You are here: Campus >Registrar's Office > Academic Catalog 2003-2004 > Courses > African/African American Studies

African/African American Studies (AFAM)

Director: Professor Kofi Owusu

Committee Members: Deborah Appleman, Elizabeth Ciner, Mary Easter, Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Richard A. Keiser, Cherif Keïta, Stephen K. Kelly, Lance McCready, Jamie Monson, Robert B. Packer, Melinda Russell, Harry M. Williams

The program in African/African American Studies provides a cross-cultural and comparative framework for systematically studying the traditions and experiences of Africans in the New and Old Worlds. Students in this program are encouraged to develop their analytic, research and literary skills through a critical study of patterns of western and African Civilizations in their interwoven complexity. The program provides a forum for addressing topics such as cultural and artistic creativity, construction of self, marginality, responses to exclusion, and the conjunction of issues related to gender, class, race and ethnicity.

The African/African American Studies Committee is composed of student, faculty, and administration members. It acts as a focal point for the encouragement of African/African American Studies at Carleton by actively urging departments and faculty members to offer courses in this field, by preparing each year a list of available courses and faculty resources, and by supporting the hiring of specialists in the field by various departments.

Numerous courses taught at Carleton have a bearing on African/African American Studies, in addition to those offered by the program itself. Students majoring in African/African American Studies have been able to create programs, on an individual basis, out of the available Carleton offerings, independent study, and, in some cases, off-campus study. Students interested in majoring in the field should consult the Director of African/African American Studies before the end of their sophomore year.

Requirements for a Major:

I. Admission to the program will depend upon the acceptance, by the African/African American Studies Committee, of a written proposal outlining the student's program of study.

II. Survey Courses (18 credits). Students must take three of the following courses:

      DANC 114 Black Dance: An Historical Survey

      ENGL 117 African American Literature

      HIST 180 An Historical Survey of East Africa and the Horn or

      HIST 182 A Survey of Southern African History

      HIST 220 African American History I or

      HIST 221 African American History II (not offered in 2003­2004)

      MUSC 137 Spirituals Hymns and Gospel Music

      MUSC 245 Music of Africa (not offered in 2003­2004)

III. Interdisciplinary Courses (At least 6 credits). Each student must complete at least one 200-level team-taught, interdisciplinary course which, in part, specifically discusses African/African American Studies as a discipline:

      AFAM 233 A Study of the Harlem Renaissance Through Literature, Music and Dance (not offered in 2003­2004)

IV. Distribution Courses (30 credits). Each student should take five courses that are essential to his or her major from the following groups:

      Arts and Literature


      Social Sciences

      At least one course must be chosen from each of the three groups, and at least two of the total of five courses must be at the 300-level.

V. Senior Seminar in African/African American Studies (6 credits).

VI. Comprehensive Exercise (6 credits). Each student should have a faculty advisor in his or her area of focus who will direct the comprehensive and integrative project along with the program director. The research project will culminate in an oral examination in defense of the completed integrative essay.

Completion of the major stipulates, then, a minimum of 66 credits: three survey courses, at least one interdisciplinary course, five distribution courses, senior seminar, and the comprehensive exercise.

Students are urged to pursue off-campus study in a community setting in the United States, Africa or the Caribbean. The Office of Off-Campus Studies provides information about such opportunities.

African/African American Studies Courses

AFAM 114. Black Dance: An Historical Survey Through Movement, Composition, Readings and Guest Lecture-Performa Cross-listed with DANC 114. A general survey of the dance modes of Black Americans and a tracing of the unique movement attitudes and their continuing significance in black life from their African origins to the concert stage of the 20th century. 6 credits cr., AL, SpringM. Easter

AFAM 117. African American Literature Cross-listed with ENGL 117. . This course provides an overview of African American literature. We will pay particular attention to the tradition of African American literary expression and the individual talent that brings depth and diversity to that tradition. Authors to be read include Baldwin, Baraka, Brooks, Ed Bullins, Douglass, Du Bois, Dunbar, Nikki Giovanni, Hayden, Hughes, Weldon Johnson, Locke, McKay, Morrison, Toomer, Wheatley, and Wilson. Group IV. 6 credits cr., AL, WinterK. Owusu

AFAM 130. The History of Jazz Cross-listed with MUSC 130. . A survey of jazz from its beginnings to the present day focusing on the performer/composers and their music. No prerequisite. 6 credits cr., AL, SpringT. Cateforis

