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Africana Studies Course Offerings

A listing of offered courses follows with prerequisites.  The credit value of each course is represented by the number in brackets.

Core Course

AFS 110 The Study of the Black Experience [3]

An introductory course that explores the nature and scope of Africana studies through an examination of the various dimensions of the black experience.


AFS 223/ENG 223 Survey of African American Literature [3]

Reading and discussion of selected poetry and prose, with special emphasis on the works of major figures such as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker.

AFS 305/ENG 305/GS 305 African American Women Writers [3]

This course has as its premise that the work of contemporary African American women writers—such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, Paule Marshall, and Sherley Anne Williams—can be interpreted in the context of an identifiable literary tradition with sources in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The course will look at the construction of this tradition in terms of specific literary themes and techniques, from “signifying” to communities of women that have been theorized by feminist and African American scholars. Prerequisites: GS 100; and either one 200-level literature course, or AFS 110 or AFS 111; or permission of instructor.

AFS 318/ENG 318 African American Autobiography

This course examines African American autobiographies from the early narratives of Douglass, Jacobs and Washington to the self-conscious, lyrical texts of the 1960's and 1970's. The course also introduces students to theories of autobiography and the written self. Prerequisite: Any 200-level literature class or permission of the instructor. 


AFS225/ HIS 225 African American History [3]

An examination of the broad contours of the history of African Americans in the United States, with primary focus on the period from 1865 to the present. Topics include African American culture, resistance to slavery, black Americans and the military, civil rights, American apartheid, and African Americans and the United States political economy. Prerequisite: HIS 100 or HIS 130 or HIS 131, or permission of department chair.

Politics & Government

AFS 210/POL 210 Urban Politics [3]

Examination of the political process of the contemporary American city from precinct to city council and city hall. Considers such topics as the social and economic characteristics of urban population and leadership; economic and ethnic interests, groups, and conflicts; and the interplay of interest groups, political parties, and government in response to problems of contemporary urban life.

AFS 213/POL 213 Race and Politics [3]

This course explores the politics of race in the United States. Special emphasis is placed on the relations between African Americans, Latinos and Latinas, and European Americans. We will discuss the meaning of race and racism; the history and consequences of racial inequality; and different strategies to seek redress for racial inequality. Prerequisite: Any 100-level POL or AFS course, or permission of instructor.

AFS 242/POL 222 Politics of the Third World [3]

An interdisciplinary examination of the colonial origins, Cold War/post–Cold War context for emergence as independent states, and contemporary political issues in the two-thirds of the world we call the Third World. Emphasis on the meaning of development and obstacles to attaining it. Consideration also of internal colonialism, or “the Third World in our backyard,” such as Native Americans, ex-slaves, and immigrants from the Third World living in developed countries. Prerequisite: Any 100-level POL course or permission of instructor. 

AFS 323/ POL 323 Caribbean Politics [3]

AFS 323/POL 323 Caribbean Politics [3]
Analysis of contemporary Caribbean politics. Focus on problems of decolonization, race, and class against the historical backdrop of colonialism and slavery. Prerequisite: POL 105 or permission of instructor. POL 220 or POL 222 recommended.


AFS 226/SOC 256 The Black Family in American Society [3]

An examination of the black family in American society. This course will deal with the black family within the social class structure. Emphasis will be placed on the similarities and differences within the various social classes as to family relationships, life-styles (socialization and childbearing practices), cutting across areas of education, employment, religion, recreation, politics, housing, and attitudes toward prejudice and discrimination.

AFS 258/SOC 258 The Caribbean American Family [3]

This course will examine the diversity of the Caribbean American culture, the impact of colonization and slavery on the family structure, the pattern of migration, culture shock, and other adjustment issues for families; and the implications of these factors for education, politics, and social relations within the Caribbean American communities and their interaction with the host society.

AFS 352/SOC 382 Race and Ethnic Relations [3]

A social-historical analysis of the impact of race and ethnicity upon the distribution of power, opportunity and privilege in a social structure. Major theoretical perspectives on racial and ethnic prejudice and discrimination will be examined along with the diverse patterns of interracial and interethnic contact that develop in different societies. The course will also focus on the politics of minority status, studying the growth and development of social movements that have challenged the legitimacy of racial and ethnic stratification.


AFS 336/ART 336 African Art [3]

An in-depth look at visual art forms associated with the African continent and its varied artistic traditions, which may include sculpture, painting, architecture, photography, decorative arts, and performance. This course will concentrate on one of the following topics: African textiles, the arts of Nigeria, contemporary African art, or Africa and photography. The specific topic will be announced in the schedule of classes. Prerequisite: Any 200-level art history course, or ART 100 with junior or senior standing. Visual resources fee.

Music Classes at the Hartt School

AFR 111 Jazz Improvisational Devices [1]

Prerequisite AFR 110

AFR 131 African-American Music 1890-1945 [3]

AFR 132 African-American Music 1945- present [3]

Prerequisite AFR 131

AFR 221 Jazz Keyboard Class [2]

Prerequisite APC 122 & APC 123

AFR 223 Jazz Transcription II [1]

Prerequisite AFR 222

AFR 243 Repertory Building (Instr.) [1]

AFR 321 Jazz Studies (Core) [3]

AFR 343 Arranging (Jazz) [2]

AFR 481 Independent Study in African-American Music [1-3]

Additional Courses

AFS 326 The Folk Culture of Black America [3]

An examination of the distinct and continuous tradition of African American culture that has existed historically and continues to do so as a separate entity within the larger cultural framework of American society. Emphasis on the metamorphosis of aspects of continental African culture into African American culture. Perspectives on black music, art, language, religion, and social mores. 

AFS 480 Independent Study in the Black Experience [3]

This course is open to both majors and non-majors. It is designed to allow interested and qualified students to engage in research and study in academic areas not covered by existing department course offerings. The student will work under an advisor chosen by the student in consultation with the coordinator of African American studies. All independent study projects must be approved by the coordinator. Prerequisites: AFS 110 and sophomore standing.

AFS 190, 191, 290, 291, 390, 391, 490, 491 Special Topics in Africana Studies [1–3]

Topics and issues related to the black experience. These will vary from year to year in accordance with the needs of the curriculum and the availability of qualified faculty. Fall 2012 Seminar in Comparative Politics: Islam and Politics in Africa.

AFS 482-483 Honors in Africana Studies [3-3]

Open to seniors who have taken no fewer than 21 credits in the program and who have earned a minimum grade point aver-age of 3.0 in their major. The student must prepare a senior thesis under the supervision of a faculty member chosen in consultation with the coordinator of Africana studies. The student will be required to defend this thesis before an Honors Committee approved by the Africana Studies General Advisory Committee.