Africana Studies Program

Director: Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (English); Steering Committee: Joyce Bickerstaff (Africana Studies and Education), Patricia-Pia Celerier (French), Lisa Collins (Art), Margo Crawford (English), Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (English), Diane Harriford (Sociology), Tiffany Lightbourn (Psychology), Timothy Longman (Africana Studies and Political Science), Lawrence Mamiya (Africana Studies and Religion), Mia Mask (Film), Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies), Ismail Rashid (Africana Studies and History), Nikki Taylor (History), Judith Weisenfeld (Religion).

The Africana Studies program is the oldest multidisciplinary program at Vassar College. The program is concerned with the cultural, historical, political, economic, and psychological consequences of the dispersal of Africans from their ancestral continent to the diverse regions of the world. It comprises the focused and critical study of the people, cultures, and institutions of Africa and the African Diaspora through a generous offering of courses both originating in the program and cross-listed or approved from other departments. These courses span a majority of the standard disciplines: literature and the arts; area studies; history; social sciences; psychology. 

In addition to a broad array of courses offered on the Vassar campus, the program also participates in several study abroad programs. Most notable of these is Vassar’s junior year away program at Mohammed V. University in Rabat, Morocco. Students may also study in the United States at one of four historically Black colleges—Fisk University; Howard University; Spelman College; or Morehouse College.

Requirements for concentration: 11 units are required for the major. Students must take courses that fall into the three following areas of study: (1) Intellectual History and Social Thought (black critical thinking and conceptual structures); (2) Migration Studies and Area Studies (population movements and geographic areas); and (3) Arts, Culture, and Media (literature, art, film, drama). There are no specific required courses, but a list of courses that fall into each area is available each semester.

Distribution of unit requirements: (a) Two courses from each of the three required areas (6 units); (b) a minimum of 3 additional units in any one of the three required areas listed above; (c) at least 1 unit at the 100-level; (d) at least 2 units at the 300-level, excluding the thesis; (e) the thesis preparation course (299), which must be taken in the fall of the senior year ( 1⁄2 unit); (f) a thesis, to be written only following the successful completion of 299, in the spring of the senior year (1 unit). No more than 1 unit of field work and/or reading courses may count toward the major. NRO work may not be used to satisfy the major requirements for the program in Africana Studies.

Advisers: Program director and program faculty.

Correlate Sequence in Africana Studies: Coursework in the correlate sequence is organized to give students a coherent and related body of work. Students undertaking the correlate sequence will take 2 units in each of the following areas: (a) Intellectual History and Social Thought; (b) Migration Studies and Area Studies; and (c) Arts, Culture, and Media; a total of 6 units. A list of courses that fall into each area is available each semester. There are no required courses for the correlate sequence, but at least 1 unit must be at the 300-level.


I. Introductory

 
102b. Introduction to Third-World Studies: A Comparative Approach to Africa and the African Diaspora
(1)
This course acquaints students with the major concepts, themes, and approaches to the study of peoples of African descent. These concepts include history and the African past; slavery, forced migration, and the creation of the Diaspora; colonialism and conquest; race and identity; resistance and religion; and cultural transformation. Integrating the disciplines, the course uses a variety of texts, music and visual culture. Ms. Bickerstaff.
 
105a. Issues in Africana Studies
(1)
Topic for 2003/04: The Idea of Freedom in the African and Diasporic Experience. The quest for freedom has been one of humanity’s greatest endeavors. In enduring and ultimately combating the injustices of slavery, colonialism, Apartheid and Jim Crow, peoples of African descent, perhaps more than any other group, have contributed to the articulation of a more expansive notion of freedom. From Africa’s antiquity to its golden age, and from the Euro-African encounter in the fifteenth century to the civil rights and anticolonial movements of the twentieth century, the course looks at the historical, social, moral and ethical foundations for African and African-American ideas of freedom. Using a selection of philosophical tracts, poems, and novels, the course examines African contributions to definitions and expression of freedom. Mr. Rashid.
       Open only to Freshmen. Satisfies requirement for a Freshman Course.
 
106-107. Elementary Arabic
(1)
Fundamentals of the language. Students learn to understand spoken Arabic, to express simple ideas both orally and in writing, and to read Arabic of average difficulty. Open to all students.
       Three 50-minute periods, plus one drill session per week.
 
[108a. Introduction to the African Literary Traditions]
(1)
Examines the works of a number of African writers, both orally transmitted texts—such as folklore and poetry—and 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. Instructor to be announced.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
160a and b. Books, Children, and Culture
(1)
(Same as Education 160) Ms. Bickerstaff.
 
