Africana Studies

Director: Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (English); Steering Committee:Constance Berkley (Africana Studies), Joyce Bickerstaff (Africana Studies and Education), Judith Casselberry (Africana Studies and Music), Patricia–Pia Celerier (French), Lisa Collins (Art), Margo Crawford (English), Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (English), Diane Harriford (Sociology), Luke Harris (Political Science), Tiffany Lightbourn (Psychology), Timothy Longmanab (Africana Studies and Political Science), Lawrence Mamiyaa (Africana Studies and Religion), Mia Mask (Film), Brian McAdoo (Geology and Geography), Lizabeth Paravisini–Gebert (Hispanic Studies), Ismail Rashidb (Africana Studies and History), Judith Weisenfeld (Religion).

The multidisciplinary program in Africana Studies provides students with a comparative perspective in their approach to the study of the history, politics, culture, and experiences of peoples of African origin in the United States, Africa, and the African Diaspora (North and South America and the Caribbean). Using the concepts and methodologies of history, psychology, the social sciences, and literature and the arts, Africana Studies encompasses the systematic study of peoples of African descent in the United States and areas that comprise much of what is referred to as the Third World, and is, therefore, a field of interdisciplinary inquiry which spans African American cross–cultural studies, area studies, and international studies in scope and focus.

Africana Studies has pioneered in offering for its students a cross–cultural experience in Africa or the Caribbean under the Study Away program. Students may choose Third World colleges and universities or, alternatively, one of several designated historically Black institutions of higher learning in the United States. Africana Studies also initiated the new Vassar JYA program at Mohammed V. University in Rabat, Morocco, one of the great cosmopolitan centers of the Mediterranean world. Morocco has been at the juncture of one of the major historic crossroads of cultural and intellectual ferment for Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Africana Studies courses and foreign study opportunities emphasize comparative and multidisciplinary methodologies and the exploration of multiple perspectives. The program is concerned with the cultural, historical, political, economic, and psychological consequences of the dispersion of Africans from their ancestral continent to the diverse regions of the world, known as the Black Diaspora, over the course of centuries.

Requirements for concentration: 101/2 units are required and the cross–cultural field study experience is strongly recommended for the major. Students who major in Africana Studies must have a specialization in one of the three major disciplinary areas of the program: (1) history; (2) literature and the arts; and (3) the social sciences (political science/law, sociology/religion, and education). In addition to the required concentration in one of the three disciplinary areas, a required category of Core Courses is designed to provide students with a general knowledge and synthesis of a critical body of literature and methodology in a non–Western field of scholarship. Core Courses are not cross–listed.

Distribution of unit requirements: (a) 41/2 units of Core Courses including Africana Studies 102, 210, 299, 300 (senior thesis or project), 301; (b) 3 units from the disciplinary area of specialization (history, literature and the arts, social sciences); 3 units of electives, 2 units at the 200–level, 1unit at the 300–level). NRO work may not be used to satisfy the major requirements for the program in Africana Studies.

Students who major in Africana Studies are encouraged to participate in a cross–cultural field research and study experience in Africa, the Afro–Caribbean, or in the southern region of the United States at one of four historically Black colleges—Fisk University; Howard University; Spelman College; Morehouse College. The program faculty considers such an experience overseas or in the American South to be an integral part of the Africana Studies specialization. The program hopes that nonmajors at Vassar will also consider the unique educational advantages to be derived from spending a junior year (or term) abroad at an African university or, alternatively, a term at one of the historically Black colleges.

Advisers: Program director and program faculty.

Courses cross–listed with other departments may be selected for credit under the rubric of Africana Studies or the traditional discipline.

Correlate Sequence in Africana Studies: Coursework in the correlate sequence is organized to reflect both the regional and global nature of the field of Africana Studies (African–Americans in the United States; Africa and the Black Diaspora) and its interdisciplinary structure of inquiry (history, literature and the arts, and the social sciences). The correlate allows students to explore the links between African American and African ancestry through a broad historic, geographic, and disciplinary perspective celebrating the richness and diversity of American and African cultures and traditions. For the student planning the correlate in Africana Studies, it is useful to understand the interdependent nature of both.

Students electing a correlate in Africana Studies must take 6 units. In addition to 3 units of required coursesAfricana Studies 102; 210; and 301; students may choose 3 units of coursework from any one (a, b, c) of the suggested concentrations of study which is structured to provide depth of knowledge in a single area of disciplinary inquiry and within one or both geographic regions. Two units must be at the 200–level, 1 unit at the 300–level.

Advisers: Program faculty.

