Course Descriptions

African American Studies Courses

AFAM 110: Intro to African American Studies

This course provides an overview of African American history and culture. Topics include major events, persons, and issues spanning the period from the African heritage to contemporary times. Students survey the evolution of African American expressive culture in music, literature, film, art, and dance. The course includes lectures, discussions, and video presentations. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)

AFAM 120: BK's Finest: JAY-Z and Philosophy

(Brooklyn's Finest: JAY-Z and Philosophy.) From growing up in the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to selling out concerts at Madison Square Garden, JAY-Z has become a global hip-hop icon. Besides being the first rap artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and holding the record for the most number one albums by a solo artist, JAY-Z's body of work stands as a monumental contribution to American culture. In this course, we explore the poetics and philosophy of JAY-Z's music. As we cultivate an artistic appreciation for JAY-Z's rap skills such as storytelling, wordplay, and delivery, we also treat his music as an opportunity to critically engage topics such as racism, sexism, and economic inequality. Finally, we watch several of JAY-Z's music videos as well as documentaries focused on his life and work. No prerequisites.
cross listed: PHIL 120

AFAM 200: Black Politics and Protest

This course traces moments in the history of Black America's quest for freedom and survival. This course analyzes how Black political movements have operated in relation to, and in response to, segregation, (un)employment, housing, policing and incarceration, voting rights, health, education, and law. Consequently, this course examines how state repression has responded to, neutralized, and liquidated Black movements and the people that led them. While the focus is primarily on Black American politics and struggle, this course also showcases how Black political engagement has always been globally linked with struggles for liberation across Africa and the Caribbean, Latin and South America, Europe, and Asia. From slavery and abolition, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow and Civil Rights, neoliberalism and war, to the election of Barack Obama in 2008, we examine the cultural, social, and political depth that Black people have carved in a history of American political discourse. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: POLS 282

AFAM 202: African American History 1619-1865

This course surveys the history of African Americans in the New World, from the first colonial encounter through the sociopolitical changes of the burgeoning United States that led to the Civil War (1861-1865). The history of African Americans in the United States is often defined by the chattel slavery experience. However, the early years of American history that made people of African descent American are much more complex. By centering the actions and voices of the heterogeneous African American community, this course examines topics including the Middle Passage, domestic slavery expansion, free and maroon black communities, various resistance strategies, interracial coalitions, and the role of enslaved people in bringing about their own emancipation. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: HIST 202

AFAM 203: African American History 1865-2016

This course examines the journey of African Americans from the end of the Civil War through Reconstruction, the New Nadir, the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, the War on Drugs and new black capitalism, and the rise of hip hop, ending with the Obama years. In 1865, the centuries-old question of where African Americans would fit into the fabric of United States society was finally answered. As newly freed people and full citizens, African Americans learned that the process of citizenship would not be seamless or easy, and that the fight was just beginning. Blacks redefined their status over and over again during this 150-year period, and this course will examine why and how these shifts occurred. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: HIST 203

AFAM 205: Psychology of Prejudice

In this course we will explore psychological approaches to understanding stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination--the psychology of prejudice, for short. We will examine research and theory on topics such as historical changes in the nature of intergroup attitudes; the prevalence of prejudice in the U.S. today; the impact of stereotyping and discrimination on members of stigmatized groups; likely causes of prejudice; the psychological processes underlying different forms of prejudice (e.g., based on race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, or appearance); and methods of combating prejudice, encouraging acceptance of diversity, and improving intergroup relations. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PSYC 205, AMER 201

AFAM 206: Letters to a Young Blk Philosopher

(Letters to a Young Black Philosopher.) This course examines the work of a single Black philosopher or a philosopher whose work is centered on the Black experience. We treat their entire body of work as a "love letter" to the next generation of Black philosophers and anyone who wishes to learn about the Black experience. We will study philosophers such as Charles Mills, Cornel West, Anita Allen, W. E. B. Du Bois, Bernard Boxill, Martin Luther King Jr., Joy James, Lewis Gordon, and Lucius Outlaw. Students explore the arc of a Black philosopher's philosophical development from their first efforts to their last or most recent. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PHIL 206

