, you will also learn about the origins of the concept race, including the actors (many of whom were scientists and statisticians) and actions that brought race into being and continue to justify racial thinking. We will also discuss how these efforts have impacted our current collective and individual understandings of race, especially as they relate to the quantitative study of race and various social problems. This course satisfies the core math requirement and carries the quantitative reasoning flag.

II. Course Requirements

A. Required Readings/ Materials
Leon-Guerrero, Anna, and Chava Frankfort-Nachmias. 2015. Essentials of Social Statistics for a

Diverse Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. (LGFN) Scientific calculator

Additional readings will be available online through Canvas. Some of the readings posted are required for the course. Other readings, exercises, information sheets, and links to websites are posted to assist you in this course and enhance your class experience. I encourage you to look them over.

Numbering Race, Irizarry Fall 2015

B. Assignments and Assessment

Problem Sets

Problem sets include calculation and interpretation questions designed to gauge your understanding of the methodological and statistical concepts covered throughout the semester. Problem sets will be posted on Canvas at least one week prior to their due date. Students will need to show all of their work/calculations to receive full credit. Partial credit will be given to answers that are partially correct.

Reading Quizzes

Almost every week throughout the semester, you will have a short quiz on the material covered in the readings. You will be allowed to refer to your notes while taking the quiz, but not the readings or text. There are no make-ups for quizzes; however, I will drop your lowest quiz grade at the end of the semester.

In-Class Assignments

In-class assignments will offer you the opportunity to practice the mathematical, statistical, and critical thinking concepts covered in class.

Team Lab Assignments

To help familiarize you with quantitative methodology and the interpretation and presentation of quantitative data, there will be two team lab assignments. I will post each lab assignment on Canvas at least one week prior to the deadline. Lab assignments must be done with your team members (team member selections will be made after the final drop/add date).


Students must complete two essays that summarize/evaluate news articles/stories that present racial comparisons stemming from statistical analysis (due dates are noted on course schedule). Each essay must include a minimum of three news stories on a particular topic. These news stories can be from magazines, newspapers, or credible online news sources (check with your instructor if you have any questions). Essays must (1) be at least three-pages (typed), (2) summarize and critique/evaluate your selected news stories, and (3) incorporate concepts and ideas from class discussion and readings. Note: You may not use advertisements and data highlights (these are usually brief and present no real story or argument), academic articles (articles from peer-reviewed journals), or research articles from course readers to complete this assignment. More details regarding each essay will be provided during the semester.

AFR 303 • Intro To Black Studies-Wb

31345 • Colon-Pizzini, Bethzabeth
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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This course provides students with an introduction to Black Studies. The first section of the course is devoted to a history of Black Studies in the U.S. using the integration and development of Black Studies here at the University of Texas, Austin as a case study. We will then turn to considerations of the historical construction of Africa, the Black Diaspora and the idea of Blackness. Building on this foundation the course provides students with the analytical tools to critically explore canonical Black Studies literature, themes, and theories. This section of the course interrogates race, gender, class, sexuality, and their intersections as well as culture, power and politics. The second section of the course will focus in on the expression and use of Black Studies in the areas of: Critical Black Studies; Education, Psychology, and Mental Health; Government, Law and Public Policy; Expressive Culture, Arts, Music, Sports; and Africa and its Diasporic Cultures.

AFR 304 • Intro To The Study Of Africa

31350 • Thomas, Kevin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 3.116
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This course is an introduction to African Studies, which reflects the social, cultural, political and economic diversity of the African continent. You will become familiar with a wide range of disciplinary perspectives and approaches to the study of historical and contemporary Africa. It will engage the disciplines of history, economies, cultural studies, gender studies, and religious studies. It strives to provide a foundation to the study of Africa whether it be global health or economic strategy.

AFR 310L • Intro To Traditional Africa

31355 • Falola, Oloruntoyin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 4.104
GC (also listed as HIS 311K)
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This is an introductory, inter-disciplinary course on the peoples and cultures of Africa, designed for students with a limited background in African studies as well as those who want to improve their understanding of this huge continent. The course is divided into two parts, one on a survey history and the other on aspects of culture. The subjects cover the long historical era known as the precolonial, which terminated at the turn of the twentieth century when Africa came under European rule. Among the main themes are: early history, kingdoms, interactions with external agencies, and various institutions and customs of society. Readings are drawn from two textbooks, two monographs. The books deal with essential outline histories and dense interpretive literature on a few issues. Films provide visual illustrations and additional perspectives.

