Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2022

These course listings are subject to change. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled. The official system of record at the University of Virginia is the Student Information System (SIS). www.virginia.edu/sis. Make sure to discuss your curricular plan and academic progress report with your AAS major advisor during Advising Period March 28 to April 8.


 

Core Courses

All majors and minors must complete the 1010 and 1020 core course sequence.

 

AAS 1010 Introduction to African American and African Studies I

Instructor:  Kwame Otu; Tu Thu 12:30 pm - 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.

 


 

Social Science or History

All majors must take at least one SSH course. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement cannot double count as Humanities, Race and Politics, or 4000 research.

 

AAS 2500.001 The Souls of Black Folk

Instructor:  Sabrina Pendergrass; Tu Thu 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

In this course, we will examine the social organization of African American communities. The intellectual context for the issues we will study come from the foundational work of sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, and others. 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 we will consider social issues that African Americans face today and will face in the future.

AAS 3500.004 Revolutionary Struggles of the African Atlantic

Instructor:  Kwame Otu; Tu 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

In this course, we will grapple with the concept of struggle, as it pertains to Africans’ desire to wrestle themselves from the interlocking white supremacist systems of colonialism, enslavement, apartheid, and racialized capitalism. How has the desire to be “free” from these systems of oppression defined black identities both in Africa and its myriad diasporas? Our goal is to work together to comprehend blackness as a struggle, and to amplify how black bodies continue to contend with anti-black regimes spawned by enslavement, colonial oppression, and apartheid. Focusing on places like South Africa to Brazil to the USA to England, and from Haiti to Guinea, we shall emphasize how in the afterlives of slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, white supremacist structures and infrastructures continue to legitimize black death. In the face of death, nevertheless, the struggle to live a dignified life, and to be free from white supremacy continue to define black experiences in neocolonial and neoliberal scenes of empire. Understanding that this struggle is revolutionary, we shall tackle how the fight for freedom from white supremacy is constitutively part of the desire to be free from heteropatriarchal nationalism and sexism, homonegativity, and racialized capitalism. Thus, we will ask: How do African and African descended peoples’ quests for freedom in the circum-Atlantic world compel us to revise freedom as something other than a state of being, but as a condition continuously in the process of becoming? (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

ENGL 3570.003 Jim Crow America

Instructor: Ian Grandison and Marlon Ross; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Why has Jim Crow persisted? This course examines how the Jim Crow regime was established in New England during the early republic, how it was nationalized after the Civil War, and how it has been perpetuated into the present, despite the passage of 1960s Civil Rights legislation. What have been the changing modes of maintaining Jim Crow particularly in law (including law enforcement), education, planning, public health, and mass media (newspapers, film, radio, and social media); and what strategies have African Americans used to fight Jim Crow segregation, discrimination, disenfranchisement, and economic exclusion. Focus will be placed on Charlottesville, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. as case studies. The course culminates in a required field trip to Richmond.

HIAF 2001 Early African History

Instructor:  James La Fleur; Tu Thu 11:00 am -12:15 pm

Studies the history of African civilizations from the iron age through the era of the slave trade, ca. 1800. Emphasizes the search for the themes of social, political, economic, and intellectual history which present African civilizations on their own terms. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

HIAF 3021 History of Southern Africa

Instructor:  John Mason; Tu Thu 9:30 am -10:45 am

Studies the history of Africa generally south of the Zambezi River. Emphasizes African institutions, creation of ethnic and racial identities, industrialization, and rural poverty, from the early formation of historical communities to recent times. Also fulfills Africa requirement)

HIAF 3112 African Environmental History

Instructor:  James La Fleur; Tu Thu 12:30 pm -1:45 pm

This course explores how Africans changed their interactions with the physical environments they inhabited and how the landscapes they helped create in turn shaped human history. Topics covered include the ancient agricultural revolution, health and disease in the era of slave trading, colonial-era mining and commodity farming, 20th-century wildlife conservation, and the emergent challenges of land ownership, disease, and climate change. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

HIUS 3652 Afro-American History since 1865

Instructor:  Kevin Gaines; Tu Thu 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

Studies the history of black Americans from the Civil War to the present.