AFAM 208: Tpcs: Africana Women's Relg Exprnce

(Spring 2019 Topic: Africana Women's Religious Experience.) New Description: This course explores the multidimensional religious experiences of Africana women, specifically Black women throughout the Americas, Africa, and the Caribbean, as they attempt to define and realize a sacred self across diverse periods and contexts. We give attention to the voices of Africana women in history and literature, film, performance, sacred speech and music to examine the ways religion has empowered and disempowered Black women in their individual and collective lives. Prerequisite: One course in either GSWS or AFAM. .
cross listed: RELG 200, GSWS 208

AFAM 214: James Baldwin

In his powerful and moving novels and essays, James Baldwin confronted the lies America told itself about race, exposing the roots of social and political and cultural systems that superficially boasted of improving race relations but that instead continued to marginalize Black and brown bodies. This course offers a close reading of Baldwin's fiction and his essays, probing the ways that he provides a critique of the politics of race, sexuality, and nation in his own time and in ours. The course also includes readings and discussions of critical analyses of Baldwin's writings. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: ENGL 214

AFAM 215: Afrofuturism

What is a black future? The term "Afrofuturism" has been used to describe the recent cultural creations of black writers and artists who vividly envision futures of and for people of African descent. Afrofuturism, which aesthetic gained momentum in the work of science fiction authors Octavia Butler and Samuel R. Delany, as well as in the jazz and poetry of musician SunRa, and which can be found thriving in works like Black Panther, is the subject of inquiry for this course. This survey is an introduction to the literary works produced within the movement from its modern manifestations to its present-day expansions. In his landmark essay on the topic, Mark Dery asks, "Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?" The wealth of literary and artistic production of works in the aesthetic provides a diverse and emphatic "yes." This course seeks to position Afrofuturism as an alternative means of (re)interpretation, back-talk, and as an avenue for imagining a future in light of (and in spite of) the experiences of the past and present. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: ENGL 215

AFAM 216: African American Literature I

This course is an introduction to the writings of African-Americans before the Civil War. These diverse documents tell tales of faith, perseverance, rebellion, suffering, freedom, independence, cunning, and patriotism that are an integral part of the American literary canon. We read a collection of classics together, compare and contrast the voices represented, and consider the diversity of responses to finding oneself in chains in one of the most brutal forms of chattel slavery the world has ever known. Voices studied include Douglass, Wheatley, Jacobs, Brown, Wilson, Walker, Turner, and Thurman. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: ENGL 216, AMER 216

AFAM 217: African American Literature II

What does it mean to be a Problem? This course is a sister course to African-American Literature I, and will cover African-American literature written after the American Civil War. In this part of the one-year survey, we examine narrative attempts by African-American authors to define blackness and the black experience on their own terms in the period before, during, and after the Harlem Renaissance. We read a collection of classics together, compare and contrast the voices represented, and consider the development of African American literary self-representation in the century following Emancipation. Voices studied include Wells, Washington, Hughes, Johnson, Baldwin, and Morrison. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: ENGL 217, AMER 217

AFAM 219: Malcolm & Martin

(Malcolm & Martin: The Literature of Peace & Resistance.) Malcolm X (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement so often put into conversation with each other, have left us a legacy for how we think about social struggle—whether it be through the message of non-violence and Christian love that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, or through the message of fearless self-defense and resistance "by any means necessary" for which Malcolm X came to be known. Both leaders were prolific authors whose works, singular in style and rich in rhetoric, comprise a seminal part of the American literary canon, and have been regularly featured by authors of creative works in fiction, drama, poetry, etc. since their publication. This course is an opportunity to delve deeply into the words of both men, long considered the authors of two disparate ways of viewing and engaging in civic struggle in America. We look at the creative activist writings of each-speeches, letters, interviews, autobiographical material—and complicate what at first seems a simple battle between "violent" and "non-violent" approaches to liberation. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: ENGL 219, RELG 219

AFAM 221: Cultures of Modern Africa

(Offered Less Frequently) Introduction to contemporary rural and urban society in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on materials from all major regions of the subcontinent. Particular emphasis will be on problems of rural development, rural-urban migration, and structural changes of economic, political, and social formations in the various new nations. (This course satisfies Social Science and Global Perspective.)
cross listed: SOAN 221, IREL 271

AFAM 225: Islam in America

Muslims have lived in America since at least the early 19th century, and the U.S. is currently home to approximately 3.45 million Muslims. This course explores the origins and history of Muslims living in the US today. Studying the history of African American, immigrant, and convert communities, we address issues of identity, religious practice, integration, and assimilation. The course also examines such contemporary topics as the diversity within religious interpretations and views of Muslim communities, including perceptions of extremism and Islamophobia. Participants look at trends in Muslim-American culture and lifestyle, politics, and gender relations as seen in contemporary social media. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: RELG 225, AMER 212, ISLM 225

AFAM 227: History of Jazz

Principal styles of representative jazz musicians; the roots (including blues and ragtime); jazz in New Orleans and Chicago; and big band, swing, bop, and fusion. No prerequisite. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: MUSC 227, AMER 227

AFAM 228: History of Hip Hop

This course examines the history of hip hop, dating back to the first hip hop party held on August 11, 1973 in the Bronx, New York to its present standing as a critical component of popular culture around the world. As the descendent of African American musical genres (like blues, jazz, soul, and funk), hip hop music and culture embodies the black experience and was born out of the black struggle of the 1960s and 1970s. Topics covered in this course include West Coast/gangsta rap, the Chicago sound, Cash Money and No Limit Records, the rise of Atlanta and the dirty South, international rap, female rappers, and more. How did this regional form of black expression become the international language of cool and controversy it is today? No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)

AFAM 230: Africa and the World

This course draws on histories, philosophies, politics, and cultures that constitute how Africa (as both a geopolitical location as well as a contested terrain of both imagination and conquest) has been at the center of the Black radical imagination. Drawing on global narratives of what Africa has meant throughout history to various intellectual, cultural, political, and artistic producers, this course investigates how generations of African descendants, particularly in the Americas, have imagined, created, and remembered Africa as a homeland to which, in various ways, they hope to return. Amidst imperialism and war, colonialism and genocide, (im)migration and disposal, this course asks: how have Black people in the West imagined these histories and realities of mass violence as central to how Africa is thought of in the present? No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)

AFAM 235: Racism and Ethnic Relations

This course surveys of the development of the theories of race and ethnic relations at the individual, group, and cultural levels. Students will examine the impact these theories have had on social policy. The course focuses on the experience of Asians, Latinos and African Americans with special attention given to institutional expressions of oppression in American Society. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: SOAN 235, AMER 235

AFAM 237: African American Religions

This course is an exploration of the rich diversity of African American religions from the colonial period to the present. Attention will be given to key figures, institutional expressions as well as significant movements in North America, the Caribbean and broader Black Atlantic. Major themes include African traditions in American religions, slavery and religion, redemptive suffering, sacred music, social protest, Black Nationalism, African American women and religion, religion in hip hop and secularity in black religious literature. Students will learn about the ways these themes have often served both as unique contributions to and critiques of America? political establishment and social landscape. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: RELG 237, AMER 230

AFAM 238: Hip-Hop Music Producers

(Hip-Hop Music Production: American Music in Black, White, and Gray.) In this course we examine the role of the hip-hop producer. We learn the origins of hip-hop deejaying and music production and follow its development into sampling, digital collage, and producer-as-hip-hop-auteur. By digging into the sources of various samples, we learn about the history of American popular music production. In addition, we put the music created by hip-hop producers into historic context. There is no such thing as music production separate from identity. Because hip-hop is the dominant musical form of our time, and because it's widely viewed as a form of black music, we study it to flesh out American musical identity. In-class time consists of listening, lectures, discussions, quizzes, and midterms and final exams. Homework consists of readings and listenings. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: MUSC 237

AFAM 240: Street Memoirs

Often overlooked, and yet an important part of the African American literary tradition, the African American "street" memoir is the subject of this course. We will read memoirs written by Black American gangsters, hustlers, pimps, and other "street" characters. These rigid accounts of Black urban life testify to the socio-historical and artistic realities that reveal broader connections to racism and poverty, capitalism and accumulation, bondage and movement, sexism and violence, and, ultimately, punishment and death. This course emphasizes the cultural and intellectual value of reading Black street memoirs from some of the community's most undercast and maligned figures, and it provides an opportunity for critical engagement with the nuances, precarities, and possibilities of the making and shaping of Black life in 20th-century North America. Authors under investigation include Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, and others. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)

AFAM 241: African American Drama and Theater

This course surveys the work African American theater artists from the nineteenth century to the present day. Playwrights surveyed may include Richardson, Hughes, Hansberry, Childress, Bullins, Baraka, Fuller, Wilson, Cleage, Shange, and Parks. Readings are supplemented by field trips to Chicago theaters that feature African American plays. .
cross listed: THTR 241, ENGL 241

AFAM 250: Dialogue: Race, Ethnicity, Religion

In a culturally and socially diverse society, exploring issues of difference, conflict, and community is needed to facilitate understanding and improve relations between social/cultural groups. In this course, students will engage in meaningful discussion of controversial, challenging, and divisive issues in society related to race, ethnicity, and religion. Students will be challenged to increase personal awareness of their own cultural experience, expand knowledge of the historic and social realities of other cultural groups, and take action as agents of positive social change in their communities. This course requires a high level of participation from all students. Note: This course earns .5 credits. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: ETHC 250, RELG 221

AFAM 255: Philosophy of Race and Racism

This course examines philosophical approaches to race and racism. We pay special attention to the normative, metaphysical, and conceptual problems and solutions that inform philosophical race theory. Some of the key questions we answer include the following: Is race a natural kind, a social kind, or something else entirely? What does philosophy have to contribute to the study of race and racism? What is the relationship between race and racism? Ultimately, the aim of this course is to provide students with a philosophical toolkit that will allow them to engage in civil and informed critical discussions about the nature and consequences of race talk and the practice of racism. No prerequisites. (Not recommended for first-year students.) (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PHIL 255

AFAM 258: Fight the Power

(Fight the Power: Spike Lee's Black Aesthetics.) As one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Spike Lee is both loathed and loved. His films challenge the stereotypes and paternalistic assumptions about African Americans that have become sacrosanct in America's popular imagination. We will explore how the aesthetic representation of race, class, and gender in Spike Lee's filmography have helped create a new genre of film called African American noir. In so doing, we will watch several of Spike Lee's films, documentary projects, and television ads. Ultimately, our goal will be to appreciate Lee's cinematic technique, examine his critique of white supremacy, and consider the cultural and historical events that have shaped his artistic vision. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PHIL 258, CINE 258

AFAM 270: Race and Criminal Justice

This course will examine the systemic racial injustices inherent in American criminal jurisprudence from police interaction to trial and sentencing, incarceration, and supervised release. Students will study how racial injustice continues to pervade the American criminal justice system despite the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. How do so many players, from police officers to judges and juries, fail to protect against racial injustice? Why do courts, when confronted with allegations or proof of racially motivated police misconduct, overwhelmingly cite "harmless error" doctrine? To attempt to answer these complicated questions, students will learn legal criminal procedure, study 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendment case law, and have an opportunity to listen to and speak with a variety of professionals in the criminal justice field. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: POLS 270, AMER 274

AFAM 271: African Philosophy

This course is an introduction to African philosophies, reflecting the continent's vast diversity in languages, religions, and cultures. Such diversity is mirrored in Africa's philosophical landscape. We explore both precolonial and postcolonial philosophical traditions, examining indigenous communities such as the Yoruba, Akan, and Egyptian, alongside contemporary approaches such as African analytic philosophy, hermeneutics, and critical theory. Topics covered in this course include the role of communalism in African philosophical discourse, methodological debates within African philosophy, the significance of African oral philosophies, and the impact of European colonialism on the development of African philosophy. Major philosophers we may study include Kwasi Wiredu, Frantz Fanon, D. A. Masolo, Tsenay Serequeberhan, and Paulin J. Hountondji. (This course satisfies Global Perspective and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: PHIL 271

AFAM 272: African American Philosophy

This course is an introduction to African American contributions to traditional areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, and aesthetics. Simultaneously, it is serves as an introduction to the many ways that the lived experiences of African Americans, from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Black Lives Matter Movement, have created new opportunities to challenge traditional philosophical narratives. We pay special attention to the unique ways in which African American philosophical concepts, theories, problems, and methods constitute both a "philosophy born of struggle," as Leonard Harris argues, and a new tradition within Western philosophy. Major philosophers we may study include Cornel West, Angela Davis, Tommy Curry, Joy James, and Alain Locke. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PHIL 272

AFAM 273: Cultural Ecology of Africa

In this course, we will study the relationships between African peoples and their environments. We will consider the process of globalization and its relationship to the changing landscape of Africa in a historical context. By combining environmental studies and anthropology, we will bring a unique perspective to our study of the historical interaction of African cultures and environments, from pre-colonial times through the colonial period to the current post-colonial period. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Social Science and Global Perspective.)
cross listed: SOAN 273, ES 273, IREL 273

AFAM 275: Black Her-story

This courses looks at the history of Black people and culture in the United States with a special focus on those who identify as Black women. From Harriet Tubman to Alicia Garza, Bessie Smith to Beyonce, this course examines how the intersectional identifies of Black women have enriched racial freedom struggles and the fight for women's rights, among other issues. We will use "A Black Women's History of the United States," the 2020 book by award-winning Black women historians, Daina Raimey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross, as the main textbook, and read other historical texts by Black women as well. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Global Perspective.)
cross listed: HIST 275

AFAM 283: Race, Class, Gender, and the Media

Race, class, and gender occupy important places in the contemporary study of the media. This course explores the connections between race, class, and gender through the exploration of the intersections between these important components of social structure and ideology. The motivating goal in this course is to show students how social structure and meaning become intertwined elements in how we experience race, class, and gender. An important element in this course will be the emphasis on the identities and positions of relatively less empowered groups in contemporary society. This will be done through a focused consideration of structural and ideological elements of contemporary culture as found in: the media industry, journalism, social constructions of reality, music, film, television, radio, and the internet. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: COMM 283

AFAM 284: Music of Protest

Does a song have the power to alter history? Can music change the path of the politics of a nation? Throughout the history of the United States, music has played an important role in social, political, and cultural change. In this course, we focus on important moments of musical protest in Popular music in the United States, from the Civil War to the present day. We examine a range of issues, with a strong focus on Civil War-era abolition songs, music of the Civil Rights era, anti-War songs from the Vietnam and Iraq conflicts, and contemporary music that addresses police brutality and systemic racism. Additional topics include labor songs, and songs that protest environmental destruction. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: MUSC 284, AMER 284

AFAM 300: Police, Prisons, Power

This course offers a critical examination of the U.S. carceral state. "Carcerality" describes the web of people, ideas, resources, and institutions that make policing, surveillance, and incarceration constitutive features of social life in 20th century America(s). This course offers carcerality as a framework that organizes sites and accruals of human misery and resistance across time and across multiple spatial scales. Rather than treating the "police," "law and order," and "criminal justice" as apolitical and ahistorical institutions, this course addresses them within the concrete social contexts of their formation. This course offers a historical, analytical, and theoretical assessment of the formation of the U.S. state at the political, geographic, and institutional sites of criminalization, policing, and incarceration. No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: POLS 304

AFAM 305: Women and Gender in Hip Hop

This course examines the history and role of women and gender in Hip Hop, from the 1970s to 2010. The increasingly popular musical genre and cultural phenomenon is often critiqued for being misogynist and homophobic. This class examines where this critique stems from and subverts this narrative to show the importance of women and gender to hip hop music and culture. Topics covered in this course include female rap pioneers, how discussions of masculinity and femininity have shaped rap lyrics, and the growing gender fluidity in hip hop. Prerequisites: AFAM 228 (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: GSWS 306, MUSC 306