1)    To use a combination of films, lectures and reading materials to introduce students to a number of themes in African history and cultures.

2)    To enable students to reflect on a number of issues in order to reach independent conclusions.

3)    To provide an adequate background that will prepare students for other courses on Africa.

4)    To improve the writing and analytical skills of students, by introducing them to the craft of history writing.

Required Materials

Toyin Falola, ed., Africa, Vol. 1, African History Before 1885, Durham: Carolina
Academic Press, 2000.

Toyin Falola, ed., Africa, Vol. 2, African Cultures, and Societies Before 1885, Durham:
Carolina Academic Press, 2000.

*** Books are available at Co-op. Students can also use the Internet to order direct from the publishers or through

Evaluation and points--100%

1)    Community Project      25%

2)    Mid-Term Examination—Take Home          25% 
     (Two essay questions, at least three pages on each)

3)     Class attendance and participation                  20%          
4)     Final examination—Take Home                   30%
        (Two essay questions, at least three pages on each)

AFR 315 • Afro-Brazilian Diaspora-Wb

31360 • Afolabi, Omoniyi
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
GCWr (also listed as C L 305D, LAS 310C)
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This course focuses on post-abolition Afro-Brazilian life, history, culture, politics, and letters.  It engages a wide range of literary texts, socio-cultural movements, visual arts, and cultural performances, while raising a number of questions that would lead to provocative midterm and final research papers, while simultaneously honing students’ writing skills with a number of response papers that may be expanded into a research paper. Most concepts and issues will be illustrated with multimedia clips or movies to ensure that students gain a richer experience of the Afro-Brazilian diaspora world.

Some of the questions the course will grapple with include the following: (i) What explains the continued exclusion of Afro-Brazilians from political power?; (ii) What is the legacy or impact of slavery within this context?; (iii) How is the concept of Africa (re)imagined, distorted, and manipulated in this regard?; (iv)What are the discourses used to justify social inequalities and racial discrimination in Brazil?; (v) How is the “radical” view on discrimination silenced while the “co-opted” perspective is promoted?; (vi) What are the effects of governmental patronage on cultural producers as they negotiate what Carl Degler calls the “mulatto escape hatch”?; and (vii) What are the limitations of ideology in an era of “globalization” and pragmatism?  These among other issues will form the basis of the course which will additionally analyze the social condition that goes beyond the more apparent “culture game”; and must also be seen as a political game towards visibility, participation, gendered equality, and empowerment.



  1. Students will be able to meet writing, global, and cultural diversity flags.
  2. Students will be exposed to the dynamics of coping mechanism with social inequalities.
  3. Students will not only be exposed to elements of style, they will improve their writing skills by having opportunities to re-write their assignments.
  4. Transnational resonances will be invoked for comparative analysis within contexts and texts in order to see the African Diaspora beyond a continental prism.

Required Texts:

  1. Johnson, Crook et al. ed. Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization
  2. Alves, Miriam and C. R. Durham. Finally Us/Enfim Nós
  3. Almeida, Bira. Capoeira: A Brazilian Art Form: History, Philosophy, and Practice
  4. Guimarães, Geni. The Color of Tenderness
  5. Gomes, Dias. Journey to Bahia

AFR 315G • The United States And Africa

31365 • Falola, Oloruntoyin
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.134
HI (also listed as HIS 317L)
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This class will look at the history of the political, economic and cultural relations between the United States and Africa from the early origins of the slave trade to the present. It explores the role of the US in historical global contexts. The class is intended to elucidate historical developments both in the US and on the African continent, and should satisfy students with a strong interest in US history as well as those interested in the place of the US in the African Diaspora.  The semester is divided into four parts, each covering a major theme.
Course Objectives
To develop a base of African and US history and increase the level of awareness of the African Diaspora in the US.  
To obtain a well-rounded approach to the political, economic, and cultural connections between the United States and Africa.
To reevaluate perceptions of Africa, to recognize the vibrant nature of African culture, and to apply new knowledge to the different cultural agents active in US popular culture, such as music, dance, literature, business and science.
To help students understand present-day politics in Africa at a deeper level and to obtain a better understanding of racial conditions in the US.
To learn how to assess historical materials -- their relevance to a given interpretative problem, their reliability and their importance -- and to determine the biases present within particular scholarship. These include historical documents, literature and films.