Options of focus are as follows:

I. African–American Cultural Studies*

a) History: African American Cultural and Intellectual History. 235; 276; 330

b) Literature and the Arts: The Black Aesthetic. 202; 241; 247; 266; 270; 273; 297.07; 366; 369

c) Social Sciences: Race, Religion, and Socialization in America: 160; 206; 246; 258; 264; 268; 297.04; 297.05; 320; 321; 330

*Students who are planning a JYA at an historic Black college or a cross–cultural experience in the American South are encouraged to choose a correlate or appropriate courses from any one of the above areas of concentration.

II. Africa and the Black Diaspora*

a) History: Ancestral Legacy. 141; 201; 230; 243; 271; 272; 373

b) Literature and the Arts: Ancient and Modern Traditions. 108; 203; 253; 254; 369

c) Social Sciences: Politics and Revolution in the Third World. 211; 243; 250; 297.08; 297.09; 310; 321; 352; 354

*Students who are planning a JYA in an African university or a field study experience in Africa are encouraged to choose a correlate or appropriate courses from any one of the above areas of concentration.


I. Core Courses

102a. Introduction to Third–World Studies: A Comparative Approach to Africa and the African Diaspora (1)

An introduction to the basic concepts and literature in the disciplines covered by Africana and/or Third–World studies. Provides a methodological framework for the comparative approach in the systematic investigation and analysis of non–Western peoples and cultures before and after Western contact. Emphasis is placed on an examination of the various concepts of the Third World, the African peoples in Africa, the Afro–Caribbean, and North and South America. Ms. Bickerstaff.

210b. Great Books and Classics of Africa and the African Diaspora (1)

This course provides an introduction to the accumulated thought arising out of and/or concerning the cultural and intellectual experiences of people of African descent, during the modern era. It enables students to examine and discuss the philosophical assertion that "humans are an end in themselves" as central to world views of people of African descent. The texts include classics from social science, history, and humanities that embody the essence of the African, North America African, and African Caribbean experiences. Readings include: Africanite, Pre–Colonial Black Africa, Eurocentrism, The Marrow of Tradition, Black Thunder, Youngblood, Black Skins, White Masks. Mrs. Berkley.

301. Senior Colloquium (1)

Provides a forum for the intensive analysis and discussion of selected topics from a multidisciplinary and comparative perspective. Scholars in the particular areas of inquiry may be invited to address the colloquium. The theme or topic varies from year to year.

Topic for 2001/02: Black Britain in Literature and Film. (Same as English 301) Black people have lived in Britain since the sixteenth century, yet their presence has been ignored in the past and contested in the present. The course examines the past and current situations of black people in Britain as described in literature and film. Issues concern notions of "home" and citizenship, immigration, sexuality and intermarriage, and the recent Stephen Lawrence murder case. Readings begin with the major black writers of the eighteenth century, such as Olaudah Equiano and Ignatius Sancho, and end with contemporary writers such as Caryl Phillips, S.I. Martin and Zadie Smith. Films includeMona Lisa, Sapphire, Secrets and Lies, and excerpts from British television documentaries. Ms. Gerzina.

Open to junior and senior majors in Africana Studies or by permission of instructor.

One 2–hour period.


II. Introductory

105a. Selected Topics in Africana Studies (1)

(Same as Religion 105) Topic for 2001/02: Religion and the Civil Rights Movement. This course examines the ways in which religious beliefs, practices and institutions helped to shape the modern Civil Rights Movement and undergird its struggle for social change. Topics include theologies of non–violent resistance, spirituals and freedom songs, religion and gender in the movement, critiques of religious–motivated activism and of non–violent resistance. Ms. Weisenfeld.

Open only to Freshmen. Satisfies requirement for a Freshman course.

108a. Introduction to the African Literary Traditions (1)

Examines the works of a number of African writers, both orally transmitted textssuch as folklore and poetryand written genres, and their cultural influence and impact upon European concepts about Africans before and during the Renaissance, including the period of the 800 years of Moorish/Muslim rule of Iberia. It also investigates how contemporary African writers have tried to revive a sense of the African cultural continuum in old and new literary works. Writers include: Horus, St. Augustine, Ibn Khaldun, Achebe, Ba, Ngugi, Neto, Abrahams, Mazrui, and Salih. Mrs. Berkley.

141a. Tradition, History and the African Experience (1)

(Same as History 141) From ancient stone tools and monuments to oral narratives and colonial documents, the course examines how the African past has been recorded, preserved and transmitted over the generations. It looks at the challenges faced by the historian in Africa and the multidisciplinary techniques used to reconstruct and interpret African history. Various texts, artifacts and oral narratives from ancient times to the present are analyzed to see how conceptions and interpretations of the African past have changed over time. Mr. Rashid.

Section .01 fulfills the Freshman Course requirement. It is open to freshmen only. Section .02 is open to all classes.

160a. Books, Children, and Culture (1)

(Same as Education 160) Ms. Bickerstaff.


