Fall 2023

AFST 100.01 Blackness and Whiteness Outside the United States – Professor Daniel Williams (6 credits)

Racial categories such as “black” and “white” are social constructions that change across national boundaries.  In the U.S. “black” and “white” have historically been defined by ancestry, and have been mutually exclusive.  But how are these categories defined elsewhere? In this course, we consider how blackness and whiteness are defined and constructed in non-U.S. contexts. We examine a range of topics that will help us to understand not only racial categories, but also the meanings and narratives that accompany them and the way that these play into racial inequalities.  Course topics include skin color stratification, colorblindness, ethnicity and nationhood, migration and citizenship, media representations, segregation, and transnationalism and globalization.

Held for new first year students

AFST 100.02 Sports, the Black Experience, and the American Dream – Professor Chielo Eze (6 credits)

With an emphasis on critical reading and writing in an academic context, this course will examine the role of sports in American politics and social organizations. The course pays attention to the African American experience, noting especially the confluence of race and sports. What can sports tell us about freedom, equality, and the pursuit of happiness? How has the Black community contributed to our appreciation of these American virtues? We will read short texts and biographies, and we will watch movies such as King Richard and The Blind Side. Students will produce short writing exercises aimed at developing their critical thinking and clear writing.

Held for new first year students

AFST 215 Contemporary Theory in Black Studies – Professor Chielo Eze (6 credits)

This course examines the major theories of the Africana intellectual tradition. It introduces students to major concepts and socio-political thoughts that set the stage for Africana Studies as a discipline. With the knowledge of the historical contexts of the Black intellectual struggle and the accompanying cultural movements, students will examine the genealogy, debates and the future directions of Black Studies. Students are invited to take a dedicated dive into primary scholarship by focusing on foundational thinkers to be studied such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Frantz Fanon, Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks, among others.

Winter 2024

AFST 330 Black Europe – Professor Daniel Williams (6 credits)

This course examines the history and experiences of people of African descent and black cultures in Europe. Beginning with early contacts between Africa and Europe, we examine the migration and settlement of African people and culture, and the politics and meaning of their identities and presence in Europe. Adopting a comparative perspective, we consider how blackness has been constructed in various countries through popular culture, nationalism, immigration policy, and other social institutions. We further consider how religious, gender, and immigrant identities inform notions of blackness. We conclude by examining contemporary Black European social movements. 

Spring 2024

AFST 325 Slavery in the Africana Imagination – Professor Chielo Eze (6 credits)

Through the lens of former slaves and their descendants in America, this course explores ways in which the slave and neo-slave narratives attend to the larger existential question of what it means to be free. The corollary notions of race, gender, identity, solidarity, among others, will also be considered. In addition, this class will investigate the ways in which the re-inscription of slavery, in contemporary literature, has impacted the development of the Africana literary tradition in terms of content, genre, and form. This course adopts an interdisciplinary approach to slavery that utilizes philosophy, literature, and media studies.