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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 2109 San Jacinto Blvd , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Course Descriptions

AFR 301 • African American Culture

30385 • Foster, Kevin
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm WAG 101
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L)
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This course is an exploration of African American culture that provides students with analytical tools to critically examine and consciously participate in the ongoing construction of African American culture.  Particular attention is given to key terms such as race, culture, Blackness, hegemony, aesthetics, and politics.  Emphasis is placed on Black agency as demonstrated through the social, political, and representational choices made by African Americans.

AFR 317C • The United States And Africa

30395 • Falola, Toyin
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 3.112
(also listed as HIS 317L, WGS 301)
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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.

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 Objectives

To develop a base of African and US history and increase the level of awareness of the African Diaspora in the US. 

Toobtain 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.


1. Joseph E. Holloway, ed., Africanisms in American Culture  (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005 second edition).

2. Curtis A. Keim, Mistaking Africa: Curiosities and Inventions of the American Mind (Westview Press, 1999).

3. Alusine Jalloh, ed., The United States and West Africa (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008).

4. Kevin Roberts, ed., The Atlantic World 1450-2000 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008).

5. Karen Bouwer, Gender and Decolonization in the Congo: the Legacy of Patrice Lumumba (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

6. Gendering the African diaspora : women, culture, and historical change in the Caribbean and Nigerian hinterland / edited by Judith A. Byfield, LaRay Denzer, and Anthea Morrison. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.   


i. Public Lecture Review 10%    

ii. First  Examination 25%

iii. Book Review 20%

iv.   Book Review 20%

v. Second Examination 25%

AFR 317D • Intro East Austin Ethnography

30410 • Jones, Omi Osun Joni L.
Meets M 330pm-630pm JES A230
(also listed as AMS 315, ANT 310L)
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In this course, students will study ethnographic methods including, fieldwork, observant participation, interviewing, and oral histories. Archival research will also be conducted.   Students will conduct fieldwork at specific sites in Austin with an emphasis on East Austin communities. This course provides students with skills in critical ethnography by foregrounding the racial politics that shape policy-making and community-building.


Madison, D. Soyini.  Critical Ethnography.  Thousand Oaks, CA:  Sage Publishers.  2012.

Other Readings

African American Quality of Life.  Mayor’s Task Force Report

Boggs, Grace Lee.  The Next American Revolution

Duany, Andres, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck.  Suburban Nation.

James, Joy.  Seeking the Beloved Community.

Sorkin, Michael.  Variations on a Theme Park:  The New American City and the End of Public Space.

Wilkerson, Isabel.  The Warmth of Other Suns

AFR 317D • Numbering Race

30413 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm JES A216A
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As public consumers, we are constantly bombarded by numbers in our daily lives.  We come across reports on the news and articles in magazines about topics like race and obesity or poverty, and assume more often than not that these numbers must be true.  How do we definitely know without the right tools?


In this course, we will learn how to critically examine numbers produced by social statistics and presented in our daily lives.  We will accomplish this goal by learning about 1) the history of race and social statistics, 2) the methods used by social scientists to understand relationships, 3) how to approach social statistics with a critical eye, and 4) the use of critical race and feminist methodologies in quantitative research.  This class will cover several topic areas related to race and intersectionality with a focus on quantitative reasoning in the understanding and production of social statistics. 


By the end of this course, you will be able to critically evaluate quantitative race research and social science research more generally, both in your studies and in your daily life. 

AFR 317D • Anthropol Of Race/Ethnicity

30415-30430 • Hartigan, John
Meets MW 900am-1000am CLA 0.112
(also listed as AMS 315D, ANT 310L)
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This course examines how and why these forms of identity matter so intensely, both in

this country and around the world. Our aim is to understand the fundamental dynamics

shaping racial and ethnic identity by drawing on theories and methods from

anthropology. The first third of the course will cover key concepts and the basic forces

that make ethnicity and race important. The second portion of the course will develop a

cultural perspective on these topics by surveying a range of ethnographic work on these

forms of identity. The final third of class will address a variety of ways that race and

ethnicity operate in the sphere of public culture. Rather than attempt to present a survey

of various groups and traditions, the aim of this course is to introduce students to the

challenges of producing reliable knowledge claims about race and ethnicity.


AFR 317D • The Black Power Movement

30435 • Moore, Leonard N.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 106
(also listed as HIS 317L)
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The Black Power movement was a distinct period from the late 1960s and early 1970s that emphasized racial pride and the creation of black political and cultural institutions to nurture and promote black collective interests and advance black values, and secure black autonomy. The range 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.


Negroes with Guns by Robert F. Williams  (read: weeks 1-2)

Little X: Growing Up in the Nation of Islam by Tate (weeks 3-5)

Die, Nigger, Die by H. Rap Brown (weeks 6-8)

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur (weeks 9-11)

Carl Stokes and the Rise of Black Political Power by Leonard Moore (weeks 12-14)

Under the Influence by Erin Patton (week 15)



Exams will be given approximately every five weeks and the group project is due at the end of the semester.