177a or b. Special Topics
(1/2)
(Same as English 177) Topic for 2003/04: James Baldwin. This course is an interactive lecture and discussion on the life, meaningful death and nonfictive work of James Baldwin. Students are expected to actively critique and contextualize Baldwin’s nonfiction, while attempting to apply much of Baldwin’s work to contemporary American/World culture. Texts include, but are not limited to: Fire Next Time, Nobody Knows My Name, Notes of a Native Son, Conversations with James Baldwin, and The Devil Finds Work. Mr. Laymon.
 
184a. Early African America
(1)
(Same as Anthropology 284)
       Prerequisite: prior coursework in Anthropology or permission of the instructor.
 

II. Intermediate

 
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. Mr. Reid.
 
[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.
       Prerequisite: one course in religion or Africana Studies.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[211b. Religions of the Oppressed and Third-World
(1)
Liberation Movements]
       (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 2003/04.
 
220a. Religion and Culture of Ancient Egypt
(1)
(Same as Religion 220) Ancient Egyptian religion is an organic growth out of the life of the people along the Nile, impossible to discuss in isolation from it. This course is an integrated survey of daily and religious life in ancient Egypt in Pharonic times, focussing equally on royal and on individual forms or religious expression. We make extensive use of preserved Egyptian texts, an enormous body of literature that expresses a unique outlook upon the world, on human life, on the nature of divinities, and on the meaning of death. Ms. LiDonnici.
 
227a. African-American Literature, Origins to the Present
(1)
(Same as English 227) An examination of African-American literature from its origins in black folklore and slave narratives to the present. The course seeks to identify literary characteristics that have evolved out of the culture and historical experience of black people. Its goal is to better understand how black literature created its own aesthetic principles in its interaction with the dominant literary tradition. Some attention may be devoted to current debates involving literary theory and politics. Readings include autobiographies, nineteenth-century novels and poetry, works from the Harlem Renaissance and modernist fiction including black women novelists. Ms. Crawford.
 
229b. Black Intellectual History
(1)
This course provides an overview of black intellectual thought and an introduction to critical race theory. It offers approaches to the ways in which black thinkers from a variety of nations and periods from the nineteenth century up to black modernity engage their intellectual traditions. How have their perceptions been shaped by a variety of places? How have their traditions, histories and cultures theorized race? Critics may include Aimé Césaire, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Paul Gilroy, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Ida B. Wells, and Patricia Williams. Ms. Harriford.
 
232b. African American Cinema
(1)
(Same as Film 232) This course provides a survey of the history and theory of African American cinema. It begins with the silent films of Oscar Micheaux, and examines the early all black cast westerns and musical of the twenties, thirties, and forties. The political debates circulating around stars like Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Harry Belafonte are the focus for discussing the racial climate of the fifties. Special consideration is given to Blaxploitation cinema of the late sixties and seventies, in an attempt to understand the historical contexts for contemporary filmmaking. The new wave of late eighties and early nineties black romantic comedies, including The Wood, The Best Man, and Coming to America, are also addressed. Ms. Mask.
       Prerequisite: Film 210 and permission of the instructor.
 
[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 2003/04.
 
241a. 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. Mr. Reid.
 
[242b. Brazil: Development, Urbanization, and Environment in Portuguese America]
(1)
(Same as Geography 242)
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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, Pan-Africanism and Black nationalism, accommodation and assimilation, class-based struggle, and everyday forms of resistance. The course concludes with a consideration of possible policy alternatives advocated by various African-American 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.
 
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. Mr. Longman.
 
251b. The Black Woman as Novelist
(1)
(Same as English 251) 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.
 
[252b. Writing the Diaspora]
(1)
This course focuses on writers of the modern African Diaspora and on creative writing. How can the narratives of the Diaspora aid a young writer in writing through complexity? What are the intricacies of undesired movement and place? What are the creative limitations within the narrative form, and how can we push those limitations while creating our own stories and essays? This course focuses on the writing and close reading of innovative Diasporic short fiction and creative nonfiction. The course may include the writers: Charles Johnson, Mari Evans, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Harriet Wilson, Aminata Sow Fall, Ken Mufuka, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, and Sam Selvon, as well as some film and music. In a workshop setting, students explore the possibilities of narrative voice, the range available to the narrative “I,” the rounding of secondary characters, and the pressures of fictively representing one’s race, gender, tribe or group. Mr. Laymon.
       Prerequisites: one course in literature or Africana Studies.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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 present-day 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. Instructor to be announced.
       Prerequisite: Art 105-106, 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 Africa and the African Diaspora. Instructor to be announced.
       Prerequisite: Art 105-106, or one 200-level course in Africana Studies or by permission of instructor.
 
255b. Literature and Religion of the Caribbean
(1)
The Caribbean region has rich and varied religious traditions that emerged out of the crucible of the plantation and brought together elements of African belief systems, Amerindian theologies, and various forms of Christianity. The course examines how these religions—Santeria, Voodou, Obeah, Kumina, Gaga, and others—enrich the cultures and literatures of the various islands. Readings include work from all the various linguistic groups in the region (in the original English or in translations). Among the authors to be studied are Marie Chauvet, Jamaica Kincaid, Edward Brathwaite, Mayra Montero, Alejo Carpenier, Erna Brodber, and Derek Walcott. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.
 
