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African-American Studies

This concentration considers the great range of experiences of African Americans historically and in the present. Students who choose this concentration consider the many ways African Americans have negotiated the issue of race within a predominantly white society, using strategies that range from assimilation to separatism. In this concentration, students are encouraged to think critically about the concept of race and the crucial role of language and culture in defining racial difference at distinct historical moments. Students analyze history, theory, and cultural representations made by African Americans in order to increase their understanding of black achievement and oppression.

Curriculum

Sixteen credits are required for the concentration. Two courses counted toward the concentration must be at the 300-level or above. Students should take at least one course each on history, contemporary experience, and cultural representation in order to discover how African American experiences today are rooted in the past, and how art, music, or literature reflect and construct a tradition in which personalities, philosophies, events, and social and creative needs are intertwined. Because African American experience is best understood when considered from a variety of perspectives, courses used to fulfill the concentration requirements should be drawn from at least two areas of study (e.g., history and literature or sociology and art history).

Courses

African American Studies 100 Introduction to African American Studies
Art History 216 CP African American Art and Thought
Literature 232 The Harlem Renaissance
Literature 240 Literary Realism and Naturalism
Music 218 CP Jazz: An American Encounter

Recent Senior Theses

“Representations of the Black Female Self in the Art of Emma Amos, Adrian Piper, and Carrie Mae Weems”
“Harlem Rising: The Contributions of African American Music to American Culture During the Harlem Renaissance”
“Dancing to a Different Drummer: African American Protest During World War II”
“The Sociopolitical Movement of African American Gay Men”
“Portrait of the Artist as a Young Black Woman”
“Toward a Demythology of Black Women”
“A Soulful Journey: Reflections on Being Young and Black in America”
“Journey into Ourselves and Other Forms of the Unknown: A Personal Exploration of the Black Aesthetic”
“On Fire!!”

Faculty

Kathryn Boswell, Joan DelPlato, John Myers, Francisca Oyogoa, Bernard Rodgers

Faculty Contact Francisca Oyogoa