Exam 1: 25%

Exam 2: 25%

Exam 3: 25%

Group Project: 25%

AFR 317E • Black Spiritualities

30440 • Tinsley, Omise'eke
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm JES A209A
(also listed as R S 316K)
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Born out of civil rights struggles in the 1960s, African Diaspora Studies departments and programs represent one of the youngest fields in academia. Yet the development of Black intellectual traditions is far from new. In fact, Africans in the Americas have been elaborating systems for developing and recording our knowledges since the Middle Passage. Psychology, medicine, visual arts, dance, historiography, literature: African Diasporics developed corollaries to all of these, as we Creolized African, European, and indigenous knowledge bases to serve the needs of the enslaved and their descendants. Traditionally, academia has pigeonholed these intellectual pursuits under the rubric of “African Diaspora religion,” so reinforcing stereotypes of African “irrationality.” More recently, however, scholars in the field of African Diaspora studies have developed a new approach to these knowledge bases. These scholars have attempted, first, to engage African Diaspora ways of knowing on their own terms; and, second, to bring these submerged epistemologies into conversation with Western academic disciplines. In this course, students will both read and participate in such efforts to bridge vernacular and academic epistemologies.

Theoretical, historical, and literary readings centering these problematics will challenge us to complicate easy divisions between traditional and scholarly knowledge, and to think creatively about how relationships between the two inform historical and contemporary cultures of the African Diaspora.

Texts (needs to be specific texts, not “course packet” or “TBA)”:

Karen McCarthy Brown, Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn

Robert Farris Thompson, Flash of the Spirit: African & Afro-American Art & Philosophy

Yvonne Daniel, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble

Sharon Bridgforth, love conjure/blues


AFR 317E • Intro To Women's & Gender Stds

30445 • Livermon, Xavier
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm JES A218A
(also listed as WGS 305)
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This course explores the complex politics of race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation and other categories of power in relationship to systems of oppression and privilege in a transnational context. Focusing on the experiences of people of African descent, texts examined in this course will range from theoretical to first-person narratives. We will interrogate categories of sex, gender, and sexuality, and explore issues of identity, representation, socio-economic policy and political rights. We will examine African and Black feminist critiques of historical, institutionalized oppression, including poverty, poor working conditions, criminalization, reproductive and sexual control, gendered violence, stigma and stereotypes, homophobia, and xenophobia.  We will explore the relevance of changing understandings of the term "culture" for the study of women, gender, and/or sexuality across Africa and the African Diaspora. Particular attention will be devoted to the ways in which gender as practice, performance, and representation has differed for women and men according to race, class, and other divisions.   Women’s and Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field committed to imagining justice through analysis and creation of culture. Part of our work will reveal how African and African Diaspora Feminisms have challenged racism and white supremacy within feminist scholarship and activism. Your work in this course will prepare you for advanced study and to participate in discussions for community and academic advocacy.

AFR 317E • Liberation In Afr Diaspora

30450 • Makalani, Minkah
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm PAR 206
(also listed as LAS 310)
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Examination of liberation and freedom struggles in the African diaspora, focusing on common intellectual, political, and social currents among the diaspora's various groups. Course focuses on three major themes: abolitionism, Pan-Africanism and national liberation, and hip hop. Particular emphasis will be on the ideas associated with these movements, and the major organizations and intellectual currents in all three.

May be counted toward the global cultures flag requirement.



AFR 317F • Hip Hop Politics

30455 • Livermon, Xavier
Meets TTH 930am-1100am PAR 301
(also listed as WGS 301)
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In this course students will examine the rise of rap music and hip-hop culture from its beginning among Black and Brown youth in post-industrial New York to its growth into a global multi billion dollar industry.  We will examine the “politics” of rap music and hip-hop cultures investigating issues of commodification (commercialization, authenticity, “selling out”, consumerism, “keeping it real”), identity (race, nation, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, region), and social change (the use of hip-hop in social movements).  We will also examine the global dimensions of hip –hop culture with reference to its rise and spread in diverse international settings. Students will be encouraged to develop a critical lens for examining one of the most vibrant expressions of youth popular culture to emerge in the contemporary period.



That’s The Joint!: The Hip Hop Studies Reader by Mark Anthony Neal and Murray Foreman.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation by Jeff Chang and DJ Kool Herc.

The Hip-Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip-Hop and Why it Matters by Tricia Rose.

It’s Bigger Than Hip-Hop: The Rise of the Post-Hip Hop Generation by Molefi K. Asante Jr.

The Hip Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth, Activism and Post-Civil Rights Politics by Andreana Clay.

AFR 317F • Performing Blackness

30460 • Thompson, Lisa B.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 201
(also listed as AMS 315, WGS 301)
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This course will consider contemporary performance of blackness in film, art, theatre, literature, television, and music. We will discuss how performances of black life, black identity and black culture are created, consumed and sometimes contradicted by artists and non-artists alike. We will explore themes such as the criteria for black art, the Black aesthetic, racial passing, performances of black masculinity/femininity, and cultural appropriation. The class will culminate in student presentations about black performance based upon individual research.


Evie Shockley, The New Black

George C. Wolfe, The Colored Museum

Jay-Z, Decoded

Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play and Other Works

Spike Lee, Bamboozled

Awkward Black Girl (webseries)

Kiese Laymon, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Mark Anthony Neal, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities

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

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

30465 • Wilks, Jennifer M.
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm MEZ 1.212
(also listed as E 314V)
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Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  35110

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 317F

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course will survey the importance of place and community in African American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present. We will consider how the community in which characters live or move—from neighborhood to island—influences their conceptions of race, gender, and identity. As this is a writing-intensive course, we will pay particular attention to the form as well as the content of our texts. Discussion will also play an integral role in the course.

Texts: Readings may include the following: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son; Toni Morrison, Sula; Colson Whitehead, Zone One.

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (4 pages each): 40%; Final critical essay (5-7 pages): 25%; Rough draft (4 pages): 10%; Presentation: 10%; Reading responses and class participation: 15%.

