African American Studies Spring 2013 Courses


ENG 364-01: The Harlem Renaissance
Professor Ernest Gibson
This course will survey the African American cultural movement spanning from the late 1910s to the early 1930s. Particular attention will be devoted to those figures and ideas most central to this historical moment, which witnessed, as James Weldon Johnson proclaimed, the “flowering of Negro literature.” Authors may include: Alain Locke, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Nella Larsen and Zora Neale Hurston. This course will also situate this period of fecund black artistic expression within a historical context.

ENG 375-01: Post-Colonial Literature
Professor Mark Behr
This course will explore contemporary English-language novels written by writers from countries like India, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA, Canada, Sri Lanka and Sudan. The course focuses on how these texts represent and engage the project we call colonialism. Theory readings will include work by writers from Australia, Palestine and the US. The class aims to enhance our grasp of (a) the impact of 500 years of European colonialism on world literature, and (b) how reading literature from post-colonial theoretical perspectives might enrich our understanding of and engagement with the world we live in.

PREREQUISITES: Any 200-level literature course or permission from the instructor.

HIST 105-06: African American History (F2i, F3)
Professor Charles McKinney
In order to understand the American Republic, it is clear that students of history must contend with the riddle of African American citizenship. This course will critically examine several key issues in the African American experience and place them within a larger historical context. Also, students will consider the role historians play in shaping popular conceptions of historical events. Using primary and secondary documents, oral interviews, music and film, students will come to a greater understanding of the central issues presented in the course, and respond to these issues in a series of critical essays and one longer primary source project.

HIST 243-01: The Civil Rights Movement (F3)
Professor Charles McKinney
This seminar examines the social, political, and economic climate of the 1950s through the 1960s, and considers how both Blacks and Whites were affected. Specifically, the course will focus on various organizations and the strategies they implemented which resulted in events such as the Brown v. Board of Education case and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, the course will analyze the subtle and not-so-subtle reactions to initiatives that allowed African Americans to attain many of the rights and privileges that have become commonplace in today’s society.

INTS 253-01: Ethnic Conflict in Africa (F8)
Professor Shadrack Nasong’o
This course begins with a theoretical delineation of how ethnic groups are socially constructed and maintained through a deliberate process of cultural objectification. Focus then shifts to analyzing the historical, political, religious and socio-economic roots of ethnic conflict in Africa. Conflicts such as the Sudanese civil war; the Rwandan genocide; the Biafran civil war; conflict in the Great Lakes region as well as ethnic strife in other areas will be covered.

PHIL 255-01: Philosophy of Race
Professor Leigh Johnson
An examination of the advent and evolution of the concept of “race,” how it has been treated philosophically, and its application to ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, scientific methodology, and politics.

POLS 316-01: Urban Policy
Professor Maya Evans
Problems and processes of policy formation in the urban system; discussion substantive policy areas such as housing and community development.

RELS 460-01: Internship
Professor Kendra Hotz
Religious Studies 460 is an experiential learning course that brings together practice and reflection. Students serve in an internship in a faith-based community health provider for six to eight hours per week and gather regularly for reflection. The course examines the complex relationships between race and social class, access to health care, religious faith, and health outcomes. Work in the internship placements allows students to learn how faith-based community agencies work to promote health equity and to redress health disparities in Memphis. We aim to understand the root conditions that produce health disparities and to evaluate proposals for promoting health equity.

At the end of RS 460, you will:

1. Be able to identify and analyze the health challenges faced by the uninsured, African-Americans, immigrants, and the poor;

2. Gain exposure to the structure and operations of a faith-based, non-profit organization;

3. Understand theories about the just distribution of healthcare resources;

4. Understand theologies of embodiment and their relationship to the practices of faith-based health providers;

5. Understand how critical race theory, black theology, and womanism address health disparities;

Be able to reflect on a variety of ways in which faith commitments inform social justice practices.