The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Course Listing

Fall 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Course Descriptions

African American and African Studies Program

 

AAS 1010 Introduction to African American and African Studies

Robert Vinson, Tu Th 12:30-1:45pm

This introductory course surveys the histories of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean from approximately the Middle Ages to the 1880s. Emphases include the Atlantic slave trade and its complex relationship to Africa; the economic systems, cultures, and communities of Africans and African-Americans in the New World, in slavery and in freedom; the rise of anti-slavery movements; and the socio-economic systems that replaced slavery in the late 19th century.

[Fulfills: required for the major]

 

AAS 2224-001 Black Femininities & Masculinities in the US Media

Lisa Shutt, Tu 2-4:30pm

This course will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender. We will explore how different media, including feature films, popular television, documentaries, popular fiction, television, and print news media create categories of race and gender in different ways for (different) Americans – each medium encapsulating its own markers of legitimacy and expertise – each negotiating its own ideas of authorship and audience. We will concentrate on the particular ways various media produce, display, and disseminate information; in particular, we will be analyzing cultural texts, the cultural environment in which they have been produced, and the audience reception of those texts. Finally, we will ask what responsibilities those who create and circulate information have – and whether or not the consuming/viewing public shares in any sort of responsibility. This class will enable students to cultivate theoretical tools and critical perspectives to analyze and question the influence of the popular media that saturate our lives.

[Fulfills: Humanities; SSH]

AAS 2224-002  Black Femininities & Masculinities in the US Media

Lisa Shutt   We 2-4:30pm

This course will address the role the media has played in creating images and understandings of “Blackness” in the United States, particularly where it converges with popular ideologies about gender. We will explore how different media, including feature films, popular television, documentaries, popular fiction, television, and print news media create categories of race and gender in different ways for (different) Americans – each medium encapsulating its own markers of legitimacy and expertise – each negotiating its own ideas of authorship and audience. We will concentrate on the particular ways various media produce, display, and disseminate information; in particular, we will be analyzing cultural texts, the cultural environment in which they have been produced, and the audience reception of those texts. Finally, we will ask what responsibilities those who create and circulate information have – and whether or not the consuming/viewing public shares in any sort of responsibility. This class will enable students to cultivate theoretical tools and critical perspectives to analyze and question the influence of the popular media that saturate our lives.

[Fulfills: Humanities; SSH]

AAS 2559-001 The Souls of Black Folk

Sabrina Pendergrass, Tu Th 11-12:15pm

In this course, we will examine the social organization of African American communities. The intellectual context for the issues we will study come from the foundational work of sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, and others. We will discuss African Americans’ social status and experiences at the intersections of class, color, gender, and sexuality. We also will study institutions within the community, and we will consider social issues that African Americans face today and will face in the future.

[Fulfills: SSH]

AAS 3500-001 Intro to Black Performance Studies

Ashon Crawley, W 3:30-6:00pm

"Don't be performative!" A word often said to mean fake, phony, inauthentic, untrue. In this course we will discuss the history of the concept of "performative". We will also discuss the role of performance to Black popular, intellectual and spiritual culture. We will engage fiction, poetry, music, theater, activism and how these practices are various attempts to practice blackness as a living, breathing existence. 

[Fulfills: Humanities]

AAS 3500-002 Monsters in Film and Literature: Monstrous Intimacies in the American Imagination

Janée Moses, TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

How has mainstream, white audiences’ “fictitious” fear of angry black masses impacted the genres of horror film, fantasy, and science fiction? This seminar, which begins with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, explores the making of racialized and gendered monsters in the aftermath of enslavement in the American cultural imagination through literature and film of the 19th and 20th centuries. Using the intervention of Christina Sharpe’s Monstrous Intimacies (2010) concerning the contemporary repetition of familiar and familial violence that shaped black and white life during colonial slavery, as well as critical race theory, we will explore difference and otherness on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, and power to consider the potential for the monster and the non-monster to be identified through formulations that resemble black and white subjects. The course ends with the critically acclaimed film, Get Out, and the push for further conversations about the ways in which monstrosity and otherness continue to be recognizably black. Throughout the semester, students will learn to place literature and film into their corresponding historical contexts and complicate concepts of racial and national identities with attention to America’s histories of monstrous intimacies.