Attendance is mandatory. More than three unexcused absences will result in a significant reduction of your grade.

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

Meets TTH 200pm-330pm FAC 7
(also listed as E 314V)
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Instructor:  Mills, R

Unique #:  35115

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 317F, 30470

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Computer Instruction:  Yes

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: Who are the public intellectuals of our time? Is Melissa Harris-Perry America’s foremost public intellectual? When Ta-Nehisi Coates answered yes, he created a firestorm in traditional and social media. Indeed, the fact that it was so controversial to claim that Harris-Perry, a black woman, was even a public intellectual at all gives rise to a more important consideration: How do institutional mechanisms, such as racism, sexism, and privilege, determine who is and is not a public intellectual? Together, these questions inspire the theme of this course: “Black Public Intellectuals.” We will thus examine the literary and cultural texts of varied Black intellectual voices across genres and from different periods of US history, such as post-Reconstruction and the Harlem Renaissance.

The primary aim of this course is to help students develop and improve the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed for success in upper-division courses in English and other disciplines. They will also gain practice in using the Oxford English Dictionary and other online research tools and print resources that support studies in the humanities. Students will learn basic information literacy skills and models for approaching literature with various historical, generic, and cultural contexts in mind.

This course contains a writing flag. The writing assignments in this course are arranged procedurally with a focus on invention, development through instructor and peer feedback, and revision; they will comprise a major part of the final grade.

Tentative Texts: WEB DuBois – Excerpts from The Souls of Black Folk • Langston Hughes – “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” and selected poems • Audre Lorde – “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” and selected poems.

Requirements & Grading: There will be a series of 3 short essays, the first of which must be revised and resubmitted. Subsequent essays may also be revised and resubmitted by arrangement with the Instructor (75% of the final grade). There may also be short quizzes, reaction papers, and other short assignments to practice skills such as using research databases (25% of the final grade).

AFR 317F • African American Lit And Cul

30475 • Woodard, Helena
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 304
(also listed as E 314V)
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Instructor:  Woodard, H

Unique #:  35120

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 317F

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Computer instruction:  No

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: This course is an introduction to selected African-American literature—slave narratives, novels, poetry, and plays—from slavery to the present. The course historicizes issues pertinent to the African-American literary tradition, such as slavery, double consciousness or the struggle for self-identity, as well as class, racism, and sexism. It thematizes these issues through stylistic forms, including the oral vernacular tradition, folk culture, double discourse, and chiasmus.

Primary Texts: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed. Classic Slave Narratives (Signet Classics); Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1974); Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha (New York: Harper, 1953); August Wilson, The Piano Lesson (New York: Penguin, 1990); Harryette Mullen, Sleeping With the Dictionary (Berkeley: U of California Press, 2002); Jesymn Ward, Salvage the Bones (New York: Bloomsbury, 2011).

Requirements & Grading: Three critical essays (six typed pages each, double-spaced) - 70%; Reading quizzes / Class participation / Oral and written (group) presentations, TBA - 30%.

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. Upon your fifth absence, you will be notified of your failure of the course, and you need not return to class. 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.

Papers: Papers are due at the beginning of class on the date assigned. Late papers will not be accepted. Do not slide papers under my door. Use the MLA Stylebook for all papers. Type papers on white, 8.5" x 11" paper, using one side only. Bind pages with a paper clip.

Policies: Absolutely no make-ups for quizzes; however, your lowest quiz grade will be dropped. Please read the entire assignment by the first day of class discussion for that work.

Grading Scale: A (94-95); 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- (61-63); F (0-60).

AFR 321L • Sociology Of Education

30485 • Irizarry, Yasmiyn
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm JES A207A
(also listed as SOC 321L)
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This course is an introduction to current issues in the sociology of education. The goal of this course is to ask some fundamental questions about the relationship between education and society. In this course, we will look at the structure, practices, content, and outcomes of schooling, in light of their relationships to the wider society in which schools are situated. We will note the link between schools and social stratification, discuss the outcomes of schooling and how these outcomes are produces, and consider sociological perspectives on contemporary education reform.

In addition to having an overview of current topics in schools, this class should help you to start thinking critically about your own schooling experiences, as well as those of others'. You will ultimately begin to understand schools as societal institutions that influence and are influenced by other societal groups, as well as the intersection between schools, family, and community.

AFR 322 • Intro To African Prehistory

30490 • Denbow, James R.
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 324L)
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This course provides an overview of human biological and cultural evolution in Africa.

While the roots of humankind go back almost 6 million years on the continent, the earlier

materials will only be briefly discussed as the course will focus on the last 200,000

years–the period when modern humans developed and diversified.

The African continent is over three times the size of the United States and today

there are more than a thousand different languages spoken in Africa; ethnic and

ecological diversity is great. Apart from Egypt, Ethiopia, the Swahili coast and North

Africa, however, written sources only document the last few centuries and most were

written from non-African perspectives. In this class, archaeological data will be used to

expand upon anthropological and historical accounts to provide a longer and less

"Eurocentric" view of the continent and its historical development. No prior knowledge

of Africa or of archaeology is assumed.

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed

to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should

therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering

the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.

AFR 356C • Afr Am Thtr Hist: Precol-1950

30495 • Jones, Omi Osun Joni L.
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am WAG 214
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This course is a chronological examination of African-American theatre history through the study of productions, performance theory, play texts, essays, reviews, and  manifestos.  This course examines theatrical work of Africans and African Americans from Pre-Colonial West Africa to the U.S of the 1950s.  Upon completion of this course, students should be familiar with major written works of African-American theatre, have a more complete understanding of U.S. history, and know the position of African-American Theatre within the context of major U.S. theatrical movements. 