AFAM 310: Equity & Social Justice in Educ

(Equity and Social Justice in Education) This course examines 'equity' and 'social justice' both as concepts and in the context of three aspects of education: the historical founding of U.S. schools on oppressive ideals; the primary roles of race/ethnicity, space, and socioeconomic status, but also religion, gender, sexual orientation, language, and (dis)ability in individual and group experiences of schooling; and strategies for socially just education. The course uses documentary history, scholarly sources, and personal narratives to explore tensions between the ideals of freedom and equality and the reality of segregation and marginalization in U.S. education. Course content focuses on U.S. public education as a microcosm of equity and social justice issues nationally and internationally. Not open to first-year students. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: EDUC 310, ETHC 340

AFAM 312: Black Metropolis

(Black Metropolis: A Study of Black Life in Chicago). This course is a study of race and urban life in Chicago. From the founding of Chicago by a black man to the participation of blacks in the rebuilding of the city following the Great Chicago fire, and into an exploration of Bronzeville, 'a city within a city,' this course will highlight blacks and their contributions to this great city. Study of landmark texts, documentaries, novels, and photography, along with at least one field trip to the Chicago area, will reveal the impact of the Great Migration on the city; contributions of talented musicians, writers, and photographers involved in the Chicago Renaissance; and the origins of the famous black Chicago newspaper, the Chicago Defender, including its regular column by Langston Hughes.
cross listed: ENGL 312, AMER 312

AFAM 317: History of Black Television

This course connects late 20th-century African American history to the development of black television, focusing on themes of activism, family, politics, economics, standards of beauty, and culture. Critics and audiences have noted that we are in a golden era of black television, with an upsurge of shows over the last few years that display the multiplicity of black life in the United States. And yet, this is not the first time this has happened. Since the 1950s, African Americans have been depicted on the small screen in both regressive and progressive ways. How have these images changed over time? How do these depictions impact the way people see African Americans and how African Americans see themselves? No prerequisites. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: HIST 317

AFAM 319: Protest and Police in U.S. History

This course examines historical instances of policing, inequality, and protest, including mobs in the American Revolution, abolitionist direct actions, the terror of the Klu Klux Klan, sit-ins against Jim Crow, protest against military action, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Throughout U.S. history, Americans have been committed both to protest and disruption in order to advance their causes, and to stability, security, and the maintenance of order. Despite widespread fears about disorder and crime today, Americans in the past were far more violent. In this course, we will trace how ordinary people came together to challenge authority, and how those with power built state structures that could legitimately use violence. We will see how policing was shaped by fears of newly- arrived immigrants, the demands of a slave economy, and entrenched racism. We will study the intersecting histories of race, inequality, and state power across the American past. Students will develop a major research project on a particular historical instance of policing, inequality, and protest. Prerequisite: HIST 200 or HIST 201 or permission of instructor. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Writing Intensive.)
cross listed: HIST 319, AMER 319

AFAM 323: Black Environmental Culture

Until the environmental justice movement rose to prominence over the past few decades and invited a more critical perspective on the connection between race and the environment, popular understanding of the American environmental (and environmentalist) tradition had effectively been whitewashed. But why? This course works to find answers to that question while unearthing the deeper roots of Black environmental culture in conversation with key moments in Black history in the United States--from slavery to sharecropping, from migration and urbanization to environmental justice. Interdisciplinary approaches examine sources as diverse as slave narratives, fiction, poetry, songs, photographs, maps, and ethnographies. Black intellectuals, writers, visual and musical artists, and everyday citizens not always associated with environmental thought are considered, from W.E.B. Du Bois and Zora Neale Hurston to the Black Panthers and the victims of Flint, Michigan's, water crisis.
cross listed: ES 323

AFAM 327: New, Black, and Lit: 21st Century

(New, Black, and Lit: 21st Century Black Authors.) African American authors have responded in new and compelling ways to the dynamism of racial promise and constriction in the 21st century. These literary voices, often newly proliferate in the national cultural consciousness, are the subject of this course, which explores the works of Black authors writing after 2000 and will pay particular attention to works written in the post-Obama era. Texts considered include works by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jesmyn Ward, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Edwidge Danticat, Yaa Gyasi, Zadie Smith, Angie Thomas, Roxane Gay, and Jacqueline Woodson. (This course satisfies Humanities and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: ENGL 327