[Fulfills: Humanities; Race &Pol]

AAS 3500-003 Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice

Kimberly Fields, Tu 6:30-9pm

This course uses an interdisciplinary social-science perspective to track the global trajectory of environmental justice movements and analyze them in relation to other global and regional processes. We will consider cases that do not explicitly invoke environmental justice as such, but where experiences of injustice are inseparable from environmental problems. Some key topics to be considered include: theories of racism and justice, the conceptual history and definitions of environmental racism, the historical development and goals of the environmental justice movement, the social, political, economic and environmental advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption, stakeholder responses to environmental inequities, the impact of environmental justice policies on environmental inequities as well as their impact on subsequent political behavior, pollution in developing nations and, indigenous peoples. Additionally, the possible causes for patterns of injustice will be examined. Recent proposals to address the problem of environmental racism and injustice will be discussed and analyzed.

[Fulfills: ]

AAS 3500-006 Race, Class, Politics & the Environment

Kimberly Fields, Tu 3:30-6pm

This course explores the relationships between 'race', socio-economic status, interest group politics and environmental policy. We will address and contend with debates surrounding the claims that racialized and poor communities disproportionately shoulder society's negative environmental burdens. Particular regard will be paid to the political and decision-making processes through which environmental issues are channeled, evaluated and addressed. Through a variety of analytical and contextual lenses, we will examine fundamental environmental problems faced by individuals and communities of color and the policies and initiatives designed to address them. Attention will also be given to the political and economic responses of community, business, and political stakeholders towards perceived environmental inequities. Additionally, stakeholder responses to existing environmental justice policies and initiatives will also be considered. Furthermore, we will discuss arguments concerning political elites' and interest groups' perceived failures to provide a politically viable vision and remedial strategy to address environmental injustice. Through selected case studies, we will examine a number of topics and questions. Some key topics to be considered include: theories of racism and justice, the conceptual history and definitions of environmental racism, the historical development and goals of the environmental justice movement, the social, political, economic and environmental advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption, stakeholder responses to environmental inequities, the impact of environmental justice policies on environmental inequities as well as their impact on subsequent political behavior, pollution in developing nations and, indigenous peoples. Additionally, the possible causes for patterns of injustice will be examined. Recent proposals to address the problem of environmental racism and injustice will be discussed and analyzed.

[Fulfills: : Race & Pol; SSH]

AAS 3645 Musical Fictions (cross-listed with ENGL 3569)

Njelle Hamilton, Tu Th 2:00-3:15pm

What is it about musicians? Why do we imagine that they have some kind of special gift, some magic that makes them something more than human? Why do we mourn so deeply and collectively when our favorite musician passes away? Why do we form Hives and Navies to publicly, collectively, and obsessively follow and fawn over our favorite performers? Over the course of this semester, we will explore the genre of the contemporary musical novel in order to better understand why writers and readers are so intrigued by the figure of the musician as a literary trope. Pairing close listening and music theory with close reading of seminal blues, jazz, reggae, mambo, calypso and rock novels set in the U.S., U.K, Jamaica, Trinidad, France, and Germany, we will also consider how novelists attempt to record the sounds (instruments, rhythm, melody, tone), lyrics, structure, and personal and cultural valences of music, not on wax, but in novelistic prose, and what kinds of cultural baggage and aesthetic conventions particular music forms bring to the novel form. Why for example, are ‘jazz’ novels so concerned with race and the chronicle of black lives under oppression and violence all across the globe? Why are so many ‘rock’ novels written by male writers, and why do they so often deal with issues of (white) masculinity under threat? The topical nature of many of these issues, songs, and novels will hopefully inspire you to thought-provoking class discussions, critical response papers, and final papers that push against the “fictions” and assumptions of musicians and novelists alike.