III. Intermediate

201a. African Conceptions: The Shaping of Freedom (1)

(Same as History 201 and College Course 201) In Africa and the United States contemporary modes of thought about and the struggle for HUMAN RIGHTS reaches back to Africa's "Golden Age" (before the European Renaissance and before the period of European Navigation). This course recreates a public memory that counteracts the caricature of the enslaved African who could never be a symbol of freedom. It examines how African and African American experiences reflect the struggle for a social contract that creates and protects the human rights of all members of the world community, with regard to economic guarantees of food, clothing, shelter, education and recreation. As creative intellectuals, we must be concerned with how the cultural system can allow for the most profound development of each individual's personal human dignity. Materials are drawn from African and African American history, literature and film. Authors may include Ibn Khaldun, Peter Abrahams, Margaret Walker, Lorraine Hansberry, W.E.B. DuBois, Nelson Mandela and others. Mrs. Berkley and Mr. Rashid.

202a and b. Black Music (1)

(Same as Music 202) An analytical exploration of the music of certain African and European cultures and their adaptive influences in North America. The course examines the traditional African and European views of music performance practices while exploring their influences in shaping the music of African Americans from the spiritual to modern times. Ms. Casselberry.

203b. The Origins and Development of Islamic Literature (1)

(Same as Religion 203) The course surveys the development of Islamic literature from its beginning with the Qur'an, through the "golden age'' of Islam, to today's urbane novelists. It reveals the close relationship between the growth of Islam as a way of life and the literature which developed among the more than a billion Muslims in the world. Authors: Fazlur Rahman, Kritzeck, Jalal al Ehmad, Ahmed K. Hakkat, Tawfiq Awwad, Driss Chraibi, Taha Hussein, Naguib Mahfouz, Daglarca, Yahya Haqqi, Tayeb Salih, and Muhammad Abduh. 
Mrs. Berkley.

Prerequisite: one course in religion or Africana Studies.

206b. Social Change in the Black Community (1)

(Same as Sociology 206) An examination of social issues in the Black community: poverty and welfare, segregated housing, drug addiction, unemployment and underemployment, and the prison system. Social change strategies from community organization techniques and poor people's protest movements to more radical urban responses are analyzed. Mr. Mamiya.

[211a. Religions of the Oppressed and Third–World Liberation Movements] (1)

(Same as Religion 211) A comparative socio–historical analysis of the dialectical relationship between religion and the conditions of oppressed people. The role of religion in both suppression and liberation is considered. Case studies include the cult of Jonestown (Guyana), the Iranian revolution, South Africa, slave religion, and aspects of feminist theology. Mr. Mamiya.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[230a. Africa: Regional Geographic Perspectives] (1)

(Same as Geography 230)

Not offered in 2001/02.

[235a. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States] (1)

In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of the modern civil rights movement. We explore how the southern–based struggles for racial equality and full citizenship in the U.S. worked both to dismantle entrenched systems of segregation, disfranchisement, economic exploitation, and discrimination and to challenge American society to live up to its professed democratic ideals. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Africana Studies or by special permission.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[241b. Introduction to Black Drama in America] (1)

(Same as Drama 241) An introduction to the literature, history, theory, and technique of Black drama from the Black Renaissance in America to the present. The plays of this period are analyzed and discussed, and the course emphasizes the critical interpretation of Black drama and its relationship to American drama. Mrs.Berkley.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[243a. Islamic Traditions] (1)

(Same as Religion 243) The religion of Islam in its historical expressions, including sectarian developments and Sufi mysticism. Special attention is given to the role of Islam in Africa through Arabic conquest and to the impact of Islam with regard to the Black Muslim movement in American culture. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Religion 150, 152, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[246a. African–American Politics] (1)

(Same as Political Science 246) This course analyzes the diverse ways in which African Americans have engaged in politics in the United States. After briefly considering challenges facing the African American community, the course looks at approaches to politics including active engagement in the political system, PanAfricanism and Black nationalism, accommodation and assimilation, classbased struggle, and everyday forms of resistance. The course concludes with a consideration of possible policy alternatives advocated by various AfricanAmerican leaders. Writers to be studied may include W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., William Julius Wilson, bell hooks, Manning Marable, Robin Kelley, Angela Davis, and Patricia WilliaMs. Mr. Longman.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[247a. The Black Woman as Novelist] (1)

An examination of the novels of black women writing in English. Particular consideration is given to literary forms, cultural approaches to novelistic expression, and the roles of black women in fiction and society. Authors may include: Toni Morrison, Ann Petry, Gloria Naylor, Buchi Emecheta, Jamaica Kincaid, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Zora Neale Hurston and others. Ms. Gerzina.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of 100–level work or by special permission of the director.

Not offered in 2001/02.