AFAM 131. From the Delta to Memphis Cross-listed with MUSC 131. . A history of the Delta blues and its influence on later blues and popular music styles, tracing its movement from the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s to Elvis Presley and early rock and roll in the mid 1950s, including the classic blues singers of the 1920s, the development of the Chicago Blues and issues of authenticity and "ownership" of both the music and its cultural legacy. The course involves readings, listening assignments, and some transcriptions of early recorded blues. No prerequisite, although the ability to read music is helpful. 6 credits cr., AL, SpringJ. London

AFAM 135. Introduction to African American Religion Cross-listed with RELG 135. This course explores the varieties of African American religious expressions. Our primary aim will be to trace their historical development in America, but we also will attend to the continued influence of Africa and the Caribbean on these traditions. We will examine the religious expressions of African Americans in their considerable diversity, but also will attend to certain themes that cut across time and tradition, such as the power of the spoken word and the importance of music. 6 credits cr., HU,RAD, WinterS. Bales

AFAM 137. Spiritual Hymns and Gospel Music: Aspects of African-American Music Traditions Cross-listed with MUSC 137. . The survey of African-American hymns, spirituals and gospel music in the worship service and on the concert stage. The course of study will place the music and its creators within the historical, social, and cultural contexts of life in the United States, from the earliest days to the present. This framework will provide an appreciation for how the music tells the story of African-Americans, how the music affects audiences throughout the world, and how the traditions influence other musical expressions. The approach of the study is performance based with particular attention to the simularities and differences of musical forms, styles and performance practices of western art music. No prerequisite. 6 credits cr., AL,RAD, FallL. Burnett

AFAM 180. An Historical Survey of East Africa and the Horn Cross-listed with HIST 180. Linkages to the trade networks of the Indian Ocean and to the African interior provide excellent material for the study of the impact of long-distance trade on African social, political and economic development from the turn of the millennium to the present. Using case studies and primary documents, this course will survey the history of Eastern and Northeastern Africa from 1000 B.C. to the present. 6 credits cr., HU,RAD, WinterJ. Monson

AFAM 182. A Survey of Southern African History Cross-listed with HIST 182. . This course will review the history of southern Africa from the Late Neolithic period to the 20th century. The development of a multiracial society; the impact of the mineral/industrial revolution in the 19th century; and the growth of African resistance and nationalism up to the present will be the focal points. 6 credits cr., HU, SpringJ. Monson

AFAM 183. Farm and Forest in African History Cross-listed with HIST 183,ENTS 183. This course will study the history of environmental change in Africa, using the concepts of "farm" and "forest" to analyze human intervention and ecological change in a variety of ecosystems. Our focus will be primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries, as we look at the impact of such processes as urbanization, trade, colonial settlement and post-colonial development policy on African landscapes. As we investigate these topics, we will also discuss how African environmental issues have been represented in colonial and post-colonial discourses. 6 credits cr., HU, FallJ. Monson

AFAM 191. Karimba Ensemble Cross-listed with MUSC 191. . This ensemble focuses on the 15-key Shona (Zimbabwe) karimba (sometimes called a "thumb piano"). Students learn the fundamentals of solo and group playing on the karimba and study selections from the instrument's traditional repertoire. No musical training or experience is necessary. 1 credit cr., S/CR/NC, AL, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 192. African Drum Ensemble Cross-listed with MUSC 192. . The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa. Admission by audition or permission of the instructor. 1 credit cr., S/CR/NC, AL, Fall,Winter,SpringJ. Johnson

AFAM 193. Mbira Ensemble Cross-listed with MUSC 193. . An ensemble of 22-key Shona (Zimbabwe) mbira dza vadzimu. Playing techniques, improvisational practices, and traditional repertoire will be taught. Prerequisite: Music 191. 1 credit cr., S/CR/NC, AL, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 199. African Drum Class Cross-listed with MUSC 199. Class instruction in basic techniques of African drumming. No musical training or experience is necessary. Special fee: $50. 1 credit cr., S/CR/NC, ND, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 200. Theory and Practice of Cross-Cultural Study Cross-listed with CCST 200. This course introduces students to theoretical, epistemological, and methodological issues in cross-cultural study. Emphasis will be on cultural translation, cultural encounters between groups, and concomitant cultural appropriations, cross-fertilizations, and resistance. How do we define and understand "communities" and "cultures"? What are the dynamics of power involved in cultural encounters? What are the theoretical debates surrounding colonialism and post-colonialism, globalization, and transnationalism? How do we juxtapose regional cultural identities vis-à-vis globalization and transnationalism? The course will examine approaches drawn from the humanities and social sciences, and apply them to case studies from different parts of the world. 6 credits cr., RAD,ND, SpringJ. Fisher, K. Sparling

