Show More


Course Catalog

Black Studies

Courses in Black Studies

BLST 100

Introduction to Black Studies

Designed as the gateway to Black Studies, this course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the collective experience of blacks in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States. The course seeks to provide students an intellectual framework for engagement in a process of self-discovery and for achieving a more global understanding of the unique ways in which Africans and peoples of African descent have constituted our world. The course, which introduces important theoretical approaches and builds critical and analytical skills, provides an overview of the historical, socio-economic and cultural dynamics of black life.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

BLST 197

First -Year Seminar

A seminar focused on a theme in Black Studies Open only to first-year students.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

BLST 240

Readings in Literatures of the Black Diaspora

This course explores the literary expressions of Africans and peoples of African descent as they are found in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. Works by such writers as Achebe, Ngugi, Kincaid, Walcott, Guillen, Morejon, Reed and Morrison may be included. Cross-listed with ENG 255.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

BLST 281

History of the Black Atlantic

An exploration of the historical foundations and the development of black life in Africa and its later diffusion in the Black Diaspora. Its purview will range from pre-colonial dynamics to the more contemporary manifestations of global Black History in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America and Melanesia. Topics may include: African cultures before European contact, the slave trade and its impact on Africa and the Atlantic economy, the middle passage, internal migration in Africa and case studies of the creation of diasporic communities and cultures. Cross-listed with HIST 281.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

BLST 290

Topics in Black Studies

This course explores some issue, theme or period related to Black Studies. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

BLST 390

Advanced Topics in Black Studies

An interdisciplinary study of some significant issue, theme or period relevant to Black Studies. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

BLST 480

Senior Project

Students work with the director of Black Studies or a faculty member who teaches in the program to complete a major project or paper that focuses on some aspect of the black experience.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

BLST 490

Independent Study

An in-depth directed study under the guidance of a faculty member associated with the Black Studies program, using Black Studies' methodologies and scholarship.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

Courses in Literature

ENG 263

African-American Literature

A study of African-American writing, including biographies, essays and polemics as well as drama, fiction and poetry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in History

HIST 109

African Civilizations

The precolonial and colonial history of Africa from 1500 to 1945: the early socioeconomic and political organization of African society; problems of state formation; organization of an acephalous society and African production and trade; the impact of capital on the African formation as seen in the slave trade; and the era of legitimate commerce and early capitalist penetration.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 110

Modern Africa

Africa since 1945: the diverse socioeconomic and political concerns of a mature colonialism on the eve of decolonization; the many contradictions of a colonialism caught up in a wind of change, concession-prone in some areas, stolidly uncompromising in others; political independence and the policies it produced; and the path to Africa's present state of dependency and political instability.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 256

African Cultures

A review of cultural change in various African societies from earliest times to present. African society is first examined in the primordial state and then reviewed against the coming of Islam, Christianity and Western cultural penetration; a discussion of the current prevalence of cultural syncretism and plurality in African cultures.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

HIST 257

Ethnicity and Conflict in South Africa

The history of South Africa from the 17th century to the present; its relations with neighboring communities; the coming of white settlers; African subjugation and the rise of apartheid; local and foreign reaction to the apartheid state; the process of decolonization; and ethnic and class cleavages in post-Apartheid society.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

HIST 275

African American History

A survey of the black experience in the United States focusing on ways African Americans reacted individually and collectively to their condition and how they have contributed to the development of the United States.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 281

History of the Black Atlantic

An exploration of the historical foundations and the development of Black life in Africa and its later diffusion in the Black Diaspora. Its purview will range from pre-colonial dynamics to the more contemporary manifestations of global Black history in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America and Melanesia. Topics include: African cultures before European contact, the slave trade and its impact on Africa and the Atlantic economy, the middle passage, internal migration in Africa and case studies of the creation of Diasporic communities and cultures.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

HIST 355

African Nationalism, 1890-1985

A survey of African resistance to European imperialism with emphasis on the national peculiarities of the European penetration, the experience of Settler and non-Settler Africa, the personnel and methodology of proto-nationalist and nationalist resistance, and the general outcome of these efforts.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 356

African Slavery

A review of the processes of incorporation into slavery; slaves in production and exchange; the resistance history of slavery; the gender implications of the slave state; slaves and social mobility, interdependence and the manipulations of class; and the dynamics of manumission and abolition.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 364

