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  • All African and African-American Studies Courses

    Undergraduate Courses

    AAS 100 Introduction to African-American Studies (A,D)

    Introduces the student to the multidisciplinary nature of the study of African people in Africa, the Caribbean and in the United States. Acquaints students with the history, religion, sociology, politics, economics, the creative arts, and the psychology of African people in Africa and the Diaspora, with particular emphasis on their positional ties in the past, the present and in the future. Enables students to critically examine the place of the pan-African segment of humanity in light of the contending forces that have and continue to inform our global societies. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 104 Institutional Racism (A,S)

    Pursues three major goals designed to enhance students' intellectual understanding of racism. Familiarizes students with the history and development of racist institutions in America. Engages students in an examination of the structure or "anatomy" of contemporary race relations in its interconnections with racial stereotypes and prejudice. Explores the psychological dimensions of racism, that is, how racism manifests itself in individual and group contexts. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 113 Introduction to African American History (A,D)

    Examines the historical experience and conditions of persons of African descent within the American historical milieu. Cross-listed as HST 113. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 114 African-Amer Hist II 1865 to Present (A,S)

    Surveys the history of African Americans from 1865 to the present, covering such themes as emancipation, reconstruction, migration, urbanization, community formation and development, the political and cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s, affirmative action, the underclass, and the reparations debate. Makes students aware of the historical conditions and development of people of African descent in the United States along with their contributions to American society. Crosslisted with HST114. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 118 Introduction to Swahili Language and Culture (A)

    This course introduces the student to the language and culture of the Swahili people. 3 Cr.

    AAS 203 Ancient Africa (A)

    Explores the diversity of people and cultures in Africa from the earliest period of human history; Africa's historical foundation and historical development. 3 Cr.

    AAS 204 African Power: Politics, Gender, and Society, 600-1900 (A,O)

    This course examines how Africans conceptualized, created, and wielded power, authority, and gender within their societies before European conquest and colonization. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 211 Social Disparities in Health (A,D)

    Provides an introduction to sociological research and theory on social disparities in health, with a special emphasis on how structural inequalities based on race, gender, and class intersect to produce differential health outcomes in life expectancy, morbidity, and mortality. Will count for elective credit in both Sociology & AAS for majors & minors. Crosslisted with SOC211. 3 Cr.

    AAS 213 African Legacy (A)

    Provides a detailed examination of the nature of Africa's past, with specific attention to the manner in which song, dance, storytelling and history become interwoven into one aspect of life. 3 Cr.

    AAS 215 Caribbean History (A)

    The importance of sugar in the world economy along with the procurement of Africans as free laborers will be evaluated in concert with economies in the Caribbean. Important events such as the Haitian Revolution will be analyzed to determine its effect not only on the Caribbean but the world at large. The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the multitude of social economic and political factors which brought change to the West Indies for a period of 500 years. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 232 African Music and Drumming for Dance (A,F)

    Cross-listed as DNS 232.

    Provides a study of selected traditional musical instruments for dance accompaniment and the development of performance skills and techniques through studio and live performance applications. Explores traditional styles and their social and artistic needs for formal religious and recreational application, as w ell as modern educational and cultural usages in African schools and colleges. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 234 Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans:Colony, Nation, Race, Diaspora (A,D,W)

    Cross-listed as HST 234.

    Explores through interactive lecture and discussion Puerto Rico as a Spanish and U.S. colony and homeland/patria for millions, and the Puerto Rican diaspora. Through films, music, and documents students analyze struggles that yielded evolving systems of power, patterns of resistance, and identities, especially in terms of race and gender. Develops skills in critical reading, analysis, discussion of historical texts and debates, and writing. 3 Cr.

    AAS 235 Introduction to African American Literature (A,H)

    Cross-listed as ENL 235.

    Provides an introductory survey of the literature of people of African ancestry in the Americas. Acquaints students with major literary figures and significant historical periods through a discussion of issues regarding the relationship between the writers and socio-political and cultural movements, and of questions concerning the socio-cultural function that the black writer serves for his/her community. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 271 Gender, Race and Class (A,D,W)

    Cross-listed as WMS 271 and SOC 271.

    Examines the intersecting socio-political forces of gender, race and class, and how these forces interact. Looks at how these forces affect individuals, and individual and social responses to these forces. Investigates the history of efforts to end discrimination, and the ways these efforts translate into issues of current concern in the US. 3 Cr.

