The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Course Listing

Spring 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Course Descriptions

African American and African Studies Program

 

AAS 1020 Introduction to African American and African Studies II

Professor Ashon Crawley

TuTh 12:30PM - 1:45PM

This introductory course surveys the histories of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean from approximately the Middle Ages to the 1880s. Emphases include the Atlantic slave trade and its complex relationship to Africa; the economic systems, cultures, and communities of Africans and African-Americans in the New World, in slavery and in freedom; the rise of anti-slavery movements; and the socio-economic systems that replaced slavery in the late 19th century.

Fulfills: 1010 requirement

AAS 2224-001 Black Femininities and Masculinities in the US Media

Professor Lisa Shutt

Tu 2:00 - 4:30PM

This course, taught as a lower-level seminar, will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender. We will explore how different media, including feature films, popular television, documentaries, popular fiction, television, and print news media create categories of race and gender in different ways for (different) Americans – each medium encapsulating its own markers of legitimacy and expertise – each negotiating its own ideas of authorship and audience. We will concentrate on the particular ways various media produce, display, and disseminate information; in particular, we will be analyzing cultural texts, the cultural environment in which they have been produced, and the audience reception of those texts. Finally, we will ask what responsibilities those who create and circulate information have –and whether or not the consuming/viewing public shares in any sort of responsibility. This class will enable students to cultivate theoretical tools and critical perspectives to analyze and question the influence of the popular media that saturate our lives.

AAS 2224-002 Black Femininities and Masculinities in the US Media

We 2:00 - 4:30PM

This course, taught as a lower-level seminar, will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender. We will explore how different media, including feature films, popular television, documentaries, popular fiction, television, and print news media create categories of race and gender in different ways for (different) Americans – each medium encapsulating its own markers of legitimacy and expertise – each negotiating its own ideas of authorship and audience. We will concentrate on the particular ways various media produce, display, and disseminate information; in particular, we will be analyzing cultural texts, the cultural environment in which they have been produced, and the audience reception of those texts. Finally, we will ask what responsibilities those who create and circulate information have –and whether or not the consuming/viewing public shares in any sort of responsibility. This class will enable students to cultivate theoretical tools and critical perspectives to analyze and question the influence of the popular media that saturate our lives.

AAS 2224-003 Black Femininities and Masculinities in the US Media

Professor Lisa Shutt

Th 2:00 - 4:30PM

This course, taught as a lower-level seminar, will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender. We will explore how different media, including feature films, popular television, documentaries, popular fiction, television, and print news media create categories of race and gender in different ways for (different) Americans – each medium encapsulating its own markers of legitimacy and expertise – each negotiating its own ideas of authorship and audience. We will concentrate on the particular ways various media produce, display, and disseminate information; in particular, we will be analyzing cultural texts, the cultural environment in which they have been produced, and the audience reception of those texts. Finally, we will ask what responsibilities those who create and circulate information have –and whether or not the consuming/viewing public shares in any sort of responsibility. This class will enable students to cultivate theoretical tools and critical perspectives to analyze and question the influence of the popular media that saturate our lives.

Fulfills: Race and Politics in the US

AAS 2559-001 Reckoning with Slavery

Professor Tony Perry

We 3:30 - 6:00PM

It’s one thing to study slavery. It’s something altogether different to confront, sit with, and absorb this foundational experience in African-American, American, and global history. While much knowledge has come from the scholarly study of slavery, academics represent only one of several groups who have taken up this history and narrated some dimension of it. In this course, we will engage the work of musicians, visual artists, comedians, authors, and others who reckon with this difficult past by remixing, reworking, and retooling traditional narratives of enslavement.

AAS 2559-002 The Souls of Black Folk

Professor Sabrina Pendergrass

TuTh 11:00AM - 12:15PM

This course places W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic text, The Souls of Black Folk, and other writings by Du Bois in dialogue with historical and contemporary research about the social organization of African Americans’ lives. We will discuss African Americans’ social status and experiences at the intersections of class, color, gender and sexuality. We also will study institutions within the community and consider social issues that African Americans will face in the future. 

AAS 3200 Martin, Malcolm and America

Professor Mark Hadley

TuTh 9:30 - 10:45AM

An intensive examination of African-American social criticism centered upon, but not limited to, the life and thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. We will come to grips with the American legacy of racial hatred and oppression systematized in the institutions of antebellum chattel slavery and post-bellum racial segregation and analyze the array of critical responses to, and social struggles against, this legacy.