 

SOC 3410 Race and Ethnic Relations

Instructor:  Rose Buckelew: Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

Introduces the study of race and ethnic relations, including the social and economic conditions promoting prejudice, racism, discrimination, and segregation.  Examines contemporary American conditions, and historical and international materials.

 


 

Humanities

All majors must take at least one Humanities course. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement cannot double count as Social Science/History, Race and Politics, or 4000 research.

 

AAS 2224 Black Femininities and Masculinities in the US Media

Instructor:  Lisa Shutt; Tu 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm (section 1); Wed 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm (section 2)

This course 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 2500-001 Introduction to African Languages and Literatures

Instructor:  Anne Rotich; Mon Wed Fri 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

This course is a survey of literary texts in English by contemporary African writers. Students will develop an appreciation for literatures and languages of Africa and an understanding of issues that preoccupy African writers and the literary strategies that they employ in their work. Students will read a variety of texts including novels, short stories, poetry, film and songs and critically analyze the cultural and aesthetics of the literary landscape. Particular attention will be on how authors engage themes such as identity, patriarchy, gender, class, and politics in post-colonial structures. Students are expected to actively engage in an analysis and exploration of the required literary works and to express their responses through class discussions, reflections, group presentations and the writing of analytical digital stories. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

 

AAS 2657 / ENGL 2599 Routes, Writing, Reggae

Instructor:  Njelle Hamilton; Tu Thu 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the history of reggae music and its influence on the development of autochthonous Jamaican literature. In addition to reading historical documents about colonization and independence, Rastafarianism, Haile Selassie I, the intersection of race, gender and sexuality in Jamaica, and the history of Jamaican music, we will listen to and analyze reggae and dancehall songs to discern the themes, poetic devices, musical structures, and social and historical contexts of the music form. Our course texts will range from reggae films to poetry, short fiction, and novels, as you learn tools to map the themes, devices, and structures that reggae music lends to local literature and literary culture. Assignments include: listening journals, group research and oral presentations, short literary analyses, pick your Reggae Grammy, and a long album review in lieu of a final paper.

 

AAS 3500.001 Introduction Black Performance Studies

Instructor:  Ashon Crawley; Mon 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Introduction to Black Performance Studies is a course in which students engage music, dance, theater and film to consider the ways blackness is performed in the world. Is race a biological fact? Is Blackness race? How does ritual performance and behavior let us think about these ideas?

 

AAS 3645-001 / ENGL 3560 Musical Fictions

Instructor:  Njelle Hamilton; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Why do we mourn so deeply when our favorite musician passes away? Why do we form Hives and Navies to publicly, collectively, and obsessively follow and fawn over our favorite performers? Over the course of this semester, we will explore the genre of the contemporary musical novel to better understand why writers and readers are so intrigued by the figure of the musician as a literary trope. Pairing close listening and music theory with close reading of seminal blues, jazz, reggae, mambo, calypso and rock novels set in the U.S., U.K, Jamaica, Trinidad, France, and Germany, we will also consider how novelists attempt to record the sounds (instruments, rhythm, melody, tone), lyrics, structure, and personal and cultural valences of music, not on wax, but in novelistic prose, and what kinds of cultural baggage and aesthetic conventions particular music forms bring to the novel form. Why, for example, are ‘jazz’ novels so concerned with race and the chronicle of black lives under oppression and violence? Why are so many ‘rock’ novels written by male writers, and why do they so often deal with issues of (white) masculinity under threat? The topical nature of many of these issues, songs, and novels will hopefully inspire you to thought-provoking class discussions, critical response papers, and final papers that push against the “fictions” and assumptions of musicians and novelists alike.