i. Public Lecture Review 10%     
ii. First  Examination 25%
iii. Book Review 20%
iv.   Book Review 20%
v. Second Examination 25%

AFR 315K • Intro To African Amer Hist

31369 • Fourmy, Signe
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.104
HI (also listed as HIS 317L)
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This course is a survey of African-American history from the colonial era to the present focusing on the social, economic, political, and cultural history of Black people in the United States. Throughout the semester we will examine major topics and themes in African-American history that include: its beginnings in Africa; the Middle Passage and trans-Atlantic slave trade; colonial and antebellum slavery; the abolition movement; the free black experience; emancipation; “Jim Crow” segregation; racial violence; mass incarceration; mass migrations and the “New Negro”; Black participation in international wars; Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Feminist Movement(s); popular culture; and ongoing struggles against social, political, and economic inequality. We will pay special attention to the meanings of citizenship, social movements, sexuality, class, and gender.

Course materials will include primary and secondary sources. Students will be required to complete four short (500-words) written assignments and then will have the opportunity to determine how to demonstrate their learning by selecting the other assignments that contribute to their final grade from a pre-determined “menu” of options. At the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of African American history and met specific learning objectives that require students to: 1) Critically examine historical documents (primary sources) and scholarly interpretations (secondary sources) concerning key elements of African-American history; 2) Analyze the impact of enslavement and discrimination, as well as ideologies of race, gender, sexuality, status, and white supremacy, on the experiences of African-Americans; 3) Explain the causes and ramifications of mass migrations of African-Americans from rural to urban areas, as well as from southern to northern and western sites; 4) Analyze the effects of significant events on African-Americans (e.g., the Great Depression and world wars); 5) Identify and compare strategies of organizations and social movements focused on civil rights; and 6) Demonstrate the ability to think and communicate critically and analytically in written work.

AFR 315Q • Black Queer Art Worlds

31374 • Gill, Lyndon
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 308
CDGC (also listed as ANT 310L, WGS 301)
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AFR 315U • Music Of African Americans

31375-31390 • Carson, Charles
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MRH 2.608
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AFR 321L • Sociology Of Education

31400 • Carroll, Jamie
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.108
Wr (also listed as SOC 321L, WGS 345)
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We all have many years of experience in schools and we know what happens in schools. Do schools provide opportunities for people to have a better life? Are schools an equalizer? Are they failing? This course is designed to challenge and think critically about what we think we know about schools and education. We will study sociological research on what schools do, for people, for communities, and for our society. We will consider how people of different social class, race and ethnicity, gender, and disability statuses interact with schools and how inequality in achievement comes about. And we will question what policies might improve schools. The course objective is to better understand the role of education as a social institution and how it contributes to and reduces social inequality.

The course objectives are to use sociological principles and empirical research to:

• Understand schooling and education. What do schools do and how do they do it?
• Analyze how education both contributes to and reduces social inequality.
• Understand the roles that education plays in society. We will consider these roles of education in a historical context and how they have and haven’t changed over time.
• Critically evaluate which school practices and policies contribute to (1) learning among students from different socio-demographic subgroups and (2) exacerbating and reducing inequality.
• Develop a deeper appreciation of our own experiences in education as a child and student (and, if applicable, a parent or a teacher), and the potential experiences that you will have in the future.

Learning goals:

• Use empirical evidence reported in sociological research to discuss how schools work and, how people from different socio-demographic subgroups interact with educational institutions, and the ways that schools may exacerbate or reduce social inequality.
• Discuss and critically evaluate how the institution of education shapes individuals’ behaviors, attitudes, opportunities, and life course outcomes.
• Read and critically analyze empirical evidence reported in research in the sociology of education.
• Apply the knowledge produced by empirical research to analyze practices


Your final grade will be calculated using this distribution:
• Exam 1 (February 6) 15%
• Exam 2 (March 6) 20%
• Exam 3 (April 5) 20%
• Project 25% total (Part 1 [due April 12] 5%; Part 2 [due May 3] 20%
• Homework Assignments 20%