AAS 3300 Social Science Perspectives on African American and African Studies

Professor Sabrina Pendergrass

TuTh 8:00 - 9:15AM

This course will focus on major debates, theories, and methodological approaches in the social sciences that contribute to African American Studies. The course helps students to consider how a multidisciplinary approach enriches efforts to analyze such issues as health disparities, education, and incarceration as they relate to the African Diaspora.

AAS 3500-001 Race in Early America

Professor Tony Perry

We 3:30 - 6:00PM

As a category of social difference and identity, race has a long and complex past in the U.S. This class will explore the emergence and impact of race from the pre-colonial period through much of the 19th century, focusing in particular on different points of contact between indigenous Americans, African and African-Americans, and Europeans. In this course students will study the early history of race in America utilizing multiple theories of race as well as analyzing race as necessarily informed by gender, class, and ethnicity.

AAS 3500-002 Aesthetics of Black Cinema

Professor Nzingha Kendall

Mo 6:00 - 8:30PM

In this course we will explore the look and feel of Black films from around the world.

AAS 3500-003 Enviornmental Justice Across the Globe

Professor Kimberly Fields

We 3:30 - 6:00PM

This course examines from multiple perspectives issues of environmental quality and social justice across the globe. We will start from the premise that all people have a right to live in a clean environment free from hazardous pollution or contamination, and to the natural resources necessary to sustain health and livelihood. We will investigate how and why the resources people need to flourish varies across the globe. In some cases, these resources are air, soil or water. In other instances they may include healthy fisheries, forests, or land to farm or graze animals on. With this as our starting point, we will question why, and through what social, political and economic processes, some people are denied this basic right. How is it that certain groups of people do not have access to basic resources, or are systematically burdened with pollution or environmental hazards to a greater extent than other groups? To what extent  is environmental inequality a global phenomenon? What explains the patterns in environmental inequality observed throughout the world? What are the social relations of production and power that contribute to these outcomes? What can be done? We begin by examining the relationship between environmental justice and globalization, and the global distribution of environmental benefits and burdens and explanations for that distribution. We then examine struggles for environmental justice in diverse regions of the world, as well as government responses to those struggles. We will explore these issues through a series of case studies of environmental (in)justice in South America, Africa, Asia and the Carribbean. Through these case studies we will examine environmental justice issues in urban and rural settings; the strategies and politics of poor peoples’ environmental justice movements.

AAS 3500-004 Being Human

We 6:30 - 9:00PM

What makes us human? How did science and technology play a part in racism and the dehumanization of blackness? And how have artists of color re-appropriated science, technology, and science fiction to subvert and resist dehumanization? This course is an introduction to Afrofuturism, exploring race and alienness, race and technology, and race and modernity through global futuristic representations of blackness in TV, film, music, art, and literature. In this discussion-based seminar, we will trace “like race” tropes in sci-fi, including aliens, monsters, enslavement, and invisibility. We will think about the various
ways that black artists/writers/creators displace or “dimension-shift” the African Diaspora experience to grapple with contemporary and historical issues, and employ science/technology/sci-fi to invent places and conditions where blackness can thrive. Assignments will include literary essays and creative work (short) films, artwork, mashups, web-content etc) that reimagine and interrogate representations of race and science/technology in contemporary media. (No artistic talent of experience required)

AAS 3500-005 African American Health Professionals

Professor Pamela Reynolds

Mo 6:00 - 8:30PM

This course will explore race and its impact on health disparities from the 19th century to the prsent, focusing on the history of African American doctors, dentists, nurses, lay midwies, and public health professionals.  Students will learn about the role and importance of the Black hospital system, brriers to professional training and service experienced by African American health professionals and their effots to overcome racism in providing medical, dental, nursing and midwifery care.  The movement to end discrimination in medicine and health professions education will be explored as students investigate the persistence of health disparities today.

AAS 3500-006 Introduction to Caribbean Studies

Professor Claire Payton

Th 3:30 - 6:00PM

The Caribbean is both a tranquil beach paradise and the origin of some of the most radical revolutionary movements in the history. It supplied the West with one the world's most delightful substances, sugar, but only at the cost of enormous suffering of millions of enslaved Africans. The Caribbean is where concepts of racial difference were invented. It is where the world’s wealthiest can store billions in off-shore bank accounts and where, a few miles away, people can die of hunger and curable diseases. Despite their small size, more than a dozen languages are spoken across the islands, a linguistic indicator of their lasting global connections. It is where centuries of structural and physical violence produced some of the most startlingly creative and dynamic cultures in the world.