250a. African Politics (1)

(Same as Political Science 250) This course introduces students to the great diversity of peoples, ideas, cultures, and political practices found on the African continent. The course first investigates the causes of the contemporary social, economic, and political challenges facing African states, then analyzes the ways in which African populations have responded to foreign domination, authoritarian government, unfavorable economic conditions, and social divisions. The course uses case studies of African countries to explore political issues within specific contexts and pays particular attention to international involvement in Africa. Instructor to be announced.

253b. The Arts of Central, East and Southern Africa (1)

(Same as Art 253) A survey of the visual arts of Central, East and Southern Africa, ancient to contemporary. Chronological examination of the development of politically centralized kingdoMs. Examination of the art of presentday Africa, as well as contemporary urban art from this broad region. Looks at the impact of both Arab and European contact with African peoples from a historical perspective. Emphasizes relationships between the past and the present, the rural and the urban, and Africa, and the African Diaspora throughout. Ms. Thompson.

Prerequisite: Art 105106, or one 200–level course in Africana Studies

254a. The Arts of West and North Africa (1)

(Same as Art 254) A survey of the visual arts of West and North Africa, ancient to contemporary. Chronological examination of the art of ancient Nubia and Egypt, the empires of the Western Sudan, and the kingdoms of peoples from Morocco to Guinea to Cameroon, as well as contemporary urban art of this broad region. Looks at the impact of both Arabic and European contact with peoples of Africa from a historical perspective. Emphasizes relationships between the past and the present, the rural and the urban, and African and the African Diaspora. Ms. Thompson.

Prerequisite: Art 105106, or one 200–level course in Africana Studies or by permission of instructor.

[258a. Race and Ethnicity] (1)

(Same as Sociology 258)

Not offered in 2001/02.

260b. African–American Religion (1)

(Same as Religion 260) A survey of the history of religion among Americans of African descent from slavery to the present. Major topics include: African religious backgrounds and transformations in the Atlantic world, religion under slavery, the rise of independent black churches, black women and religion, new religious movements, folk traditions, music, and religion and the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Weisenfeld.

264b. Black Women in American History: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 264) This course explores the social and cultural history of African–American women in the United States from the period of enslavement to the present. We examine the intellectual, political and social reform movements of black womenas abolitionists, suffragists, civil rights and human rights activists, educational leaders and social reformiststhe enslaved and the free, the urban and the rural, the public and the private persona. Emphasis is placed on the diverse roles of black women as thinkers, activists, and creators, and the significance of their lives in the continuing effort of peoples of African origin to define their cultural identities, their resistance to oppression, and their struggles to change society. Inter–racial and gender conflicts and black feminist theory in contemporary American society are among the twentieth century topics explored. Alternate years: Ms. Bickerstaff, Ms. Collins. 2001/02: Ms. Bickerstaff.

265 African American History to 1865 (1)

(Same as History 265) This course traces the lives of African captives from Africa across the Atlantic and explores their experiences in North America. It addresses not only how bondage brutalized African Americans but also the strategies they devised to counter slavery, including religion, resistance, and the development of a distinctive African American culture. Other topics include free black communities, black abolitionists, and African AmericansÕ role in the Civil War. Ms. Taylor

[266a. African–American Arts and Artifacts] (1)

(Same as Art 266) An introduction to the artistic and material production of African Americans in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present day. We examine the multiple influences on (African, European, American, diasporic, etc.) and uses for black creative expression. Working with an expansive conception of art, we pay close attention to the work of formally and non–formally trained artists in relation to their social, cultural, aesthetic, and historical contexts. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisites: Art 105–106 or by permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2001/02.

267b. African-American History, 1861-Present (1)

(same as History 267) This course surveys the major themes, events, and people in modern African American history, with an emphasis on the continuing struggle for full citizenship, equality, and justice. Beginning with the Civil War, the class explores the different modes and degrees of racism that have shaped the black experience. But more than simply revisiting the oppression, the course portrays African Americans as central actors in their own history. In this vein, we examine tactics of protest and activism, and methods of self-definition and self-assertion. Topics include migration, culture, religion, feminism, and nationalism. Ms. Taylor

Two 75–minute periods

268b. Sociology of Black Religion (1)

(Same as Religion 268 and Sociology 268) A sociological analysis of a pivotal sector of the Black community, namely the Black churches, sects, and cults. Topics include slave religion, the founding of independent Black churches, the Black musical heritage, Voodoo, the Rastafarians, and the legacies of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. Mr. Mamiya.

270a. The Harlem Renaissance (1)

A critical analysis of the outpouring of serious creative effort in poetry and prose in Harlem during the early 1900s to 1930s by writers whose works were influenced by an emergent sense of nationalism, cultural awakening, self–awareness, and by an affirmation of the African past. The vigor and versatility of the period is expressed in the works of such writers as W. E. B. DuBois, Claude McKay, Alain Locke, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, and Jean Toomer. Ms. Crawford.