 

AAS 3710.001 African Worlds through Life Stories

Instructor:  Lisa Shutt; Thu 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This course examines an array of African cultural worlds from the perspective of a variety of different life story genres. We will be addressing biography, autobiography, autofiction, memoirs, diaries, biographical documentary film and various artistic representations. Some critics claim that such genres, concentrating on the “individual” in Western terms, are not appropriate for representing African experiences of personhood. While critically examining these genres as well as the authorship of texts, we will also be examining representations of worldviews, social and political structures and organization, conceptualizations of time and space, social change, gender, kinship, ritual, etc. through the lens of each life history and joined by supplemental historical and ethnographic readings. For each life narrative we examine, we will ask what authors are seeking to transmit. Reality? Truth? Or something else? We will also ask what reading audiences expect to receive from such narratives. We will discuss whether the narratives we address are stories expressing the uniqueness of particular individuals or whether they are representative lifeways of members of particular socio-political groups – or both – or neither. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

 

DRAM 3070 African American Theatre

Instructor:  Theresa Davis; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

This course presents a comprehensive study of “Black Theatre” as the African American contribution to the theatre. During the semester, we will explore the historical, cultural, and socio-political underpinnings of this theatre as an artistic form in American and world culture. Students gain a broader understanding of the relationship and contributions of this drama to theatre arts, business, education, lore, and humanity. A practical theatrical experience is a part of the course offering. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

 

ENGL 2599.005 Resistance in Black Literature and Film

Instructor: Amber McBride Tu Th 5:00 pm - 6:15pm

 

ENGL 3572-001 Multimedia Harlem Renaissance

Instructor:  Marlon Ross; Tu Thu 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Intensive study of African American writers and cultural figures in a diversity of genres. Includes artists from across the African diaspora in comparative American perspective.

 

MEST 3492 Afro-Arabs, Africans, and MENA

Instructor:  Nizar Hermes; Mon 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

This course offers an in-depth exploration of the literary representation and cultural construction of Black Afro-Arabs and Africans in premodern Arabic sources ranging from boasting epistles

(mufākharāt) and travel literature to poetry and –-chiefly—popular sagas/folktales (siyar shaʿabiyyah) which turned into pseudo-historical literary and cultural epics/romances. We will sample the works of some of the most “Arab-washed,” literary and intellectual icons in the history of MENA (SWANA), featuring Black heroes, poets, and knights. We will situate these texts in such contexts as the Zanj rebellion (869–883) in Iraq; the reign of Abū al-Misk Kāfūr (946-968), the black slave turned into vizier then sultan of Ikshīdid Egypt and the Levant; the Saharian Afro-Amazigh dynasties of North Africa and al-Andalus (Islamic Iberia) and their eleventh century invasion of the West African empire of Ghana; the sixteenth-century Moroccan imperial forays into the Songhai realms and the invasion of Gao, Timbuktu and Djenné, the elite African army of the Afro-Arab sultan Mulāy Ismāʿīl of Morocco (r.672 to 1727), the great Swahili city-Sultanates of East Africa (Mogadishu, Kilwa, and Mombasa), the richly symbiotic Afro-Arab Swahili language and culture, and the pioneering 1846 abolition of slavery in the regency of Tunisia. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

 

RELA 2400 Introduction to Africana Religions

Instructor:  Ashon Crawley; Tu 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This is an introductory survey course exploring the topic of Africana religions generally, including the practices of spirituality of black people in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe and on the continent of Africa. Particular attention will be paid to the relations between these various locations, and their similarities and differences. We will listen to music, watch film, read fiction, poetry, sacred texts and works of criticism.

 

RELA 2800 Introduction to Yoruba Religions

Instructor:  Oludamini Ogunnaike; Tu Thu 12:30 pm -1:45 pm

(Also fulfills Africa requirement)

 

RELA 3890 / RELC 3890 Christianity in Africa

Instructor:  Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton; Tu Thu 11:00 am -12:15 pm

Historical and topical survey of Christianity in Africa from the second century c.e. to the present. Cross listed with RELC 3890. Prerequisite: A course in African religions or history, Christianity, or instructor permission. (Also fulfills Africa requirement)

 

RELC 2770-001 The Black Church

Instructor:  Kai Parker; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

 

RELC 3222 From Jefferson to King

Instructor:  Mark Hadley; Tu Thu 9:30 am -10:45 am

A seminar focused upon some of the most significant philosophical and religious thinkers that have shaped and continued to shape American religious thought and culture from the founding of the Republic to the Civil Rights Movement, including Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Addams, William James, Reinhold Niebuhr and Martin Luther King, Jr. We will explore how their thought influenced the social and cultural currents of their time.