AFAM 207. Urban Politics Cross-listed with POSC 207. An introduction to the politics of large cities with a focus on one or a few specific cities. We will examine the functional logic and electoral success of machine politics as well as successful and coopted attempts at reform in machine cities. We will also examine how race and class have created new cleavages in the partisan structure of urban politics. Finally, we will study the fiscal problems of contemporary cities and examine the intergovernmental constraints on cities 6 credits cr., SS, FallR. Keiser

AFAM 220. African American History I Cross-listed with HIST 220. . The transition of the slave from an African to an African-American either directly or indirectly through the institution of slavery until 1865. Special attention will be given to individuals, organizations, and philosophies proposing solutions to the African- and Euro-American dilemma. Previous knowledge of American history is desirable. 6 credits cr., HU, WinterH. Williams

AFAM 221. African American History II Cross-listed with HIST 221. The transition from slavery to freedom; the post-Reconstruction erosion of civil rights and the ascendancy of Booker T. Washington; protest organizations and mass migration before and during World War I; the postwar resurgence of black nationalism; African Americans in the Great Depression and World War II; roots of the modern Civil Rights movement. 6 credits cr., HU, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 230. African American Autobiography Cross-listed with ENGL 230. . The African American slave narrative chronicles remarkable transformations: how a (wo)man was made a slave and how a slave was made a (wo)man. The ex-slave's affirmation of selfhood found expression in first-person narratives that launched a literary tradition. We will place this emerging tradition in its historical context, discuss its defining characteristics, and trace its development in 20th century African American autobiography. Our definition of "the literary" will not be divorced from relevant cultural codes and historical context. We will read classic slave narratives by Equiano, Douglass, and Jacobs; and 20th century autobiography by Washington, Hurston, Wright, Malcolm X, Angelou, Brooks, and Njeri. Group IV. 6 credits cr., AL,RAD, SpringK. Owusu

AFAM 233. A Study of the Harlem Renaissance through Literature, Music and Dance This course offers an interpretation of the Harlem Renaissance through literature, music, and dance. We will look at representative works of the artists of the renaissance. We will also read novels and short stories and discuss them as virtuoso performances by writers who capture, in theme and form, the improvisational spirit and energy of the renaissance. By examining landmark musicals like "Shuffle Along," for example, we will be able to assess the impact, flowering, and acceptance of African American music and dance in this period. Prerequisite: writing requirement. 6 credits cr., AL,RAD, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 238. African Literature in English Cross-listed with ENGL 238. We will read and discuss classic texts of African literary expression drawn from English-speaking Africa. Authors to be read include Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ayi Kwei Armah, Buchi Emecheta, Bessie Head, Ben Okri, Ngugiwa Thiong'o, and Wole Soyinka. Group IV. 6 credits cr., AL,RAD, FallK. Owusu

AFAM 244. Music of Africa Cross-listed with MUSC 245. . An introduction to the music of sub-Saharan Africa, including music of the Manding, Yoruba, Ashanti, Mbuti, and Shona. Traditional and popular styles will be explored. The relationships of music and society are examined with particular attention to ethnic identity, political life, religion, and gender roles. Prerequisite: Previous Carleton music course or permission of instructor. 6 credits cr., AL, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 245. Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean Cross-listed with FREN 245,FRST 245. Reading and discussion of literary works, with analysis of social, historical and political issues. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204 or the equivalent. 6 credits cr., AL,RAD, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 256. Ethnography of Africa Cross-listed with SOAN 256,FRST 256. . This course emphasizes the study of several sub-Saharan African societies so as to deal with themes that have concerned anthropologists working in Africa. The types of questions anthropologists have posed about African societies, and the role Africa has played in the development of anthropological theory is explored. Texts include two classics, The Nuer and Chisungu, as well as contemporary re-studies and ethnographic case studies by both African and Western scholars to address issues affecting the entire continent, including colonialism, gender, AIDS, local-state relations, the role of history, and debates about cultural identities. Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110 or 111 or permission of the instructor. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 266. Urban Political Economy Cross-listed with POSC 266. . An examination of the power of capital in cities. Focus on goals and impact of urban renewal, downtown development, and competition with suburbs, other states and other countries. Is the local state a countervailing force to the interests of business and developers? Can citizen groups make a difference in development decisions? Are markets the best allocative mechanism for decisions about development priorities? Student research on local development issues, e.g., the Mall of America, sports stadia, and new airport proposals will be encouraged. 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 270. Brown vs. Board of Education: Decision and Legacy Cross-listed with EDUC 270. This interdisciplinary course focuses on the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954 and how it has affected K-12 and higher education in the United States. Among the issues to be addressed are affirmative action, segregation-integration-resegregation, white flight, ethnic studies, contact theory, and stereotype threat. We will read a variety of scholars in relation to these topics including Thurgood Marshall, Kenneth Clark, Gordon Allport, Janet Schofield, David Kirp, Pedro Noguera, and Michelle Fine. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, SpringL. McCready