    AAS 302 History of Southern Africa (A)

    This course surveys the history of the Southern region of the African continent from prehistoric times to the present. The course covers the countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia 3 Cr.

    AAS 303 Slavery and the Underground Railroad (A,D)

    Considers an aspect of American history (approximately 1830-1861) involving the quest for freedom by African slaves who ran away from bondage through an elaborate system of escape routes stretching from the US South to the North and Canada. Labeled the Underground Railroad, these networks were managed by conductors who helped their passengers (the escaped slaves) move from station to station and to reach freedom in the North. Probes the background history of slavery, the legislative backcloth of the Underground Railroad, its geography of routes, and the biography of its major conductors. Also explores the local history of the Underground Railroad of Western New York, including planned visits to its stations in Buffalo, Rochester, and Ontario. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 304 The Black Americas (A)

    The history of Africans in the Americas from the colonial period to the present. Focus is on the historical agency of Africans and their role in shaping the political and social characters of various nations over time and examine key moments that shaped the Americas (colonization, resistance to slavery, revolutions, independence movements, populist movements, expansion of civil rights and changing notions of black identity. 3 Cr.

    AAS 305 Urban Sociology (A,I,Y)

    Cross-listed with SOC 305.

    Considers the process of urbanization and its social consequences. Explores a number of urban theories; the evolution of U.S. cities; suburbanization, immigration, race relations, redevelopment, urban politics and planning, and international comparison. 3 Cr.

    AAS 307 Exploring the Black Experience (A,W,Y)

    Explores the black experience through writing with a detailed examination of African peoples' social, cultural, and literary responses to the modern zeitgeist. Aims to increase students' response repertoire and writing abilities about African peoples' social, cultural and literary traditions. 3 Cr.

    AAS 310 Urban Black Politics (A)

    Provides a study of the historical processes leading to larger urban black populations: forces permitting and restraining the exercise of political power in the urban black context; position of various black leaders and groups and their relationship with urban government; and the need for alternative strategies for the exercise of power. 3 Cr.

    AAS 313 Slavery in the Antebellum South (A)

    Cross-listed as HST 313.

    Provides a study of some of the dynamics of slavery in the South between 1800 and 1860. Examines firsthand accounts of observers and the political, economic and racial implications of this system. Compares US plantation slavery to other slave systems in the Americas. Encourages students to borrow from the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, literature, economics, as well as from political and intellectual history. 3 Cr.

    AAS 314 The Black Family (A)

    Cross-listed as SOC 314.

    Provides a study of the socio-cultural, political and economic conditions that afflict black family life. Confronts the pejorative tradition as the primary modality for examining black family life; and explores the African antecedents and continuities that have influenced the black family in the US. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 315 Contemporary Black Woman (A,D,W)

    Cross-listed as WMS 315.

    Eclectically explores the various positions and roles played by black women in contemporary times against their historical backdrop. Focuses on the roles of black women in traditional and contemporary contexts in Africa; black women in rural and urban areas and in the Caribbean; and professional black women and their characteristics. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 316 The African Novel (A,I)

    Cross-listed as ENG 316.

    Examines major authors and movements in the development of the novel in Africa. Primary emphasis is on the texts themselves, but with attention to their social and historical contexts. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 317 Prejudice, Personality and Culture (A)

    Prerequisite: SOC 100; Cross-listed as SOC 317.

    Explores the historical and social conditions in which prejudice arises; social functions of prejudice and its psycho-social manifestations; the impact of prejudice and discrimination upon social and race relations in mass societies; and theories of prejudice. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 320 Africa: Ancient and Precolonial (A)

    Crosslisted with HST320. Explores the diversity of peoples and cultures in Africa from the earlier period of human history. Provides an overview of Africa's historical foundation and development. 3 Cr.

    AAS 321 Modern Africa (A,I)

    Explores continuities and diversity in the African experience, focusing on the eras of colonization and decolonization (c.1870s-1970s). Students are introduced to major events in modern African history while engaging in discussions regarding central themes in African historiography, including cultural encounters, gender roles, the conflicting demands of tradition and modernity, religion, development, and violence. Cross-listed with HST 321. 3 Cr.

    AAS 322 Gospel Music I (B)

    Cross-listed as MUS 322.

