The Africana Studies minor offers students an interdisciplinary perspective on African, African American, and Afro-Latin American history, culture, literature, and politics. Now housed in the Department of History, the Africana Studies minor draws faculty from academic programs across the university—including English, Sociology, Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Music, and Communications.
The program develops students’ awareness of the social, political, and cultural issues related to the Africana experience from its historical beginnings to the present day. The Africana Studies minor develops and exposes students to multiple components of the Africana experience, tracing the history and legacies of African diaspora and exploring the broad arenas of black cultural expression. In doing so, the minor prepares students for life beyond UTC, for graduate programs, and for an increasingly global and diverse workforce.
For more information on the minor, please contact Professor Julia Cummiskey ([email protected]).
UTC Africana Studies Program Statement of Solidarity and Agenda for Action (June 2020)
Follow UTC Africana Studies on Instagram @utc_africanastudies!
Africana Studies Classes Fall 2022
The following classes count towards the Africana Studies Minor (you may need to have your advisor complete a petition). If you have any questions about the classes listed here, please contact the instructor. If you have questions about other classes you think may count towards the minor, please contact [email protected]edu.
ART 3130: African American Art from the Middle Passage to Black Lives Matter, Taught by Prof. Stephen Mandravelis
This course surveys the cultural production of African American artists from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. We will look at a range of visual media – including, but not limited to, paintings, decorative arts, sculptures, prints, photographs, clothing, and performance – to examine the styles, aesthetics, social contexts, political motivations, and ideological underpinnings of African American artists from the time of enslavement through the art of Black Lives Matter. Particular attention is given to the gendered nature of this history. This course prioritizes the production of peoples of African descent in the United States, although depictions of black subjects by white Euro-American artists are occasionally considered for contextual purposes. We will also explore how the field of “African American art history” has been defined in relation to Euro-American cultural history and investigate both the advantages and disadvantages of this formation. This class is designed to advance students’ visual acuteness, cross-cultural awareness, critical thinking, application, and skills of writing and interpretation.
MUS 3200: African American Music: An Introduction, Taught by Prof. Erika Schafer
An overview of vocal and instrumental genres rooted in the African American experience, spotlighting African American contributions from slavery to the present.
MUS 3170: Survey of Jazz Music, Taught by Prof. Erika Schafer
An introductory survey course in jazz from its ethnic origins, through its chronological development, to its current styles. Emphasis placed on the relationship of the music to the individuals who create this form of human expression.
HIST 3485: The Civil War in American Memory, Taught by Prof. Mark Johnson
In this course, students will examine how Americans have reconstructed the memory of the Civil War to suit their needs and circumstances. It will explore how soldiers, freed people, and other participants understood their own lives and how their descendants and subsequent generations, through organizations such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, shaped the meaning of the war for the sake of political, economic, and cultural power. To pursue these questions, students will learn about the theory of historical memory, the politicization of memory, and how memory changes over time. Although students will learn about the Civil War, they should not expect to study the actual fighting and execution of the war. Instead, they will study how people reconstructed the meaning of the Civil War to fit their own moment in time and place.
HIST 3940R: The Postcolonial Caribbean, Taught by Prof. Edward Brudney
This course uses interdisciplinary and comparative frameworks to examine the long history of interactions between the Caribbean and the “West.” From Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” of the so-called New World through the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and from the world-changing Haitian Revolution through the Cuban Revolution of the 1950s and 1960s, we will follow the efforts of formerly colonized peoples as they fought to forge new nations, cultures, and identities in the face of European imperialism. Topics likely to receive particular emphasis this semester include cannibalism; the Haitian Revolution; zombies and voodoo; the Spanish-American War; the Cuban Revolution; reggae music; Black Nationalism; and Caribbean diasporic identities.
HIST 3940R: Sports in Modern African History, Taught by Prof. Julia Cummiskey
In this course, we explore African history by looking at the history of sports. Using a variety of popular and scholarly media, we will use sport as a lens through which to examine ideas about nation, state race, gender, and economic development. Topics will include soccer as a tool of colonial governance, the Olympics as a site of political protest, and rugby as a venue for anti-apartheid mobilization. Students will work in small groups to create podcasts exploring a topic of their choosing.
HIST 4500R: Youth, Race, and Crime in American Cities, Taught by Prof. Susan Eckelmann Berghel
Languages and Literatures
ENGL 2080R: Topics in Intellectual Inquiry: Epic Battles: Sundiata v Beowulf, Taught by Profs. James Arnett and Dominik Heinrici
In this class, we will be reading multiple versions and translations of two classic epic tales from two very different cultural and linguistic contexts: Sundiata, the epic of Old Mali, and Beowulf, the Old English Viking epic. We will be studying a wide range of topics - from the politics of translation, to the tension between oral and textual literary cultures, to differing cultural and historical ideas about nation, leadership, violence, war, and conflict. The class will touch on a wide range of different kinds of learning and assignments, including live-action role-play, stage combat training, critical writing and reading, performance. The interdisciplinary, team-taught class promises to bring epic literature to life!
ENGL 2520: African American Literature, Taught by Prof. Earl Braggs
Readings will be largely fiction with supportive critical works and some poetry and drama to examine the development of African-American literature from the 1850s to the present. Figures may include Harper, Chestnutt, Washington, DuBois, Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Brooks, Baldwin, Walker, and Morrison.
ENGL 4440: Black Women Writers, Taught by Prof. Hannah Wakefield
This course examines the writing of African American women from the 1700s to the present day. Considering poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in works by Phillis Wheatley, Octavia Butler, Audre Lorde, and many others, our class will focus primarily on each writer’s negotiation of gender and racial categories; in other words, we will seek to understand how each writer understands and articulates her own concept of black womanhood. Since these writers inevitably produce different understandings of both blackness and womanhood, our class will consider the extent to which such a diverse group of texts can still constitute its own, continuous tradition. Along the way, we will familiarize ourselves with the African American and, more specifically, black feminist literary criticism that has defined and redefined that tradition.
LTAM 2200: Afro-Latino Voices: The Caribbean and Beyond, Taught by Prof. Carmen Jimenez
This course is a survey of primary and secondary texts written by, and/or about Spanish speaking people of African heritage. This course is taught in English. Main topics will include identity, gender, race, resistance, and representations.
Social and Behavioral Sciences
SOC 4999R: Sociology of Hip Hop, Taught by Prof. Chandra Ward
This course examines the creation, development, evolution, and implications of hip hop from a sociohistorical perspective both within and beyond the United States. Specifically, students will draw primarily on sociological perspectives and theories to analyze the genre and examine the conditions for the creation, evolution, and continued existence of hip hop. Students will learn about and deploy theoretical frameworks such as critical theories, theories of deviance, social constructionism, and other sociological frameworks from across the discipline. By tracing the development of hip hop across multiple eras, we will explore how capitalism and the commodification of hip hop has affected performers and listeners, and we will interrogate how artists conceptualize and present masculinity and femininity.