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African and African-American Studies

Choate House, HB 6134

34 North Main Street

Hanover, NH 03755

(603) 646-3397


About the Banner:

The “Life of Malcolm X” murals were painted by Florian Jenkins in 1972. The eight panels depict the life and assassination of the human rights activist. The murals were sponsored by the Afro-American Society and are located in Cutter-Shabazz Hall.

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AAAS Courses by Term

Click here for an overview of all AAAS courses offered in 2014-15.

Fall 2014

AAAS 10 Introduction to African American Studies
A multidisciplinary investigation into the lives and cultures of people of African descent in the Americas. Topics may include: the African background, religion and the black church, popular culture, slavery and resistance, morality and literacy, the civil rights movement, black nationalism, theories of race and race relations.
Rabig (2A) CI SOC

AAAS 13 Black America since the Civil War (crosslisted with HIST 17)
Among the topics to be discussed are Black Reconstruction, segregation and disfranchisement, migration, nationalism, Blacks and the New Deal, the impact of war on Blacks, and the 1960s. Open to all classes.
White (10) W SOC

AAAS 19 Africa and the World (crosslisted with HIST 5.08)
This course focuses on links between Africa and other parts of the world, in particular Europe and Asia. Readings, lectures, and discussions will address travel and migration, economics and trade, identity formation, empire, and cultural production. Rather than viewing Africa as separate from global processes, the course will address historical phenomena across oceans, deserts, cultures, and languages to demonstrate both the diversity of experiences and the long-term global connections among disparate parts of the world.
Trumbull (3B) NW INT or SOC

AAAS 33 The African American Intellectual
A cross-disciplinary study of the contributions and problems of African American intellectuals in the U.S. We will focus primarily on 20th century figures and scholarship to understand works by such thinkers as W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, Carter Woodson, Ralph Ellison, E. Franklin Frazier, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Manning Marable, Derrick Bell, Cornel West, and Patricia Williams, as well as the social and intellectual contexts in which they found, and continue to find, themselves.
Favor (11) CI SOC

AAAS 34 Early Black American Literature (crosslisted with ENGL 30)
A study of the foundations of Black American literature and thought, from the colonial period through the era of Booker T. Washington. The course will concentrate on the way in which developing Afro-American literature met the challenges posed successively by slavery, abolition, emancipation, and the struggle to determine directions for the twentieth century. Selections will include: Wheatley, Life and Works; Brown, Clotel; Douglass, Narrative; Washington, Up from Slavery; DuBois, Souls of Black Folk; Dunbar, Sport of the Gods; Chestnut, House Behind the Cedars; Harriet Wilson, Our Nig; Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; and poems by F. W. Harper, Paul L. Dunbar and Ann Spencer.
Chaney (2A) W LIT

AAAS 35 Modern Black American Literature (crosslisted with ENGL 33)
A study of African American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present, this course will focus on emerging and diverging traditions of writing by African Americans. We shall also investigate the changing forms and contexts of 'racial representation' in the United States. Works may include those by Hurston, Hughes, Wright, Ellison, Morrison, Schuyler, West, Murray, Gates, Parks.
Favor (10) W LIT

AAAS 39 History of Jazz (crosslisted with MUS 5)
This course examines jazz from its origins to the present, with special attention to pivotal figures in the history of jazz such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman. Class work includes listening to, analyzing, and discussing a wide variety of recorded jazz performances, and watching jazz films. Class sessions include performances by visiting artists. Outside of class, students will attend live jazz performances, listen to recordings, and read about the artists who brought this music to life. The goal is to help increase understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the great American art form called jazz.
Haas (10A) W ART

AAAS 52 The History of North Africa from the Arrival of Islam to the Present (crosslisted with HIST 68)
This course offers an introduction to the history of North Africa from its conversion to Islam to its current, transnational political and social formations. Focusing on religion and conversion, Sufism and mysticism, French and Italian colonialism, trade and economic history, environment, the region's engagement with the Sahara, literature and culture, and migration, assignments will emphasize major themes in the social, political, economic, and cultural history of the region. Open to all classes.
Trumbull (10A) NW SOC

AAAS 82.05 Dave the Potter: Slavery Between Pots and Poems (crosslisted with COCO 3 and ENGL 52.03)
This course examines the work of David Drake, a South Carolinian slave who made some of the largest ceramic storage vessels of this region, signing them and etching sayings and poems onto them as well. This seminar engages with Drake's poetry-pottery through critical and historical research, interpretive writing, and our own creative adventures in ceramic handicrafts. As a culminating assignment, students will contribute chapters to a scholarly book on Drake, which the professor shall edit.
Chaney (10A) ART

AAAS 87.05 Politics of Africa (crosslisted with GOVT 42)
This course examines post-colonial politics in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular focus on the events of the last decade. The course will be structured around three main themes: (1) patterns of economic growth and decline; (2) the transition to democratic political systems; and (3) political violence and civil conflict. While the course covers broad trends across the continent, it will also draw on case studies from particular countries.
Horowitz (2) NW INT or SOC

Winter 2015


AAAS 18.03 Intro to African Religions (crosslisted with REL 14)
This course introduces the study of Indigenous African Religions, their cosmologies, histories, ritual structures, and their relationships to other aspects of African cultures. Of particular importance will be ideas of gendered spiritual power, the spread of African-inspired religions to the Americas, and the nature of orally transmitted religious traditions. Conversion to Islam and Christianity and reconversion from these religions will also be studied. Finally, we examine the role of African religions in post-colonial African societies and the impact of globalization. Open to all.
Baum (10) NW TMV

AAAS 51 African Literatures: Masterpieces of Literature from Africa (crosslisted with COLT 51.01 and ENGL 53.16)
This course is designed to provide students with a specific and global view of the diversity of literatures from the African continent. We will read texts written in English or translated from French, Portuguese, Arabic and African languages. Through novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, we will explore such topics as the colonial encounter, the conflict between tradition and modernity, the negotiation of African identities, post-independence disillusion, gender issues, apartheid and post-apartheid. In discussing this variety of literatures from a comparative context, we will assess the similarities and the differences apparent in the cultures and historical contexts from which they emerge. Readings include Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley, Calixthe Beyala's The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me, Camara Laye's The African Child, and Luandino Vieira's Luanda.
Coly (10A) NW INT/LIT

AAAS 53 Islam in Africa (crosslisted with HIST 69.01)
This course aims to introduce students to the formation of Islam in the Maghrib, Saharan Africa, and Africa south of the desert. Assignments will address continuities with and differences from the practices of Muslims in other parts of the world while emphasizing the central role the religion has played in the unfolding of history in various parts of Africa. Topics covered will include conversion, popular religion and mysticism, cultural formations, and social organization. Open to all classes.
Trumbull (10A) CI SOC

AAAS 54 Topics in African Theater/Performance (crosslisted with THEA 23)
This course introduces the student to the startling diversity of sub-Saharan African theatre performance. Through an exploration of performance traditions and plays, the course addresses the cultural and political complexities of this troubled but vibrant continent. The course is organized around a series of key issues and debates, such as the intersection of ritual and theater, the role of colonialism and imperialism, resistance to the state, gender and performance, and the theater of war. Although the performance traditions and playwrights of several countries will be touched upon in the course of the term, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda receive a strong emphasis. Open to all classes.
Edmondson (2A) NW ART

AAAS 62 Nationalism and Revolution in the Caribbean (crosslisted with LACS 54.01 and HIST 6.10)
The islands of the Caribbean have served as the site for two of the most significant revolutionary upheavals of the modern era-the Haitian Revolution and the Cuban Revolution and have produced anti-colonial luminaries such as José Marti, Frantz Fanon, Marcus Garvey, and Claudia Jones. This course will explore the origin, trajectory, and outcome of nationalist struggles in the Caribbean from the eighteenth-century to the present through primary and secondary materials, memoirs, fiction, and film.
Phillips (11) SOC or INT; WCult: NW

AAAS 86.02 Race, Class, Gender & Sexuality in Contemporary Brazilian Film (crosslisted with COLT 67.02, FILM 42.06, and LACS 30.08)
This course will explore issue of race, class, gender, and sexuality in contemporary Brazilian film. Film will be viewed as text and analyzed for articulations of national discourses on the four topic areas mentioned above, and will offer students an additional cultural context to examine critically the development of nation and national ideologies such as racial democracy. Class discussions based on critical readings and film screenings will focus on how Brazilians view themselves and the construction and function of social institutions within the contemporary nation.
Salgueiro (3B) CI INT

AAAS 86.03 Affirmative Action in Brazil: Race, Class, and Social Reformation (crosslisted with LACS 50.06)
This course uses texts and films to discuss race, class, and social reformation in Brazil resulting from recent affirmative action. Over a long historical period racial issues were not openly discussed and the country was seen as a "racial democracy." Brazil was the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery, and the most ethnically diverse in the western world, yet there is controversy over its racial quota system's impact on jobs and society.
Salgueiro (10A) CI SOC