    Provides history of Black American gospel music and its relationship to contemporary music forms; includes performances of gospel music. 1 Cr.

    AAS 328 Racial and Ethnic Relations (A,D,I)

    Explores the dynamic qualities of race and ethnicity in terms of definition, meaning, and experience. Topics include the role of race and ethnicity in social relations, major theoretical orientations on racial and ethnic stratification, and the consequences of and resistance to racial and ethic inequality. Cross listed with SOC328. 3 Cr.

    AAS 330 African Dance II (A)

    Prerequisite: DNS106 or instructor's permission.

    Provides a more detailed examination of the content of DNS 106. Also provides background of the African dance with historical linkages with dance movement forms within the Afro-American, Caribbean and Latin-American setting; a general survey of the material of the dance; the structure and design of African dances in relation to ceremonial and recreational forms, e.g. linear circular forms, massed and team dances; and social organization of the dances. Cross-listed as DNS 330. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 331 Birthing Hip-Hop: Tradition, Performance, and Protest (A)

    This course focuses on the elements of West African and African-American cultures and the historical socio-economic realities and personalities that birthed hip-hop as a musical genre and cultural entity. 3 Cr.

    AAS 332 Urban Economic Problems (A)

    Cross-listed as ECN 332.

    Examines important urban economic issues, such as the location of economic activity, the ghetto and poverty, land use, suburbanization, housing, urban renewal, transportation, education, crime, public finance, growth and planning. Evaluates local and national policies. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 333 African Music and Drumming II (A)

    Gives the student the fundamental techniques for the execution and performance of traditional West African Rhythms. The ceremonial, processional and recreative forms practiced in Africa and the diaspora (South America and the Caribbean) will be explored with the objective being the broadening of cultural awareness and participation in this dynamic art form. Group singing, percussive accompaniment and movement are expected of all participants. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 334 Black Women's Narratives, Resistance, & Joy (A)

    Analyzes the ways in which Black female writers and readers across political locations have endured trauma and, ultimately, engaged in moments of recovery, laughter, and hope as registered in literary artifacts. Approaches the subject through interdisciplinarity, in the fields of history, criticism, literary studies, as well as cultural and visual studies. Covers theoretical works, novels, short stories, poems, drama to gain a greater understanding of Black women’s cultural and literary expressions of joy, happiness, and humor. 3 Cr.

    AAS 339 Latinx History of the United States (A,D,W)

    Latinx History of the United States is a course that offers a comprehensive introduction to the diversity of Latinx cultures and history in the United States. Students will explore the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and citizenship in the lives of Latinx peoples. This course spans over 200 years, evaluating the Latinx experience in various locations and times, from the first Spanish North American colonies to the rise of Latino/a studies departments on college campuses. Elective within major. Crosslisted with HST WMS 339. 3 Cr.

    AAS 344 Black Poets (A)

    Explores Black American poetry and poetics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries with emphasis on the cyclical dynamic of political discomfort for African Americans & the subsequent poetic movements created in response. Pursuant to this aim, major authors such as Hughes, Walker, Brown, Brooks, Baraka, Neale, Sanchez, Dove, Komunyakaa, Alexander, Schockley, Hayes and the Roots are studied. 3 Cr.

    AAS 345 African Politics (A)

    Cross-listed as PLS 345.

    The course seeks to explore the contrast between the promise of the continent's potential and the shortcoming of its reality. To achieve this goal, the course examines briefly the political history of the continent and its encounter with the external world. The course discusses the transformation that ensued, and concretely addresses the consequence of it all, in the functioning of contemporary African politics, economics, society, and culture. Finally, the course discusses the improvements observed in the continent, since the 1990s. 3 Cr.

    AAS 347 Major African American Novels (A)

    Examines the genealogy of African American novels, beginning with the19th Century fictional slave narrative and resulting in contemporary novels written by African American authors that reveal a cultural mulattoism, or the merging of Eurocentric and black literary aesthetics. Explores canon politics as well as readings that restrict the material to matters of race alone. 3 Cr.

    AAS 359 Black Church (A)

    Cross-listed as SOC 359.

    Provides for an extended definition of the soul (essence) of the black church, and a critical analysis of the works of exponents of the theology of liberation in the light of the historical experience of black people. 3 Cr.