AFR 330O • Black Film At The Oscars

31420 • Walter, Patrick
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 0.106
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In 1939, at the height of Jim Crow, the first black person to win an Oscar, Hatie McDaniel, did so for playing a stereotypical black mammie. In 2018, in the wake of the Ferguson Uprising and the emergence of Black Lives Matter, Jordan Peele took home a Best Screenplay Oscar for Get Out!, his horrifying satire of American anti-blackness. Each year, when we sit down to watch the Academy Awards, we are not only witnessing the celebration of the supposed best that cinema has to offer, we are also encountering a barometer for mainstream American culture’s ideas about blackness. In this course, we will be “reading the Oscars” as this ongoing weather report on American racism. To “read the Oscars” we will closely view work by black filmmakers and actors that has been both lauded and snubbed by the Academy. What do these films and performances say about blackness and whiteness and why has the Academy either embraced or rejected certain cinematic messages about race at certain historical moments. What does Halle Berry’s 2002 Oscar for her performance in Monsters Ball say about mainstream notions of black femininity? Why did the Academy recognize the version of black queerness presented in Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight? Why have Spike Lee’s incisive cinematic meditations on American racism never received the attention of the Academy? Questions such as these will guide our inquiry. This class then introduces key ideas about film criticism, black studies, and cultural studies more generally while also providing a space to work on academic writing skills.

AFR 345F • Sex & Power In Afr Diaspora

31450 • Gill, Lyndon
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GEA 127
CDGC (also listed as ANT 324L, WGS 340)
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Exploration of various experiences and theories of sex, intimacy, and desire alongside intellectual and artistic engagements with power hierarchies and spirituality across transnational black communities. Subjects include the concept of "erotic subjectivity" from various theoretical and methodological angles, principally within African diasporic contexts.

AFR 350K • Puerto Rico In Crisis

31455 • Colon-Pizzini, Bethzabeth
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 303
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Course Description:  

This course will provide a history of the island’s relationship with the United States focusing in particular on questions of law and capitalism. The course will center around two questions: What is Puerto Rico to the United States? And how did we get to the present moment of crisis? In answering these questions we will focus in particular in the ways that law has racialized islanders and conceived them as unprepared and undeserving of rights. This conception has thus shaped the way that capitalism has worked as a force in shaping the islands possibilities throughout the 120 years of its relationship with the US. 


Readings (subject to change): 

  • Jorge Duany, Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know, (New York: Oxford UP, 2017). 

  • Reconsidering the Insular Cases: The Past and Future of the American Empire, Gerald Nueman and Tomiko Brow-Nagin, eds. (Caimbridge: Harvard UP, 2015). 

  • Charles Venator-Santiago, Puerto Rico and the Origins of US Global Empire: The Disembodied Shade, (New York: Routlidge, 2015). 

  • Joanna Poblete, Islanders in the Empire: Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai’I, (Urbana: University of Illinois, 2017). 

  • Kelvin Santiago-Valles, “ ‘Our Race Today [is] the Only Hope for the World:’ An 

African Spaniard as Chieftain of the Struggle Against ‘Sugar Slavery’ in Puerto Rico, 1926-1934” Caribbean Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1 (2007), pp. 107-140. 

  • Gervasio Luis Garcia, “I am the Other: Puerto Rico in the Eyes of North Americans, 1898,” The Journal of American History, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jun., 2000), pp. 39-64. 

  • Solsirée del Moral, “Negotiating Colonialism ‘Race,’ Class, and Education in EarlyTwentieth-Century Puerto Rico,” in Alfred W. McCoy and Francisco A. Scarano, eds. Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009.) 

  • Eileen J. Findlay, “Love in the Tropics: Marriage, Divorce, and the Construction of Benevolent Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 1898-1910,” in Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of the U.S. and Latin American Relations, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.) 

  • Ellen Walsh, “The Not-So-Docile Puerto Rican: Students Resist Americanization, 1930,”Centro Journal, Vol. XXVI, No. I (Spr. 2014), pp. 148-171.  


AFR 350U • Cvl Rts Mvmt Frm Comp Persp

31465 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GAR 2.112
IIWr HI (also listed as AMS 370, HIS 350R, MAS 364C)
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This seminar offers students with some knowledge of the history of civil rights movements in the U.S. the opportunity to more deeply explore African American and Mexican American struggles for justice and liberation from the 1950s to 1970s. Its comparative approach encourages insights into movements that had distinct historical roots and yet, in many places, did not occur in isolation from each other. In Austin, for example, African American and Mexican American civil rights organizations filed suit against school segregation on the same day. From this vantage point, we consider the relationship between racial justice and such themes as gender and sexuality, education and media, antiwar and antipoverty movements, power and liberation. Students have opportunities to explore such issues in the context of Austin and/or Texas.

