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AAS Courses & Key Questions

Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

Winter 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Race and Ethnicity Requirement Course
Humanities Distribution Requirement Course
Social Sciences Distribution Requirement Course
Upper Level Writing Requirement Course

AAS 103: The City Life in Urban Africa | SS

  • By studying everyday life in cities in Africa, what can we learn about global power, the intersection of poverty and wealth, resilience and inventiveness, and the "worlding" of Africa?

Keywords: slums and informality, precarity, associational life, people as infrastructure, collaborative networks, popular illegalities, and new satellite cities.

(Prof. Murray) 

*First-Year Seminar Course

AAS 104: History and Religion in Africa | HU

  • How have religious institutions and religious diversity informed social change in Africa?

Keywords: Africa, religion, religious diversity, history, social movements, kingship, nationalism, politics, conflict, pluralism

(Prof. Deese) 

*First-Year Seminar Course

AAS 111: Introduction to Africa and its Diaspora | R&E | HU

  • How do we get a broad understanding of the experiences of Africans and peoples of African descent throughout the world? 

Keywords: slavery, colonialism, race, music, literature history, Africa, the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe

(Prof. Askew; Prof. Boisseron)

AAS 116: Elementary Swahili II

  • language study: elementary Swahili II


(Prof. Mpesha; Prof. Mwipopo) 

AAS 126: Elementary African Languages II

  • language study: elementary Yoruba


(Prof. Olanipekun) 

AAS 201: Introduction to African American Studies | SS

  • What is “African American Studies”? What kinds of questions, ideas, and issues (social, political, and cultural) are central to this field?

Keywords: social movements, intersectionality, politics, law, legacies of slavery, arts and culture, media, current events, representation, resistance

(Prof. Andre) 

AAS 206: African Christianities

  • What accounts for the extraordinary dynamism of African Christianity?

Keywords: African nationalism, “African Traditional Religion,” Christianity, colonialism, culture, healing, law, miracles, politics, traditional healing, witchcraft

(Prof. Ashforth ) 

AAS 211: Dynamics of the African Diaspora: Religion and Revolution | HU

  • How have religions of the African Diaspora (like Vodou in Haiti) offered possibilities for resisting slavery and colonialism, and for creating new forms of culture from colonial andnational regimes?

Keywords: religion, power, ritual, authority,enslavement, spirit possession,Vodou, Santería, Candomblé, Rastafari

(Prof. Johnson) 

AAS 216: Intermediate Swahili II

  • language study: intermediate Swahili II


(Prof. Mwipopo) 

AAS 231: Survey of African American History II | SS

  • What does it mean to be black in America? 

Keywords: race, culture, Hip Hop, law, mass incarceration, freedom, Civil Rights

(Prof. Young) 

AAS 248: Crime, Race, and the Law

  • Why are so many African Americans behind bars in the United States today?

Keywords: mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow,pretext stops, War on Drugs, sentencing disparities, Getting Ghost,jury nullification

(Prof. Ellsworth) 

AAS 260: The Political Economy of African Development | SS

  • What is the confluence of political and economic forces at the local, national, regional, and global levels that has shaped the historical trajectory of African development from the precolonial period to the present? 

Keywords: political economy theories, slave trade, colonialism, independence movements, cold war politics, international aid, conflict, health, and Paris Accord

(Prof. Stein) 

AAS 271: Introduction to African American Literature | R&E | HU

  • Why talk about ‘African-American literature’ rather than talking more broadly about ‘American literature’? 

Keywords: slave narrative, racial passing, Harlem Renaissance, Afrofuturism, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Black Lives Matter

(Prof. Boisseron) 

AAS 273: The Southern Novel in Historical Context | R&E

  • How did so many world-class writers find their voice in the deeply-segregated American South? 

Keywords: Zora Neale Hurston, lynching, Alabama, William Faulkner, the Mississippi Delta, Civil Rights Movement, The Color Purple

(Prof. Ellsworth) 

AAS 304: Refugees of Unjust Worlds | SS

  • By studying refugees and immigration, what can we learn about borders, mobility, xenophobia, and racialization? 

Keywords: refugees, immigration, intersectional oppression, voice and resistance, diaspora, place-making, memory, meanings of home

(Prof. Fadlalla) 

AAS 316: Advanced Swahili II

  • advanced Swahili language course


(Prof. Mpesha) 

AAS 338.02: Literature in African American Culture: Black Writers Respond | HU

  • How did early black writers respond to the post Civil War rise of racial terror lynching, voter suppression, white supremacy, and Jim Crow? 