 

WGS 3559.002 Feminist and Queer Art in the Caribbean

Instructor:  Matthew Chin; Mon 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

This course examines the relationship between gender, sexuality, and cultural production in the Caribbean. In so doing, it seeks to think through feminist and queer approaches to Caribbean aesthetics, art history, and art criticism. Students learn about individual artists, art works, and art collectives and institutions and how they operate within the context of local, regional, and global art markets and economies.

 


 

Race and Politics

All majors must take at least one Race & Politics course. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement cannot double count as Humanities, Social Science/History, or 4000 research.

 

AAS 2500.003 Race, Class, and Gender

Instructor:  Liana Richardson; Tu Thu 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

While many people in the United States embrace the rhetoric of equality, “the American Dream,” and “the land of opportunity,” social inequality by race, class, and gender is a persistent feature of our society.  The overall goal of this course is to examine the social, political, and economic forces that cause and are produced by this inequality, paying particular attention to how race, class, and gender intersect to shape lived experiences and life chances. First, we will discuss how power and privilege are patterned by race, class, and gender. Then, we will examine how the resultant inequalities are perpetuated and reinforced by social institutions such as the labor market, housing, health care, media, and criminal justice system. Finally, we will consider potential strategies for disrupting these linkages, and the social justice politics associated with them.

 

AAS 3500.002 Race, Ethnicity, and Health in US

Instructor:  Liana Richardson; Tu Thu 9:30 am - 10:45 am

In this course, we will examine the relationships between “race”/ethnicity, other axes of difference, and health inequalities in the United States. Drawing from research in a variety of disciplines, including epidemiology, demography, and sociology, we will examine how health is distributed by “race”/ethnicity, as well as the factors that give rise to the differential distribution of health across racial/ethnic groups.  We also will discuss whether contemporary health promotion and disease prevention policies are sufficient to address racial/ethnic inequalities in health. Finally, we will consider the kinds of policies that could have a bigger impact, and the potential explanations for why they have not been pursued.

 

 

AAS 3500.003 Race, Class, Politics, and Environment

Instructor:  Kimberly Fields; Wed 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

This course explores the relationships between ‘race,’ socio-economic status, interest group politics and environmental policy. Through a variety of analytical and contextual lenses and via selected case studies, we will examine fundamental environmental problems faced by individuals and communities of color and the policies and initiatives designed to address them. Topics will include: theories of racism and justice, the conceptual history and definitions of environmental racism, the historical development and goals of the environmental justice movement, the social, political, economic and environmental advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption, stakeholder responses to environmental inequities, the impact of environmental justice policies on environmental inequities as well as their impact on subsequent political behavior, pollution in developing nations and, indigenous peoples. Students can expect to evaluate recent environmental policy proposals, and weigh arguments concerning the perceived failures of political elites and interest groups to provide a politically viable vision and remedial strategy to address environmental injustice.

 

AAS 3810.001 Race, Culture, and Inequality

Instructor:  Sabrina Pendergrass; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

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, collective memory, and racial grammar. The course will draw on disciplines such as sociology, political science, anthropology, and more.

 

AMST 3200 / PLPT 3200.001 African American Political Thought

Instructor:  Lawrie Balfour; Mon Wed 2:00 pm - 2:50 pm

This course explores the critical and the constructive dimensions of African American political thought from slavery to the present. We will assess the claims that black Americans have made upon the polity, how they have defined themselves, and how they have sought to redefine key terms of political life such as citizenship, equality, freedom, and power.

 

 

AMST 3300 Introduction to Latinx Studies

Instructor:  Lisa Cacho; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

 

“Latina/o/x” has become a “commonsense” racial identifier to label (and sometimes to characterize) a diverse and heterogeneous group of people. In this course, we will challenge that “commonsense” perception by looking at the ways in which “race” and “Latina/o/x” change meanings during different historical moments. We will examine how race has been deployed by various institutions to both deny and grant material and social resources to U.S. Latinxs and Latina/o/x immigrants. Along these lines, we will contextualize the responses of Latina/o/x ethnic groups to historicize how “Latina/o/x” has become a “panethnic” racial identity in the United States. In short, what is often mistaken as “commonsense” has been and continues to be part of a long, on-going struggle not just over the ability to make and remake racial meaning, but also over the economic and social resources that have been assigned along racial, ethnic, and national lines.

