Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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African American and African Studies Courses

Introduction to African American Studies

African American Studies 100 | Oyogoa | 3 credits

The African American experience spans 400 years, from the initial settlement of the American continent by Europeans and the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and down through the present day. This course examines the historical, sociological, cultural, and political experiences of people of African descent in the United States. We will examine a variety of issues including African Americans’ cultural and historical roots in Africa, the experience of slavery, the Reconstruction era, the Harlem Renaissance, the interwar years, the American civil rights movement, African Americans in popular culture, the implications of Obama’s election, and a variety of contemporary issues in African American communities. In this course students will acquire a fuller understanding about the historical development and social construction of African Americans.

No prerequisites. This course is generally offered once a year.

Critical Race Theory

African American Studies 302  | Oyogoa | 4 credits

This is an upper level African American studies course that focuses on critical race theories and empirical research on African Americans in the U.S. “Traditional” academic research on African Americans documents and explains how racialized systems of inequality operate. Critical race theory is different because it also explicitly articulates the need for social justice. Various theoretical approaches will be applied to specific historical developments in U.S. racialized structures as they pertain to African Americans. This course investigates the myriad ways in which race and racism intersect with gender, class, sexuality, and nationality. Although this class focuses primarily on African Americans, students will be exposed to critical race theory from "whiteness studies" scholarships.

Prerequisite: 100-level African American studies or sociology course and a 200-level social studies course or Sophomore Seminar. This course is generally offered once every two years.

Black Radical Thought

African American Studies 307 | Oyogoa | 4 credits

This course explores the radical tradition in African American thought. Black radical thought has come to be associated with a diverse array of scholars, disciplines, and political ideologies. Students will be introduced to historical and contemporary scholars and epistemologies that respond to a racialized structure of inequality observed as constraining the lives of Black Americans. This course covers various traditions in Black radical thought including Black Nationalism, Black Feminism/Womanism, Black Anarchism, and Black Marxism. We will examine the work of scholars, organizations, and social movements, such as Patricia Hill Collins, C.L.R. James, W.E.B. Du Bois, Angela Davis, Derrick Bell, bell hooks, Manning Marable, Cedric Robinson, Mary Ann Weathers, the Combahee River Collective, the Black Panthers, and the Prison Abolition Movement.

Prerequisites: 100-level African American Studies or Sociology course, 200-level social studies course, or permission of instructor. This course is generally offered once every four years.

Black Lives Matter? Neoliberalism, Policing, Prisons, and Protest Politics

African American Studies 308 | Oyogoa | 4 credits

From slave uprisings to the contemporary #blacklivesmatter movement, African Americans have continuously attempted to combat oppressive conditions. This course explores contemporary iterations of Black resistance to racially discriminatory policing, the prison industrial complex, and neoliberal economic policies. We begin the course by mapping out how conservative, free-market economic policies marginalize and “ghettoize” large swaths of the Black community. The second part of the course focuses on state sanctioned discrimination and violence against Black bodies in policing. We then turn our attention to mass incarceration and its consequences for those labeled “criminals” and the communities they leave behind. The remainder of the course examines uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore; the #blacklivesmatter and #sayhername movements; and the essential role Black women and LGBTQ individuals have played in these resistance movements.

Prerequisites: AFAM 100, AFAM 302, or AFAM 307 or permission of the instructor.