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

AFR 301 • African American Culture

29985 • Walter, Patrick
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM RLP 0.128
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This course surveys African American cultural production from the 1600s to the present. Topics cover the circumstances and responses of blacks during North American enslavement, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Great Migration, The Harlem Renaissance, The Civil Rights Movement, and in contemporary contexts. Class sessions will reflect our reading of primary and secondary texts that embody a wide range of African American religious, political, social and artistic thought and production. The class will fill gaps in students’ knowledge about African American culture and history and provide a foundation for future Black Studies course work.


AFR 302M • Numbering Race

29990 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.402
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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 • Introduction To Black Studies

29994 • Wint, Traci-Ann
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM
(also listed as ANT 310D)
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This course provides students with an introduction to Black Studies. In the first section of the course we consider the 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 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. The second section of the course focuses on Black cultures, power, and politics. It utilizes the analytical tools provided by the course to forge an understanding of Black gendered cultural forms. The third section of the course focuses in on the expression and use of Black Studies and the ethical questions raised by applying this perspective to everyday concerns in critical areas of social inequity.

AFR 310L • Intro To Traditional Africa

30000 • Falola, Oloruntoyin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 4.104
(also listed as AHC 310, HIS 311K)
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Course Description:

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.

AFR 315 • Afro-Brazilian Diaspora

30005 • Afolabi, Omoniyi
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM GWB 1.130
(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 literature. 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” that fits into Gilberto Freyre’s “racial democracy” model; 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 requirements for writing and global flags. 2. Students will be exposed to the dynamics of coping mechanism with social inequalities in Brazil as they mostly affect the Afro-Brazilian population. 3. Students will not only be exposed to elements of style, they will also improve their writing skills by having opportunities to re-write most of 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.

*This syllabus is subject to minor alterations in the course of the semester

AFR 317C • Intro To Ancient Egypt

30015 • Nethercut, William
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 101
(also listed as C C 304C)
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This course is for the beginner. There are no pre-requisites other than a fascination for what has always seemed mysterious and powerful. We shall explore the most important chapters of Egypt's story, beginning with what is known of the pre-historical period from 13,000 B.C. down to the Neolithic and Pre-Dynastic era, 6,000 to 4,000 B.C. We shall then study the Old Kingdom, its first dynasties, monuments, personalities, culture, development of the hieroglyphic system, earliest mythological traditions (3100 to 2125 B.C.). The same inclusive review of language, culture, and history will be presented for the Middle Kingdom (2125 to 1550 B.C.) and New Kingdom (1550 to 1069 B.C.) In every instance we shall compare the Egyptian way of thinking with the cultural styles of the major Near Eastern civilizations. It will be particularly instructive to discover the ways in which Egyptian traditions were altered as we move down through the centuries. A startling example is the transformation of Set from a captain of Ra in the Old Kingdom who drove off the underworld Serpent to a base deceiver in the New Kingdom, or of Osiris, a disturbingly powerful force among the Dead in the Old Kingdom, into a more welcoming "St. Peter" in King Tut's funeral chamber (New Kingdom).


AFR 317C • The United States And Africa

30010 • Falola, Oloruntoyin
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.112
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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This class will examine 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. The course aims; (1) to develop a base of African and US history and increase the level of awareness of the African Diaspora in the US; (2) to obtain a well-rounded approach to the political, economic, and cultural connections between the United States and Africa; (3) 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; (4) 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; and (5) 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.


AFR 317D • Intro Black Women's Studies

30028 • Wint, Traci-Ann
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 0.132
(also listed as WGS 301)
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AFR 317D • Intro To African Amer Hist

30024 • Farmer, Ashley
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 3.132
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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This course is largely designed to introduce students to the major themes, issues, and debates in African American history from its African origins until today. It serves as a general introduction to the historical literature by providing lower division undergraduate students with an overview of the African American experience through readings, lectures, film, and music. Some of the specific topics covered include African antecedents, colonial and antebellum slavery, the abolition movement, the free black experience, the Civil War, emancipation, Jim Crow segregation, racial violence, black culture, the modern freedom struggle, popular culture, political movements, and the contemporary experience. Ultimately, students should gain an understanding of how enslaved and free African Americans lived, worked, socialized, and defined themselves in American society. 

Course Objectives:
Students will have the opportunity to write essays and take multiple-choice and short answer exams in this course. Using this combination of testing strategies, one goal of the class is to facilitate students’ LEARNING of African American history rather than the memorization of relevant names, dates, and events. The professor recognizes the importance of knowing key figures and events; however, the primary objective is to help students develop a solid understanding of the political, social, economic, and personal lives of African Americans from their arrival through today. 

This course carries the flag for Cultural Diversity in the United States
Fikenbine, Ray ed. Sources of the African American Past: Primary Sources in American History (2nd Edition), 2003.