Where is the Caribbean among all these contradictions? That is the question that will guide us through this course.  Is it in “the United States' backyard?” Is it at the meeting point of different cultures, an “estuary of the Americas?” Is it tiny or vast? Is it in the center or on the periphery? In this class, we will use nonfiction, fiction, and visual materials as transportation to travel through different Caribbean spaces. We will visit its tourist resorts and shantytowns, its cane fields and sports fields, its oceans and forests. We will learn about its history, geography, environment, the spatial organization of its societies, and its places of cultural meaning. These different itineraries will introduce students to the dynamics of race, capitalism, domination, revolution, and cultural innovation that, when braided together, make our modern world. By the end of the semester, student will be able to locate Caribbean islands not just on a map, but at the center of some of today's most burning political, cultural, and economic issues.

AAS 3500-007 Race, Law and the American Constitution

Professor TBA

This course will explore the relationship between race, the American Constitution and the law. We will read original documents, including excerpts of trial transcripts, appellate opinions, treatises, codes, and first-person narratives.  We will study the way law, politics and culture interact(ed) to shape the Constitution, various laws and development of modern conceptions of race. Course lectures and discussions will focus on questions such as: In what ways did slavery influence the U.S. Constitution? How has race shaped citizenship in the U.S and laws around privacy, free speech, gun rights, religion, association, voting rights, and commerce.

AAS 3500-009 Practice of Black, Indigenous and Latinx Performance

Professor Ethan Madarieta

MoWe 2:00 - 3:15PM

From 2001 to 2009 William Pope.L crawled 22 miles up Broadway in Manhattan dressed in a Super Man costume with a skateboard strapped to his back in his performance The Great White Way. Nao Bustamante sits before you with her eyes closed, her entire head inside a bag of water which she has secured tightly at her neck with packing tape. A video camera focuses in on her submerged face. After a minute and twenty seconds she tears the bag open, gasping for breath, as a man stands beside her holding a bag full of water. Carlos Martiel remains held down by a metal collar for 22 hours while the flags of 22 Latin American countries that endured dictatorships supported by the U.S. Army School of the Americas (a.k.a. Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) are raised for an hour each. Anishnaabeg filmmaker and scholar Cara Mumford films a young Minowe Simpson picking leaks, dancing hoop in jingle dress, and walking with her mother near Odenabe – an epiphany of the importance of land in Indigenous feminism. What connects all of these performances? Why did these artists perform and document such acts? What and how do these performances mean? What can they tell us about ourselves, race, culture, social relations, and even existence? And what effects do these, and other performances have in the world?

This course considers theory and/as performance through multiple critical lenses such as Performance and Theatre studies, History and Memory studies, and Race, Gender, Queer, and Sexuality studies. Through these critical lenses this course addresses multiple, shifting, perspectives by Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Latin American artists/theorists in the 20th and 21st centuries in order to, first, understand what performance is, and second, how to effectively mobilize it as political practice. Throughout the course we will explore the foundations of Performance Studies and Performance Theory and put pressure on what has largely been a white and Western discipline by engaging works by Black, Indigenous, Latin American, and Latina/o/x scholars and performers. Rather than attempting to understand performance and performance practice through theory alone, we will look directly to performance and performance artists as a profound site of anticolonial knowledge. Through close reading, performance practice, critical writing, and discussion, we will expand our performance/theory vocabularies, hone our practice of critique, cultivate our own performance practice, and apply all this work to our practice and understanding of performance within and outside the university. 

AAS 3810 Race, Culture and Inequality

Professor Sabrina Pendergrass

TuTh 2:00 - 3:15PM

In this course, we will examine how culture matters for understanding race and social inequality. The course will survey social science research about cultural forms such as everyday discourse, styles of dress, music, literature, visual arts, and media as they relate to race and inequality. As we examine these studies, we will learn about key thinkers in social science approaches to culture, and we will analyze core concepts such as cultural capital, framing processes, symbolic boundaries, scripts, and racial grammar. The course will draw on disciplines such as sociology, political science, anthropology, and more.   

AAS 3830 Being Human: Race, Technology, and the Arts

Professor Njelle Hamilton

MoWe 3:30 - 4:45PM

This course is an introduction to Afrofuturism, exploring race and alienness, race and technology, and race and modernity through global futuristic representations of blackness in TV (Star Trek, Extant, Almost Human), film (Black Panther, Hidden Figures), music (Janelle Monáe, Sun Ra), art (Kehinde Wiley, Ebony Patterson), and literature (Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor). In this discussion-based seminar, we will trace “like race” tropes in sci-fi, including aliens, monsters, and invisibility. We will query the ways that science and technology played a part in the dehumanization of blackness, and how artists and author of color employ science/technology/sci-fi to grapple with contemporary and historical issues and to imagine places and conditions where blackness can thrive. Assignments will include literary essays and creative work (short films, artwork, poetry, performance pieces, web-content etc) that reimagine and interrogate representations of race and science/technology in contemporary media. Creative writers, artists, and performers are especially welcome, but no creative background is required for success in the course.