Writing Component and Projects
This writing component for this course will be fulfilled through reading responses, short essays, and the final project, a public digital presentation on some component of civil rights movements on the UT campus and/or in the Austin community. A central goal is to help students learn how to articulate their own historical arguments based on their research, and to present them to others. Presentations will bring written historical analysis together with selected historical documents, photos, oral histories, radio clips, and/or film segments. We will have the opportunity to collaborate with another civil rights class.

Class sessions include discussion seminars; workshops on research, writing, and digital presentation; and guest presentations by activists from the Austin community and individuals who will present information for the projects. Course materials combine scholarly texts (book chapters and articles by historians) with historical documents, oral histories, and films. Near the end of the semester, there will be a final public event at which students will present their projects.

Possible Books (in addition to other readings):
Goldstone, Dwonna. Integrating the 40 Acres
Oropeza, Lorena. ¡Raza Si! ¡Guerra No! Chicano Protest and Patriotism during the Viet Nam War Era
Montejano, David. Quixote’s Soldiers: A Local History of the Chicano Movement, 1966-1981  
Orleck, Annelise and Lisa Hazirjian, eds. The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980
Theoharis, Jeanne. A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History

Reading responses (8 total, submission grade)    15%
Review                        10%
Oral History Essay                15%
Final Project    – Short submissions and drafts    10%
– Writing components        20%
        – Digital Project as a whole    20%
        – Presentation              5%
Reflections                     5%
Attendance (points subtracted if over 3 unexcused absences)

AFR 351C • Women And Socl Mvmnts In US

31470 • Green, Laurie
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 2.112
HI (also listed as AMS 321, HIS 365G, WGS 340)
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This upper-division history course examines women’s participation in both well-known and lesser-known social movements during the twentieth century, more deeply than is possible in a U.S. history survey course. Throughout, we explore women’s activism in movements that specifically targeted women’s rights, such as the woman suffrage movement. However, we also consider women’s participation in movements that do not outwardly appear to be movements about women’s rights, such as the Civil Rights Movement.

In addition to exploring the scope and contours of women’s activism, the course will place particular emphasis on four themes:
1) impacts of contemporary cultural understandings of gender on social movements, and the reverse
2) tensions between ideas of women’s rights that emphasized equality of the sexes and those that emphasized difference
3) perspectives on whether you can write a universal history of women or need to write separate histories along lines such as race, class, region and/or sexual preference
4) power relations not only between men and women but among women

Possible Required Readings
SHORT READINGS will be available on Canvas.
Crow Dog, Mary. Lakota Woman.  Reprint edition, Grove Press, 2011.
Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 1968; reprint edition, Delta, 2004.
Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965. University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Course Evaluation
Short written assignments: Submission grades                 20%
Film reviews: Total of 2                            15%
Historical evidence forms: Total of 3                    15%
Collaborative Projects: Total of 3 (excluding final project)        10%    
Historical Essay                                20%
Final Project: (17% Individual portion; 3% Group project)        20%
Attendance:  Loss of points over 3 unexcused absences

AFR 351N • Black Political Thought

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Black political reflection is constituted by a distinctive and ongoing preoccupation with freedom. Conceived and practiced in and/or against the political evils of slavery, segregation, racial terror, and mass incarceration, these reflections rank among political theory’s most acute treatments of freedom and domination. In this course, we shall examine some of the some of the most important of these reflections and the multiple traditions of Black political thought they represent. By doing so, this course seeks to provide a substantive engagement and critical assessment of Black Political Thought; illuminate the particular substance and character of our own conceptions of freedom and domination; and facilitate acquisition of conceptual tools necessary for understanding the political legacies of slavery and empire within post-slavery liberal political regimes like the U.S.