[258a. Race and Ethnicity]
(1)
(Same as Sociology 258) Ms. Martinez.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
264b. African American Women’s History
1)
(Same as Women’s Studies 264) In this interdisciplinary course, we explore the roles of black women in the United States as thinkers, activists, and creators during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism, and cultural expression of a diverse group of African American women, the class examines how they have understood their lives, resisted oppression, constructed emancipatory visions, and struggled to change society. Alternate years: Ms. Bickerstaff, Ms. Collins. 2003/04: Ms. Collins.
 
[265a. 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 Americans’ role in the Civil War. Ms. Taylor.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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 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 2003/04.
 
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)
(Same as English 270) 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) A survey of traditional African history with an emphasis on the Nile Valley civilizations, Ethiopia, the Sudan Kingdoms, the advent of Islam, the Swahili city-states of Southeast Africa, and the early society of central and southern Africa prior to 1800. This course examines the dramatic post-World War II issues and trends in the historiography relating to precolonial Africa. Mr. Rashid.
 
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.
 
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.
 

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:
(1/2)
From Aesop to Zemach
       Ms. Bickerstaff.
 
[297.08a/b. Caribbean Politics]
(1/2)
Mr. Longman.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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.
 
299a. 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. 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.
 

III. Advanced

 
300a or b. Senior Essay or Project
(1)
 
[301 Black Britain in Literature and Film]
(1)
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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[310a. 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 2003/04.
 
319b. Race and Its Metaphors
(1)
(Same as English 319) Re-examination of canonical literature in order to discover how race is either explicitly addressed or implicitly enabling to the texts. Does racial difference, whether or not overtly expressed, prove a useful literary tool. The focus of this course varies from year to year. Ms. Crawford.
 
[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 levels—eighteenth 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 2003/04.
 
321a. Cross-Cultural Studies in Education: Policy, Politics, Power
(1)
(Same as Education 321) A comparative study of education and schooling in selected contemporary societies—United 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.
 
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.
 
[345b. The Great Migration: Movement, Creativity, Struggle, and Change]
(1)
In this interdisciplinary seminar, we examine the Great Migration, the twentieth-century search by millions of southerners for opportunity, safety, and full citizenship in the cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Focusing on the actions, expressions, and thoughts of migrants, the seminar explores how migrants experienced their lives, expressed their desires, and understood society. By analyzing things such as the organizing of factory and domestic workers, the blues sung by black women, the creation of urban legends and lore, and the investigative journalism of African American newspapers and civil rights organizations, the seminar studies links between movement, creativity, struggle, and change. Alternates with 330b: Black Metropolis. Ms. Collins.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
352b. 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.
 
364b. Readings in Modern Black Feminist Thought
(1)
(Same as History 364 and Women’s Studies 364) This course explores black feminist thought from 1960 to the present. Tracing the development of black feminist consciousness against the backdrop of rapid social change in American society, we not only examine the themes and issues (education, civil rights, welfare, poverty, child and health care) that have been—and still are—important to black women, but also the strategies these women have employed in their multi-textured struggle for liberation. Since black women’s activism is often rooted in their life experiences, we also study how the activist tradition has informed black feminist thought during these decades. We examine the works of black women authors such as Assata Shakur, Toni Cade, and Audre Lorde. Ms. Taylor.
 
[365b. 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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
366b. Seminar in African American Art and Cultural History
(1)
(Same as Art 366 and Women’s Studies 366) Topic for 2003/04: Vision and Critique the Black Arts and Women’s Art Movements. Focusing on the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions, and ideas of the Black Arts Movement and Women’s Art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Analyzing paintings, photographs, poster, quilts, collages, murals, manifestos, mixed-media works, installations, films, performances, and various systems of creation, collaboration, and display, we explore the connections among 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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
[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 2003/04.
 
[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.
       Not offered in 2003/04.
 
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. 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.
 
389a. Writing Black Lives: Biography and the Narrative Voice
(1)
(Same as English 389) How does the biographer know the “truth” of someone’s life, and how can that truth be eased into a literary form that has structure, tension, and is told with a compelling voice? Where does one find the necessary materials such as letters, conversations, journals, published materials and, once they are assembled, how does the biographer make judgments about their appropriateness or reliability? This course examines the particular demands (historical, social, psychological and political) of writing biographies and memoirs of black people, as well as the ways that questions of audience affect narrative structure and voice. Readings include Alex Haley’s Roots and the controversy surrounding it; The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Audre Lord’s Zami; Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings; as well as critical and theoretical materials on black biography. In addition, students submit a well-researched proposal for a biography they might like to write. Ms. Gerzina.
 
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 includes 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 are 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.