AAAS 88.06 The 1970s: Decolonization & Diaspora
This course will examine the turbulent decade of the 1970s from a transnational perspective, focusing on the interconnections of four locations: Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, and the United States. The violent struggles that resulted in independence for Portugal's former colonies in 1975 had an impact across the African diaspora, as blacks in the United States as well as Brazil identified their own fight for equality with decolonization in Africa. Political struggle gave rise to artistic innovation as artists, musicians, and writers sought to liberate culture from different forms of colonialist oppression. Students will examine this process through literature, film, and music, beginning with the novels to come out of the independence movements in Angola and Mozambique and ending with the spread of reggae and soul across the diaspora. We will look at African American and Afro-Brazilian artistic movements during the period, intercultural exchanges between Africa, Brazil, and the United States, the impact of the women's movement, and writers' efforts to creatively re-write the history of the African diaspora in the Americas. Authors may include Luis Bernardo Honwana, Abdias do Nascimento, Ishmael Reed, Amiri Baraka, and Gilberto Gil.
Smolin (12) CI INT SOC

AAAS 88.08 The Ethnography of Violence (crosslisted with ANTH 12.03 and WGST 42.05)
Violence is widely recognized as a problem in modern society, with policies and interventions to combat violence, or to employ it, dominating local and global politics. Yet the meaning of violence is seldom analyzed. This course explores violence as both an embodied experience and a socially and culturally mediated problem. Particular attention is paid to understanding how violence relates to manifestations of power, configurations of legitimacy, structures of inequality, and perceptions of difference. Using personal, collective, and institutional perspectives, this course raises key questions concerning security, resistance, suffering, and criminality in a globalized world.
Kivland (12) SOC

AAAS 88.09 Literature of Black Migration (crosslisted with ENGL 53.03)
The class will examine modern fiction, essays and memoirs that deal with the movement of diasporic people from one homeland to another. Over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, writers have been using dislocation and immigration as a focus to consider such concepts as the national and racial identity; the roles that "place" and community play in notions of selfhood; the psychological costs and benefits of leaving a place of origin; and how one forms a sense of community out of dislocation, especially when they move from being in the racial majority to the racial minority. Books include Crossing the River (Caryl Phillips); A Stranger in the Village (Cheryl J. Fish and Farah Jasmine Griffin, eds.); The Lonely Londoners (Sam Selvon); Mr. Loverman (Bernardine Evaristo); Brother, I'm Dying (Edwidge Danticat); Lucy (Jamaica Kincaid); Jazz (Toni Morrison); and Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie).
Gerzina (11) CI LIT INT

AAAS 91.01 The Harlem Renaissance (crosslisted with ENGL 53.18)
This class will examine the literature and social contexts of a period widely known as the "Harlem Renaissance." Part of our mission in the class will be to deconstruct some of the widely held presuppositions about that era, especially by interrogating questions of class, race, gender and sexuality as social constructs. Although this class will focus mainly on fiction writing, we will also consider some poetry and non-fiction prose as well. Dist: LIT, WCult: CI. Course Group III. CA tags Genre-narrative, Genders and Sexualities, Cultural Studies and Popular Culture.
Favor (10) CI LIT

Spring 2015


AAAS 7 African Religions in West African Literature
Description to come.
Baum (2A)

AAAS 12 Race and Slavery in US History (crosslisted with HIST 16)
This course deals with the African heritage, origins of white racial attitudes toward blacks, the slave system in colonial and ante-bellum America, and free Black society in North America. Specific emphasis will be placed on the Afro-American experience and on the relationship between blacks and whites in early American society. Open to all classes.
Johnson (10) W SOC

AAAS 14 Pre-Colonial African History (crosslisted with HIST 5.1)
This course will examine the social and economic history of Africa to 1800. Several interrelated themes of social organization, the expansion of trade, rise of new social classes, the emergence and disintegration of various states and European intervention will be discussed. Through our readings, we will visit every major historical region of Africa (north, east, central, west and south) at least once during the semester to illuminate the various themes.
Sackeyfio (12) NW SOC

AAAS 15 History of Africa since 1800 (crosslisted with HIST 66)
This course explores some of the major historical processes unfolding in Africa since 1800. Our analysis will focus on social and economic history as we examine Africa's integration into the international economy during the nineteenth century, the rise of new social classes, and the creation of the colonial and post-colonial state. Our primary case studies will be drawn from east, west and southern Africa to highlight both the similarities and differences of their historical development. Open to all classes.
Sackeyfio (10) NW SOC

AAAS 23 The Black Sporting Experience (crosslisted with HIST 30)
This course will examine the historical and contemporary sporting experiences of Black Americans. Using sports history as a critical lens to understand American history, this class will primarily investigate the history of American sports through the Black experience through primary and secondary sources. Although this class will mostly engage the experiences of African American athletes, we will briefly interrogate how race and sport function in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. The class will evaluate race and sports in slavery and freedom, and then explore African Americans' desire to achieve equality on playing fields, tracks, and rings. We will follow up by examining the creation of parallel Black institutions in football, basketball, and baseball. Next, we will analyze the effects of integration on the sporting world. After providing a thorough historical background, the class will survey how race functions in the contemporary sporting landscape.
White (11) W SOC

