Africana Studies

Professor: Lawrence H. Mamiya (Director); Associate Professors: Joyce Bickerstaff; Assistant Professors: Timothy Longman, Ismail Rashid; Lecturer:Constance Berkley; Participating Faculty: Gretchen Gerzina (English), Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies).

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, 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 historic 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 aforementioned 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 at the 200-level, 1 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 historic Black collegesFisk 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 historic 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 America 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 Core Courses: 102; 210; 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. 330; 365

b) Literature and the Arts: The Black Aesthetic. 202; 241; 270; 273; 369; 376; 297.07

c) Social Sciences: Race, Religion, and Socialization in America: 160; 206; 208; 246; 258; 264; 268; 320; 321; 330; 297.04; 297.05

*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; 230; 240; 243; 271; 272; 373

b) Literature and the Arts: Ancient and Modern Traditions. 108; 203; 238; 253; 369; 376

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

*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 (1)
Approach to Africa and the African Diaspora

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 (1)
(Black) Diaspora

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. It enable students to examine and discuss the ideas and world views of people of African descent in the enduring social science, history, and humanities classics that embody the essence of the African, African-American, and African-Caribbean experience. Readings include: Africanite, Pre-Colonial Black Africa, Eurocentrism, The Marrow of Tradition, Black Thunder, Youngblood, Black Skins, White Masks. Ms. Berkley.

301a. 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 will be invited to address the colloquium. The theme or topic varies from year to year. The topic for 1999/00: Reclaiming the Black Intellectual Tradition: A Twenty Five Year Retrospective. Ms. Bickerstaff.

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

One 2-hour period.

II. Introductory

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.

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

(Same as Education 160) Ms. Bickerstaff.


III. 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. Instructor to be announced.

203a. 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.

[208a. Sociology of the Afro-American Family] (1)

(Same as Sociology 208) A sociological analysis of the Black family, tracing its changing form from Africa through slavery to the present-day family systems in the urban centers of America. Topics include the effects of slavery and migration, the Frazier-Herskovits-Gutman-Blassingame debate, the Moynihan Report, the problems of sex-role differences, and the pervasive effects of institutional racism on child-rearing and socialization. Public policy implications of government programs and legislation affecting families are also examined. Mr. Mamiya.

Prerequisite: 1 unit in Africana Studies or Sociology or by permission of instructor.

Not offered in 1999/00.

211a. 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.

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

(Same as Geography 230)

Not offered in 1999/00.

238b. Island Voices: A Critical Analysis of (1)
Afro-Caribbean Literature

Critical analysis of the literature of the Afro-Caribbean from colonization to independence, with attention to the shaping influences of social and political factors. Emphasis is given to early accounts of slave life, African cultural survivals, folk materials, European literary influences, and the development of modern literary forms: novel, poetry, drama. Islands: Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Barbados, Guyana, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and others. The writers to be studied include George Lamming, V. S. Naipaul, Wilson Harris, Derek Walcott, Edward Braithwaite, Orlando Paterson, Eric Walrad, Rex Nettleford, Lambros Comitas, O. R. Dathorne, and others. Ms. Paravisini-Gebert.

[240a. The Black Diaspora: African-Caribbeans and (1)
Their History]

(Same as History 240) This course examines the history of African peoples in the Caribbean region of the Black Diaspora in the Western hemisphere from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Special attention is given to Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Trinidad, Granada, Martinique, and Guyana. The topics covered are the slave trade and slavery, resistance, the maroon factor, abolitionism and emancipation, nationalist movements, the Caribbean as a sphere of U.S. influence, Rastafarianism, exile communities, and the acute dilemmas related to poverty, color caste, modernization, social and political instability, inadequate development, the technology deficit, cultural and ethnic dissonance and fragmentation, and the post-independence phenomena of pan-Caribbeanism and neo-colonialism.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[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 1999/00.

[242. Brazil: Continuity and Change in Portuguese America] (1)

(Same as Geography 242) An historical geography of Brazil, by far the largest and the most populous country in Latin America and a leader in the problems and promise of Third-World development. The course emphasizes three interrelated themes: the political-economic linkages between Brazil and the outside world, the distinctive cultural characteristics of Portuguese America, and the evolution of Brazilian society in time and space. Specific topics for study include the legacies of colonial Brazil, race relations and AfroBrazilian culture, contemporary urbanindustrial growth, regional differentiation versus national integration, and Brazil's prospects of becoming a world power. Mr. Godfrey.

Alternate years: not offered in 1999/00.

[243. 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 142 or by permission of instructor.

246b. AfricanAmerican 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 AfricanAmerican 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.

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.

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. Instructor to be announced.

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)

[264a. Black Women in America: Past and Present] (1)

This course explores the history of African-American women in the United States from the period of slavery to the present. Emphasis is placed on the diverse roles and activities with which Black women have been associated, and their signifi-cance in terms of the continuing efforts of peoples of African origin to define their cultural identities and to achieve liberation from forms of oppression. Themes are: contributions of Black women to community, national, and international affairs; the myth of the Black matriarchy; and the economic roles of Black women and their involvement in reform and political movements. Ms. Bickerstaff.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[268b. Sociology of Black Religion] (1)

(Same as Religion 268b.) 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.

