Fall 2014 Courses

AFS 200 African American Art History
Frank Woods- 1:00 pm- 1:50 pm MWF

This course examines and interprets selected works of art as a reflector of the perception of Blacks within American history and culture. This course also investigates the development of African American artists and their achievements and the inherent struggles involved in bring their work to mainstream attention. The images chosen for study in this course define "Blackness" through the lens of race, slavery, stereotype, white privilege, and Black affirmation. Lectures and readings in this class focus on historical, political, social, and religious elements of African American artistic production and representation and frames their intersection with gender, class, and ethnicity.

AFS 201 Introduction to African American Studies
Frank Woods- 11:00 am- 11:50 am MWF
Omar Ali- 9:30 am- 10:45 am TR

This course acquaints students with historical, social, political and psychological perspectives on the African American struggle to gain acceptance in America. This course covers major fundamental factors that shaped the African American experience and the field of African American Studies and examines the lives of key individuals that added greatly to the history of this country.

AFS 210 Blacks in American Society
Frank Woods- 12:30 pm- 1:45 pm TR
Michael Cauthen- 2:00 pm- 3:15 pm MW

This course is open to all undergraduate students. It explores the African American experience from multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary perspectives; particularly the experiences of members of the African American community in the twentieth century, and early twenty first century. Central to the above exploration will be the critique of the foremost theories and methodologies of African American sociology, African American political science, and black economics. The course also reviews the accomplishments of leading African American historical figures of relevant eras; and analyzes the interplay of race, racism, and socio-culture in the full span of black life in the United States.

AFS 260 Understanding Race
Michael Cauthen- 11:00 am- 11:50 am MWF

Race is used as a fundamental organizing principle of American socio-culture, yet it is one the most profoundly misunderstood aspects of “the” human condition. Many courses offer a unit, chapter, or one-day debates on the subject. This course seeks to provide a comprehensive look at race (and its companion, racism)—especially in its socio-historical, bio-cultural, politico-economic dimensions.

AFS 306 Special Topics in the African Diaspora: Afro-Latin America
Omar Ali- 11:00 am- 12:15 pm TR

From the sixteenth through the late nineteenth centuries the vast majority of Africans who were taken to the Americas did not land in the U.S. but went to Latin America--in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. This course looks at the ways in which Africans and their descendants both created and navigated their societies, from colonial Spanish Cartagena and Lima, to Portuguese Salvador, as well as runaway slave communities, maroons, from Palenque in Colombia to Palmares in Brazil. Upwards of twenty percent of the forced African migrants were also Muslim. We begin the course by looking at the history of West Africa, continue with Iberia and Native American societies, before delving into Afro-Latin America.

AFS 315 Theories and Paradigms in African American Studies
Michael Cauthen- 10:00 am- 10:50 am MWF

This course will offer a concentrated examination of the theories (or systematic explanations) of the social, cultural, and historical phenomena and/or experiences of African Americans. It will explore the history, development, and reception of African American public intellectuals of the 20th and 21st Centuries, including Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Cornel West, and Thomas Chatterton Williams. Additionally, the course will focus on various intellectual traditions and turns, with themes such as cultural memory, Jazz and Blues, post/modernism, historiography, black existentialism, gender and sexuality, aesthetics, “Soul,” folklore, afrocentricity, and social/political resistance.

AFS 325 Black Women in the US
Sarah Cervenak- 11:00 am- 12:15 pm TR

This course explores the historical experiences of women of African descent in America through an evaluation of relevant literature, film, and/or music. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to explain the effects of racism, sexism, and class disparities on Black women and the ways these women have responded to these issues; recognize the cultural diversity of women of African descent in the United States and the impact culture has on identity and self-definition; identify and discuss experiences unique to women of African descent as expressed in their music, films, literature, and political writing; discuss the different social theories that articulate Black women’s experiences and apply them to analysis of relevant issues; and analyze the differences between issues Black women of one era faced and those faced by Black women of another era.

AFS 376 Hip Hop and Poetry
D. Noble -12:30 pm- 1:45 pm TR

We take this more serious than just a poem.

~ Inspectah Deck (Play IV Keeps)

With increasing acceptance and thorough scholarly rigor, rap music and hip hop culture is being interrogated within and relative to various Black (African American as well as the larger African Diaspora) intellectual, political and literary traditions. To properly contextualize hip hop—as both praxis and heterogeneous cultural group—it is imperative to historicize it within these disparate yet interconnected traditions. Moreover, it is critical to see how hip hop, particularly rap music, extends,embraces and disrupts these traditions in the contemporary historical moment relative to the ongoingBlack liberation struggle.

This course aims to accomplish this by situating rap within the African American poetic tradition. African American poetry is a viable site of inquiry because it is much more than a literary genre. It is a malleable political tool, a dynamic and breathing cultural instrument reflecting the reflexive contours of Black political thought and intellectual engagement. This course will thereby scrutinize African American poetry’s political utility relative to the ongoing Black liberation struggle. How has African American poetry defined the Black liberation struggle in certain historical moments? How has it critiqued the Black liberation struggle in given historical contexts? How has African American poetry enhanced, enabled or even retarded the Black liberation struggle? In addition to answering these questions, this course will explore the governing aesthetics of certain African American literary periods in order to examine how hip hop continues to exercise these disparate schools of thought as well as assess how rap pushes these aesthetics to different interpretations and modes of cultural praxis.

AFS 410 Seminar in African American Studies
Sarah Cervenak- 12:30 pm- 1:45 pm TR

This course is the capstone for those majoring in African American Studies.  In it, we will have occasion to reflect on our various relationships to African American Studies as a field.  Particularly, we will think about the debates surrounding the field itself, as they concern its relationship to the university system and other institutional formations, identity and community, gender and sexuality, and the politics of representation. In addition to engaging in a set of critical dialogues about the field and what you’ve learned (in particular) while studying AFS at UNCG, you are expected to complete a final research paper. While half of the semester will be organized around critical readings and discussion, the other half will be dedicated to the cultivation, development, and presentation of an original research paper.
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