Skip to Content

African and Diaspora Studies - Spring 2017

AFDS 201
Intro to Africana and Diaspora Studies
4 credits

Rosenberg, Scott
This course is designed to introduce students to the discipline of Africana Studies, which is the study, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge concerning African-American, African, and Caribbean affairs and culture.  Our chief aim is to look at the arts and culture of people of African descent with specific attention at the retention of Africanisms in New World Contexts.  As such, we will devote attention to music, dance, religion, and literature as ways of influencing and creating space for voice, inclusion, and identity in New World contexts. We will further investigate the transformation of these themes over the last 500 hundred years as Africans, African Americans and African Caribbeans have been exposed to European domination and exploitation.

AFDS 270C 01
Lesotho Nutrition

2 Credits
Rosenberg, Scott
  Permission of Instructor required.

AFDS 492 00
AFSD Senior Project

2 credits
Rosenberg, Scott
Prerequisite: Permission of Program Director. Note: Students must submit an Independent Study – Senior Project Proposal -- to the Registrar’s office, Recitation Hall, for final approval. After final approval, the student will be officially registered for the credits.
During the senior year, our minors are required to complete a two-credit Senior Project that explores the Black Diasporic connections between academic disciplines. Students often study and analyze the intersection of Africana Studies and their major. For example, one student produced and directed a compilation of scenes from plays by two important African American playwrights while another planned a Black Knowledge Conference for the Wittenberg community in conjunction with the Office of Multicultural Student Programs.

Sorcery, Shape Shifters, and Spirit Children: Magical Realism, Fabulism, and the African Novel
4 credits
MacDonald, Ian

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
Many African novels have traditionally fallen into camps that can generally be described as realist or fabulist. The former tradition typically follows the script of the realist novel. Protagonists navigate their internal emotional responses to complex political atmospheres in the colonial regimes which controlled much of the continent until the 1970s or the realities of independence as well as the frequently failed promises of the new political class. The other broad tradition peppers the “real world” with the uncanny: spirits and charms related to pre-colonial orature. These are worlds in which magic often reflects an allegory of political critique. This course will focus on key texts from this latter tradition. We will investigate the larger history of the colonial project in several regions of Africa and the individual traditions and post-independence trials of the modern states emerging from that history, tracing the mythic architecture that informs the magical worlds the authors create as well as issues surrounding race, nationality, systems of inclusion, problematics of reading and readership, and the ever-present threat of exotification relevant to the individual modern African states in which the literature was produced. Writing intensive.

Caribbean Literature
4 credits
MacDonald, Ian
Prerequisites: ENGL 270A and ENGL 280A or by instructor permission.

The trade embargo with Cuba is lifting, but how did it begin? Haiti has been devastated by another tropical storm, but what instigated its deep poverty? Spring break package tours display alluring white-sand Bahamian coastlines and colorful reefs off Trinidad built for snorkeling, but where are the residents? Who are they? What are the histories, the stories that animate the islands that lie between North and South America? This course will introduce students to the history and literature of the Caribbean—what has been known at various times as the West Indies, the Lesser and Greater Antilles, and the Windward Isles—in terms of slavery, colonialism, diaspora, and creolization. Too often seen in the U.S. either as a series of tourist destinations for the wealthy or as a repository of tragic news reports, the Caribbean's literature provides a very different picture, pointing to the hybrid cultures developed over centuries of slavery and migration and forging a distinctive aesthetic from the region’s complex past. The course will cover four “periods”: the era of “discovery,” the Haitian revolution, anti-colonial resistance, and the contemporary period. Assignments will involve historical texts, slave narratives, political theory, poetry, drama, and fiction, as well as film and music. As the course unfolds we will find there is no one literature of the Caribbean but rather a varied collection of voices and concerns, and the class will attempt to cover as much of these traditions as is possible in a single semester. Authors might include Aime Cesaire, George Lamming, Sam Selvon, Jamaica Kincaid, Edouard Glissant, Kwame Brathwaite, Edwidge Danticat, C.L.R. James, Nalo Hopkinson, and Earl Lovelace, among others.

HIST 130H 1W
African American History

4 Credits
Rosenberg, Scott
Prerequisite: None.
This course will investigate African-American history by focusing on slavery and the struggle for equality after emancipation. The first part of the course will examine the institution of slavery, however, greater emphasis will be placed on the lives that slaves made for themselves. We will ask questions such as “how much control did slaves have over their own lives,” and “how did they resist servitude?” The second half of the course will dedicate itself to the study of the struggle for equality. This class will move beyond the political struggle and will explore the role that culture and an emerging and evolving identity played in shaping the quest for equality. Assessment will focus on the student’s ability to express ideas in take-home essay exams, papers, and oral presentation. Grading will be based on discussions of a variety of readings, 3-4 papers and a take-home midterm and final.  

Settlers and Liberators of South Africa

4 Credits
Rosenberg, Scott
Prerequisite: none
This course will focus on conflict in South Africa from a historical perspective. We will consider the nature of the European colonial societies and the Africans who resisted them. Africans fought not only against a range of inequalities, but in their creative resuscitation of a suppressed past, fought over descriptive languages, social and cultural categories that are themselves the product of domination. Africans used passive, hidden, and violent methods to overcome a variety of difficulties in achieving independence and survival. Readings will include novels, biographies, and a few manuscripts. Students will be evaluated on class participation, take-home exams, and papers based upon the readings. Writing intensive.

POLI 234S 01
Black Politics

4 Credits
Young, John
Prerequisite: None

This course will introduce students to the nature of black politics and black political behavior. The course will inquire into the political dimensions of black life in America and how Black Americans have interpreted and responded to the democratic experiment.  Considerable attention will be given to how individuals, institutions, and protest movements have shaped black political consciousness and black political participation. Finally, the course will examine the relative impact of black protest politics versus black electoral politics in addressing black political demands. Evaluation will be based on three exams, several quizzes, class participation, and short, one page writing assignments. 10/16

SOCI 277C/R 01
Islam and Society

4 Credits
Rahim, Naseem
Prerequisite:  None
What is Islam and how is it related to Judaism and Christianity? After its birth in 610 AD in Arabia, Islam spread rapidly through the ancient Byzantine and Sassanian empires, Spain, the Indian peninsula and as far away as China and Mongolia. How did Islam interact with these very different cultures and societies? Today Islam is a global religion and one of the fastest growing faiths. Together we will explore how Islam is lived around the world, and how do Muslims express their unity, while retaining diverse cultural identities. Finally, what does it mean to be an American Muslim? Drawing from current academic and empirical resources in the fields of Islamic studies, comparative sociology, history, philosophy, literature, and other arts and sciences, we will construct a modern day understanding about lived Islam.

SOCI 301 01
Women and Poverty

4 Credits
Rowell, Kathy
Prerequisite:  None
This course will use the sociological approach to explore and analyze the feminization and racialization of poverty in the United States and the world. Specific attention will be given to understanding both the structural forces that continue to cause and exacerbate poverty and to the individual lived experiences of women in children living in poverty. The importance of public sociology as well as social activism will be explored as tools to reducing and solving poverty.


Back to top