[271a. Perspectives on the African Past: Africa Before 1800] (1)

(Same as History 271) Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[272b. Modern African History] (1)

(Same as History 272) A study of the major political, economic, social, and intellectual developments in the unfolding of the African experience from the early nineteenth century to the present time. Attention is directed to the broad spectrum of contacts of Africa with the outside world in trade, diplomacy, etc., prior to the nineteenth century. The course focuses on the rise of the Pan–African movement, African nationalism, the decolonization process, the emergence of independent African states, and the dilemmas of post–colonialism: neocolonialism, development issues and post–independence politics. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[273b. African American Orators and Their Orations] (1)

Like their African counterparts, African Americans have an urgent concern with the intellectual and emotive force of the word. Sound, meaning, and manner of speaking the language undergirds the structure of human relationships within the African American community. This course traces the art of and the role of public speaking/oratory in the African American community from its African origins, through slavery, up to the period of Malcolm X. Mrs. Berkley.

Not offered in 2001/02.

276a. House Divided: The United States, 1830–1890 (1)

(Same as History 276)

281b. The Blues Tradition in African–American Literature (1)

What, exactly, is "the blues tradition" in the year 2001? Is it an African–American musical tradition of a hundred–odd years duration, tracing back from Keb'Mo and Shemekia Copeland through Charley Patton and Bessie Smith to some unknowable first singer of a 12–bar "blues–in–formation?" Is it the tradition of blues fiction that evolves on the heels of the developing musical form, taking blues musicians and their juke–joint milieu as its chosen subject? Is it the poetic tradition that takes the 12–bar blues form as its verse model and the taut lyric realism (admixed with wild fantasy) of sung blues as its inspiration? What about blues plays, and the flourishing genre of blues autobiography? Surely the blues tradition as a whole must be grounded in some crucial way in what David Oshinsky has called "the ordeal of Jim Crow justice," which is to say the grievous struggles and redressive pleasures of rural black Southerners. We explore all these questions, using a range of texts and musical examples, recorded and live. Instructor to be announced.

283a The Politics of Culture and Economy in Africa (1)

(same as Political Science 283a) This course is situated at the interface of the fields of cultural studies and political economy. The class examines the political economy of culture- the material conditions under which African people imagine, represent and reproduce their societies -Ðas well as the culture of political economy- the social framework of thinking through which Africans engage the global market and the local contexts of their daily economic production. At the point of intersection between culture and economy are profound statement and actions that problematize, pluralize, specify and contextualize African political thought. This course therefore involves a set of interrogations around the notion of "the political" in Africa. Particular attention is paid to forms of popular cultural production, informal economies and the mechanisms of transaction and exchange that work to generate new and dynamic understandings of territory, power, and belonging. This course uses readings drawn from political economy, comparative politics, cultural studies and African studies. Ms. Mwangi. Two 75- minute meetings.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual or group field projects or internships. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the college year or during the summer.

Reading Courses

Note: prerequisites for all sections of 297, permission of instructor.

297.04b. Psychology of Black Experience in White America (1/2)

Mr. Mamiya.

297.05a. Multi–Ethnic Literature for Young Children: From Aesop to Zemach (1/2)

Ms. Bickerstaff.

297.07a. Topics in Afro–American Literature and Drama (1/2)

Mrs. Berkley.

297.08a/b. Caribbean Politics (1/2)

Mr. Longman.

297.09b. African Religions (1/2)

Mr. Mamiya.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual or group project of reading or research. The department.

Unscheduled. May be selected during the college year or during the summer.

299b. Research Methods (1/2)

An introduction to the research methods used in the disciplines represented by Africana Studies. Through a variety of individual projects, students learn the approaches necessary to design projects, collect data, analyze results, and write research reports. The course includes some field trips to sites relevant to student projects. For 2001/02 the emphasis is on technology and archival research, using the Library's new facilities in these areas. Required of majors and correlates, but open to students in all disciplines. Program faculty and Ms. Kurosman.


IV. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Essay or Project (1)

301 Black Britain in Literature and Film (1)

(Same as English 301) Black people have lived in Britain since the sixteenth century, yet their presence has been ignored in the past and contested in the present. The course examines the past and current situations of black people in Britain as described in literature and film. Issues concern notions of "home" and citizenship, immigration, sexuality and intermarriage, and the recent Stephen Lawrence murder case. Readings begin with the major black writers of the eighteenth century, such as Olaudah Equiano and Ignatius Sancho, and end with contemporary writers such as Caryl Phillips, S.I. Martin and Zadie Smith. Films include Mona Lisa, Sapphire, Secrets and Lies, and excerpts from British television documentaries. Ms. Gerzina.