Course Objectives:

This course may be used to fulfill the visual and performing arts 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, teamwork, and social responsibility.


Communication Skills:

Students will assume the role of an artist and historian by creating a researched bulletin board on the subject of the role of African-American theatre, to be presented in a class exhibition to a University community audience. Students will also interpret a short scene from a studies play and present a 3-5 minute performance.


Critical Thinking Skills:

Students will assume the role of scholar. Groups of students will analyze and present historical data, comparative data, authorial positions, and unstated assumptions about specific plays in the African and African-American community during this time period.



Students will work in groups to collaborate on a critical analysis presentation, theatrical performance, and exhibition.


Social Responsibility:

This course situates African and African-American performances within their socio-political contexts with an emphasis on strategies of resistance that are embodied in aesthetics. Students will use their dramaturgical notebook to analyze a play including its themes, structure, images, and the play’s relationship to the theatre and to the society from which it grew.




Bean, Annemarie.  A Sourcebook of African-American Performance.  New York:  Routledge, 1999.


Hatch, James V. and Ted Shine.  Black Theatre, USA:  Plays by African Americans, The Early Period.  New York:  The Free Press, 1996.

AFR 356E • Black Women And Dance

30500 • Tinsley, Omise'eke
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm JES A207A
(also listed as WGS 340)
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dance your anger

and your joys.

dance the guns

to silence

dance, dance, dance…


--Ken Saro-Wiwa


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?


Primary Texts:,available at UT Co-op Bookstore


Yvonne Daniel, Dancing Wisdom: Embodied Knowledge in Haitian Vodou, Cuban Yoruba, and Bahian Candomble

Brenda Dixon Gottschild, The Black Dancing Body

Celeste Fraser Delgado and José Muñoz, eds. Everynight Life: Culture and Dance in Latino/a America

Julie Malnig, ed. Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader


**All other texts on the syllabus, unless otherwise noted, will be available electronically



Course Objectives:


This course may be used to fulfill the visual and performing arts 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, teamwork, and social responsibility.


Communication Skills:

Students will experiment with sharing and creating knowledge of multiple literatures, cultures, histories, identities, and experiences in an intellectual community with many diverse, creative viewpoints. Students will be asked to compose dance journals, in which they are asked to “talk” to their body and pay attention to self-consciousness, aches and pains, “what feels good”, and pride. Students are asked to connect journal entries back to theoretical studies of perceptions of women and/in dance.


Critical Thinking Skills:

Students will be asked to compose spoken and written statements that reflect thoughtful, careful attention to subjects at hand, show inquisitiveness, represent attempts to make connections outside the classroom, and demonstrate creative engagement in new topics.



Students will be asked to explore dance practice in a group setting, such as ritual dance, concert dance, or social/popular dance. To record their dance participation, students will keep a dance journal in which students will write reflections on Black women and dance in group experiences. Students will complete this work by speaking to other participants about their role in the group dance.


Social Responsibility:

In this course, students will engage texts that deal explicitly with (post)colonialism, slavery, racism, sexism, religious discrimination, poverty, state violence, genocide, sexual violence, and more. This course will explore the questions: “How can we view and create artistic work while keeping social justice issues in mind?”; “How do embodied practices become modes of organizing communitieis?”; “How can we decipher the fragile histories that we carry and move through in our own bodies?”.


Respectful Learning


In this course, students engage texts that deal explicitly with (post)colonialism, slavery, racism, sexism, religious discrimination, poverty, state violence, genocide, sexual violence, same-sex sexuality, and embodiment.  While the professor will provide historical contexts and academic frameworks for discussing these issues, many students may be unfamiliar with them and so may initially experience emotional responses as they confront their own privilege and oppression, ignorance and knowledge. The professor asks that students pay attention to such feelings and note where they challenge their ability to approach texts analytically. I also ask that everyone come to class willing to discuss these difficult, complex topics with openness and respect. Expressions of First World-ism, racism, classism, religious intolerance, homophobia, heterosexism, ableism, or sexism will not be tolerated. Instead, I expect students to take seriously the responsibility involved in university education in general, and in reading works that document violence and social injustice in particular. As part of this responsibility, I ask students to consider carefully how social and geopolitical positioning shapes what they do and do not react to, and complicates their relationships to texts in different ways.


Appreciated Attributes:


  1. Critical thinking—spoken and written statements reflect thoughtful, careful attention to subjects at hand; demonstrate independent, original thought; and include specific, properly documented references to all sources.
  2. Inquisitiveness—classroom participation shows willingness to ask questions about aspects of readings/discussions that remain unclear, and to seek additional information. 
  3. Making connections beyond the classroom—spoken and written statements express when a reading speaks to your particular experiences, interest, or knowledge.
  4. Creativity— spoken and written statements express willingness to engage new topics with imagination and flexibility. Imagining differently is the first step in changing the social injustices that we will engage!

AFR 372C • Becoming African: Euro In Afr

30507 • Charumbira, Ruramisai
Meets W 400pm-700pm MEZ 1.120
(also listed as HIS 350L, WGS 340)
show description

Description: This course is a study of Europeans as they turned into “white Africans” in Southern African beginning with the Portuguese in the late fifteenth century through to the present. Of importance are the contingencies in global history that led to European trade, immigration, settlement, conquest, and uneasy peaceful relations with Southern Africans in the period under study. Of particular importance to this study of “becoming African” by people of European descent, are African responses to European presence in that region of Africa, especially what it tells us about African and European entanglements in global histories and cultures. The course will also use a comparative lens to study some of the similarities and differences in other regions of the world, especially North America. Objective: The main objective of the course is to introduce students to a dimension of the cultural history of Southern Africa through identity formations, those identities’ change over time; and complexities in the present. This being an upper division course, it is advisable that students be juniors and seniors, and if sophomore, to have taken an introductory and or another course in African History/Studies as it is an intensive reading and writing course. Those with less preparatory background will find it most challenging – to grasp content and the demands of this upper division level course.


Required Texts: All books available at the PCL on Reserve - and through the Co-op.


  • Herman Giliomee, The Afrikaners: Biography of a People
  • David M. Hughes, Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape and the Problem of Belonging
  • Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing
  • J.M. Coetzee, Boyhood
  • Nadine Gordimer, July’s People
  • Melissa E. Steyn, Whiteness Just Ain’t what it Used to Be: White Identity in a Changing South Africa
  • Alexandra Fuller, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs



  •       60% – 12 Weekly Reflection Essays at 5% each
  •      20%  – Participation and Attendance
  •      20%  – Final Essay



AFR 372C • Mixed Race And Sex In America

30511 • Makalani, Minkah
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm PAR 105
(also listed as AMS 321)
show description


Race and sex remain controversial topics of public debate, with interracial sexual unions and their (“mixed-race”) progeny constituting one of the more troublesome features of the American democratic experiment. It therefore seems hardly coincidental that Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, is the son of a Kenyan father and white mother from Kansas. How did his mixed-racial parentage impact his election? Did it render him less black and thus palatable to whites? Do black people still consider him black, or question his authenticity? And how important is it that Obama identifies as black, not biracial?

This course examines the history of mixed-race and interracial sex in America, with particular attention to the racial ideologies, legal structures, policies, and social categories that have defined people of mixed-racial parentage as belonging to, or not belonging to, a given racial group. While people of mixed parentage (parents from two different racial groups) have grown over the past two decades, these have been long standing realities in American history. Given the history of race and racial oppression in America, we will explore the stereotypes and anxieties around interracial sex (black rapists/sluts; submissive Asian women/effeminate Asian men; exotic Latin@s, etc.), and how political power, property, and sexual violence informed such views. Though much of the course will center on people of mixed-black/white parentage/ancestry, we will also examine similar themes involved Asian/white, black/Asian, Latin@/black, Latin@/white, and Middle Eastern/black interracial unions and parentage/ancestry over the course of American history.



Shirley Thompson, Exiles at Home: The Struggle to Become American in Creole New Orleans (Harvard U. Press)

Gerg Carter, The United States of the united Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing (New York U. Press)

Kimberley McClain DaCosta, Making Multiracials: State, Family, and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line (Stanford U. Press)

Danzy Senna, Caucasia (Penguin)


AFR 372C • Race/Gender/Surveillance

30515 • Browne, Simone A.
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CLA 0.102
(also listed as SOC 322V, WGS 322)
show description


This course will provide an overview of theories in the emerging field of Surveillance Studies, with afocus on race and gender. We will examine transformations in social control and the distributions ofpower 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 andpunishment; the gaze, voyeurism and reality television watching; social media; travel and stateborders; biometrics and the body.

Students will be encouraged to develop critical reading and analytical skills. Through the use of filmsand other visual media students will be challenged to better understand how surveillance practicesinform modern life.

Your participation grade will be based upon your informed participation and not solely on yourattendance. You are expected to contribute informed opinions based on a close reading of the coursematerials and engagement with the themes of the course. Sharing your personal opinions, whileimportant, will not solely constitute informed discussion.

Students who acquire six or more unexcused absences will receive a failing grade.


A: 100-94

A-: 93-90

B+: 89-88

B: 87-83

B-: 82-80

C+ 79-78

C: 77-73

C-: 72-70

D+: 69-68

D: 67-63

D-: 62-60

F: 59-0

Your grade in this course will be based on:

Participation, Attendance &In-class Assignments 10%

Everyday Surveillance Assignment 15%

Film Review 15%

Mid-Term Test: 20%

Social Media Project: 20%

Final Test 20%

Final grades will be determined on the basis of the above rubric. To ensure fairness, all numbers are absolute, and will not be rounded up or down at any stage. Thus a B- will be inclusive of all scores of 80.000 through 83.999. The University does not recognize the grade of A+.

Attendance and Informed Participation

Students who acquire six or more unexcused absences will receive a failing grade.

Please note that this is an upper level undergraduate seminar and your success in this course depends on close reading and engagement with the texts (readings, films, audio recordings, videoclips, video games and weblinks posted to Blackboard), as well as active participation in class discussions. You will be responsible for checking the Blackboard course site regularly for additional texts and announcements.

Class participation will be based on attendance and meaningful participation in class discussions.

Meaningful participation is taken to be analytic engagement with the texts, not vague commentary or generalizations. You are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings.

Over the course of the semester you will be ask to respond, in writing, to texts discussed during the lecture.

These assignments will form a part of your participation grade.