 

MDST 3306.001 Gender, Class, Race in Teen Film

Instructor:  Andrea Press; Mon 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm

 

MDST 3510.003 Race and Sound in American Culture

Prof. Jack Hamilton; Tu 5:00 - 7:00pm

 

WGS 3500.002 Race, Gender, and Social Movements

Instructor:  Domale Keys; Tu Th 12:30 pm -1:45 pm

This course offers a study of race and racialization in relation to gender and sexuality.  We will consider how the concept of race shapes relationships between gendered selfhood and society, how it informs identity and experiences of the erotic, and how racialized gender and sexuality are created, maintained and monitored. Applying an interdisciplinary perspective, we will consider how race and power are reproduced and resisted through gender and sexuality, individually, nationally, and internationally.  Topics may include media, religion, sport, literature, family and politics.

 


 

Africa

All majors must take at least one Africa course. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement can double count with any other distribution.

 

AAS 2500.001 Introduction to African Languages and Literatures

Instructor:  Anne Rotich; Mon Wed Fri 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm

This course is a survey of literary texts in English by contemporary African writers. Students will develop an appreciation for literatures and languages of Africa and an understanding of issues that preoccupy African writers and the literary strategies that they employ in their work. Students will read a variety of texts including novels, short stories, poetry, film and songs and critically analyze the cultural and aesthetics of the literary landscape. Particular attention will be on how authors engage themes such as identity, patriarchy, gender, class, and politics in post-colonial structures. Students are expected to actively engage in an analysis and exploration of the required literary works and to express their responses through class discussions, reflections, group presentations and the writing of analytical digital stories.

 

AAS 3500.004 Revolutionary Struggles of the African Atlantic

Instructor:  Kwame Otu; Tu 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

In this course, we will grapple with the concept of struggle as it pertains to Africans’ desire to wrest themselves from interlocking white supremacist systems of colonialism, enslavement, apartheid, and racialized capitalism. How has the desire to be “free” from these systems of oppression defined black identities both in Africa and its myriad diasporas? Our goal is to work together to comprehend blackness as a struggle, and to amplify how black bodies continue to contend with anti-black regimes. Moving from South Africa to Brazil to the USA to England, and from Haiti to Guinea, we shall emphasize how in the afterlives of these white supremacist infra/structures continue to legitimize black death. Nevertheless, the struggle to live a dignified life and to be free from white supremacy continues to define black experiences in neocolonial and neoliberal scenes of empire. Understanding that this struggle is revolutionary, we shall tackle how the fight for freedom from white supremacy is constitutively part of the desire to be free from heteropatriarchal nationalism and sexism, homonegativity, and racialized capitalism. Thus, we will ask: How do African and African descended peoples’ quests for freedom in the circum-Atlantic world compel us to revise freedom as something other than a state of being, but as a condition continuously in the process of becoming?

 

AAS 3710.001 African Worlds through Life Stories

Instructor:  Lisa Shutt; Thu 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This course examines an array of African cultural worlds from the perspective of a variety of different life story genres. We will be addressing biography, autobiography, autofiction, memoirs, diaries, biographical documentary film and various artistic representations. Some critics claim that such genres, concentrating on the “individual” in Western terms, are not appropriate for representing African experiences of personhood. While critically examining these genres as well as the authorship of texts, we will also be examining representations of worldviews, social and political structures and organization, conceptualizations of time and space, social change, gender, kinship, ritual, etc. through the lens of each life history and joined by supplemental historical and ethnographic readings. For each life narrative we examine, we will ask what authors are seeking to transmit. Reality? Truth? Or something else? We will also ask what reading audiences expect to receive from such narratives. We will discuss whether the narratives we address are stories expressing the uniqueness of particular individuals or whether they are representative lifeways of members of particular socio-political groups – or both – or neither.