Civil War and Reconstruction

The causes, impact and consequences of the Civil War: origins of sectional conflict, the secession crisis, emancipation, Reconstruction policies, political and military leadership, the impact of events on civilians and soldiers and long-term effects of this period on American society and political institutions.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 367

The Civil Rights Movement

The black-led freedom movement in the South from the end of World War II to the late 1960s. Prerequisites: HIST 265, HIST 275 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
HIST 265, HIST 275 or permission of instructor 1 course

Courses in Political Science

POLS 220

African American Politics

This course focuses on how the continuing struggle for Black political empowerment has helped influence and shape the current African American political community. An interdisciplinary approach incorporating economics, history and sociology will be used to gain an overall understanding of the African American community and its critical influence upon the American political system.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences 1 course

POLS 323

The Politics of Race

This course explores the centrality and significance of race in the modern American political system. The course covers, but is not limited to, the role of race in electoral politics, urban politics, the political and social attitudes of Americans and the debates about the scope and function of the federal government.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

POLS 352

Politics of Developing Nations

An introduction to the similarities and unifying characteristics of heterogeneous developing nations. Emphasis on diversities to be found in different regions of the Third World. The focus is on issues and problems and not countries and regions, though case studies are used for illustrative purposes. The course covers theories and approaches to the study of the Third World; changes in the Third World (political, economic, governmental and regime); contemporary issues (hunger and famine, multinationals, foreign debt and the New International Economic Order); and Third World ideologies and movements (nonalignment, developmental socialism, anti-Americanism and Islamic revivalism).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Religious Studies

REL 267

Caribbean Religions and Culture

An exploration of the relationship between Caribbean religious traditions and culture in the development of Caribbean identity and nationhood. It focuses on how the major world religions were modified through the encounter between peoples of Amerindian, African, European and Asian descent. Further, it studies the impact of slavery, emigration, colonialism, and globalization on the emergence of indigenous Caribbean religious traditions (Vodun, Santeria, Rastafari).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

REL 269

Liberation Theology

An examination of the interaction between Western religious traditions and the foremost liberation movements: Third-World, black, gay and women's liberation.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

REL 360

Bob Marley, Caribbean Religion and Culture

This course is a close study and analysis of the religious core and communicative rationality in Bob Marley's life and music. It develops the intersections between Caribbean religion and culture based on Marley's affiliation to Rastafari.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Courses in Anthropology

ANTH 271

African Cultures

In this course, students examine the cultural, political, economic, psychological and social aspects of life in Africa. Through lectures, discussions, films and a variety of readings, students will explore a number of issues, including ancient Egypt, slavery, colonialism, religion, music, art, African cinema and Pan-Africanism. Prerequisite: ANTH 151, sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences ANTH 151, sophomore standing or permission of instructor. 1 course

ANTH 360

African Diaspora Religions

This course is designed to explore the history, functions, and communities, which encompass religions of the African Diaspora such as Santería, Vodou, and Candomblé. Lectures, discussions, films, and a range of ethnographic literature will introduce students to these religious systems. Among the topics and themes to be addressed in relation to relgiion are issues of identity, ethnicity, gender, performance, and class. Case studies in Brazil, Cuba, and among Latinos in the U.S. will illuminate the multivocality of the religious beliefs and practices found in the African Diaspora.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

Courses in Sociology

SOC 237

Racial and Ethnic Relations

This course explores the origins, changes and possible futures of racial and ethnic relations. It is concerned with both the development of sociological explanations of ethnic and racial conflict, competition and cooperation as well as with practical approaches to improving inter-group relations. The course surveys global and historical patterns of inter-group relations but focuses on late 20th-century and early 21st-century United States. Prerequisite: SOC 100 or sophomore standing.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Sciences SOC 100 or sophomore standing 1 course

SOC 322

Black Issues and Identity

This course considers how oppressive social realities inform the lives and the study of socially marginal and politically disempowered groups. While emphasis is placed on the experiences of people of African descent, the class covers issues of power, definition, bias, resistance, and resilience that are also prominent in the histories of other marginalized groups in the U.S. Prerequisite: One course in Sociology or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
One course in Sociology or permission of instructor 1 course

SOC 329

Social Inequalities

This course examines multiple systems of privilege and oppression, such as gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. The course considers how these systems of inequality intersect to influence people's experiences of social processes (e.g., discrimination, stereotyping, and violence) and various social institutions (e.g., family, paid labor, education, and media).

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course