[310b. Politics and Religion: Tradition and Modernization in the Third World] (1)

(Same as Religion 310) An examination of the central problem facing all Third World and developing countries, the confrontation between the process of modernization and religious tradition and custom. Along with the social, economic, and political aspects, the course focuses on the problems of cultural identity and crises of meaning raised by the modernizing process. Selected case studies are drawn from Africa and Asia. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: Sociology/Religion 261 or Africana Studies 268, or 2 units in Religion or Africana Studies at the 200–level, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[320a. Up From Slavery: Schooling and Socialization of Blacks in America] (1)

(Same as Education 320) This course is devoted to both theoretical and empirical issues in the schooling of Black America from primary through post–secondary levelseighteenth century to the present in the rural and urban environment. Students become familiar with major sociological themes in the study of education: socialization and learning; social and cultural determinants of academic performance; relationships between families and schools; inequality; the "culture'' of the school and problems of change; institutional racism; and politicalization and social policy. Ms. Bickerstaff.

Prerequisite: 2 units of Education or Africana Studies or by permission of instructor.

One 2–hour period.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[321b. Cross–Cultural Studies in Education: Policy, Politics, Power] (1)

(Same as Education 321) A comparative study of education and schooling in selected contemporary societiesUnited States, Africa, Asia, South America. Through the case–study method, this seminar examines formal educational institutions from preschool to post–secondary education. Educational ideology and practice as reflected in curriculum and school organization are reviewed. Within the United States, the schooling of culturally different populations is studied. Among them are: Appalachian, Native American, black urban (north and south), and elite white independent schools. Ms. Bickerstaff.

Prerequisite: 2 units of coursework from the social science division, Africana Studies, or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2001/02.

330b. Black Metropolis: Caste and Class in Urban America 1800 to Present (1)

The migration of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America was one of the most significant internal mass movements in modern urban history. This seminar traces the historical antecedents of the great migration and examines the social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics and consequences of this extraordinary demographic shift within black communities and the larger society. Using the case study method, selected cities are drawn from urban centers in the south and the north. Themes and locations will vary from year to year. Ms. Bickerstaff.

One 2–hour period.

Prerequisite: 2 units in Africana Studies or Urban Studies or by permission of the director.

[352a. Seminar on Multiculturism in Comparative Perspective] (1)

(Same as Political Science 352) This seminar explores the political significance of cultural diversity. Based on the comparative analysis of the United States and other multicultural states, the course examines how and why racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious identities become grounds for political action. The course examines the formation of identity groups and considers the origins of prejudice, racism, and discrimination. The course also considers peaceful means that governments can use to accommodate cultural diversity. In addition to the United States, countries studied may include South Africa, Rwanda, India, and Yugoslavia. Mr. Longman.

Prerequisite: by permission of instructor.

One 2–hour period.

Not offered in 2001/02.

[354b. Seminar on the Politics of Religion in Africa and the Diaspora] (1)

(Same as Political Science 354) In recent decades, the influence of religious organizations and movements on politics has emerged as a major focus within the social sciences. In this course, we consider issues of religion and politics within the specific context of Africa and the African Diaspora. Topics include religious involvement in democratization movements in countries from South Africa to Haiti, the rise of Islamist political movements in places such as Sudan and Algeria; conflict and interactions between religious traditions; the political implications of syncretic religious movements such as Umbanda and Kitawalism, and the significance of the Black church in African American politics. Mr. Longman.

Prerequisite: by permission of instructor.

One 2–hour period.

Not offered in 2001/02.

365 A Resistant Spirit: Black Mississippi, Jim Crow, and Grass Roots Activism, 1877-2000 (1)

(same as History 365) Perhaps nowhere in modern America can the racial contest between white and black be more fruitfully studied than in the state of Mississippi. Using white supremacy and black activism in Mississippi as its focal points, this seminar explores the Civil Rights movement from the end of Reconstruction to the present day. We examine the mechanisms of racial violence, segregation, and political repression, while also tracing how black Mississippians mobilized, organized and finally empowered themselves. In addition, the course critiques various types of sources - including oral testimony, biography, local studies, and state surveys- in order to better understand this chapter in American race relations. Ms. Taylor

One 2–hour period.

366b. Seminar in African American Art (1)

(Same as Art 366) Topic varies from year to year. The topic for 2001/02: Creativity and Politics in the Harlem Renaissance and the W.P.A. Focusing on the experiences and representations of African Americans in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions, and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and New Deal projects of the 1930s and 1940s. Analyzing paintings, sculptures, photographs, novels, "folk arts," murals, illustrations, manifestos, films, performances, and various systems of patronage, we explore relationships between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: by permission of instructor.

One 2–hour period.

369a. Major Third World Author (1)

Studies of African or African–American literary themes or a major author. Subject matter varies from year to year. Open primarily to Juniors and Seniors.

Topic for 2001/02: Contemporary Voices From The Valley Nile."Wadi Nile" (Valley of the Nile) has given birth to some of humankind's earliest poetry and prose. Voices of the following writers are considered: Abdel Rahman al Sharqawi, Francis M. Deng, Mohammed Abdel Hai, Hafiz Ibrahim, Yusuf Idris, Tayeb Salih, Abdel Rahman Shukri. Mrs. Berkley.

[373b. Slavery and Abolition in Africa] (1)

(Same as History 373) The Trans–Saharan and the Atlantic slave trade transformed African communities, social structures, and cultures. The seminar explores the development, abolition, and impact of slavery in Africa from the earliest times to the twentieth century. The major conceptual and historiographical themes include indigenous servitude, female enslavement, family strategies, slave resistance, abolition, and culture. The seminar uses specific case studies as well as a comparative framework to understand slavery in Africa. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[374b. The African Diaspora and the Making of the Pan–African Movement, 1900–2000] (1)

(Same as History 374) This seminar investigates the social origins, philosophical and cultural ideas, and the political forms of Pan–Africanism from the late nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. It explores how disaffection and resistance against slavery, racism and colonial domination in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and Africa led to the development of a global movement for the emancipation of peoples of African descent from 1900 onwards. The seminar examines the different ideological, cultural and organizational manifestations of Pan–Africanism as well as the scholarly debates on development of the movement. Readings include the ideas and works of Edward Blyden, Alexander Crummell, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Garvey, C.L.R. James and Kwame Nkmmah. Mr. Rashid.

Not offered in 2001/02.

382a. Seminar on Zora Neale Hurston (1)

An intensive study of Hurston's oeuvre, focusing on six major worksJonah's Gourd Vine; Mules and Men; Their Eyes Were Watching God; Moses, Man of the Mountain, Dust Tracks on a Road: andSeraph on the Suwaneeplus selected stories, plays and essays. Topics to be explored include the shifting fortunes of Hutrston's critical reception; her pioneering work as an anthropologist, folklorist, and celebrant of rural black southern life; her participant–observer relationship with Florida blues culture; her multiple positions as a black feminist, a comic realist, and Emersonian individualist of conservative political leanings, a critic of American imperialism, and the author (with Seraph) of a sympathetic African American novel about life among the poor whites of Florida's Gulf Coast. Instructor to be announced.

384b. From Dred Scot to Proposition 209: Race and Law in American Society (1)

This course examines, from an historical and social perspective, the legal struggle for human and civil rights for African Americans from colonial America to the present. The course addresses critical issues as reflected in the crises arising out of race relations in antebellum and post–bellum America, the legal milestones, i.e. the Dred Scot Case, Plessey v. Fergusson, the Scottsboro Cases, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, Bakke, McClesky, Swann, Proposition 209, interpretations of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, the "separate but equal doctrine," "affirmative action" and the quest for equal justice under law. Ms. Browne–Marshall.

387a The Colonial State and Its Forms of Power (1)

(same as Political Science 387a) This seminar examines the late (19th and 20th Century) colonial state. We begin from the premise that colonialism was based on particular trajectories of thinking about such political categories as "citizen", "subject" and "state." We attempt to understand the conditions that made colonialism possible, as well as examine the ways in the interaction between Europe and its colonized spaces was embedded in the relationship between knowledge and political rule. This dynamic interaction between colonizing powers and colonized people had implications not only for the colonies and their inhabitants, but also for metropolitan societies and their political communities. Readings are drawn from political theory and comparative politics, as well as the interdisciplinary and broad field of colonial and post-colonial studies; material focuses mostly on colonialism in Africa and Asia. . Ms. Mwangi. One 2-hour meeting.

389a Creative Writing: Illusory Horizons(1/2)

This creative writing seminar is taught by the famed Sudanese novelist and journalist Tayeb Salih, whose novels include Season of Migration to the North and The Wedding of Zein. Because the course depends to a great extent upon a workshop style, the active participation of students is necessary. Students who are not already accomplished creative writers, but who have a keen desire to be writers, are encouraged in the course to find their own writing voices by the introduction of various writing techniques and modes of narration by practiced writers. StudentsÕ writing with the aim of stimulating constructive criticism is also discussed. This course meets once every other week. Mr. Salih. One 2-hr meeting.