 

HIAF 2001 Early African History

Instructor:  James La Fleur; Tu Thu 11:00 am -12:15 pm

Studies the history of African civilizations from the iron age through the era of the slave trade, ca. 1800. Emphasizes the search for the themes of social, political, economic, and intellectual history which present African civilizations on their own terms

 

HIAF 3021 History of Southern Africa

Instructor:  John Mason; Tu Thu 9:30 am - 10:45 am

Studies the history of Africa generally south of the Zambezi River. Emphasizes African institutions, creation of ethnic and racial identities, industrialization, and rural poverty, from the early formation of historical communities to recent times.

 

 

HIAF 3112 African Environmental History

Instructor:  James La Fleur; Tu Thu 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm

This course explores how Africans changed their interactions with the physical environments they inhabited and how the landscapes they helped create in turn shaped human history. Topics covered include the ancient agricultural revolution, health and disease in the era of slave trading, colonial-era mining and commodity farming, 20th-century wildlife conservation, and the emergent challenges of land ownership, disease, and climate change.

 

 

MEST 3492 / MEST 5492 Afro-Arabs, Africans/MENA

Instructor:  Nizar Hermes; Mon 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

This course offers an in-depth exploration of the literary representation and cultural construction of Black Afro-Arabs and Africans in premodern Arabic sources ranging from boasting epistles

(mufākharāt) and travel literature to poetry and popular sagas/ folktales (siyar shaʿabiyyah) which turned into pseudo-historical literary and cultural epics/ romances. We will sample the works of some of the most “Arab-washed,” literary and intellectual icons in the history of MENA (SWANA), featuring Black heroes, poets, and knights. We will situate these texts in such contexts as the Zanj rebellion (869–883) in Iraq; the reign of Abū al-Misk Kāfūr (946-968), the black slave turned into vizier then sultan of Ikshīdid Egypt and the Levant; the Saharian Afro-Amazigh dynasties of North Africa and al-Andalus (Islamic Iberia) and their eleventh century invasion of the West African empire of Ghana; the sixteenth-century Moroccan imperial forays into the Songhai realms and the invasion of Gao, Timbuktu and Djenné, the elite African army of the Afro-Arab sultan Mulāy Ismāʿīl of Morocco (r.672 to 1727), the great Swahili city-Sultanates of East Africa (Mogadishu, Kilwa, and Mombasa), the richly symbiotic Afro-Arab Swahili language and culture, and the pioneering 1846 abolition of slavery in the regency of Tunisia.

 

 

RELA 2800.001 Introduction to Yoruba Religions

Instructor:  Oludamini Ogunnaike; Tu Thu 12:30 pm -1:45 pm

 

 

RELA 3890.001; RELC 3410.001 Christianity in Africa

Instructor:  Cindy Hoehler-Fatton; Tu Thu 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Historical and topical survey of Christianity in Africa from the second century c.e. to the present. Cross listed with RELC 3890. Prerequisite: A course in African religions or history, Christianity, or instructor permission.

 


 

4000 Level Research

All majors must take at least one course at the 4000-level that requires a 20-page research paper or its equivalent. Courses taken to fulfill this requirement cannot double count as Humanities, Race and Politics, or Social Science/History. For courses outside of AAS, kindly confirm with the instructor before/at the start of classes that the course meets the research requirements.

 

AAS 4570.001 Self-Reflective Writing in the Black Diaspora

Instructor:  Lexi Smith; Mon Wed 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Between the “traditional” genres of essays, speeches, poems, autobiography, and novels, and newer forms of biomythography, autoethnography, autofiction, and autotheory, Black writers have a rich history of merging life writing with other forms of knowledge production. “Life Writing in the Black Diaspora” will closely read works of life writing by contemporary Black authors including Saidiya Hartman, Dionne Brand, and Audre Lorde among others, and put these primary texts in conversation with scholarly literature that helps us to identify what life writing teaches us about how Blackness, the African diaspora, gendered embodiment, and erotic intimacy are lived across spaces and times.