Keywords: early black writers, culture, novels, poetry, short story, violence, nadir, new negro

(Prof. Santamarina) 

AAS 358.05: Once Upon a Time in Africa:Exploring Culture through African Children’s Literature

  • By studying African Children’s Literature, what can we learn about African cultural perspectives and the craft of writing for children? 

Keywords: theory of children’s literature, oral literature, written literature, applying the skill of writing children’s literature

(Prof. Mpesha) 

AAS 358.07: Performing Arts and Power in Africa

  • By studying “Performing Arts and Power in Africa,” what can we learn about musical performance as a mode of resistance, social identity, race and power, agency, empowerment, and the construction of gendered spaces? 

Keywords: agency, empowerment, power relations, performing arts, culture, ethnomusicology

(Prof. Ampene) 

AAS 358.08: Threads: What Does Clothing Have to Do with Culture, Politics, and the Environment?

  • By studying clothing, what can we learn about race, culture, politics, and the environment?

Keywords: intersectionality, social movements, resistance, law, mass incarceration, self-fashioning, narratives, appropriation, labor practices, sustainability

(Prof. Sweeney) 

AAS 358.13: Filming the Future of “Diversity”

  • What are the stakes of “diversity” in the university, and what is its future? How does it relate to social justice? Who benefits from “diversity”? 

Keywords: “diversity,” film production, futures, inclusion, equity, social justice, race, gender, sexuality

(Prof. Partridge) 

AAS 365: Gender and Global Health | SS

  • By studying gender, health, and reproduction, what can we learn about the production of social difference? 

Keywords: colonialism, globalization, capitalism, the female body, gender, race, class, power, narratives of resistance

(Prof. Fadlalla) 

AAS 366: Music of Africa

  • By studying African musical expressions, what can we learn about the intersections between music and social processes, historical narratives, ethnic diversity and musical diversity, and expressive arts in the African Diaspora?

Keywords: music, body movement, Afro-pop, Afrobeats, Rap and hip hop in Africa, social media, digital orality, trans-Atlantic collaborations, Afropolitanism, cosmopolitanism

(Prof. Ampene) 

AAS 384: Caribbean Women Writers | HU

  • What does literature written by Caribbean women tell us about the aftereffects of the transatlatic slave trade on intersectional racial, gender, class, and sexual identities in the Caribbean? 

Keywords: slavery, intersectionality, race, ethnicity, diaspora, creolization, feminism, citizenship, tourism

(Prof. Khan) 

AAS 458.04: In and Out of the Burning National House: James Baldwin in His Time and Ours

  • What can we learn about Americanness from reading James Baldwin’s works today? 

Keywords: twentieth-century literature, black queer studies, racism, pulpit, sexuality, gender, class, Harlem, Paris, Istanbul

(Prof. Zaborowska) 

AAS 458.12: Health and Socio-Economic Development in Africa

  • How does the health of Africans affect their development patterns, and how does socioeconomic development impact the health of Africans?

Keywords: development and health metrics, poverty and health equity, education, nutrition, Ebola outbreak, environment and climate change, gender, the political economy of policy, neo-liberalism and globalization

(Prof. Stein) 

AAS 495.01: Justice in Africa | ULWR

  • From addressing historical injustice to righting everyday wrongs, how are Africans pursuing justice? 

Keywords: Apartheid, civil war, colonialism, crime, genocide, human rights, law, policing, Restorative Justice, security, witchcraft.

(Prof. Ashforth) 

AAS 495.02: Caribbean Folklore | ULWR

  • How are folklore and religious/spiritual practices sites of African, indigenous, and other cultural retention and resistance in the Caribbean? 

Keywords: syncretism, religion, spirituality, magic, myth, orishas, resistance, Vodoun, Anansi, Carnival

(Prof. Khan) 

AAS 495.03: Black Activism and Black Studies: DAAS, Trotter, and Beyond | ULWR

  • What roles did students play in the founding of DAAS and Trotter, and what roles will students play in shaping the future of both? 

Keywords: Black students, student activism, Black Action Movement (BAM), Black Power, DAAS, Trotter, social movements, archives

(Prof. Ward)