What will I study?

As an interdisciplinary minor, you will take a range of courses covering all aspects of issues relating to people of African descent.  In order to insure that you complete a well-rounded curriculum, there are certain required courses as well as a large range of electives.  As you progress through the curriculum you will develop an understanding of the history, culture, and experiences of peoples of color from Africa, to the Americas, and beyond.

Note:  Presently the majority of courses are at the 300/400 level, thus students enrolling in the minor will generally be at the sophomore credit level or higher.

Minority studies (3 hours)

These classes are designed to help students with strong foundation in minority issues before progressing onto other areas.  These courses thus provide students with a general understanding of diversity, and the psychology of race.  The classes do not only cover those of African descent, rather they deal with the entire experience of minorities often from a global perspective.

Courses include:

  • Psychology 2420: Psychology of the Black Experience. STEPHENS/COTHRAN. Fall semester. Covers the impact of cultural differences from a psychological perspective.  Topics include intelligence, racial identity, and psycholinguistics.
  • Sociology 3050: Minorities in American Life. Fall & spring semesters. The course covers the character and role of racial, religious, and ethnic minorities in the US; the interplay of historical and current sociocultural processes on attitudes and behavior for both dominant and minority groups; and minority-related social problems and their possibilities of solution.
  • Sociology 3450: Social Inequality. MEDLEY/ BUCHANAN. Fall & spring semesters. An introduction to the study of inequality focusing on the distribution of resources in the US, and the social barriers that keep groups and individuals apart.
  • Criminal Justice 3170: Minorities and Criminal Justice. BUMPHUS/ILES. Every semester.This course involves a critical analysis of multicultural, intergroup relations in the United States.  It is intended to help students gain increased understanding of how race, ethnicity, gender, social status, age, occupation, etc., are related to the myriad of problems confronting social relations and the workings of the criminal justice system.
  • Political Science 3220: Civil Liberties. FOWLER . Spring semester. Case studies of key Supreme Court decisions affecting the rights and freedoms of the individual in American society.

African Studies (3 hours)

No Africana curriculum would be complete without a beginning.  These courses are intended to introduce students to the study of the Africa continent in all its wonder and complexities.  The courses taken here are intended to force students to rethink some of the ingrained cultural stereotypes about the African continent, both in history and in the contemporary world.  Students will be able to choose from a range of classes that include history, culture, literature, and film.

Courses include

  • Anthropology 3320: Peoples and Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa. Every 4th semester. Social and ethnological study of peoples and cultures of Africa.  Traditions and modernization analyzed in light of the contract with Western cultures.  Similarities and differences among societies in Africa.  African cultures compared and contrasted with the West.
  • English 3160: African Literature. KIZZA. Fall or spring semesters, alternate years. A study of selections from the literature of Africa.  Emphasis on historical fiction and the oral traditions.
  • History 3710: Sub-Saharan Africa to 1880. Fall semester. The partition of Africa; ideological underpinnings of imperialism; growth of colonial systems and the African reaction; colonial development and independence; apartheid; the European colonial legacy; response of traditional African social and political structures to technological modernity; nature of African cultural trends and developments.
  • History 3720: Sub-Saharan Africa since 1880. Spring semester. A study of the development of Modern Africa from the its partition; ideological underpinnings of imperialism; growth of colonial systems and the African reaction; colonial devolution and independence; apartheid; the European colonial legacy; response of traditional African social and political structures to technological modernity, nature of modern African cultural trends and developments.
  • University Honors 2190: Africa through Its Literature. KIZZA. Fall or spring once a year (limited to University Honors Program students or with approval of instructor). A study of the sociocultural, historical, and political dynamics of the continent and its peoples through reading, discussion, and analysis of African literary works by and about Africans.

Additional courses

Hopefully students will complete the curriculum in the order suggested.  This will allow students to enter these additional classes with a firm foundation in cultural studies, allowing for a better understanding of the courses that will complete their studies.  The courses in this category will also allow students to find a distinct path through the minor, whether they are interested in cultural studies, or race and gender, or even Latin American Studies.