 

 

AAS 4570.002 Black Feminisms, Gender, and Sexuality in Latin America and the Caribbean

Instructor:  Nicole Ramsey; Tu Thu 9:30 am - 10:45 am

From Mamá Tingo in the Dominican Republic to Rihanna in Barbados, this course will look at the theories and gendered racial politics and sexuality within a Latin American and Caribbean context. In using visual culture, ethnography, biography, and oral history, we will explore, interrogate and analyze these topics as they intersect with empire, enslavement, freedom(s), state formation, labor, and popular culture.

 

AMST 4500.002 / ENGL 4570.001 Reading Black College Campus

Instructor:  Ian Grandison; Tu 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

How does the discourse that posits the UVA Lawn as a seminal architectural legacy of a United States founding father help to distinguish the Lawn’s residents from passers-by, who must admire it from a respectful distance?  “Reading the Black College Campus” is a student-centered, sensing/ interpreting/ communicating course that explores how built environments are entangled with the negotiation of power in society. In particular, we focus on how the campuses of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) were shaped by (and shaped) the struggle to democratize education in the United States especially during the Jim Crow Period.  Rather than the still dominant approach in architectural and landscape architectural criticism to emphasize art-historical interpretations, we foreground interpretations that engage built environments, such as college campuses, as arenas of cultural conflict and negotiation. With this interrogation as a model, students are encouraged to engage our own campus more critically. Through discussion of readings and field trips (including one to the campus of a Virginia HBCU), lectures and workshops, and student-group presentations, we explore ideas, concepts and methods to read built environments by synthesizing knowledge gained from sensing them, studying them through maps and diagrams and primary and secondary written and oral accounts.

 

 

AMST 4559.001 Race, Criminality, and Abolition

Instructor:  Lisa Cacho; Tu Thu 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

In this course, we will be examining how populations are criminalized due, in part, to race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and immigration status. To do so, we need to question how laws are created and normalized. To do this effectively, I will ask you to suspend your moral judgments, so that you can approach crime, criminals, and criminal activity analytically.  Additionally, we will be exploring abolitionist alternatives to the police state.

 

 

AMST 4559.002 Visualizing Racial Capitalism

Instructor:  Janet Kong-Chow; Wed 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm

 

ENGL 4560.004 Harlem Stories

Instructor: Sandhya Shukla; Tu Thu 12:30pm - 1:45pm

Harlem has been many things to many people: capital of a global African diaspora, an early instance of Italian and Jewish immigrant communities, home to an important el barrio, a representative site of contemporary gentrification and, above all, a place for racial and ethnic minoritization. This course will explore many of those lived and symbolic Harlems from the early twentieth century to the present.  It will closely consider representations that both open up a paradigmatic case of race and class in the United States and dwell in the possibilities of cross-cultural exchange across regional divides. We will employ the language and structure of globality to understand the heterogeneity of blackness – African/American, Caribbean, Puerto Rican and more – and variegations of whiteness, in a range of novels, films, memoirs and essays that interrogate identity and community. The mix of approaches across fields will build an interdisciplinary inquiry into the production of social space and suggest that forms – narrative structures and modes, styles of description – are crucial for understanding the power of this place.  Key texts may include fictional and non-fictional works such as Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Passing, Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Ernesto Quinones’s Bodega Dreams, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt’s Harlem is Nowhere, Langston Hughes’s Montage of a Dream Deferred, Monique Taylor’s Harlem Between Heaven and Hell, and Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets, as well as cultural historical and theoretical materials. Students will be required to present on one week’s materials for class, submit regular reading responses and complete one critical essay and a longer research paper on a chosen topic.

 

 

ENGL 5700 Contemporary African American Literature

Instructor:  Lisa Woolfork; Tu Thu 8:00 am - 9:15 am

This course for advanced undergraduates and master’s-level graduate students surveys African American literature today. Assignments include works by Everett, Edward Jones, Tayari Jones, Evans, Ward, Rabateau, and Morrison.