Not offered in 1999/00.

[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.

Not offered in 1999/00.

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 societies of central and southern Africa prior to 1800. This course examines the dramatic post­World 
War II issues and trends in the historiography relating to precolonial Africa. 
Mr. Rashid.

272b. Modern African History Since 1800 (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.

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.

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

(Same as History 276) Beginning with regional economics and social changes in the ante-bellum years, this course examines the causes and conduct of the Civil War and the aftermath of that conflict in the Gilded Age. Special emphasis is given to the slavery and post-Emancipation race relations, conquest of the American West, and the rise of an American industrial order. Ms. Edwards.

282a. Survey of AfricanAmerican Arts (1)

(Same as Art 282) This course serves as an introduction to the artistic production of AfricanAmericans in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present day. We examine the multiple influences on (African, European, American, etc.) and uses for black creative expression. Working with an expansive conception of art, we pay close attention to the work of formally and nonformally trained artists in relation to their social, and aesthetic contexts. Ms. Collins.

Prerequisite: Art 105106 or by permission of instructor.

284a. Africa and the World (1)

(Same as Geography 284) Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this course analyzes the interaction between Africa and other regions of the world by focusing on European and American engagement in Central Africa. Although Western involvement in the slave trade, colonial conquest, and continuing economic contact have profoundly affected the region, Western understanding of Central Africa has advanced little since the publication of Joseph Conrad's notorious Heart of Darkness nearly 100 years ago. This course uses a wide range of sources, including novels, oral literature, diaries, and historical and social scientific texts, to examine the nature and impact of foreign involvement in Central Africa, African resistance to foreign domination, and ways in which Europeans and Africans have regarded one another. Topics covered include the legacies of the "red rubber regime" in Leopold's Congo, the environmental impact of engagement, President Mobutu's rise and fall, religious innovation, Central Africa in the world economy, and ethnic conflict in Rwanda and Burundi. Previous coursework on Africa is recommended. Mr. Ngoy and Mr. Longman.

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.

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.

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.

297.07a. 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.

299. Thesis Preparation (1/2)

Individual study for thesis preparation with the senior thesis adviser. Focus will be on methodological issues and approaches, examination of primary sources, refinement of thesis topic, and development of thesis proposal. The department.


IV. Advanced

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

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

(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.

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

(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 1999/00.

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, northern Black urban inner city, 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 (1)
1800 to Present

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 casestudy 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.

[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.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 1999/00.

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 African and the African Diaspora. Topics covered in this course 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.

One 2-hour period.

[365a. The Nineteenth Century South] (1)

(Same as History 365) Ms. Edwards.

Prerequisites: Africana Studies/History 276 or permission of instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 1999/00.

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. The topic for 1999/00: The World and the Spirit of James Baldwin. Mrs. Berkley.

373b. Seminar on Studies in African History (1)

(Same as History 373) This seminar provides a focused examination of major issues and themes in tradition and modern African History. Topic varies from year to year and permits seminar members to probe in some depth into some of the significant developments in the historiography relating to the study of Africa and its role in the world. Mr. Rashid.

One 2-hour period.

[376b. The African Presence in the Cultures of the Caribbean (1)

and Latin America]

A multidisciplinary exploration of the contribution of African cultures to the development of Caribbean and Latin American societies. Topics to be discussed include the legacy of slavery and the plantation, cultural and religious syncretism (Santeria, Obeah, Quimbois, Vodou), Africancentered thought, issues of race, class, and the pigmentocracy, orality and language, African-derived healing practices, and the African Heritage in art, music, film, and dance. Materials to be analyzed include literature (the writings of Edward Kamau Brathwaite, C.L.R. James, Fernando Ortiz, Derek Walcott, and others); film (The Last Supper, The Harder They Fall, La Rues Casesnegres, etc.); popular music forms (salsa, merengue, calypso, and others); and art, performance, and popular festivals (chief among them carnival). Ms. ParavisiniGebert

One 2hour period.

Not offered in 1999/ 00

381b. Creativity and Politics in the Harlem Renaissance (1)
and the WPA

(Same as Art 381) Focusing on the experiences of AfricanAmericans in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions, and ideas of the Harlem Renaissance of the tens and twenties and the WPA's Federal Arts Projects of the thirties and forties. Analyzing sculpture, photographs, paintings, speeches, folk arts, murals, illustrations, manifestos, performances, and various systems of patronage, the seminar explores relationships between art, politics, and society. Cultural workers we investigate include: Meta Warrick Fuller, Alain Locke, W.E.B. DuBois, Winold Reiss, Aaron Douglas, Josephine Baker, Archibald Motley, Doris Ulmann, James VanDerZee, Richmond Barthe, Charles Alston, Augusta Savage, William Edmondson, and Jacob Lawrence. Ms. Collins.

One 2hour period.

Permission of the instructor is required.

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.