AFAM 283. Africa Before the Europeans: The Dark Continent? Cross-listed with HIST 283. Through epics, origin myths, praise songs, poetry, ethnographic materials, historical works and novels, this seminar will explore Africa's rich pre-colonial past, paying particular attention to material and social change and the ways in which both ruling elites and "ordinary" men and women­farmers, herders, traders, slaves­helped to shape their worlds. The course challenges Western depictions of Africa as the "dark continent" by showing that African peoples had vibrant cultures and sophisticated technologies, participated in far-reaching commercial and political networks, and maintained dynamic (and internally differentiated) social systems for centuries before the arrival of Europeans on African shores. 6 credits cr., HU,RAD, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 302. Anthropology and Indigenous Rights Cross-listed with SOAN 302,LTAM 302. . This seminar examines the relationship between culture and human rights from an anthropological perspective. By asking "who are indigenous peoples?" and "what specific rights do they have?" this course introduces students to a comparative framework for understanding cultural rights discourse. Given the history of intolerance to difference, the seminar demonstrates the need to explore the determinants of violence, ethnocide, and exploitation routinely committed against the world's most marginalized peoples. At the same time, it also asks about the limits of tolerance, if human rights abuses are perpetrated under the banner of cultural pluralism. Students will analyze case studies drawn from Africa, Asia, and the Americas, as well as issues that cross-cut these regions Prerequisite: Sociology/Anthropology 110, 111 or permision of the instructor; upper division coursework in anthropology, sociology, history or philosophy recommended. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringJ. Levi

AFAM 306. Urban Racial and Ethnic Politics* Cross-listed with POSC 306. . Exploration of similarities and differences in political struggle of Irish, Italian and other white ethnic groups with African Americans and Latinos. What are the strategies for political empowerment? What are the benefits of empowerment? How is pan-ethnic (e.g., Latino, Asian-American) identity created? 6 credits cr., SS, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 308. Poverty and Public Policy* Cross-listed with POSC 308. . This course will focus on the causes of urban poverty in the United States and the public policy strategies at the state and federal levels for reducing poverty. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringR. Keiser

AFAM 320. Government and Politics of Africa* Cross-listed with POSC 320. . This course examines politics and economics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Topics will include the different kinds of government in the region, the relationship between economic development and political change, and the social cleavages that shape the political process. 6 credits cr., SS, SpringR. Packer

AFAM 322. The Civil Rights Movement in America Cross-listed with HIST 322. It will be the task of this seminar to explore the discourse of civil rights reform in U.S. history from the standpoint of activists, organizations, and histories of domestic civil rights politics. The impact of Cold War foreign affairs on civil rights is discussed. The seminar is also an occasion to study the 1954 Brown decision and its fifty-year aftermath. 6 credits cr., HU, SpringH. Williams

AFAM 338. Multicultural Education Cross-listed with EDUC 338. . This course focuses on the respect for human diversity and personal rights, especially as these relate to various racial, cultural and economic groups, and to women. It includes lectures and discussions intended to aid students in relating to a wide variety of persons, cultures, and life styles. 6 credits cr., S/CR/NC, SS,RAD, FallL. McCready

AFAM 351. Political Theory of Martin Luther King, Jr.* Cross-listed with POSC 351. . This seminar will examine the speeches, writings, and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Students will study King as an example of the responsible citizen envisioned by the theory expressed in The Federalist, as a contributor to the discourse of civil religion, and as a figure in recent American social history. Prerequisites: Political Science 122 or introductory history course. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, WinterB. Allen

AFAM 381. History, Memory and Black Atlantic: Ghana and the United States Cross-listed with HIST 381. This course is an interdisciplinary, comparative, and international seminar. It asks: Did Ghanaians participate in the Atlantic slave trade as equal partners, or were they the victims of European power and greed? How have Ghanaians and black Americans remembered and recorded the Atlantic slave trade, colonialism and independence? Was Nkrumah's real mentor Garvey or duBois? Why during the Nkrumah years was Ghana the African American Camelot? Permission of the instructor is required. 6 credits cr., HU, FallH. Williams