[Fulfills: Humanities]

AAS 3710 African Worlds through Life Stories

Lisa Shutt, Th 2-4:30pm

This course examines an array of African cultural worlds from the perspective of a variety of different life story genres. We will be addressing biography, autobiography, autofiction, memoirs, diaries, biographical documentary film and various artistic representations. Some critics claim that such genres, concentrating on the “individual” in Western terms, are not appropriate for representing African experiences of personhood. While critically examining these genres as well as the authorship of texts, we will also be examining representations of worldviews, social and political structures and organization, conceptualizations of time and space, social change, gender, kinship, ritual, etc. through the lens of each life history and joined by supplemental historical and ethnographic readings. For each life narrative we examine, we will ask what authors are seeking to transmit. Reality? Truth? Or something else? We will also ask what reading audiences expect to receive from such narratives. We will discuss whether the narratives we address are stories expressing the uniqueness of particular individuals or whether they are representative lifeways of members of particular socio-political groups – or both – or neither.

[Fulfills: Humanities, Africa]

AAS 3810 Race, Culture & Inequality

Sabrina Pendergrass, Tu Th 2:00-3:15pm

In this course, we will examine how culture matters for understanding race and social inequality. The course will survey social science research about cultural forms such as everyday discourse, styles of dress, music, literature, visual arts, and media as they relate to race and inequality. As we examine these studies, we will learn about key thinkers in social science approaches to culture, and we will analyze core concepts such as cultural capital, framing processes, symbolic boundaries, collective memory, and racial grammar. The course will draw on disciplines such as sociology, political science, anthropology, and more.

[Fulfills: SSH]

SWAHILI

SWAH 1010-001 Introductory Swahil

Anne Rotich, MWF 10-10:50am

This course is intended for students with no previous experience with Swahili. The course provides an introduction to basic Swahili language skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Swahili is the most widely-spoken language in eastern Africa.  SWAH 1010 provides a foundation for listening, speaking and writing basic Swahili grammatical structures and vocabulary. By the end of this course you will be able to construct simple Swahili sentences, identify with various cultural aspects and customs of Swahili speakers, and have a basic level of oral proficiency. We will have fun learning the language as we engage in dialogues, group activities and perform some cultural skits.

SWAH 1010-002 Introductory Swahil

Anne Rotich, MWF11:00-11:50am

Swahili is the most widely-spoken language in eastern Africa.  SWAH 1010 provides a foundation for listening, speaking and writing basic Swahili grammatical structures and vocabulary. By the end of this course you will be able to construct simple Swahili sentences, identify with various cultural aspects and customs of Swahili speakers, and have a basic level of oral proficiency. We will have fun learning the language as we engage in dialogues, group activities and perform some cultural skits.

SWAH 2010 Intermediate Swahili

Anne Rotich, MWF 12-12:50am

This is an intermediate level course designed for students who have taken SWAH 1010 or prior Swahili language experience to further enhance grammatical skills, and an emphasis on speaking and writing through a reading of Swahili texts.

AMERICAN STUDIES

AMST 3200/ / PLPT 3200 African American Political Thought

 Lawrie Balfour Tu Th 11:00-12:15

This course explores the critical and the constructive dimensions of African American political thought from slavery to the present. We will assess the claims that black Americans have made upon the polity, how they have defined themselves, and how they have sought to redefine key terms of political life such as citizenship, equality, freedom, and power.

Fulfills: Race & Politics in the US

AMST 3221 Hands-On Public History: Slavery and Reconstruction

Lisa Goff Th 3:30-6pm

This year-long class is a part of a 3-year collaboration with local community groups to conduct historical research into African American history in central Virginia. Students will conduct fieldwork near Charlottesville and will investigate past and current examples of the public history of slavery and Reconstruction at sites like Monticello and Montpelier, as well as lesser-known sites. We will work together with community organizations and Black churches to geolocate undocumented sites of African American history, including gravesites; and create digital Story Maps that seek to unearth the hidden histories of enslaved and free African Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries—and the legacies of those histories today. Students will collaborate with local community groups, WTJU, and Scholars Lab to produce podcasts and digital maps that fill in some of the gaps in the public history of slavery and its legacies in Charlottesville and surrounding counties--contributing, in some small way, to a more just and comprehensive public history.

