Black Lives Matter demonstration event

In 2020, the confluence of a devastating global health pandemic and the grotesque killings of Black civilians catalyzed a national movement and resurgent demands to protect Black life.

Within the School of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Africana Studies has, since 1969, been devoted to close interdisciplinary analysis of black experience to support the work of social justice both nationally and internationally. Our courses examine the precise issues underpinning these inter-connected manifestations of the ways that the treatment of Black life is an indicator of the ways that inequality and oppression is structured, but they also help us understand the ways those oppressions have been challenged and dismantled.

The world stands poised to make a definitive break with the legacy of oppression, and Africana Studies stands ready to prepare a new generation to usher in that new world. As we strive together to realize the transformative potential contained within the pain of the present moment, Africana Studies is today more than ever a vital part of education for all people, not just Black people.

We encourage all students to engage with this work through the undergraduate courses offered by the Department of Africana Studies.


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01:014:206 The Black Woman

The Black Woman course introduces students to the major psychological, social and cultural factors that influence women of African descent in the African Diaspora. The course integrates an analysis of intersectionality, and the impact of the structural oppressions of racism, sexism and classism on Black women's lived experiences throughout the Diaspora. The goals of this class are accomplished through the incorporation of interdisciplinary academic readings, films - documentaries and popular media, and class discussions. This course enhances the cultural literacy of all who attend.

01:014:207 The Black Male Identity in the US [CORE-CCD]

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Examines historical, sociological, psychological and political factors that influence the identity of black men in the United States.

01:014:230 Psychology of Black Experience

How does racism get under the skin? That is, where and how do African Americans experience racism, and at what cost to health and well-being? In what ways do Black persons expend psychological resources to negotiate a social context permeated by racial inequalities? In this course we will attempt to answer these questions using a novel about 1940s Harlem as our focal point, allowing us to connect the historical and contemporary Black experience. We will draw on a wide range of sources to interpret the Black experience, including social science, humanities, and public health scholarship; quantitative data (e.g., survey data); film; popular media; and more. We will pay particular attention to the structures that perpetuate inequalities and the extent to which inequalities have changed over time.

01:014:353 Black Community Law and Social Change [CORE - CCD]

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This course focuses on the African American enduring struggle for political and social equality. Using the American judicial system as one of the main pivots, we will analyze its impact on African Americans in their efforts to pursue legal remedies, launching protest movements, and challenging voter suppression in the body politic. Additionally, the political tempo of the times will serve to put the struggle of African Americans in proper context. Evolving from an historical, political, and legal approach, the law impacted such stages of slavery, racial segregation, racial profiling, and tentative steps toward freedom as blacks define their agency in American society. It is within this context that the intertwining roles of lawyers, judges, legislators, administrators, protest leaders, and grassroots mobilization will be assessed.

01:014:362 Black Identity, Religion and Politics

The meshing of black identity, religion and politics has contoured the cultural experience of African Americans in the United States as well as shaped their protest politics. Together, these elements move black political struggle toward spiritual redemption at times, and at other times toward political and social change. This course will analyze the various ways that black leadership -- electoral, religious, and grassroots -- utilize these elements as instruments of empowerment.

01:014:423 Black Thought: Readings in Race, Gender and Freedom

One of the enduring questions in Black Thought concerns what it means for Black people to free themselves from the clutches of white supremacy and colonialism. This course introduces students to a series of foundational thinkers in Black intellectual history: Maria Stewart, David Walker, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Anna Julia Cooper, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kiese Laymon and many others. We consider questions about whether racism is a permanent feature of American life, what tactics could potentially overcome it, what role questions of gender and feminism have to play in the quest for Black liberation, issues of class and elitism in Black communities, and many other questions. Through attention to readings and film, students come to understand the broad arc of Black Intellectual History and come away informed about the critical and enduring problems of white supremacy and patriarchy in Black life.

01:014:481 The Black Family

Prerequisite: Junior, senior, or graduate standing. Recommended: Previous seminar course work. Consideration of the black family in historical and contemporary contexts: nuclear versus extended families; two-parent and female-headed households; rural and urban environmental effects.