Deborah Gray White, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin, Jr. Freedom On My Mind: A History of African Americans with Documents – Combined Volume

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision 

All other readings available on CANVAS


Class Participation/History “Labs” 15%

Midterm Exam 20%

Final Exam 25%

Primary Document Analyses (2)- 20%

Freedom Reflections (2) – 20%

AFR 317D • Race/Gender/Education At Ut

30019 • Tinsley, Natasha
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GWB 1.130
(also listed as WGS 301)
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While the struggles of black and Latino men in higher education have gained much-needed visibility in the last decade, the challenges faced by women of color in university settings continue even as they are increasingly invisibilized. While we come to the university looking to get information/get in formation, we are often tacitly or explicitly forced to prove ourselves in ways other students are not. This course will open inquiry about the resources and skills that women of color need to “slay”: that is, to succeed in higher education in general, and at the University of Texas in particular. Through interdisciplinary readings, we explore avenues for women of color to bolster their academic, social, physical, emotional, and sexual wellbeing while pursuing advanced degrees.

AFR 317D • The Black Power Movement

30029 • Moore, Leonard
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 2.112A
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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Course Description and Objectives

The Black Power movement was a distinct period in African American life from the late 1960s and early 1970s that emphasized racial pride, the creation of black political and cultural institutions, self-reliance, and group unity. The expression of black power ideology ranged from the desire to create an all-black nation-state to the promotion of black economic power. This course will look at the major organizations, key figures, and ideologies of the black power movement. This course may be used to fulfill three hours of the U.S. history component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, personal responsibility, and social responsibility.

Course Content Disclaimer

In this course, students may be required to read text or view materials that they may consider offensive. Additionally, class discussions in this class can at times become intense. The ideas expressed in any given text or in class discussions do not necessarily reflect the views of the instructor, the History Department, or the University of Texas at Austin. Course materials and discussion topics are selected for their historical and/or cultural relevance, or as an example of stylistic and/or

AFR 317E • Race And Tourism

30027 • Wint, Traci-Ann
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GWB 1.130
(also listed as ANT 310L)
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What does it mean to be a tourist? Who gets to be a tourist? What role do race, class, gender, and sexuality play in our understandings of tourism? How does race impact how, where, and why people travel? This course introduces students to debates, methods and conceptual frameworks in the study of race and tourism. We’ll examine the nuances of how and why people travel, the trials and benefits of being a host location or destination, and we’ll interrogate what happens when tourist and local meet. Through a review of travelogues and travel guides, tourism advertising paraphernalia, novels, and films we’ll discuss tourism and its relationship to colonialism and imperialism, and race, as well as the commodification of culture and the role of the “exotic” in our globalized world. We’ll cover topics such as tourism and development, eco-tourism, cruise and all-inclusive tourism, wellness tourism, sex tourism, dark tourism, and heritage and diaspora tourism. From the Caribbean to Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas we’ll look at the role of race in travel and the impact of tourism on culture, people, and environment.

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

30045 • Walter, Patrick
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM GWB 1.130
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AFR 317F • Music Of African Americans

30050-30065 • Carson, Charles
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MRH 2.608
(also listed as MUS 307)
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I. Course Description:

Generally speaking, this course is an introduction to the musical, social, cultural, and political elements of Hip Hop culture in the US, as interpreted through the development of its musical style.

II. Course Aims and Objectives:

Aims Beyond increasing familiarity with African American music and culture, a major goal of this course is to provide you with the tools to coexist--and indeed thrive--in a global context.

Specific Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will: ● Be able to recognize and describe general elements of African American cultural practices, including instruments/media, performance practice, and aesthetics. ● Discuss the ways in which these elements have influenced (and continue to influence) contemporary American society, especially with respect to hip hop and related genres. ● Critically assess expressions and representations of African American culture in music and media. ● Be able to apply these critical thinking skills in the context of other cultures, both historical and contemporary.

AFR 321L • Sociology Of Education

30075 • Fulton, Kelly
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM JES A203A
(also listed as SOC 321L, WGS 345)
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This course examines education from a sociological perspective. We will use various theories to explore the institution of education, going beyond our own individual experiences with education. Specific topics include public education; stratification within and between schools; and educational reform. The primary focus will be K-12 education in the United States.

AFR 330F • Writing For Black Performance

30080 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as AMS 321Q, CRW 325T, T D 357T)
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This course will require students to write critical essays as well as theatrical pieces about the performance of black identity in America. Participants will also give oral presentations and perform readings of their work using various African-American performance styles. Students will read texts that examine African-American performance, contemporary black identity, and expressive culture.




Brandi Wilkins Catanese, Problem of the Color[blind]: Racial Transgression and the Politics of Black Performance

Nicole R. Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness

E. Patrick Johnson, Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity

Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and Other Works

Cherise Smith, Enacting Others

August Wilson, The Ground on Which I Stand

George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum

AFR 340 • Contemp African Pop Culture

30085 • Livermon, Xavier
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JGB 2.218
(also listed as WGS 340)
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The aim of this course is to introduce students to some of the most significant aspects of popular culture in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Manifestations of popular culture are considered as markers of modern African identities, embedded in complex and varied socio-cultural, historical and political contexts. Within the current era of global, diasporic, and transnational flows, it is neither sufficient any longer to view Africa solely from the perspective of political economies, nor to discuss contemporary African culture within the tradition-versus-modernity debate. Manifestations of popular culture in Africa show that the continent is part and parcel of the postmodern world, with cultural production simultaneously influenced by global trends and specific African contexts. The course will cover various forms of cultural expression and genres, including popular film, music, literature, dance, comics and cartoons, fashion, sport, street art, theatre, and contemporary visual arts. Attention will be paid to the production modes, audiences and sites of consumption of these different genres and aspects of popular culture. Course instruction will include extensive film and clip viewings, analysis of music, and reading fictional texts such as popular novels and comics.


  • Marguerite Abouet Aya: Life in Yop City.
  • Nadine Dolby: Constructing Race: Youth, Identity and Popular Culture in South Africa.
  • Manthia Diawara In Search of Africa.
  • Sokari Ekine ed. SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa. 
  • Relebohile Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, and Ann Smith eds. Was it Something I Wore? Dress, Identity, Materialitiy.
  • Mwenda Ntarangwi East African Hip-Hop: Youth Culture and Globalization.
  • Simon Weller and Garth Walker South African Township Barbershops and Salons.

AFR 356E • Black Women And Dance

30089 • Tinsley, Natasha
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CMA 3.114
(also listed as WGS 340)
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What does it mean for black women to dance your anger and your joys, as activist-artist Ken Saro Wiwa put it: that is, to use our moving, creative, powerful bodies to respond to the violences of racism and sexism, and to envision new ways of being and moving in the world? This course journeys towards answers to this question by exploring women’s participation in ritual, concert, and social dance in North America, Haiti, Cuba, and Brazil. We will work through readings, viewings, and stagings, and interweave text, movement, and action to encourage students’ artistic as well as academic self-expression. Some of the questions we explore include: How can we view and create artistic work while still keeping social justice issues in mind? How do embodied practices become modes of organizing communities? How can we decipher the fragile histories that we carry and move through in our own bodies?

AFR 357C • African American Hist To 1860

30090 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 1.126
(also listed as AMS 321E, HIS 357C)
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This upper division course examines the history of African Americans in the United States from the West African Heritage to the Civil War and provides a critical examination on central issues under scholarly debate in the reconstruction of the Black experience in America. The course thus engages the debate on the evolution of African-American slavery as a social, economic and political institution, with special focus on antebellum slavery, including plantation slavery, industrial slavery, and urban slavery in addition to slave culture.

Also, the course assesses the institutional development of the free black community, during the age of slavery, with emphasis on free black protest activities, organizations, and leaders. Equally important, information is provided on the business and entrepreneurial activities of both slave and free blacks before the Civil War to underscore the long historic tradition of black economic self-help. Invariably, those slaves who purchased their freedom were slaves involved in various business enterprises. Also emphasized in the course are the various ways in which slave and free black women responded to slavery and racism before the Civil War, giving consideration to gender issues within the intersection of the dynamics of race, class, and sex.

The course format is primarily lecture, with informal class discussion, utilizing in part the Socratic method of teaching/pedagogy (especially useful for students who are pre-law), as we examine topics that broaden historical consciousness and critical thinking skills, such as: the role Africans played in the Atlantic slave trade; the historical forces that contributed to the origin of racism in Colonial America; the anomaly of black plantation slave owners in a race-based slave society; how white economic disparities and hegemonic masculinities were played out in class subordination and racial oppression; why race takes precedence over class in assessing the black historical experience; the extent to which judicial cases provide a pragmatic assessment of the realities of slave life; the extent to which American law supported the racial subordination of slave and free blacks; whether or not the economic and political imperatives that prompted antebellum African American settlement in West Africa can be considered colonialist in design and intent.

These and other questions will bring to the forefront the central issue of the agency of African Americans in their attempts to survive racism and slavery in attempts forge their own political and economic liberation. This course, consequently, emphasizes both the deconstruction of prevailing assessments and interpretations of the African American experience as well as provides information for a new reconstruction of the Black Experience from slavery to freedom. In each instance, emphasis will be on exploring different historical interpretations of the Black Experience.

African American slaves did not lead a monolithic slave experience. They shared life-time, hereditary, involuntary servitude, racial oppression and subordination. But many manipulated the institution and slave codes in attempts to mitigate that oppression. Others, such as Nat Turner and Dred Scott used other means to bring about an end to their servitude, while free blacks also fought to end slavery as well as improve their economic, societal and legal status.

The primary purposes of this course, then, are 1) to develop an understanding of the nature of historical inquiry; 2). to heighten historical consciousness 3), encourage critical thinking and analysis of historical material; and. 4) to recognizing the difference between what might have happened and what actually happened to blacks, both slave and free blacks during the age of slavery to the Civil War.



Franklin, John Hope and Higginbotham, E. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans

Holt, Thomas, Barkely-Brown, E. and Patterson, T.   Major Problems in African American History, Vol 1

Horton, James, Horton, L., In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community, Protest among Northern Free Blacks,


Owens, Leslie, This Species of Property: Slave Life and Culture in the Old South

Walker, Juliet E. K., The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship, Vol 1, 

Washington, Harriet A., Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black

             Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. 


EXTRA CREDIT    (Museum Visit Report)       5%  

EXAM I (take-home )                                      30%

MOVIE/BOOK CRITICAL REVIEW                     5%

RESEARCH PAPER                                            30%

EXAM 2                                                             30%

CLASS PARTICIPATION                                   5-10%

AFR 372C • Race/Gender/Surveillance

30100 • Browne, Simone
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 0.130
(also listed as AMS 321, SOC 322V, WGS 322)
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Drawing from social science readings, science fiction (Gattaca, THX-1138, Ex-Machina, Grounded), documentaries, and popular media (24South Park, Orange is the New Black, The Bachelor, Cheaters), this course introduces students to the emerging field of Surveillance Studies.

We examine: slavery, reality TV, sports, Google, trolling + social media, borders, airports, biometric technology, whistleblowers, drones, wearables + fashion, among other topics.

AFR 372D • Medicine In African History

30120 • Osseo-Asare, Abena
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 112
(also listed as HIS 350L)
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How do societies understand illness, and how do they restore good health? In this course, we explore how communities have confronted disease throughout Africa’s history. During the first six weeks, we read about the changing role of specialist healers since the 1700s, including shamans, malams, nurses, and drug peddlers. The second half of the course turns to the history of specific health concerns and diseases including malaria, reproductive health, and AIDS through regional case studies. Particular emphasis is placed on pre-colonial healing, medical education, colonial therapeutics, and the impact of environmental change.


This course offers participants a nuanced, historical perspective on the current health crisis in Africa. Staggering figures place the burden of global disease in Africa; not only AIDS and malaria, but also pneumonia, diarrhea and mental illness significantly affect the lives of everyday people. Studying the history of illness and healing in African societies provides a framework with which to interpret the social, political, and environmental factors shaping international health today.

AFR 372D • Psychology Of Race/Racism

30105 • Awad, Germine
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SZB 435
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AFR 372D • Race/Medicine In Amer Life

30104 • Hoberman, John
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM ECJ 1.314
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AFR 372D • Sociocul Influences On Learn

30115 • De Lissovoy, Noah
Meets T 4:00PM-7:00PM SZB 278
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AFR 372D • Sociocul Influences On Learn

30110 • Link, Bethany
Meets TH 1:00PM-4:00PM SZB 424
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AFR 372E • Afr Am Lit Thru Harl Renais

30125 • Byrnes, Delia
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 302
(also listed as E 376R)
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E 376R l African American Literature through the Harlem Renaissance


Instructor:  Byrnes, D

Unique #:  35215

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E.4


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: This course is a survey of major Black writers in the context of slavery and its immediate aftermath.  We will engage with literature by African and African American writers from the eighteenth century through the early-to-mid twentieth century.  We will consider how this literary tradition contributes to our understanding of issues including freedom, bondage, citizenship, gender, sexuality, and race.  In addition to reading primary works, we will also view films and read historical and critical texts that illuminate this period of African American culture and history.


Tentative Texts:  Frederick Douglass,Narrative of the Life; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God.


Requirements & Grading: Blog Posts (10%); Three 2-pg Essays (15%); 5-pg Dialogue Essay (15%); 8-10-pg Research Paper, including Draft (30%); Final Presentation (10%); Attendance and Participation (20%).

AFR 372E • Contemp Afr Amer Women Fic

30130 • Byrnes, Delia
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 302
(also listed as E 376M, WGS 340)
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E 376M l 7-Contemporary African American Women’s Fiction


Instructor:  Byrnes, D

Unique #:  35205

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E.15, WGS 340.29


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: In this course, we will examine the novels, films, and art of women of African descent produced from the 1980s to the present.  We will focus on how African and African Diasporic women writers, filmmakers, and artists reimagine the past, present, and future.  We will strengthen our understanding of these texts through discussions of history, contemporary political and social life, and a range of theoretical approaches, including cultural studies, feminist theory, and critical race studies.


Tentative Texts: Belovedby Toni Morrison; Parable of the Sowerby Octavia Butler; Sing, Unburied, Singby Jesmyn Ward; Lemonadeby Beyoncé.


Requirements & Grading:  Blog Posts (10%);Three 2-pg Essays (15%); 5-pg Dialogue Essay (15%); 8-10-pg Research Paper, including Draft (30%); Final Presentation (10%); Attendance and Participation (20%).

AFR 372E • History Of The Black Sitcom

Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BMC 4.206
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AFR 372G • African Queer Studies

30135 • Wint, Traci-Ann
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 0.122
(also listed as WGS 335)
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This course explores queer gender and sexuality in Africa, with particular focus on theoretical issues, the colonial encounter, citizenship and activism, media representations. In the first unit, we will examine some of the theoretical issues that are relevant to studying queer gender and sexuality in Africa and in the African Diaspora more broadly. In the second unit, we will explore some of the literature on the impact of colonialism on queer African identities and practices, and we will pay particular attention to its lasting impact on queer African lives in our post-colonial moment. In the third unity, we will read several ethnographic and literary texts on specific communities in order to expand our understanding of the diverse ways in which queer Africans create identities, experience desire, and redefine dominant notions of citizenships. In the final unit of the course, we will examine representations of queer African sexuality in literature, film, and media, focusing especially on representation in relation to recent events in South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, and Senegal. We will pay particular attention to how such representations are shaped by political economy and influenced by the international community.



Queer African Reader Sokari Ekine and Hakima Abbas eds.

African Sexualities: A reader Sylvia Tamale ed.

Heterosexual Africa?: The History of an Idea from the Age of Exploration to the Age of AIDS Marc Epprecht

OUT in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa Ashley Currier

Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City Rudolf P. Gaudio

Black Bull, Ancestors, and Me: My life as a Lesbian Sangoma Nkunzi Zandile Nkadinde

AFR 374C • Egypt Hieroglyphics Cul Ctx

30150 • Nethercut, William
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 112
(also listed as C C 348)
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Egyptian Hieroglyphics in Cultural Context

This course is designed for those who wish to learn the vocabulary and grammar of ancient Egyptian as a guide to understanding artefacts and monuments from the different periods of Egyptian history, whether in museums, exhibitions, or on site overseas. We shall begin with the signs painted on pottery from the pre-dynastic period, proceed with formulas popular in the Old Kingdom, including the Pyramid Texts from the Fifth Dynasty, and continue with the examination of stelae and cartouches from the Middle and New Kingdoms. Wherever we can find hieroglyphics, as on the reverse side of scarabs in Hatshepsut's collection, or graffiti from the Workmen's Village in the Valley of the Kings or on the obelisks of Karnak, Rome and New York City, we shall practice reading them.  With this background, we will engage texts from the Ptolemaic period and, notably, the Rosetta Stone. Formal communication  during the Roman rule in Egypt will offer a different opportunity to appreciate. In each case,  diverse artefacts and texts will allow us to extend our understanding of Egyptian history.

This course carries the Global Cultures flag.

AFR 374D • Afr Amer Women Pol Activism

30154 • Philpot, Tasha
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 2.112
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AFR 374D • Freedom Summer

30155 • Burrowes, Nicole
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM BIO 301
(also listed as WGS 340)
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Course Description:

This course examines one of the most radical moments in civil rights history—the 1964 Mississippi Project. Widely known as “Freedom Summer,” this civil rights campaign organized a multi-faceted program that challenged white supremacy in one of the nation’s most racially oppressive and violent states through the development of Freedom Schools, voter registration drives, and an alternative political party called the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Even more, Freedom Summer called on Black women and men from the community, many of whom were poor and disenfranchised, to lead their own movement.

It was during the Freedom Summer campaign that activists debated the merits of non-violence vs. self-defense; the limits of charismatic male leadership; and the role of white allies in the struggle for Black freedom. In the face of extraordinary violence and economic deprivation, Black Mississippians waged one of the most powerful, yet understudied, movements in civil rights history, and they modeled the maxim that “ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things.”

Using scholarly texts, primary sources, film and music, students will explore the 1964 Freedom Summer Project in order to understand diverse struggles, leadership styles, and competing interpretations of what it means to be free. Borrowing directly from the original Freedom School curriculum, students will contemplate the “myths of society” as well as theoretical and conceptual frameworks necessary for the creation of a just society. This course also seeks to draw connections through a roaming classroom format in which we will gather at various sites in our surrounding community on occasion.



  • Faith S. Holsaert, ed., Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012);
  • Payne, Charles M. I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. 
  • McGuire, Danielle L. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance: A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. 
  • Hale, John. The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. 
  • Umoja, Akinyele Omowale We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement. 
  • Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker & the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision. 
  • Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. 
  • Cobb, Charles. This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed. 
  • Hamlin, Françoise. Crossroads At Clarksdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II.
  • Barbara Ransby, Making All Black Lives Matter

AFR 374D • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30160 • Walker, Juliet
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MEZ 1.204
(also listed as AMS 370, HIS 350R)
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Within the construct of African American Business history, race, American capitalism, contemporary American popular culture and global capitalism, this course will focus on an important aspect in the contemporary political economy of black Americans. Specifically, the commodification (sale) of black culture provides the conceptual frame for an examination of the phenomenon of both the superstar black athlete as an entrepreneur and the Hip Hop Superstar as an entrepreneur in post-Civil Rights America. The emphasis in this course, then, is to critically examine and analyze the impact of a multiplicity of societal, cultural and economic factors in the post-modern information age, propelled by new technologies in the New Economy of Global Capitalism.  Also, consideration will be given to the new diversity as it impacts on the political economy of African Americans and American capitalism.

Yet, during the “Golden Age” of black business in the early 20th century, there were examples of African Americans participating in the development of enterprises that paralleled mainstream white business activity in Industrial America such as the first African American car manufacturing company, C.R. Patterson & Sons. The Ohio-based company was founded by ex-slave in 1865 and manufactured carriages. In 1916, the founder’s son Frederick Douglass Patterson, built his first car, the Patterson-Greenfield. below...

Early advertisements showed the Patterson Car company’s marketing brand announced:  “If it’s a Patterson, it’s a good one.” Also the company said their cars be more efficient than the Model T. The cars cost about $850 each while a Model T cost $620.and reached speeds up to 50 miles per hour, while a Model T cost $620 and averaged 20  miles per hour. The Patterson Company could not compete with Ford’s assembly-line production and eventually stopped production of the Patterson-Greenfield car.  In the 1920s, the Patterson Company became a subcontractor manufacturing busses for Ford. 

See Juliet E. K. Walker, The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship ((New York/London:  Macmillan/Prentice Hall International, 1998; 2nd Printing,  Macmillan, 1999), 203, 239. 262

By the 1930s, most black business sales were limited to black consumers.  In the Civil Rights era, black hair care manufacturers expanded into million dollar enterprises. Beginning with the post-Civil Rights and Black Power eras, the only black businesses that profited from multi-million dollars sales in American’s mainstream consumer market were  those  enterprises that commodified  (sold) black cultural expressions, primarily in music, sports and cable TV media enterprises. Ironically, with few exceptions most of the profits derived from the sale of black culture go to white corporate America. 


Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers the super-rich hip hop entrepreneurs,  superstar black athletes and the cable media billionaire moguls well as their emergence as cultural icons, contrasted with the comparatively overall poor performance of Black Business not only within the intersection of race, gender, class, but also within the context of transnationalism in the globalization sale of African American Culture in post-Civil Rights America. But who profits?  Indeed,  also, why and how has the criminal element in the black community used modern business methods to succeed such as exemplified by the movie “American Gangster,“ which starred Denzel Washington.

Most important, the major question is why business receipts for African Americans, who comprise almost thirteen percent of this nation's population, amounted in 2007 to only .5%, that is, less than one (1) percent of the nation's total business receipts? In addition, why is it that among the various occupational categories in which blacks participate in the nation's economy, especially as businesspeople that black entertainers and sports figures are the highest paid? What does this say about race, class, gender and hegemonic masculinities in America at the turn of the new century?



Eldridge, Lewis, Capitalism:  The New Segregation

Lewis, Reginald, Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun:  How Reginald Lewis Created a Billion-Dollar

                                               Business Empire

Peebles, R. Donahue, The Peebles Principles: Tales and Tactics from an Entrepreneur's Life Winning Deals                                                                                                             

                            Succeeding in Business, and Creating a Fortune from Scratch

Smith-Shomade, Beretta,   Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television

Stoute, Steve, Tanning of America:  How Hip Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote Rules of a New Economy

Walker, Juliet E. K. “History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship”            

      Course Packet chapters 6-11 or The History of Black Business in America:  Capitalism, Race,

                      Entrepreneurship (New York/London:  Macmillan/Prentice Hall International, 1998)



Critical Book Review Analysis 25%

(5 reviews, 2-3 pages 5 points each)

Class Discussion/participation 25%

Oral Summary of Research Paper 5%

Seminar Research Paper (15 pages) 45%

AFR 374D • Psychol Afr Amer Experience

30164 • Cokley, Kevin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM SZB 435
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AFR 374E • Nationalism In Caribbean

30173 • Jimenez, Monica
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 306
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 366)
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This course takes a broad view of the concept of nationalism and seeks to trace its manifestations throughout the circum-Caribbean during the 20th century. The term circum-Caribbean is defined broadly in order to include not only the island-nations of the region, but also their diasporic communities within the United States. Throughout the 20th century the region saw episodes of great political upheaval and violent tumult. This course will explore the various factors that led to the growth of revolutionary nationalism in the region as well as the movements that arose as a result of these tensions. We will discuss nationalism from a theoretical and global perspective as well as through case studies of specific Caribbean and diasporic communities. Particular attention will be paid to the role of US hegemony in the rise of nationalist ideology.



  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
  • Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
  • Aime Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism
  • Lahouari Addi,“The Failure of Third World Nationalism”
  • Lillian Guerra,“Beyond Paradox: Counterrevolution and the Origins of Political Culture in the Cuban Revolution,”
  • Michael Zeuske, “The Long Cuban Revolution.”
  • Tanya Harmer, “Two, Three, Many Revolutions? Cuba and the Prospects for Revolutionary Change in Latin America.”
  • Shalini Puri, The Grenada Revolution in the Caribbean Present: Operation Urgent Memory
  • Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, “The Catholic World View in the Political Philosophy of Pedro Albizu Campos: The death knell of insularity.”
  • Michael Gonazalez-Cruz, “Puerto Rican Revolutionary Nationalism: Filiberto Ojeda Rios and the Macheteros”
  • Jorge Duany, “A Postcolonial Colony?: The Rise of Cultural Nationalism in Puerto Rico during the 1950’s

AFR 374E • Race/Rebellion/Rev Caribbean

30174 • Burrowes, Nicole
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 303
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 366)
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AFR 374F • Africana Women's Art

30205 • Okediji, Moyosore
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM DFA 2.204
(also listed as WGS 340)
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AFR 374F • Harlem Renaissance

30180 • Chambers, Edward
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM DFA 2.204
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AFR 374F • Historcl Images Afr In Film

30210 • Falola, Oloruntoyin
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GAR 0.120
(also listed as HIS 350L, WGS 340)
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    Since the late 1980s, the African film industry has undergone radical changes that reflect an increasingly globalized economy and the impact of structural adjustment policies. This revolution is characterized by the low-budget, direct to video films commonly referred to as Nollywood.  While these films have come under criticism for their low production values and popularization of negative cultural stereotypes, the Nigerian video industry has risen to colossal proportions, sweeping across the continent and throughout the global diaspora.  The purpose of this course is to examine the rise of Nollywood and the genesis of a popular African art form.  Through a combination of films and readings, students will explore how Nollywood, in comparison with the established FESPACO film industry and Hollywood, depicts the society and culture of Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.  Additionally, this course seeks to engage students in a debate about how popular films affect historical imaginations and memory.  While these images have previously been the product of Hollywood and Francophone films, this course will introduce Nollywood as an alternative to how Nigerians and Africa as a whole understand their history.  

Haynes, Jonathan, ed. Nigerian Video Films. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2000.

Rosenstone, Robert A. Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to Our Idea of History.
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Saul, Mahir and Ralph A. Austen, eds. Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-First Century:
Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010.

*There will also be several journal articles assigned throughout the semester.  These will be available through the university library’s online databases and posted to the course documents section of the class Blackboard page.
Assignment                 Due                            Points
Attendance                 Every class session    50
Book/Film Review      Week 6                100
Conference Report     Week 10                50
Final Paper                 Week 15                200
Discussion Posts      See syllabus for deadlines    100

AFR 374F • Intro To African Art

30209 • Okediji, Moyosore
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM DFA 2.204
(also listed as WGS 340)
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AFR 374F • Lit Of Black Politics

30215 • Marshall, Stephen
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GDC 1.406
(also listed as AMS 370)
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Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison are three of the greatest American writers. The corpus of each contains first rate literary works, provocative and erudite literary and cultural criticism, and insightful theoretical analysis of the perils and possibilities of black life under conditions of American political modernity and late modernity.

In this course, we will examine the novels, plays, and critical essays of these writers as works of democratic political theorizing and political engagement. We shall ask, how do each of these writers conceive the legacies of slavery, mastery, segregation, and racial terror, and how do each conceive the relationship between these legacies and contemporary black life? How does each writer conceive the lessons of this legacy(s) for contemporary political life? What aesthetic forms are most adequate to wrestling with these legacies, according to these three writers? And, what is the vocation of the artist in Black America and America as a whole, and are the conceptions of the artistic vocation held by these writers politically relevant for us today?



5 page Midterm paper: 20%

15 page Research Paper: 40%

Daily reading quizzes: 20%

Class Presentation: 20%


Possible Texts

  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
  • Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison
  • James Baldwin, Go Tell it On the Mountain
  • James Baldwin, Blues For Mister Charlie
  • James Baldwin, The Price of the Ticket
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • Toni Morrison, Paradise
  • Toni Morrison, What Moves at the Margins
  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark

AFR 374F • Music Of Latin America

30185-30190 • Moore, Robin
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MRH 2.634
(also listed as LAS 326)
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AFR 374F • Writing Slavery

30200 • Woodard, Helena
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 204
(also listed as E 376M, WGS 340)
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E 376M  l  3-Writing Slavery


Instructor:  Woodard, H

Unique #:  35215

Semester:  Fall 2019

Cross-lists:  AFR 374F.6; WGS 340.31


Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.


Description: This course proposes two primary objectives rooted in past and present literary representations of slavery. Thematizing “the trope of the talking book,” (Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s The Signifying Monkey), the course first examines seminal slave narratives, e.g. the literature of the enslaved as discursive strategies, from self-actualization and resistance to early formations of a black literary discourse.  The course then explores how slavery is (re)written, controversially in a presentist context by contemporary authors, particularly in historical fiction or neo-slave narratives that seek to restore agency and reclaim subjectivity for enslaved individuals.  Ultimately, the course engages larger issues about the different venues that writings about slavery offer for academic disciplines, literary instruction and/or pedagogy.


Required Readings (subject to change):  Elizabeth Alexander, The Venus Hottentot: Poems; Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother; Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Classic Slave Narratives; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition;Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and Other Works; Marlene Nourbise Philip, Zong!; Fred D’Aguiar, Feeding the Ghosts; Edward P. Jones, The Known World; Course Pak (Speedway on Dobie).


Requirements & Grading: .75: Three critical essays (25% each; 4-5 pages per essay, typed, double spaced) and one major rewrite of essay I or II (includes peer evaluation; see revision instruction handout); .15: Response papers based on course reading (1-2 pages), reading quizzes, class participation; .10: Oral group presentations, accompanied by one-page written report.


Attendance: Regular attendance is required.  More than four absences will be sufficient grounds for failure in the course.  The four allowed absences will include illness, deaths of relatives, and other emergencies.  If you are more than five minutes late or leave before class ends (without permission), you will be counted absent for that class.  You are responsible for all work covered in your absence.


A (94-100); A- (90-93); B+ (87-89); B (84-86); B- (80-83); C+ (77-79); C (74-76); C- (70-73); D+ (67-69); D (64-66); D- (60-63); F (0-59).


Plus/minus grades will be assigned for the final grade.  This is a writing-intensive course.  No final exam is given.

AFR 381 • Alienation And Freedom

30225 • Alagraa, Bedour
Meets TH 2:00PM-5:00PM RLP 0.124
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This course is a graduate reading seminar which focuses on the problem of alienation as a predicament for Black radical anticolonal thought and politics. In this seminar, we will trace the genealogy of this ‘problem’ to the humanist tradition, in which the figure of the human is the site for considerations regarding both alienation and freedom. We will endeavour to consider a different humanist strand, drawn from radical Black transnational thought, which attempts to de-link from Enlightenment conceptions of Man in order to consider how alienation and freedom might be conceptualized differently. Via these theorizations, we will explore some of the key ‘problems’ of Man, which include his overrepresentation (Wynter, 2006), and the problems of alienation, labour, colonial violence. We will also consider some key paradigms which refuse these problematics, including rebellion/revolution, marronage, and aesthetic movements/traditions. The readings will be structured around the works of Sylvia Wynter, Frantz Fanon, and Aimé Cesaire, and will include works from other political philosophic traditions.

AFR 381 • Black Women's Intellectual His

30235 • Farmer, Ashley
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM GAR 1.122
(also listed as HIS 392, WGS 393)
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This goal of this course is to explore the historiography of black women’s thought from Early America to the present day. Throughout the course, we will trace the ideological continuities and disjunctures in the texts black women across the African Diaspora have produced. We will also engage with a range of scholars in order to address how historians have approached the intersections of women, gender, sexuality and black thought.

Sample Texts:
Mia Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha Jones, Barbara Savage, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women
Ashley Farmer, Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era
Brittney Coper, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women
Beverly Guy-Sheftall ed. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought
C. Riley Norton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
Marisa Fuentes, Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive
Stephanie Y. Evans, Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History
Vincent Carrretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage 

Discussion Leadership: 15%

Reading Notes: 12 %

Class Participation: 13%

4 Reading Skills Essays: 60 %

AFR 381 • Theories Of Race/Ethnicity

30239 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM RLP 3.106
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AFR 385 • Rsch In African American Hist

30245 • Berry, Daina
Meets M 12:00PM-3:00PM SRH 2.106
(also listed as AMS 391, HIS 389, WGS 393)
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This is a graduate research course for doctoral students interested in learning how to conduct archival research. Employing a thematic approach to historical studies, students will examine sources related to African American History, Slavery, and the Domestic Slave Trade housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The Natchez Trace Collection serves as the core collection researched in this course. With more than 450 linear feet of primary resources, this collection contains slaveholding records, personal papers, photographs, maps, newspapers, broadsides, diaries and other political, business and legal records related to slavery in the Gulf South states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Students will learn how to locate, transcribe, analyze, and interpret a variety of records culminating with a research paper based on primary documents at the end of the semester.


Students should familiarize themselves with the Briscoe website:


In addition to drawing upon the resources in this large collection, members of the library staff will make guest presentations on topics related to the research process, archival preservation, and how to navigate various complementary collections on campus and at other institutions. Students are expected to produce a research paper primarily based on the holdings in the Briscoe Center, in particular the Natchez Trace Collection, yet some may wish to consult other repositories on campus including the archival material from the Benson Center and Harry Ransom Center if their approved paper topics fall beyond the Gulf South. The professor expects this course to draw upon students interested in US slavery as well as comparative slavery in the Americas -broadly definedand welcomes scholars in a variety of fields including but not limited to History, African and African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, American Studies, and Art History.


Required Readings:

Martha Jones, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America

Stephanie Jones-Rogers, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slavery Owners in the American South

Barbara Krauthamer, Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South

Maurie McInnis, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade

Damian Pargas, Slavery and Forced Migration in the Antebellum South

Caitlin Rosenthal, Accounting for Slavery: Masters and Management

Calvin Schermerhorn, Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery


AFR 385 • Violence/Sovereignty

30250 • Crosson, Jonathan
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CMA 3.134
(also listed as ANT 391, LAS 391, R S 383C)
show description

Foucault had insisted that we cut off the head of the sovereign in political theory, but sovereignty has returned as a pressing concern for scholars in recent years. Unlike Foucualdian biopolitics, which emphasizes the economization of power and the care of the self, sovereignty remains overtly wed to violence and to questions of intolerance in contemporary worlds. This class examines the relationships between political theologies, sovereignty, and violence, as scholars attempt to elucidate or undo notions of sovereignty in modern nation-states. We will focus on questions of indigenous ritual sovereignties, religious violence, and nonsovereign political theologies. While the focus is on the modern Americas, the questions addressed extend across various historical eras and geographical regions.

AFR 388 • Staging Black Feminism

30255 • Thompson, Lisa
Meets T 11:00AM-2:00PM MEZ 1.104
(also listed as AMS 391, T D 387D, WGS 393)
show description


This graduate course considers the feminist practices of black women cultural producers including filmmakers, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and performance artists. Besides engaging with primary materials, we will draw on black feminist scholarly texts in order to explore such topics as black womanhood, the black female body, black histories, sexuality, politics and aging. We will trace the genealogy of black feminist artistic practices and performances from the 1950s to the present. We will explore the ways that their work challenges the male gaze, the capitalist market place, heteronormativity and racial hierarchies. Some of the artists under consideration include: Julie Dash, Kara Walker, Valerie June, Ava DuVernay, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lorraine O’Grady, Tanya Hamilton, Carrie Mae Weems, Tina Turner, Anna Deavere Smith, Diana Ross, Lynn Nottage, Kasi Lemmons, Lorna Simpson, Issa Rae, and Adrienne Kennedy.


Sample Texts:

  • Sandra Adell, Contemporary Plays by African American Women: Ten Complete Works
  • Sharon Bridgforth, The Bull-Jean Stories
  • Kimberley Juanita Brown, The Repeating Black Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary
  • Hazel Carby, Reconstructing Womanhood
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness
  • Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
  • E. Patrick Johnson, Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Eds. Solo/Black/Woman: Scripts, Interviews, and Essays
  • Uri McMillan, Embodied Avatars: Genealogies of Black Feminist Art and Performance.
  • Dominique Morisseau, Sunset Baby
  • Suzan-Lori Parks, Venus
  • Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
  • Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
  • Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles
  • Cherise Smith, Enacting Others: Politics of Identity in Eleanor Antin, Nikki S. Lee, Adrian Piper, and Anna Deavere Smith 

AFR 390 • Black Studies Theory I

30260 • Makalani, Minkah
Meets W 11:00AM-2:00PM CAL 22
show description

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%