AFR 351P • Atlantic Slavery: Hist/Mem

31485 • Thompson, Shirley
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 436B
CDIIWr (also listed as AMS 370)
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Same as African and African Diaspora Studies 351P. Charts a history of Atlantic slavery by focusing on primary sources detailing crucial events and contexts such as the Zong Massacre, the Haitian Revolution, and Dred Scott vs. Sandford, among others. Considers how historians, memoirists, fiction writers, visual and performance artists and filmmakers have come to terms with that history and its implications. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Only one of the following may be counted: African and African Diaspora Studies 351P, 374E (Topic 3), American Studies 370 (Topic 33). Additional prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

AFR 360D • Race/Gender/Surveillance

31505 • Browne, Simone
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 0.130
CDE (also listed as AMS 321)
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Race, Gender and Surveillance will provide an overview of theories in the emerging field of Surveillance Studies, with a focus on race and gender. We will examine transformations in social control and the distributions of power in U.S. and global contexts, with a focus on populations within the African diaspora. As such, this is a Black Studies course. Course topics include: the Trans-Atlantic slave trade; prisons and punishment; reality television; social media; anti-surveillance fashion; airports; biometrics and drones.

Students will be encouraged to develop critical reading, writing and analytical skills. Through the use of films, videos and other visual media students will be challenged to better understand how surveillance practices inform modern life.

AFR 370 • Drugs In Afr Am Lit/Culture

31515 • Walter, Patrick
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BIO 301
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From our current, seemingly perpetual “war on drugs”; to the Black Panthers’ drug treatment programs; to Ralph Ellison’s “invisible man” smoking refer while listening to Louis Armstrong in an underground hideout; to mythic stories of heroin-addicted jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Billie Holliday; drug addiction and intoxication have a complicated and contested history within African American politics and popular culture. Sometimes denounced as a white supremacist conspiracy and sometimes championed as a vector for black artistic vision and existential liberation, drug use is often a touchstone for debates about black subjecthood, empowerment, citizenship, community, and life itself. Through careful study of African American literatary, filmic and musical texts dealing with drug use, this course will think through these debates. How does the iconography of lean in Trap music relate to blackness in the late capitalist world of the 21st Century? What does Dave Chapelle’s character Tyrone Biggums suggest about the place of the “crackhead” within African American communities? How does drug use figure into the modernisms of James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison? How does the Black Panthers’ condemnation of drug use relate to the gritty realism Donald Goines’s fiction and blaxploitation cinema. How does addiction and drug dealing intersect with blackness, femininity and queerness in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight? Such questions will guide our study of some of the key aesthetic and political movements in contemporary African American culture. This course will provide an introduction to important theories of black studies and philosophical formulations of addiction, as well as an overview of key works of 20th Century African American literature, film and popular culture. It will also provide a space for students to develop critical reading and writing skills.

AFR 385C • Afro-Latinos: Polit/Cul/Memory

31530 • Arroyo Martinez, Jossianna
Meets TH 12:30PM-3:30PM CMA 3.108
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AFR 385C • Toni Morrison, Forgnrs Home

31534 • Woodard, Helena
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CAL 323
(also listed as E 395M)
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AFR 386C • Gentrification, Race And Tech

31531 • McElroy, Erin
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM CMA 3.108
(also listed as AMS 390)
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AFR 386C • Race And Media Industries-Wb

31533 • Mallapragada, Madhavi
Meets F 12:00PM-3:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
(also listed as AMS 390, MAS 392)
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AFR 386C • Race And Policing In The US

31532 • Garcia, Michael
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM BUR 128
(also listed as MAS 392)
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AFR 386C • Theories Of Race/Ethnicity

31535 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM RLP 0.124
(also listed as SOC 395L)
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Race and racism are central elements of social stratification—shaping life changes from the womb to the grave. In this course, we will discuss prominent theories/theorists of race and racism in ways that center Blackness and Black experiences in the United States. We will explore the foundations of racial classification and thinking, the nature and persistence of racial categories as meaningful social groupings in society, and the ongoing social significance of these group identities. We will also cover structural theories of race, the history of whiteness as a racial category and social force, Black feminist thought, and race and racism from eugenics through the genomic revolution.

As we proceed in our investigation, we will continuously ask: (1) What are the key assumptions, propositions and concepts of this theory? (2) How is this theory located within the larger theoretical tradition? (3) Does this theory agree or disagree with other views in the field? (4) What is the level of empirical support for this theory? (5) To what extent does this theory help to explain contemporary patterns of race and racism across time and space in the United States? A survey of the development of race and racism in scientific and social thought is an ambitious undertaking. We will cover a large amount of complex material over a relatively short period. In order to be successful, we require maximum commitment and effort from all participants. Since this is a graduate seminar, the format will involve presentations/overviews/summaries of assigned readings followed by a critical discussion of the readings and related source materials. Students are required to play an active role in this process sharing the responsibility of presenting, leading discussions, and critiquing with the instructor.