Courses include:

  • Communications 3240: Race, Gender, and the Media. GAILEY. Fall and spring semesters. An upper-level course in which students investigate how the mass media helps construct popular notions about race and gender in American society.
  • English 2190: African American Literature. BRAGGS. Every semester. An examination of the development of African-American literature from the 1850s to the present.
  • English 3350: African American Slave Narrative Tradition. KIZZA. Fall semester. A study of slave narratives and the literature that influenced them.
  • History 3460: Afro-American History. Spring semester. An historical survey of Black Americans with some attention to African backgrounds; emphasis on their reactions to experiences in the New World.
  • History 3750: Colonial Latin America. ALTHOUSE. Fall semester, ever other year. Survey of Latin America beginning with contact with Spain in the 16th century until the movements for Latin American Independence in the first quarter of the 19th century.
  • History 3760: Latin America from Independence to the Present. ALTHOUSE. Spring semester, every other year. Survey of Latin American history from the movement for independence from Spain and Portugal until the present. Specific topics will include the colonial heritage of Latin America, and 20th century politics (particularly instances of dictatorship.)
  • History 4170: History of the Blues. Fall semester, every other year. Origins of the blues in the US; emphasis on historical antecedents and the social as well as economic conditions which shaped the nature and content of the music; patterns of musical migration; emphasis on various styles including Delta, Piedmont, Texas, Chicago, and West Coast Blues.
  • History 4230: Black Popular Culture. Fall semester, every other year. Presentation and inclusion of African-Americans in mainstream (Anglo-American) popular culture from 1800 to present-day: emphasis on social purpose of racial stereotyping and its importance in transmitting attitudes and social values; and critical evaluation of progression of African-Americans into mainstream culture.
  • Music 3170: Survey of Jazz. BRELAND. Fall semester. An introductory survey course in jazz from its ethnic origins, through its chronological development, to its current styles.

Alternate courses

There are a number of courses taught at the university that are also appropriate for addition to the minor but, for various reasons, are not yet listed. For a course to be considered for inclusion under the minor it must contain at least 1/3 African-American content or 2/3 minority content.  The intent of this rationale is to ensure that any courses included in the Minor provide an appropriate amount of material that supports the spirit of our aims as a program. 

Students wishing to take classes that are not officially listed under the minor will need to submit a petition the records department to have these courses added. 

Courses include (but are not limited to)

  • Archeology 3280: The Archeology of Latin America. On Demand. This course is designed to familiarize students with the prehistory of their Latin American neighbors, highlighting some of the major cultural groups of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, including the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, and Aztec.  It will provide the foundation needed to understand contemporary Latin America, highlighting continuities between the region’s prehistoric cultures and today’s indigenous groups.
  • Art 4990: African-American Art. LINDSAY. Fall semesters. The history of African-American art from the 17th century to the present will be the focus of the course.  Select artists and themes in African-American Art, as well as different approaches scholars have taken on the subject will be considered. The cultural and historical circumstances surrounding the production of African-American art - traditional and contemporary art forms - will be introduced.
  • Geography 2010: Geography of Africa. TYM. On Demand. A geographical survey of the continent of Africa by region 1) North Africa, the Sahara, and the Transition Zone; 2) West Africa; 3) Equatorial Africa; 4) East Africa; 5) Southern Africa. Physical geography (climate, landforms, biodiversity), political geography (tribal conflicts, dictators, kingdoms, colonialism), cultural and social geography (tribalism, population growth, slavery, AIDS0, economic geography (plantation agriculture, periodic markets, fossil fuel and mineral extraction) will be examined by region.
  • History 4990: Black Women’s History. Fall semester, every other year. An upper-level course, providing a foundation for understanding the central role of African American women in the history, culture and politics in the United States.  We will focus on the major role that black women played in the foundation of America, through history, sociology, and popular culture.
  • Humanities 2300: Contemporary Francophone Cinema. STEINBERG. On demand. An overview of recent African films from former French colonies with attention to issues of identity, heritage, and former colonial status.
  • Music 3200: African-American Music: An Introduction. CARTER. On demand. An overview of vocal and instrumental genres rooted in the African-American experience, spotlighting African American contributions from slavery to the present.