Fulfills: SSH

AMST 3559/ENGL 3572 Black Protest Narrative

Marlon Ross Tu Th 11:00-12:15

This course studies modern racial protest expressed through African American narrative art (fiction, autobiography, film) from the 1930s to 1980s, focusing on Civil Rights, Black Power, Black Panthers, womanism, and black gay/lesbian liberation movements. We explore the media, forms, and theories of modern protest movements, how they shaped and have been shaped by literature and film. What does it mean to lodge a protest in artistic form? Some themes include lynching, segregation, sharecropping, black communism, migration, urbanization, religion, crime and policing, normative and queer sexualities, war and military service, cross-racial coalitions, and the role of the individual in social change. Either directly or indirectly, all of these narratives ask pressing questions about the meaning of American citizenship and racial community under the conditions of racial segregation and the fight for integration or black nationalist autonomy. We begin our study with the most famous protest novel, Richard Wright’s Native Son.  Then we examine other narratives in this tradition, including works by Angelo Herndon, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, Amiri Baraka, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Essex Hemphill, and Joseph Beam. Films include Joseph Mankiewitz’s No Way Out, Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and The Watermelon Man, Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, and Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied. In addition to fiction, film, and autobiography, we’ll read selections from pertinent texts in history, literary criticism, journalism, cultural criticism, film theory, and sociology. Assignments include two short essays, a midterm, and a final exam.

Fulfills: Humanities

DRAMA

DRAM 3070 African-American Theatre

Theresa Davis Tu Th 2:00-3:15

Presents a comprehensive study of 'Black Theatre' as the African-American contribution to the theatre. Explores the historical, cultural, and socio-political underpinnings of this theatre as an artistic form in American and world culture. Students gain a broader understanding of the relationship and contributions of this theatre-to-theatre arts, business, education, lore, and humanity. A practical theatrical experience is a part of the course offering. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.

Fulfills: Humanities

ENGLISH

ENGL 2572 Black Writers in America (Black Women Writers)

Lisa Woolfork, Tu Th 8:00-9:15am

Topics in African-American writing in the US from its beginning in vernacular culture to the present day; topics vary from year to year.

Fulfills: Humanities

ENWR 3730 - African American Rhetorics

Tamika Carey Th 11:00AM-12:15PM

This course explores the question of how African Americans use writing, speaking, and other cultural performances and productions toward freedom. We will take up this question by learning rhetorical concepts circulating within African American writing and speaking traditions and by learning criticism, a method for analyzing and evaluating the techniques and consequences of a message or conversation. We will explore this question by studying case studies of the arguments’ writers, activists, preachers, comedians, and everyday figures have employed to shape this culture. Assignments may include: two essays, a discussion leading assignment, and a multi-part digital publishing project. This course is ideal for students who want to sharpen their lenses for understanding and employing writing and communication strategies that promote social justice efforts.

Fulfills: Humanities

ENGL 4560-003 - Harlem Stories

Sandhya Shukla Tu Th 9:30-10:45AM

Fulfills: Humanities; if you’d like to take this course to fulfill the 4000-level research requirement, confirm with the professor ahead of time.

ENGL 4570 Reading the Black College Campus

Ian Grandison Tu 5:00-7:00pm

How does the discourse that posits the UVA Lawn as a seminal architectural legacy of a United States founding father help to distinguish the Lawn’s residents from passers-by, who must admire it from a respectful distance?  “Reading the Black College Campus” is a student-centered, sensing/interpreting/communicating course that is generally concerned with the ways in which built environments are entangled with the negotiation of power in society. In particular, we explore this goal by focusing on how the campuses of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) were shaped by (and shaped) the struggle to democratize education in the United States especially during the Jim Crow Period.  Rather than the still dominant approach in architectural and landscape architectural criticism to emphasize art-historical interpretations, we foreground interpretations that engage built environments, such as college campuses, as arenas of cultural conflict and negotiation. With this interrogation as a model, students are encouraged to engage our own campus more critically. Through discussion of readings and field trips (including one to the campus of a Virginia HBCU), lectures and workshops, and student-group presentations, we explore ideas, concepts and methods to read built environments by synthesizing knowledge gained from sensing them, studying them through maps and diagrams and primary and secondary written and oral accounts.  Readings include Anderson’s Black Education in the South. Fulfills: 4000-level seminar; Race and Politics in the US

ENGL 5700 Contemporary African-American Literature

Lisa Woolfork Tu Th 9:30-10:45

This course for advanced undergraduates and master’s-level graduate students surveys African-American literature today. Assignments include works by Everett, Edward Jones, Tayari Jones, Evans, Ward, Rabateau, and Morrison.

Fulfills: Humanities

FRENCH

FREN 3570 African Oral Traditions

Kandioura Drame Tu Th 3:30-4:45pm

A Study of major texts from Oral Traditions in Africa. Historical and literary values of the narratives, poems, and songs today. Roles of Griots as creators and performers of Oral compositions. How the music of griots inspires and sustains contemporary popular musical forms across Africa today. The challenges facing Oral Traditions today and opportunities for the future in various African societies. Prerequisite:  FREN 3031 and FREN 3032. Fulfills: Africa; Humanities. 

FREN 4811 Francophone Literature of Africa

Kandioura Drame Tu Th 12:30-1:45

Surveys the literary tradition in French, emphasizing post-World War II poets, novelists, and playwrights. Examines the role of cultural reviews in the development of this literary tradition. Prerequisite: FREN 3032 and at least one FREN course numbered 3041 to 3043 (or instructor permission).

Fulfills: Humanities; Africa; NB if you would like to take this course to fulfill the 4000-level research requirement, confirm with the professor ahead of time.

HISTORY

HIAF 2001 Early African History

Jim LaFleur Tu 11:00-12:15pm

Studies the history of African civilizations from the iron age through the era of the slave trade, ca. 1800. Emphasizes the search for the themes of social, political, economic, and intellectual history which present African civilizations on their own terms.

Fulfills: Africa; SSH; required for the African Studies minor.

HIAF 3021 History of Southern Africa

John Mason Tu Th 9:30-10:45am

Studies the history of Africa generally south of the Zambezi River. Emphasizes African institutions, creation of ethnic and racial identities, industrialization, and rural poverty, from the early formation of historical communities to recent times.

Fulfills: SSH; Africa

HIAF 3112 African Environmental History

Jim LaFleur Tu Th 12:30-1:45pm

This course explores how Africans changed their interactions with the physical environments they inhabited and how the landscapes they helped create in turn shaped human history. Topics covered include the ancient agricultural revolution, health and disease in the era of slave trading, colonial-era mining and commodity farming, 20th-century wildlife conservation, and the emergent challenges of land ownership, disease, and climate change.

Fulfills: Africa; SSH.

HIUS 3490 From Motown to Hip-Hop

Claudrena Harold Tu Th 11:00-12:15

This survey traces the history of African American popular music from the late 1950s to the current era. It examines the major sonic innovations in the genres of soul, funk, and hip-hop over the course of the semester, students will examine how musical expression has provided black women and men with an outlet for individual expression, community building, sexual pleasure, political organizing, economic uplift, and interracial interaction. Fulfills: Humanities; SSH

HIUS 5000 African-American History to 1877

Justene Hill Edwards Fr 2:00-4:30pm

Fulfills: SSH

MUSIC

MUSI 4065 The ‘Black Voice’

A.D.Carson Tu Th 9:30-10:45am

This course focuses on critical analyses of and questions concerning the ‘Black Voice’ as it pertains to hip-hop culture, particularly rap and related popular musics. Students will read, analyze, discuss a wide range of thinkers to explore many conceptions and definitions of ‘Blackness’ while examining popular artists and the statements they make in and about their art.

Fulfills: Humanities

POLITICS

PLAP 3500 Race and the Obama Presidency

Larycia Hawkins Tu Th 12:30-1:45pm

Fulfills: Race & Politics

RELIGIOUS STUDIES

RELA 3000 Women and Religion in Africa

Cindy Hoehler-Fatton Tu Th 11:00-12:15

This course examines women's religious activities, traditions and spirituality in a number of different African contexts. Drawing on ethnographic, historical, literary, and religious studies scholarship, we will explore a variety of themes and debates that have emerged in the study of gender and religion in Africa. Topics will include gendered images of sacred power; the construction of gender through ritual; sexuality and fertility; and women. Fulfills: Africa; Humanities

RELG 5195 Blackness and Mysticism

Ashon Crawley Tu 2:00-4:30

This course considers the radicalism internal to a European Mystical Tradition but also its delimitation, particularly with how it gets cognized in western thought. We will then investigate a Black Radical Mystical Tradition that cannot be, as Robinson might say, “understood within the particular context of its genesis.” It is a lived and living tradition, a tradition against religion, a tradition against western thought and modern Man.

Fulfills: Humanities