AAAS 25 Constructing Black Womanhood (crosslisted with SOC 46 and WGST 33)
This course is a critical examination of the historical and contemporary status of black women in the United States, as presented in fiction, primary accounts, and social science literature. We will explore the nature, extent, and consequences of the multiple discriminations of race, sex, and class, as the context in which these women shaped their social roles and identities within the black community and the larger society. We will consider the themes of family, motherhood, and sexuality; educational, economic and political participation; aesthetics and religious traditions; self and social images.
King (3A)

AAAS 40 Gender Identities & Politics in Africa (crosslisted with WGST 34.02)
This interdisciplinary course explores the constructions of gender identities in different African socio-cultural contexts. The emphasis is on contemporary Africa, although we will discuss some of the historical framework of these identities. We will read historical accounts of gender in some pre-colonial African societies, investigate the impact of colonialism, and examine gender in some anti-colonial movements. We will also analyze gender in urban and rural contexts, and address such questions as homosexuality and gay rights.
Coly (2A) CI INT

AAAS 55.01 African Cinema (crosslisted with FS 42.09)
This course focuses on the cinemas of Francophone Africa. We will examine early Western filmic representations of Africans as savages devoid of culture and history. We will then examine how African filmmakers have challenged those images by creating new depictions of their societies, offering Africa through African eyes. We will explore the social, historical, and political contexts of these films and explore their aesthetic and narrative characteristics. We will discuss issues and theories related to the definition of the so-called third world cinema, postcolonial cinema, and postmodern cinema.
Coly (10A) NW ART

AAAS 60 Slavery and Emancipation in Latin America and the Caribbean (crosslisted with HIST 86 and LACS 58)
For over 300 years, Africans were transported to Latin America and the Caribbean to work as enslaved laborers. This course will examine the history of African slavery in the region from the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade to the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888. For each class session, students will review primary source documents such as autobiographies, slave codes, plantation journals, visual images, and anti-slavery tracts as well as historical scholarship.
Phillips (12) SOC or INT; WCult: NW

AAAS 83.6 Caribbean Lyric and Literature (crosslisted with ENGL 53.23 and LACS 66)
This course will look at several issues that reappear throughout the work of a variety of Caribbean writers from former British colonies. These concerns include (but are not limited to) notions of exile, the importance of language and music, the articulation of identity in varying post-colonial states, and representations of gender, race and ethnicity. The class will also analyze the socio-political events in particular nations and the ways in which these events influence writing in the archipelago. We will also examine the ways in which a strong tradition of music as protest influences the production of particular poetic forms in Trinidad and Jamaica. The class will move from early twentieth century writers like Claude McKay to the important contributions of later writers such as Kamau Brathwaite, Jamaica Kincaid, George Lamming, V.S. Naipaul, Sam Selvon, Olive Senior and Derek Walcott. We will examine the more recent innovations in form, as musical elements are introduced by writers such as Mikey Smith and Kwame Dawes. Each week's readings will be supplemented with seminal critical writings including excerpts from the text The Empire Writes Back.
Vasquez (10A) CI LIT

AAAS 85 South African Lit in English (crosslisted with ENGL 55.13)
This course will examine works by South African men and women of various ethnicities who have chosen to write in English since the publication of Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm in 1883. This richly diverse literature will be tracked through the cultural and political history of South Africa with primary emphasis on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries before and after the fall of Apartheid. Confrontation between black militancy and white oppression characterizes much writing and social interaction in South Africa before the fall of Apartheid, but complex forms of multi-ethnic coexistence and interchange have also been evident since the first white settlement of the country in 1652. Recent work by J.M. Coetzee and Zakes Mda among others explores the difficult, unmapped terrain of post-Apartheid South Africa. Works by the following writers may be included in the course: Olive Schreiner, Solomon Plaatje, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Zoe Wicomb, Alan Paton, J.M Coetzee, Njabulo Ndebele, Athol Fugard, Nelson Mandela. Dist: LIT; WCult: CI. CA tags National Traditions and Countertraditions, Multicultural and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies.
Crewe (11) CI LIT

Ongoing Offerings

AAAS 89: Independent Study in African and African American Studies
Available to students who wish to independently explore aspects of African and African American Studies which are not included in courses currently offered at Dartmouth. Open to qualified students with permission of the course instructor and the Chair. (Obtain Proposal Form in the program office.) No student may take more than two such courses without the approval of the Chair. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

AAAS 97: Senior Independent Research in African and African American Studies
For senior African and African American Studies majors toward the culminating experience, with permission of selected instructor and the Chair. (Obtain Proposal Form in the program office.)

AAAS 98-99: Honors Thesis in African and African American Studies, two terms of senior year with selected AAAS faculty member.
The honors student will pursue the project under guidance of selected faculty member and with permission of the Chair. See "A Guide to Honors in African and African American Studies."


Last Updated: 12/12/14