Required Texts (the Dean’s Office will not accept “Course Packet” or “TBA”)

(C = Text available on Canvas; O = Text is available online through UT libraries)

Allen, Theodore W. 1994. The Invention of the White Race, Volume 2. London: Verso. O

Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2003. Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. O

Collins, Patricia Hill. 2002. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge. O

Mills, Charles W. 1997. The Racial Contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Morris, Aldon. 2015. The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology. Oakland, CA: University of California Press. O

Omi, Michael and Howard Winant. 1994. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. 2nd edition. New York: Routledge. O

Roberts, Dorothy. 2012. Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century. New York: The New Press. O

Schor, Paul. 2017. Counting Americans: How the US Census Classified the Nation. New York: Oxford University Press. O

Treitler, Vilna Bashi. 2013. The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Yudell, Michael. 2014. Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the 20th Century. New York: Columbia University Press. O

Some of the readings posted on Canvas are required for the course. Other readings are posted to assist you in this course and enhance your class experience. When pertinent, I will adjust the reading, and/or suggest additional readings and other types of resources. So be prepared to be flexible with regard to the required readings and course materials.


Grading Policy

Leading Class Discussion (25%)

Each student will sign up to lead one seminar discussion. Discussion leaders have two distinct duties:

1.      Provide a Clear and Concise Summary of the Reading(s)

The first and most important obligation of each discussion leader is to put before the rest of the class for discussion the core ideas and evidence contained in the readings for the week. Fulfilling this duty involves: 1) motivating an interest in the specific issue or problems, and 2) reviewing in reasonable detail the core questions and objectives of the research, the central argument and evidence developed, and any major conclusions drawn in the work. Presentations should be no longer than 45 minutes (30 minutes each if more than one person is presenting).

Presentations must provide, as thoroughly as possible, a balance of the following:

Main Questions: An overview of the author’s central concerns in each text. What are the foremost problems? How does the author justify the focus on such questions and concerns?

Methodology: This portion of your presentation must be detailed and precise, and may require a small amount of extra reading in order to provide a well-informed methodological description. Here you must reflect on the author’s database, and how she defines it, gathers it, and makes sense of it. You also need to provide details about how the author actually practices this approach in the text itself: highlight and explain specific passages where the author’s methodology is employed. You should ask yourself: how does the reading’s organization reflect the author’s methodological strategy?

Findings and/or Theoretical Argument: This portion of the presentation is meant to identify and elaborate key findings and theoretical arguments, as well as the main conclusions of each text.

Positives and Negatives: Address what you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the reading(s). Be explicit about the strong points, interesting observations, useful contributions, or provocative insights offered in the work. What are the important contributions of the work and why do you feel that way? Also, be explicit about the shortcomings or failings of the work. The materials included in this section should proceed at two levels of analysis. First, take the material on its own terms. That is, within the confines of the research problem as defined in the work, what does it deliver on well and what does it fail to deliver on? Second, consider how the work bears on the larger questions and themes of the course. Does it make a clear and meaningful contribution to our understanding of race and/or racism?


These four points must also be laid out in writing and uploaded to Canvas for distribution by noon on the day of your assigned presentation. Your written summary should not exceed five (5) single-spaced pages.


2.      Guide Discussion through Questions

The second obligation is to facilitate class discussion about important aspects of the readings. You may draw upon the cache of discussion questions submitted to Canvas to realize this duty but should also develop additional questions on your own (or with your co-presenter). The challenge is to hit on the main points of the reading(s) and, when relevant, connect the respective articles/books.

While it is tempting to make the “summary” section of the presentation the longest portion of the discussion, we are particularly interested in talking about the main points of the work. Thus, discussion leaders should leave considerable time to talk with the class about various issues brought up in the readings. You may use handouts, tables, figures, illustrations, videos/film clips, and discussion questions (mentioned above) to help facilitate your discussion.


Weekly Discussion Questions (9%)

Beginning in Week 2, seminar participants who are NOT facilitating class discussion are required to post at least two (2) discussion questions to Canvas by 5 pm on the day prior to class. Though a single sentence may be sufficient, longer questions are welcome and encouraged. To receive credit, your questions must: 1) demonstrate both effort and thoughtfulness, and 2) be related in some way to the assigned reading(s). Students may skip up to two (2) weeks with no loss of points.