AFAM 382. History, Memory and Black Atlantic: On-Site in Ghana and Revisted Cross-listed with HIST 382. The first part of the course consists of a two-week field trip in late November-early December to Ghana. The field trip begins in Accra, continues to Kumasi, and ends in Cape Coast. The seminar will conclude on campus, meeting once a week for ten weeks to enable students to complete and give oral presentations on topics chosen during the fall term and researched during the two-week field trip. Prerequisite: History/African American Studies 381 and permission of the instructor. 6 credits cr., HU, WinterH. Williams

AFAM 384. Psychology of Prejudice Cross-listed with PSYC 384. This seminar introduces students to major psychological theories and research on the development, perpetuation and reduction of prejudice. A sociological and historical approach to race, culture, ethnicity and race relations will provide a backdrop for examining psychological theory and research on prejudice formation and reduction. Major areas to be discussed are cognitive social learning, group conflict and contact hypothesis. Prerequisites: Psychology 110 or permission of instructor. Psychology 256 or 258 recommended. 6 credits cr., SS,RAD, Not offered in 2003-2004.

AFAM 395. Dissenting Americans: Literature Authority, and Social Change Cross-listed with ENGL 395. This course will examine the rich tradition of cultural critique that has helped to define the field of American literature. Authors to be read will likely include Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Tony Kushner. Students are expected to be careful readers of criticism as well as literature, and will do a major research paper at the end of the course. 6 credits cr., AL, FallN. Cho

AFAM 395. Moby-Dick and its Contexts Cross-listed with ENGL 395. We will read Melville's sublime and shaggy novel in conjunction with texts that convey the ideas in the water in 1850­race, labor, domesticity, patriarchy, democracy, scientific discourse, Biblical tradition and theology. Along the way we will consider shifts in U.S. literary culture as we chart a history of the book's popular and critical reception from 1850 to our era. 6 credits cr., AL, WinterP. Balaam

AFAM 395. Gender, Authorship, and Audience in the Long 18th Century Cross-listed with ENGL 395. This seminar examines how male and female writers of the long 18th century defined themselves as authors, cultivated their readers, and responded­often acrimoniously­to one another. We will read drama, verse, fiction, autobiography, and reviews by men and women writers from roughly 1660 to 1765. In juxtaposing these works, we will consider how gender mediated authorial self-presentation, generic predilections, social and political commitments, and literary reception throughout this period. Authors will include Rochester, Behn, Wycherley, Pope, Finch, Swift, Montagu, Haywood, Richardson, Charke, and Boswell. 6 credits cr., AL, WinterJ. Leiman

AFAM 395. Toni Morrison: Nobel Laureate Cross-listed with ENGL 395. We will read Morrison's nonfictional collection, Playing in the Dark, and her fiction (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise) and discuss the impact of this writer, critic, and professor on African American and American literature and letters. This course is not open to first- and second-year students. 6 credits cr., AL, SpringK. Owusu

AFAM 400. Integrative Exercise 6 credits cr., S/NC, ND, Fall,Winter,SpringStaff

Pertinent Courses:

      AMST 127: Introduction to U.S. Latino/a Studies

      ECON 232: American Economic History (not offered in 2003-2004)

      ECON 240: Economics of Developing Countries

      EDUC 353: Schooling and Opportunity in American Society

      ENGL 339: Contemporary American Playwrights of Color

      HIST 120: American Social History 1607-1865

      HIST 121: American Social History 1865-1945

      HIST 229: Gender and Work in U.S. History

      HIST 276: African Slavery in Latin America: From the Middle Passage to Abolition

      MUSC 140: Introduction to World Music I (not offered in 2003-2004)

      POSC 122: Politics in America: Liberty and Equality

      POSC 272: Constitutional Law II

      POSC 367: Suburbanization in America

      RELG 122: Introduction to Islam (not offered in 2003-2004)

      RELG 227: Liberation Theologies (not offered in 2003-2004)

      RELG 235: Women and Islamic Constructions of Gender (not offered in 2003-2004)

      SOAN 130: Population and Food in the Global System (not offered in 2003-2004)

      SOAN 220: Class, Power, and Inequality in America

      SOAN 312: Actors and Issues in Contemporary Third World "Development" (not offered in 2003­2004)

      WGST 110: Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies