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Edmund T. Gordon, Chair 210 W. 24th Street , Mailcode E3400, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4362

Course Descriptions

AFR F372E • Worlds Of Hip Hop

80745 • Makalani, Minkah
Meets MTWTHF 1130am-100pm GWB 1.130
(also listed as HIS F366N)
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This course is primarily designed to introduce students to African American film produced both inside and outside the Hollywood mainstream.  The course traces the history of African American film culture from 1970s blaxploitation films to the emergence of a formidable number of black filmmakers such as Spike Lee, John Singleton and Charles Burnett who gained prominence during the 1980s and 1990s.  The class will also discuss the work of independent directors such as Julie Dash, Kasi Lemmons, Cheryl Dunye, and black feminist critics as we examine issues of gender and sexuality in African American film. Finally we will discuss the controversy surrounding the work of emergent black filmmakers such as Tyler Perry and Lee Daniels, as well as the hopes for a prosperous indendent black cinema inspired by AAFRM (African American Film Releasing Movement) and director/producer Ava Durvernay .

During the term we will consider how these filmmakers engage with and refute dominant cultural images of African Americans as well as create a cinematic language specifically derived from African American experiences.  Besides screening films students are expected to read articles on film theory and cultural criticism.  The course material is selective since this is a very large body of material and our time is limited.  However, the class attempts to offer as encompassing and representative a perspective as possible.  Although the class does not require any prior knowledge of or experience with film studies, I expect students to become active, skilled, critical viewers of African American cinema and astute readers of film scholarship.

Required Texts

Donald Bogle, Toms, Coons, Mulattos, Mammies & Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, fourth edition

Manthia Diawara, Black American Cinema

Ed Guerrero, Framing Blackness: The African American Image in Film

Bell hooks, Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies

Mark Reid, Black Lenses, Black Voices: African American Film Now

Selected articles on Blackboard designated by *.

Course Requirements

Essays & Response Papers

Students will write weekly (1-2 page) response papers about each film screened that explores that section’s theme. Students are also required to write two essays during the course of the semester. For the first essay (4-5 pages) students will thematically or cinematically compare two films. The final essay (7-10 pages) will be a research paper that provides an in-depth critical analysis of a specific issue relevant to the study of contemporary African American film. Topics may include but are not limited to:


  • Representation of African Americans in a particular genre (comedy, drama, documentary, musical, horror etc.)
  • Depictions of black youth or childhood
  • The work of a particular artist (director, actor, screenwriter, etc.)
  • The role of the soundtrack in African American film
  • Financial barriers to black filmmakers
  • Renderings of African American masculinity or womanhood
  • Imaginary homeland: Africa and/or the Caribbean in black film
  • The use of historical events in African American film

Please note that written assignments must be turned in at the BEGINNING of class—late papers will be penalized.  All work must be typed, stapled, doubled-spaced, with 12-point font and one-inch margins.  Consult the MLA Style Manual or The Chicago Manual of Style for appropriate citation and formatting.  It is incumbent upon you to keep a personal copy of all work that you submit.  


The presentation (5-minutes) is an opportunity for you to discuss the findings from your final research paper. I encourage you to be inventive! You can design a website, film a video or create a PowerPoint or a poster presentation.  I advise you to and to rehearse your presentation beforehand to check your timing and its coherence.

Class participation

Make sure to complete all reading before class and participate fully in discussions and exercises (presentations, quizzes and group projects).  Remember to bring texts to class because you may be called upon to read an excerpt or analyze a passage.  Each student is expected to speak during EVERY class.  We will screen several films during the course of the term.  You are to be an attentive, active audience.  I expect you to take notes since our discussions rely on your critical observations of the films.  Note that prompt and regular attendance is expected.  Tardiness is disrespectful to me and to your classmates.  Please be advised that if you miss more than ONE class or are consistently late (twice) your grade will suffer by at least 10%.

Grades will be calculated as follows:

Essay 1                         20%

Essay 2                         30%

Response Papers         25%

Presentation                15%

Participation               10%

AFR F372E • Afr Am Lit Snc Harlm Renais

80750 • Woodard, Helena
Meets MTWTHF 100pm-230pm PAR 308
(also listed as E F376S)
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E f376S  l African American Literature since the Harlem Renaissance

Instructor:  Woodard, H

Unique #:  82595

Semester:  Summer 2015, first session

Cross-lists:  AFR 372E

Flags:  Cultural Diversity in the U.S. (Non-Writing)

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

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

Description: Is the problem of the 21st century still the color line—as W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folks) termed it a century ago? Or have we reached a so-called “post racial” or racially transcendent phase or era in which race has significantly declined—ideas foregrounded in writings by Julius Wilson and Paul Gilroy, among others? How is the color line implicated in a postmodernist framework differently than in a modernist one? For example, writers like the late Claudia Tate argue that because of the continuation of racial oppression and “the demand for black literature to identify and militate against it, black literature evolves so as to prove that racism exists in the real world and is not a figment of the black imagination.” Such a view resists psychoanalytical readings that center the individual’s primary nurturing environment, rather than the external circumstances that precondition that environment. Conversely, psychoanalysis readings of racism risk designating race as pathology. Enter Epifano San Juan, who observes that race is “an unstable and decentered complex of social meanings constantly being transformed by political struggle…. It is a framework for articulating identity and difference, a process that governs the political and ideological constitution of subjects/agents in history.” This course engages the eclectic quality of African-American literature since the Harlem Renaissance in the context of modernist to postmodernist debate.

Texts (subject to change): Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ann Petry, The Street; August Wilson, The Piano Lesson; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Toni Morrison, Home; Harryette Mullen, Sleeping With the Dictionary: (Poems).

Requirements & Grading: .25 Midterm exam; .25 One critical paper (three to four pages; typed; double-spaced); .25 Reading quizzes; class participation; .25 Final exam.

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.

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 (Modern Language Association Stylebook for all papers. Type papers on white, 8.5" x 11" paper, using one side only. Bind pages with a paper clip.

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 F374C • Apartheid: South Afr Hist

80755 • Charumbira, Ruramisai
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am GAR 3.116
(also listed as HIS F364G, WGS F340)
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This course is a study of one of the most traumatic periods in South African history. It is also a study of a people’s agency and resilience in the face state sanctioned violence and terror. With a brief detour into the deeper past of South Africa to contextualize the rise of apartheid, the course will predominantly focus on the period since 1948. In this summer course, we will focus on the life and times of Nelson Mandela and those known and unknown to him in the resistance movement. The course will NOT cover everything, but aim for a deeper understanding of some of the key moments that illuminate apartheid in the history of South Africa. Course Objectives: a) Students will come away with a greater appreciation of not only of the history of that country, but of Southern Africa, and the United States’ role in supporting the apartheid regime as well as the anti-apartheid movement in South African and abroad. b) Students will have a greater understanding of South Africa – and the continent’s – postcolonial opportunities and challenges. Samukele, Kamohelo, Welcome!



·       Robert Ross, A Concise History Of South Africa

·       Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

·       Winnie Mandela, 491 Days: Prisoner Number 1323/69

·       Ruth First, 119 Days: An Account of Confinement and Interrogation

·       Lauretta Ngcobo, And They Didn’t Die 



  10% - Two Map Quizzes (2 x 5% each)

20% - Attendance and Participation

40% - Reflection Essays (4 x 10% each)

30% - Final paper

AFR S372G • Creole Langs & Their Speakers

80785 • Hancock, Ian
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am PAR 204
(also listed as E S364D, LIN S350)
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E s364D  l  Creole Languages and Their Speakers

Instructor:  Hancock, I

Unique #:  82785

Semester:  Summer 2015, second session

Cross-lists:  LIN 350; AFR 372G (pending confirmation/approval)

Flags:  Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

Restrictions:  n/a

Computer Instruction:  No

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

Description: This class in Creole Studies will begin with a general discussion of the nature of pidginized and creolized languages, and we will listen to tape-recorded samples and examine some publications written in them. No attempt will be made at this point to draw any conclusions about what kind of languages they are, or where they come from. This will be followed by an account of the development of the field of Creole Studies (Creolistics), from Pelleprat (1649) to the present. The major approaches—monogeneticist, polygeneticist, relexificationalist, substratist, componentialist, bioprogram—will be dealt with, and the works of their main proponents read and discussed.

This will be followed by an examination of the definitions of the terms pidgin and creole, and of other so-called ‘marginal’ languages (traders’ jargons, cryptolectal varieties, foreigner speech, etc.), in order to justify their inclusion, or otherwise, as true cases of pidginized or creolized languages. This will be followed by a survey of the world’s pidgins and creoles, and a detailed examination of the history and linguistic features of a small number of representative languages, with tape-recorded texts for analysis. There will be particular focus on these languages that are spoken in the Americas, including African American Vernacular (“Black English”), Texas Afro-Seminole Gullah and Louisiana Creole French, as well as the American contact languages Yamá and Chinuk Wawa among others.

Towards the end of the course we shall return to the issues raised at the beginning, and attempt a definition of the processes and typologies. We will also look at creolization as it relates to acquisitionist theory, the process of decreolization/metropolitanization, and issues of education and standard language reform.

Proposed Texts/Readings:

Ammon, Ulrich, Norbert Dittmar and K. Mattheier (eds.), Sociolinguistics: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2007 edition, pp. 459-469.

Arends, J., 1995. The Early Stages of Creolization. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Bakker, P., & M. Mous, eds., 1994. Mixed Languages: 15 Case Studies of Language Intertwining. Amsterdam: IFOTT.

Byrne, F., & T. Huebner, eds., 1991. Development and Structure of Creole Languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Couto, H. do, 1996. Introduciio ao Estudio das Linguas Crioulas e Pidgins. Brasilia: Editora UnB.

Edwards, W., & D. Winford, eds., 1991. Verb Phrase Patterns in Black English and Creole. Detroit: Wayne State UP.

Escure, G., & A. Schwegler, 2004. Creoles, Contact and Language Change. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Grant, A., 2003. Papers in Contact Linguistics. Bradford: The University Press.

Hancock, I., 1979. Readings in Creole Studies. Ghent: Story-Scientia.

Hancock, I., 1985. Diversity and Development in Creole Studies. Ann Arbor: Karoma.

Holm, J., 2000. An Introduction to Pidgins and Creoles. Cambridge: CUP.

Holm, J., 2004. Languages in Contact: The Partial Restructuring of Vernaculars. Cambridge: CUP.

Holm, J., & P. Patrick, 2007. Comparative Creoles Syntax: Parallel Outlines of 18 Creole Grammars. London: Westminster UP.

Kouwenberg, S., 2003. Twice as Meaningful: Reduplication in Pidgins, Creoles and Other Contact Languages. London: Westminster UP.

Lehiste, I., 1988. Lectures on Language Contact. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Le Page, Robert, & Annegret Tabouret-Keller, 1985. Acts of Identity. Cambridge UP.

Matras, Y., & P. Bakker, 2003. The Mixed Language Debate. Amsterdam: Mouton.

Morgan, M., ed., 1994. Language and The Social Construction of Identity in Creole situations. Los Angeles: UCLA.

Neumann-Holzschuh, 1., & E. Schneider, eds., 2000. Degrees of Restructuring in Creole Languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Polomé, Edgar, 1990. Research Guide on Language Change. Berlin: Mouton-DeGruyter.

Romaine, S., 1988. Pidgin and Creole Languages. Harlow: Longman.

Sebba, M., 1997. Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Singh, I., 2000. Pidgins and Creoles: An Introduction. London: Arnold.

Thomason, S., 2001. Language contact: An Introduction. Washington: Georgetown UP.

Requirements & Grading: You’ll be graded on (a) two closed book, period long, hand in tests and (b) the composition and presentation of a research paper, and (c) on your evaluation of the papers of the others in the class. Each of you will have a whole period at the end of the semester (half for presentation, half for questions and evaluation by everyone else). The tests are 10% each, the evaluations 10%, attendance and participation 10% and your paper 60%.

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