386b. Black Womanist Spirituality in Popular American Music (1)

(Same as Music 386) Spiritual text by African–American women recording artists is found in many musical genres; jazz, rock, funk, rhythm and blues, folk and a cappella. Our primary focus is on spiritual expression from a Womanist (black feminist) perspective, outside of conventional constructs of hierarchical modes of religion and worship. Particular attention is given to content and conceptual approaches in West African traditional cosmologies and ontologies, the transmission of beliefs and styles into African–American spiritual expression, and the resultant constructed spiritual identities. Included are the original work of Bernice Johnson Reagon (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Nedra Johnson, Abbey Lincoln, Me, shell Ndegeocello, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson and Toshi Reagon. We begin with overviews of the legacy of black feminist in the United States and African diasporic/Black Atlantic spiritual systems, independent of religious institutions. With these underpinnings, we then examine how these ideologies are presented in popular American music. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, we also briefly explore black women's –spirituality in literature, theory, and film. Ms. Casselberry.

388b. Prejudice, Racism and Social Policy (1)

(Same as Psychology 388 and Urban Studies 388) Prejudice and racism is one of the most enduring and widespread social problems facing the world today. This course tackles prejudice and racism from a social psychological perspective, and aims to give students an understanding of the theoretical causes, consequences, and 'cures' of this pervasive phenomenon. We review the empirical work on stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination and then explore real–world examples of these principles in action in the policy realm. In particular we examine historical and contemporary cases that relate to affirmative action, segregation/desegregation, bilingual education, urban policy, U.S. immigration policy, U.S. foreign policy in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, etc. This course is intended to help upper–level students acquire the theoretical tools with which to analyze prejudice and racism research and the development of public policies. Ms. Lightbourn.

392b. Empire and Sexuality in the Cinema (1)

(Same as Drama 392) A senior seminar focusing on cinema and sexuality, this course examines metaphors and allegories of empire as they have been linked to displays of sexuality and structures of desire in narrative cinema. The course includes both heterosexual and homoerotic displays of desire. Films such as David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia(1962), John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Bernardo Bertollucci's The Last Emperor (1987), and Stephen Frears' My Beautiful Laundrette (1987) reveal themselves as cinematic narratives linking power, pleasure and the social constraints regulating bodies in colonial contexts. In addition to film theory, and queer film theory, these films are interpreted through the critical prism of colonial and postcolonial literature on primitivism, sexuality, surveillance, and structures of power. Scholarship by Frantz Fanon, Michael Foucault, Edward Said, and Ann Laura Stoler, among others, is included. Ms. Mask.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Senior independent study program to be worked out in consultation with an instructor. The department.


Vassar JYA Morocco Program

The Africana Studies Program has initiated an academic semester–abroad program with Mohammed V. University in Rabat, Morocco. Part of the program will include an historical study tour. Prerequisites for participation include 1) area studies, 2) two years French/or one year Arabic, and 3) intensive summer four–week classical Arabic language study in Rabat. Program coordinator: Mrs. Berkley. The following courses will be offered:

120a. Elementary Modern Standard Moroccan Arabic and Culture (1)

Fundamentals of the language. Students learn to understand spoken Arabic, to express simple ideas both orally and in writing, and to begin reading Arabic.

Four hours per class, five times a week; one 2–hour seminar per week on Moroccan culture

121a. Introduction to Modern Standard and Moroccan Arabic (1)

The objective of this intensive course is to enable the students to acquire a basic knowledge of Modern Standard and Moroccan Arabic. The course contains four hours classical Arabic per week and four hours Moroccan Arabic per week. Classes are two hours each and include language labs. These sessions refine knowledge of the phonology of Modern Standard Arabic and cover the basics of the grammar and syntax of Modern Standard and Moroccan Arabic; there are graded practice exercises.

220a. Anthropology of the Middle East and the Maghreb (1)

The objective of this course is to introduce the students to Middle Eastern and Maghrebian cultures and societies, focusing on the major issues relevant to the area. The course will cover cultural commonalities and diversities in the Middle East and the Maghreb. Issues such as political systems, kinship, gender, and social change will be covered and examined. Examples will be drawn from the Machrek, the Maghreb, and Morocco.

221a. Cultural Ecology of Moroccan Landscapes (1)

This cultural geography course provides an introduction for the understanding of patterns and processes of human interaction with the physical environment in Morocco. Landscapes are a register of human history; they express the social and cultural values of the people who have built them. The landscapes of Morocco afford an opportunity to use the methods of cultural geography to examine the social, environmental technological, and historical factors that shaped past and present Moroccan cultural ecology. This course includes a one week excursion to the Atlas Mountains and the desert at the end of the program.

222a. Issues in the Contemporary History of Morocco and North Africa (1)

This course examines the development of the Moroccan state within the context of the larger Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia). The course examines the religious, political and economic changes in Morocco's history. The phenomena of colonialism, nationalism, and independence are examined.

223a. Independent Elective Study in English, Arabic or French (1)

This course may be chosen as a substitute for either 220a, 221a or 222a.