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AFST 390

Advanced Topics in Africana Studies

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

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Deborah Geis

390A: Tps:Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks

Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African American woman playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama, is a fresh, challenging, and always surprising contemporary voice in the theater. This course examines her significant collection of plays, beginning with her early dramatic experiments like Pickling and Imperceptible Mutabilities of the Third Kingdom, continuing to her "Abraham Lincoln" works (including The America Play and the Pulitzer-winning Topdog/Underdog), and culminating in her most recent theatrical projects such as 365 Plays. We'll also look at her other projects, including screenplays, fiction, and music. Since this is an "S" course, students should expect to participate actively and to give a series of oral presentations.


Emmitt Riley

390B: Tps:Politics of Race


Spring Semester information

Emmitt Riley

390A: Tps:The Politics of Inequality


Emmitt Riley

390B: Tps:The Legislative Process: Congressional Politics


Fall Semester information

Karin Wimbley

390A: Tps:(re)Imagining Black Masculinities

What is masculinity? How does this definition change when intersected by race, sexuality, and/or class? What does the term "black masculinity" mean and how is it imagined in American culture? First, working from the presupposition that there are multiple ways of inhabiting black masculinities, this 300-level course examines literary, cinematic, and visual representations of black maleness by critically reading how categories of difference and identity have been inscribed onto the black male body. Specifically, we will consider how these representations respond to and interact with mainstream America's understanding of race and gender. Second, we will investigate how African American writers, dramatists, filmmakers, and visual artists employ aesthetics as a form of radical black politics. Thirdly, we will explore how black masculinity plays out in black cultural production, state-sanctioned violence, and movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeAKnee.

Students will learn how to close read film, literature, and visual culture by using the appropriate critical vocabulary and effectively communicate observations, syntheses, and analyses in the form of critical response papers, argumentative essays, presentations, a final paper project, and class discussions. Course texts include works by W. E. B. DuBois, Stuart Hall, Kendrick Lamar, Amiri Baraka, Mychal Denzel Smith, Dave Chappelle, and Kehinde Wiley. Film and television include Berry Jenkins' Moonlight, Donald Glover's Atlanta, Ava DuVernay's 13th, and Melvin Van Peebles' Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, to name a few.

PLEASE NOTE: This course is cross-listed with English, Africana Studies, Film Studies, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.