    AAS 360 Africa Today (A,I,W)

    Seeks to deepen students' understanding of contemporary Africa. Gives attention to issues which have profoundly affected the lives of multitudes on the second largest continent. Includes issues such as slavery, racism, colonialism and neocolonialism, desertification, hunger and malnutrition, civil wars, the problem of refugees, development and underdevelopment, and the reality of winds of change in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 381 Fannie Barrier Williams Project (A,D,W)

    The Fannie Barrier Williams Project is an ongoing digital public history inquiry into the life, times, and lasting historical significance of Fannie Barrier Williams (1855-1944), Brockport resident, first Black woman to graduate from the Brockport State Normal School (predecessor to SUNY Brockport), antiracist and women's rights activist, educator, writer, thinker, musician, visual artist. This is a project-based, experiential learning course. With guidance and support, each student produces a research project for a curated website, public symposium, and poster session. No advanced computer skills are required. While the course is grounded in historical inquiry, creative and Interdisciplinary approaches are very much welcome. Swing courses AAS & WMS 381 3 Cr.

    AAS 404 Cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa (A)

    Cross-listed as ANT 404/504.

    Explores the rich African heritage by means of a critical review of selected African ethnographic studies with particular focus on topics such as: subsistence agriculture, trade, kinship, political systems, urban life, and religion. Serves a broad spectrum of students to contribute to the need to understand the increasing global interdependence and cultural diversity of the present age. 3 Cr.

    AAS 408 Pan-Africanism (A)

    Historians of this global movement have tended to represent it as a 20th-century phenomenon. This is an erroneous view since the essentials of the ideology of Pan-Africanism existed years before the word entered dictionaries in 1900. Seeks to grapple with Pan-Africanism ideologically and practically. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 410 Apartheid (A,I)

    Attempts to use certain realities of post-1948 South Africa to cast light on a racial conflict that has raged for more than 500 years over the broad issues of hegemony and economic resources. Grapples with issues such as human rights, the role of international capitalism in development and underdevelopment, Balkanization, Pax Africana and human survival. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 416 Contemporary African American Issues (A,I)

    Deals with the continuing problem of what place black Americans should have in the socio-political scheme, a problem of dramatic contemporary importance because compromise solutions during this century have been short-lived, and because American policies have global implications which could influence foreign policy outcomes in Africa. Requires students to use scholarly articles, monographs and contemporary newspapers as the basis for discussion. 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 417 Cultural Heritage and the African American Child (A)

    Explores African-American creativity, as well as the despair African-Americans have and continue to exhibit in response to discrimination and opportunity. Contrasts children's game songs with the black English controversy. Examines the influence of social and educational policies on the behavior of African-Americans. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 419 Civil War and Reconstruction (A)

    Cross-listed as HST 419.

    Surveys the breakdown of the American institutions that led to the Civil War, followed by an examination of the War itself and its controversial aftermath in the Reconstruction era. 3 Cr.

    AAS 420 Overseas Seminar in Africa (A)

    Cross-listed as OAP 420.

    Consists of lectures, discussions, on-site field trips and opportunities to interact with Africans. Introduces students to various aspects of life in Africa as seen in the history, economy, culture, arts, social change and political development of the country visited. 1-15 Cr.

    AAS 423 Black Feminist Theory (A,I,W)

    Cross listed with WMS 423. A critical analysis of Black feminist theoretical approaches to studying Black women's oppression and liberation struggles from 1800s to present. Focus on race, sexuality, gender identity, and expression to understand ways systems of power and dominance operate across state, nation, empire. Analyze seminal theoretical texts, fiction, and poetry to locate feminist theories and practices within a tradition of Black women’s activism, theory, and cultural production. Requires minimum grade of C for general education/major/minor/certification 3 Cr.

    AAS 427 Cultural Heritage and the African American Child (A)

    Explores African-American creativity, as well as the despair African-Americans have and continue to exhibit in response to discrimination and opportunity. Contrasts children's game songs with the black English controversy. Examines the influence of social and educational policies on the behavior of African-Americans. Cross listed with EDI427. 3 Cr. Every Semester.

    AAS 429 The Civil Rights Years (A)

    Explores the theme that the Civil Rights Movement (WW II to today) is one of the most significant in our history, one that made America a more democratic society, gave rise to other movements which transformed the face of American culture, changed those who participated in it, and influenced and created a new generation of American leadership. Entails telecourse instruction with print, video and audio materials. 3 Cr.