 

 

 

MDST 4510.004 Civil Rights Movement and the Media

Instructor: Aniko Bodroghkozy; Tu Th 11:00Am - 12:15pm

 

 

MDST 4670.001 White Out: Screening White Supremacy

Instructor:  William Little; Tu Th 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm

This course entails critical examination of white supremacy through study of film and photography. Students analyze how cinema has traditionally privileged the property of whiteness and white patriarchal power through narrative and formal conventions: e.g., by framing white spaces, white bodies, and the white male gaze as superior; by objectifying, seizing, and rendering invisible people of color and women; by manipulation of lighting and color; by racially charged construction and projection of the face. This analysis is amplified by consideration of links between white supremacist cinema and the history of photographic portraiture. Students study how photography, like film, has been instrumentalized and archived to honor—to monumentalize—white experience, while abjecting, invalidating, and erasing the experience of others. Against this backdrop, the course organizes exploration of films and photographs that challenge white supremacy. Special attention is given to visual texts that expose the dynamics of white supremacy through nuanced dramatization of its underpinnings: the violent erotics, religious longings, and binary logic that inform racist thought; anxiety about colorful elements coded as threats to the integrity of white spaces and white bodies; media infrastructures, such as surveillance systems, designed to protect white power. Horror film affords important cinematic illustrations of these underpinnings. The course includes several examples, such as recent films Green Room (2016) and Get Out (2017).  The syllabus also includes revisionary photographic work that outs white supremacy, such Ken Gonzales-Day’s Erased Lynching series and Carrie Mae Weems’ Roaming series. Students are required to produce an extensive project at end of term. The outcome may be a creative project with an accompanying extensive critical reflection.

 

 

MUSI 4065 The Black Voice

Instructor:  A.D Carson; Tu Th 9:30 am – 10:45 am

This course focuses on critical analyses of and questions concerning the ‘Black Voice’ as it pertains to hip-hop culture, particularly rap and related popular musics. Students will read, analyze, and discuss a wide range of thinkers to explore many conceptions and definitions of ‘Blackness’ while examining popular artists and the statements they make in and about their art.

 

 

SOC 4559-001 Race, Racism, and Democracy: Sociology of DuBois

Instructor:  Ian Mullins; Tu Th 9:30 am – 10:45 am

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was a uniquely American scholar and activist whose work has continued significance today. His analysis of the United States reveals both the social causes and consequences of racial stratification, while his political activism offers possible solutions. A controversial figure in his time, he helped to found the American sociological discipline and yet was marginalized within it; he was a founding member of the NAACP but eventually became one of its fiercest critics. He was deeply committed to both the scientific study of society and a form of democracy that others considered too radical. In this class, students will read Du Bois’s major works to better understand the framework through which he investigated inequality in the United States, the problems of racism that he attributes to the color-line, and whether we can look to his radical form of democracy in order to finally overcome what he referred to as “the problems of the color-line.”

 

 

WGS 4900 Black Geographies

Instructor:  Kat Cosby; Thu 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm

How are geographies imagined and created? How are traditional geographies organized and are there other ways to think about these spaces? This course will interrogate Black geographies in the Americas and the ways in which traditional geographies adhere to a racial-sexual logic. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we will examine Black thinkers' and scholars’ concepts of geography and how their interventions allow us to think differently about place, space, gender, and Blackness. Topics include maroon communities, abolition geography, plantation geographies, and demonic grounds.

 


Languages and Other Electives

 

SWAH 1010 Introductory Swahili I

Section I—Instructor TBA; Mon Wed Fri 9:00 am - 9:50 am

Section II—Instructor: Anne Rotich; Mon Wed Fri 11:00 am - 11:50 am

This course is intended for students with no previous experience with Swahili. The course provides an introduction to basic Swahili language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Swahili is the most widely spoken language in eastern Africa.  SWAH 1010 provides a foundation for listening, speaking and writing basic Swahili grammatical structures and vocabulary. By the end of this course you will be able to construct simple Swahili sentences, identify with various cultural aspects and customs of Swahili speakers, and have a basic level of oral proficiency. We will have fun learning the language as we engage in dialogues, group activities and perform some cultural skits.

 

SWAH 2010.001 Intermediate Swahili I

Instructor:  Anne Rotich; Mon Wed Fri 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm

This is an intermediate level course designed for students who have taken SWAH 1010 or prior Swahili language experience to further enhance grammatical skills, and an emphasis on speaking and writing through a reading of Swahili texts.