AFR 372C • Black Political Thought

30520 • Marshall, Stephen H
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm PAR 101
(also listed as AMS 370)
show description

In this course we will examine radical traditions of  black political thought. Enagaging thinkers who jettison the project of political reform in favor of social and political transformation, we shall explore a variety of writters and texts for what they have to teach us about ongoing legacies of slavery, empire, and patriarchy within the US. We will look at exemplary writtings of black marxism, black feminism, Afrocentricity, and Afro-Pessimism among other traditions.           



Final Paper                      30%

2 Response Papers             30%

In Class Presentation          20%

Class Participation              20%


Possible Texts

W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction

Cedric Robinson, The Black Radical Tradition

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement


Upper-division standing required. Students may not enroll in more than two AMS 370 courses in one semester.

Flag(s): Writing


AFR 372E • African Lit In 21st Century

30540 • BADY, AARON
Meets MWF 200pm-300pm JES A216A
(also listed as E 360L)
show description

Instructor:  Bady, A

Unique #:  35875

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-listings:  AFR 372E

Flags:  Global Cultures; Writing

Computer instruction:  No

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

Description: In the last decade, Kenya has been at the center of a renaissance in African literary production, from the founding of the literary journal Kwani? in 2003 to a wide variety of innovative experiments in internet writing and visual media in the years since the post-election violence of 2007/8.In this class, we will use Kenya as a site from which to study the development of African literature in the 21st century, not only in traditional genres like the novel, poetry, memoir, and film, but in online forms which are still developing and emerging.

Most African literature courses take a broad survey of writing from many different sites on the continent. This course will not. While Africa is not a country, most African writers come from or live in a country (or countries), and in this course, most of the writers we will read happen to identify with or live in Kenya. This will give us an opportunity to do what we could not do in a broad survey of continental literature: go deep into the conversations and context (and history) out of which literature is born. But just as the imagination is not bounded by the nation-state, this course will also track the pan-African consciousness by which Kenyan writers have placed themselves in Africa, and in the world.

Reading List:Discovering Home: A Selection of Writings from the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing (2003) • Various, Selections from Kwani? (course packet) • Billy Kahora, The True Story of David Munyakei: Goldenberg Whistleblower (2008) • Shailja Patel, Migritude (2010) • Various, “Pilgrimages” (2010) • Wanuri Kahiu, Pumzi (2010) • ICC Witness Project (2013) • Binyavanga Wainaina, One Day I Will Write About This Place (2012), “I am a homosexual, mum” and “We must free our imaginations.” (2014) • Yvonne Owuor, Dust (2014) • Various, Jalada (2014).

Requirements & Grading: Students will write two short papers (each of which will be revised), one final paper, regular posts on a class blog, and in-class discussion.

Papers: 40%; Final Paper: 30%; Posts on class blog, and in-class discussion: 30%.

AFR 372E • Danticat And Diaz

30545 • Wilks, Jennifer M.
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 204
(also listed as E 349S)
show description

Instructor:  Wilks, J

Unique #:  35795

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E, C L 323

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisite: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: In this course we will study the work of two of the most celebrated contemporary fiction writers in the United States: Haitian American Edwidge Danticat and Dominican American Junot Díaz.  Between them Danticat (b. 1969) and Díaz (b. 1968) have won almost all of the major American cultural and literary prizes, including the MacArthur Fellowship, National Book Award, and Pulitzer Prize; and their work has been consistently published and reviewed in such high profile venues as the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times.  At the same time that their respective works speak to broader questions of American identity, however, Danticat and Díaz also write culturally specific narratives that explore the intricacies of what it means to be Haitian and Dominican, Haitian American and Dominican American, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  As a result, in addition to considering the qualities that have resulted in Danticat and Díaz’s elevation to the status of exemplary American authors, we will also examine how issues of gender, migration, history, and race factor into their work.

Texts (subject to change):

General: C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution; Frank Moya Pons, The Dominican Republic: A National History; Michelle Wucker, Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola.

Edwidge Danticat: Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); Krik? Krak! (1995); The Farming of Bones (1998); The Dew Breaker (2004); Brother, I’m Dying (2007); Claire of the Sea Light (2013).

Junot Díaz: Drown (1996); The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007); This Is How You Lose Her (2012).

Requirements & Grading: Two short papers (3-4 pages each), 40%; Final paper (5-7 pages), 25%; Presentation, 15%; Rough draft & substantial revision (4 pages), 10%; Reading journal, 10%.

AFR 372E • Fashion And Desire

30550 • Gill, Lyndon K.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 1.102
show description



This course explores historical and contemporary style in the African Diaspora. From head to toe, runways to street corners, art installations to music videos, “dandyism” to “swag,” Patrick Kelly to Kanye West, Josephine Baker to Beyoncé, we investigate the sartorial as a wearable art form and a political arena. We unfurl the tapestry of desires that encircles black fashion in the U.S. and globally, combing through the intertwined threads of passionate creativity, sexual fetishization, corporeal autonomy, capitalism consumerism, suffocating conformity and humorous play amongst other topics.



Gott, Suzanne & Kristyne Loughran

    2010    Contemporary African Fashion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


Miller, Monica

    2009    Slaves to Fashion: Black Dandyism and the Styling of Black Diasporic Identity.

        Durham: Duke University Press.