    AAS 433 African Dance III (A)

    Cross-listed as DNS 433, Prerequisite: AAS 330 or instructor's permission.

    Covers advanced dance for recreation and ceremonial dance, including festival, war, court and ritual forms. Enables students to develop a mental, emotional and aesthetic awareness of the performance of an African dance. Examines the role of the African dance in the service of society in campus and off-campus performances. 3 Cr.

    AAS 434 Modern Caribbean History: Puerto Rico and Cuba since 1898 (A)

    Cross-listed as HST 434.

    As an advanced course, covers the French, Spanish, and British Caribbeans since the Haitian Revolution of the 1790s. Investigates how slavery and abolition, colonialism and nationalism, social and cultural movements, racism and dependency have forged this fascinating and paradoxical region. Considers questions of identity, especially for Afro-Caribbean women and men, in comparative framework. 3 Cr.

    AAS 435 Legal Rights of the Disadvantaged (A,I,W)

    Cross-listed as PLS 435, WMS 435.

    An issue-oriented course. Provides an understanding of how the US legal system can improve the status of underprivileged persons, such as blacks, Hispanics, women, prisoners, the poor, students, Native Americans, homosexuals, and those with mental and physical disabilities. 3 Cr. Fall.

    AAS 443 Beauty and Performance: Black Women's Writing (A,W)

    Examines how Eurocentric philosophical theories of aesthetics and beauty became popularized and have affected Black women and women in general. Pursues an understanding of the ways Black women writers have engaged in discourse with these theories and resisted the harm they perpetuate. Covers works of literature by and about Black women, films and documentaries, and other artifacts of popular culture. 3 Cr.

    AAS 457 Dark Continent to Wakanda: The Image of Africa (A,D,I)

    Cross-listed as AAS 457 or HST 557.

    Students will analyze Western images of African nature, ranging from the idea of Africa as a Dark Continent to the images of Africa in recent films. We will consider how colonial travel, exploration, hunting, and movies constructed ideas about Africa and how those 'old' ideas continue to shape and create major controversies over conservation, tourism, hunting, and movie representations to this day. 3 Cr.

    AAS 476 The Harlem Renaissance (A)

    Cross-listed as ARH 476.

    Surveys painting, sculpture, photography and ceramics from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Provides an overview of the period including literature, music and dance. 3 Cr.

    AAS 478 Gender and Race in Modern America (A)

    Cross-listed as HST and WMS 478.

    This reading seminar will focus on ideas about, and the lived experiences of, gender and race from Reconstruction (1865) to the present. This course explores the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality and examines a multiplicity of themes affecting differing women's lives. Discussions will include a focus on the historical social construction of gender, the impact of race, sexuality, reproduction, work, education, media, material condition (class), and women's agency. 3 Cr.

    AAS 485 The Jamaica Seminars (A)

    Focuses on Caribbean society, and the area's cultural, sociological, economic, and political aspects. Entails field study in Jamaica. 3 Cr.

    AAS 489 African Gods: Religion in Africa (A)

    This class is a seminar in which we will survey various religious traditions on the continent of Africa and analyze how these traditions shaped African cultures and societies as well as directed and influenced Islam and Christianity in Africa and by extension the African Diaspora. Course requires a minimum grade of "D" (for General Education/Major/Minor/Certification) NYSED requires a minimum course grade of “C” (undergraduate sections) Crosslisted with ANT489. 3 Cr.

    AAS 492 Capstone Project African and African-American Studies (A)

    This is a research-intensive course that allows students to apply their knowledge gained from years of coursework in African and African American Studies to complete a research proposal. Capstone projects offer students the ability to envision, plan, and construct their own culmination experience in African and African American Studies. Course requires a minimum grade of "C-" (for General Education/Major/Minor/Certification) 3 Cr. Spring.

    AAS 494 African Dance Ensemble (A)

    Cross-listed as DNS 494, Prerequisite: AAS 232 and 433.

    Provides a study of advanced techniques in solo, duet and ensemble experience to explore special areas of drumming and dance; costuming and relationships to dances; and acquaintance with another dance culture and production methods. Entails class studies for lectures, demonstrations and performances. Includes video studies for discussion and examples of performance. 3 Cr.

    AAS 499 Independent Study in AAS (A)

    Arranged in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-6 Cr.

    Graduate Courses