Weekly Reaction Papers (21%)

Beginning in Week 2, seminar participants who are NOT facilitating class discussion are also required to submit a brief reaction paper (between one and two pages single-spaced) on a particular topic covered in the assigned reading(s) via canvas by 5 pm on the day prior to class. Reaction papers are not summaries of the reading(s). Rather, they embody your short, scholarly response to a reading of interest. Except for when you are scheduled to lead discussion, reaction papers may be completed on the weeks of your choosing. You must submit seven (7) reaction papers in total over the course of the semester. This means you may skip five (5) weeks with no loss of points.


Final Paper (35%)

The final paper should help you integrate topics raised in this seminar with your own research interests. You will have discretion of the format of your final paper. Some of you may choose to write a research proposal (including, but not limited to, a literature review), while others may prefer to use this opportunity to write a dissertation chapter or provide an ongoing research project with the theoretical framework necessary to submit a paper for publication. The length of your paper will vary depending on its purpose, but you should aim for at least 10 single-spaced pages.


A two-page prospectus, single-spaced, must be submitted via Canvas by Thursday, October 15. This initial prospectus is worth 5% of your final grade. I will provide written comments by then end of October. Your final paper is due in December, and must be submitted via Canvas.


Be A Human (10%)

From the brilliant Tressie McMillan Cottom @tressiemcphd:

“Be A Human – All the standard university guidelines on collegiality and honesty apply. Be generous with each other. Be decent. Don’t plagiarize. Do not derail discussions. Do no gaslight yourself or others. Do not even try to gaslight me… Share your materials and knowledge and insights and be patient as others do the same. Engage in active listening during class. You’ll note that you can be a great scholar based on your other assignments in this course and still get the grad school ‘B’ in my course if you do not execute on being a human. That is intentional. My promise is that I will always do the same for you.”

AFR 387C • Performing Blackness

31540 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM MEZ 1.102
(also listed as AMS 391, WGS 393)
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Please check back for updates.

AFR 390 • Black Studies Theory I

31545 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM GWB 1.138
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In this course we will explore some of the central themes and problems of Black Studies in the United States and the Black Diaspora. We will ask: What is race and how has it functioned in the constitution of modernity, space, and selfhood? What is blackness and how is it lived and expressed? What is the relationship of slavery to capitalism, empire, war, and democracy, and what are the ideological, performative, and cognitive legacies of slavery? Finally, what formations of imagination and sociability have (dis)organized Black communal life, and which remain vital?

To ask these questions, of course, requires that we simultaneously engage more basic inquiries about the very dynamic nature, constitution, and aim of Black Studies. What is Black studies? Who are its subjects? What is its object? These, and the opening questions, are rendered even more complex when we recognize that Black Studies – in the United States as in its Black diaspora versions – is defined by unstable, shifting, and contested genealogies, boundaries, and projects. Black Studies is as contested, unstable, and vulnerable as the social life/social death it portrays, and as such defies – although certainly encourages – final categorizations. 

We will pursue these and other questions emerging out of our seminar by following the intellectual path W.E.B. Du Bois marked in his The Souls of Black Folk. As the achievement of a highly dedicated yet quite often parochial man of his time, Souls reflects an intellectual terrain that is, on the one hand, quite generative, and on the other, fraught and sometimes perilous. To grapple with Du Bois is to engage the larger field of Black Studies; to grapple with the field of Black Studies is to engage Du Bois. An attentive reading of Du Bois will engender propositions that both address the text and extrapolate it. This resulting set of propositions, in turn, gives us an entry into the ever-shifting conceptual assemblage that is Black Diasporic Studies. 

Course assignments and expectations

This is an intensive, collective theoretical conversation. It requires consistency of reading and participation over the entire semester. Students must be prepared to actively engage in seminar discussions during every session. Attendance and active participation are mandatory, and are a considerable portion of your evaluation.

The seminar space must be respected. Please take care of your health and rest needs so that you are not tempted to nap or doze off during our sessions. If agreed, we will have a 15 minute break at the halfway point of our seminar. Please turn off any electronic device that might produce distracting sounds. 


Research Paper (15-20 pages): 50%                                                                   

Leading Class Discussion: 25%

Class participation (including freethinking weekly piece): 25%

AFR 395P • Subjects In Prof In Afr

31550 • Foster, Kevin
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM RLP 0.124
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