AAS 4570 Caribbean Sci Fi and Fantasy

Professor Njelle Hamilton

MoWe 2:00 - 3:15PM

AAS 4725 Queer Africas

Professor Kwame Otu

Mo 3:30 - 6:00PM

 How does “Africa” shape the contours of queerness? Might “Africa” as geography and the “African” body be inherently queer? Illuminating how contemporary accounts on the murder of David Kato the Ugandan LGBT human rights activist in 2011, for instance, obscure the circumstances that preceded the execution of the royal pages in nineteenth century Uganda, now famously known as the Martyrs of Uganda, we will explore the complex iterations of afro-queer subjectivities in the circum-atlantic world. Importantly, we will examine the extent of the afterlife of slavery in the Americas and its intersection with what we will regard in the course as the afterlife of colonialism. We will contend with, for instance, how blackness and queerness get constituted at this intersection by familiarizing ourselves with the works of various artists, activists, and intellectuals in both Africa and its myriad diasporas. Drawing on “afro-queer” as a useful optic, we will complicate how black queer embodiments are themselves radical aesthetics that simultaneously drive imaginations and projects that disrupt racialized gendered normativities dictated by white supremacist and heteropatriarchal capitalist regimes. Hence, how do queer political projects perpetuate anti-blackness in both liberal and neoliberal scenes of empire? How are we to locate black queer subjects in mainstream queer political projects in the era of the Black Lives Matter? In sum, we will interrogate the transnational and transcultural articulations of race, sex, and gender to highlight the dynamic relationship and tensions between African and African Diasporic studies and Queer Studies in late capitalism.

AAS 5559 Introduction to Africana Studies

Professor Kevin Gaines

Tu 2:00 - 4:30PM

This is an introductory course that will survey key texts in the interdisciplinary fields of African American, African, and Caribbean Studies. By the end of the course, students will be prepared to identify and understand the major themes that have shaped the development of the discipline of Africana Studies. Assignments in the course will help students to develop an understanding of both the methodological and theoretical challenges that prevail in studies of the African Diaspora, such as learning to evaluate sources and to acquire an awareness of, as well as to question, the silences, repressions, omissions, and biases involved in interpreting writing both from and about the African diaspora. Some of the key terms that students will become familiar with are: ethnocentrism, white privilege, race, racism, hegemony, colonialism, imperialism, agency, diaspora, power, identity, modernity, nation, citizenship,sovereignty, and globalization, as well as how these concepts intersect with ideas of both gender and class.

SWAHILI

SWAH 1020--Introductory Swahili II

Professor Anne Rotich

(12743) MoWeFr 10 - 10:50AM

Swahili, or Kiswahili is widely spoken in East Africa and worldwide. It is estimated that about 70 million people speak Kiswahili globally. It is also widely spoken in Africa especially in Tanzania and Kenya as a national language. It is also spoken in Uganda and the Comoros Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Mozambique.  It is also spoken in some Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.  The course is designed to help you learn enough about Swahili to enable you to handle your needs adequately in basic conversations with Swahili speakers. You will be able to talk about yourself and your preferences, needs, and interests in the past, present and future time. You will learn to greet others, introduce yourself, handle basic social conversations, and talk about a variety of topics of common interest. You will learn to read and write Swahili in past, present, and future time and how to understand written and spoken Swahili well enough to carry out routine tasks and engage in simple conversations. You will also learn about some aspects of everyday culture in East Africa

(12129) MoWeFr 11 - 11:50AM

Swahili, or Kiswahili is widely spoken in East Africa and worldwide. It is estimated that about 70 million people speak Kiswahili globally. It is also widely spoken in Africa especially in Tanzania and Kenya as a national language. It is also spoken in Uganda and the Comoros Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, and Mozambique.  It is also spoken in some Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman.  The course is designed to help you learn enough about Swahili to enable you to handle your needs adequately in basic conversations with Swahili speakers. You will be able to talk about yourself and your preferences, needs, and interests in the past, present and future time. You will learn to greet others, introduce yourself, handle basic social conversations, and talk about a variety of topics of common interest. You will learn to read and write Swahili in past, present, and future time and how to understand written and spoken Swahili well enough to carry out routine tasks and engage in simple conversations. You will also learn about some aspects of everyday culture in East Africa

 

SWAH 2020 -- Intermediate Swahili II

Professor Anne Rotich

MoWeFr 12 - 12:50PM

Further develops skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, and awareness of the cultural diversity of the Swahili-speaking areas of East Africa.