Tamagni, Daniele

    2009    Gentlemen of Bacongo. London: Trolley Books.


Tulloch, Carol

    2004    Black Style. London: Victoria & Albert Museum.


White, Shane & Graham White

    1999    Stylin’: African American Expressive Culture, from Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit.

        Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


AFR 372E • Writing For Black Performance

30555 • Thompson, Lisa B.
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CLA 0.104
(also listed as AMS 321, E 376M, WGS 340)
show description



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 372E • Toni Morrison

30560 • Woodard, Helena
Meets MW 500pm-630pm PAR 204
(also listed as E 349S, WGS 345)
show description

Instructor:  Woodard, H

Unique #:  35815

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E; WGS 345

Flags:  Cultural Diversity; Writing

Computer instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: This course examines select novels by Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Toni Morrison. The novels thematize womanism as theory, which incorporates race, gender, and culture in experiences uniquely shared by women--particularly women of color--across class and regional boundaries. Collectively, Morrison's characters confront a wide range of challenging crises: infanticide, male-female relations, familial conflict, socio-economical, cultural survival, etc. Morrison's novels are a gloss on the African-American literary tradition, deeply rooted in the American literary tradition.

Required Reading: The Bluest Eye, 1970; Sula, 1973; Song of Solomon, 1977; Beloved, 1987; Jazz, 1992; A Mercy, 2008; Home.

Audio-Visual Aids: Toni Morrison with Bill Moyers, History of Ideas Series; Toni Morrison on Beloved; Jazz and the Harlem Renaissance; Toni Morrison on Oprah Winfrey (Song of Solomon); The Margaret Garner Opera (documentary).

Requirements & Grading: .50 Two Critical essays TBA (5 pages each; typed, ds); .30 A Reading Notebook (12-page minimum; typed, ds; see separate instruction sheet); .20 Presentations (TBA) / quizzes / class participation.

ATTENDANCE: Regular attendance is required. More than four absences will be sufficient grounds for failure in the course. Penalties may range from a reduction in overall course grade to failure of the course itself. I reserve the right to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. The four allowed absences will include illness, deaths of relatives, and other emergencies. If you are more than five minues 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. Read each novel completely by the first day of discussion for that book. No makeup for quizzes is permitted. Course pack articles are required reading.

GRADING SCALE: Final grades will be determined on the basis of the following rubric. Please note that to ensure fairness, all numbers are absolute, and will not be rounded up or down at any stage. Thus, a B- will be inclusive of all scores of 80.000 through 83.999. The University does not recognize the grade of A+.

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 372F • Urban Unrest

30565 • Tang, Eric
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm SZB 370
(also listed as AAS 330, AMS 321, ANT 324L, URB 354)
show description

How and when do cities burn? The modern US city has seen its share of urban unrest, typified by street protests (both organized and spontaneous), the destruction of private property, looting, and fires. Interpretations of urban unrest are varied: some describe it as aimless rioting, others as political insurrection. Most agree that the matter has something to do with the deepening of racism, poverty and violence. This course takes a closer look at the roots of urban unrest, exploring a range of origins: joblessness, state violence, white flight, the backlash against civil rights gains, new immigration and interracial strife. Urban unrest is often cast as an intractable struggle between black and white, yet this course examines the ways in which multiple racial groups have entered the fray. Beyond race and class, the course will also explore unrest as a mode of pushing the normative boundaries of gender and sexuality in public space. Course material will draw from film, literature, history, geography and anthropology.


Required Texts:

The majority of readings will be available as pdf on Blackboard. Students must acquire the following texts:

Robert F. Williams, Negroes With Guns

Robin D.G. Kelley, Yo Mama’s Dysfunctional: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America

Dan Georgakis and Marvin Surkin, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution

Robert Gooding Williams eds. Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising



AFR 372G • African Travel Narratives

30568 • Osseo-Asare, Abena Dove
Meets W 300pm-600pm RLM 5.124
(also listed as HIS 350L)
show description

This course examines histories of Africa and travel through eyewitness accounts. Course participants will study journeys Africans have made within and from the continent alongside accounts of travelers visiting Africa from elsewhere. These travelers included migrant laborers, market women, Peace Corps volunteers, enslaved individuals, soldiers, political activists, adopted children, and religious evangelists since the 18th century.

 The course readings and films focus on different groups of travelers in a number of time periods.

 Some of the guiding questions we will consider:

  • How did people experience the movement of their bodies from one location to another?
  • How has ‘Africa’ taken on different meanings for our travelers?
  • What do their narratives indicate about changing conceptions of ethnicity, migration, tourism, citizenship, and the environment in different time periods?
  • And how did shifts in medical, transportation, and communication technologies shape their journeys?

download syllabus

AFR 372G • Lit And Media In Caribbean

30570 • Arroyo-Martínez, Jossianna
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm JES A209A
(also listed as LAS 328)
show description


This course focuses on contemporary Caribbean culture and the ways literature and culture in the Spanish Caribbean have incorporated the language of the spectacle to create what I define as “Caribbean mediascapes.” Caribbean mediascapes mixes these uses of media technologies derived from film, television, the Internet and Youtube and the ways they engage, are used and read in the Spanish Caribbean. In this course we will analyze the cultures of production, distribution, exhibition, reception, as well as the texts themselves from several Caribbean authors, from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and their respective U.S. enclaves in the diaspora (New York, Miami).


Some of the questions we will discuss are:  How is race represented in contemporary visual culture in the Caribbean and the U.S? How can new-media balance both the autonomy of Caribbean communities and the ongoing impact of corporate globalization? What about the digital divide in Caribbean communities? Are there possible forms of agency in these Caribbean mediascapes?



Junot Díaz

Mayra Santos-Febres

Achy Obeja

Marta Moreno Vega

Suite Havana (2003)

Habanastation (2011)

Un arte nuevo de hacer ruinas (2006)

Sugar (2008)

Sanky-Panky (2007)

Doce Horas (2001)

Maldeamores (2007)

AFR 374D • Hist Black Entrepren In US

30585 • Walker, Juliet E. K.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as AMS 370, HIS 350R)
show description

Within the construct of African American Business history, race, 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.


Proceeding from an interdisciplinary perspective, the course considers both the financial successes of superstar black athletes and hip hop entrepreneurs as 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?

Most important, why is it that 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?

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.


Boyd, Todd,      Young, Black, Rich and Famous:  The Rise of the NBA, The Hip Hop Invasion and the Transformation of American Culture

Curry, Mark,         Dancing With the Devil: How Puff Burned the Bad Boys of Hip Hop

Daniels, Cora,     Black Power, Inc: The New Voice of Black Success

Johnson,  Magic,    32  Ways to Be a Champion in Business

Kitwana, Bakari,   Why White Kids Love Hip Hop: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality                             of Race in America

Lafeber, Walter, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism, New Expanded Edition

Oliver, Richard, Tim Leffel, Hip-Hop, Inc. : Success Strategies of the Rap Moguls   

Pulley, Brett, The Billion Dollar BET: Robert Johnson and the Inside Story of BET

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

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

Chaps, 6-11; Course Packet “The Commodification of Black Culture”   


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 • Race, Sport, And Identity

30586 • Carrington, Ben
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CLA 0.118
(also listed as SOC 322R)
show description


This course explores the sociological significance of sport in relation to the construction of racialized identities.  Focusing primarily, although not exclusively, on the black experience in sport, the course examines the changing social meanings given to sport from the start of the 20th century through to today.  The African-American experience is used as a paradigmatic case study through which to locate the ways in which the expression of identity in sport has been used as a form of cultural resistance to racism.  The sociological and historical importance of sport within African-American life is located within the broader context of the African diaspora  in order to understand the wider political significance of sport in the context of global movements of people, images and ideologies. 

Assessment criteria

There are two aspects to how your final grade is reached:

1.            40%        Book Review (6 pages)

2.            60%        End of term essay (12 pages after rewrite)


Required reading:

Course pack


AFR 374E • Polit Of Race/Violnc Brazil

30594 • Smith, Christen
Meets TTH 930am-1100am SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 324L, LAS 324L)
show description

This course explores race/gender/sexuality, violence and everyday life in Brazil. Brazil’s history has been

characterized by moments of violent encounter, from colonization, to slavery, to clashes between police

and residents across its major cities today. These violent encounters have been, in many ways, racialized,

gendered and sexualized. This class investigates the race/gender/sexuality aspects of multiple forms of

violence in Brazil, and how this violence creates, defines and maintains social hierarchies in the nation.

Throughout the course we will think through the question “what is violence?” as we discuss the concept’s

physical, structural and symbolic forms. The course pays particular attention to the politics of blackness

and the unique relationship black Brazilians have to the nation-state. We will also discuss the politics of

writing and theorizing violence when doing social analysis, and the precarious balance between defining

and addressing issues of violence, and glorifying it.

Objectives: 1) To think critically about violence not only as a physical encounter, but a multilayered

phenomenon that manifests itself in different ways; 2) To consider how race functions in Brazil and what

violence has to do with it; 3) To better understand the politics of discussing and writing about race and

violence particularly within the field of anthropology.

Key topics: Colonization, slavery, blackness, whiteness, racial democracy, urban conflict, police

repression, death, gender, sexuality, urban cleansing/gentrification, land conflict, imprisonment, symbolic

violence, structural violence, physical violence, genocide.

AFR 374E • Modern Latin America

30600 • Garrard-Burnett, Virginia
Meets TTH 930am-1100am MEZ 1.306
(also listed as HIS 346L, LAS 366)
show description

This course surveys the history of Latin America from the period of the Wars for Independence in the early nineteenth century until the present. While the course aims to provide students with an understanding of the region as a whole, due to time constraints it will focus primarily on the histories of select countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and Colombia. Drawing upon primary documents, audio/visual materials, and works produced by historians, the class will explore the racial, class, and gender hierarchies that emerged out of the region’s colonial and precolonial past and their impact on the lives of Latin American people. We will explore the struggle to create “nations” and the emergence of a neocolonial order in the nineteenth century. We will also examine the ways that popular mobilization against neocolonial social hierarchies led to the refashioning of the “nation” throughout the twentieth century. The course will conclude with an examination of the ways Latin Americans are navigating the increasingly transnational world of the early twenty-first century. Thus, the arc of the class prompts students to think about the history of the Americas as a history of transnational processes.

Course Objectives:

(1) Enable students to develop a working knowledge of the key social, political, economic, and cultural developments in Latin American history since the Wars for Independence.

(2) Expose students to the complex relationship between local level developments and transnational processes across time and space.

(3) Encourage students to interrogate nationalism as a historical phenomenon, rather than a transhistorical given that stands outside of history


John Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire

José Vasconcelos, La Raza Cósmica/The Cosmic Race

C. Peter Ripley, Conversations with Cuba

Coursepack Readings


First two tests at 25% each 50%

Final Exam 30%

Active Class participation 20%

AFR 374F • Music Of Latin America

30615 • Moore, Robin
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MRH 2.634
(also listed as LAS 326)
show description

Music Of Latin America

AFR 374F • Historcl Images Afr In Film

30630 • Falola, Toyin
Meets T 330pm-630pm CBA 4.344
(also listed as HIS 350L, WGS 340)
show description

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

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