AFAM 330: History and Philosophy of Slavery

An examination of American slavery and its aftermath from the slave ship to the Age of Neo-slavery. We will read slave narratives, historical accounts of slavery, and philosophical interpretations of slavery from the black radical tradition and contemporary philosophy. All three approaches will provide us with multiple angles from which to consider the institution of slavery and America’s supposed commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On the whole, our aim will be to wrestle with the tortured logic that is the tragic contradiction of American slavery and American freedom. Prerequisites: AFAM 110, one philosophy course, or permission of the instructor. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: PHIL 330

AFAM 335: Environmental Justice

Environmental justice movements contest environmental inequalities (disproportionate exposure to environmental ills like pollution and inadequate access to environmental goods like nature-based recreation) that manifest themselves along lines of race, ethnicity, class, and gender. This course employs a variety of disciplinary perspectives—including history, literature, sociology, political science, and philosophy—to examine the origins and evolution of these social movements worldwide, but especially emphasizes the environmental battles waged by African American, Latinx, and Native American communities in the United States. From climate change's rising seas that threaten developing nations to the toxic waste dumps that threaten the health of communities of color, case studies are used to explore how local struggles help shape a global consciousness about environmental injustices. Chicago-area environmental justice movements are given special attention and are incorporated into field studies. Prerequisites: ES 110 or permission of instructor. (This course satisfies Social Science and Domestic Pluralism.)
cross listed: ES 335

AFAM 361: Civil Rights Movement

This course focuses on the origins, development, and accomplishments of the civil rights movement in post-World War II America. Particular emphasis will be given to the differences between the struggle for black equality in the south and its northern counterpart. Taught in a seminar format, the class will be both reading- and writing-intensive. Course readings and paper assignments are designed to help students develop a comparative analytical framework and to illuminate the following lines of inquiry: What caused and what sustained the civil rights movement? What changes took place within the movement over time, particularly at the level of leadership? What underlay the radicalization of the movement and what were the consequences? To what extent did the civil rights movement succeed and how do we measure that success today? Finally, how did the black civil rights movement inspire other groups and minorities in American society to organize? Prerequisite: History 200 or History 201. (This course satisfies Domestic Pluralism and Speaking Intensive.)
cross listed: HIST 306, AMER 361

AFAM 390: Theory and Methods

(Theory and Methods in African American Studies.) This class takes the time to confront the following question: what does it mean to be an interdisciplinary scholar? More so, what does it mean to think of African-American Studies as an interdisciplinary field? This course will engage students in thinking through African-American Studies as both an academic interdisciplinary field as well as a political praxis, bridging academic and broader societal efforts that collectivize an intellectual understanding of the various Black experiences that in the Americas. Students will learn how the field emerged along with how people who are situated within the field conduct research. How is African-American Studies done and what is its significance in the academy, the community, and other disciplines around the globe? Prerequsite: AFAM 110, AFAM 200, AFAM 202, AFAM 203, AFAM 216, or AFAM 217. (This course satisfies Humanities and Writing Intensive.)

AFAM 400: Crtical Race Theory

This senior seminar engages in an examination of the field of critical race theory. Critical race theory marks a post-Civil Rights inquiry that challenges the interrelatedness of race and law, particularly through a study of how the U.S. law creates, maintains, and protects multiple forms of power and possession associated with whiteness. Spearheaded by legal scholars of color, critical race theory encompasses a critical intervention on the pervasive realities of racial and gendered violence as it operates in a variety of historical and social contexts. This course situates an interdisciplinary understanding of how legal praxis emerges from larger structures of power such as racial chattel slavery, colonialism and conquest, genocide, apartheid, capitalism, and imperialism. Key readings for this course include works written by W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Derrick Bell, Cheryl Harris, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and more. Prerequisite: AFAM 110 or permission of the instructor. (This course satisfies Senior Studies and Domestic Pluralism.)