African American Studies

Ronald Bailey, Department Head
1201 West Nevada, Urbana
PH: (217) 333-7781
http://www.afro.illinois.edu

The Department of African American Studies undergraduate offerings include an undergraduate major and minor.

African American Studies is a field that systematically explores the life and culture of African American peoples and their African Diaspora relationships, patterns, and ties.  Those who major in African American Studies will learn about the historical, political, ideological, legal, social, artistic, and economic issues affecting African Americans.  They will learn about the dignity-affirming struggles of African American people to have their humanity acknowledged, valued, and understood. 

The major in African American Studies (AAS) is to provide students with a transdiciplinary perspective on the origin, role and policy implications of race in the United States and world political economy, society and culture, over time. AAS students will learn diverse concepts, theories and methodologies for analyzing the experiences and perspectives and the cultural and intellectual production of African Americans and African descended people, largely though not exclusively in the United States. An African American studies major will be encouraged to achieve excellence in developing vital creative and critical competencies, including oral and written communication, computer and statistical skills. Students majoring in AAS will also be encouraged to join a new generation of leadership grounded in African American studies knowledge and committed to public engagement to meet the continuing challenges of a diverse democratic society; and to foster national discourse to produce public policy aimed at achieving social justice.

This program is designed to serve undergraduate students primarily interested in the social sciences and humanities, though all students are welcome and encouraged to enroll in the program. This program prepares students for graduate study and research in traditional disciplines and interdisciplinary fields and for careers in the private or public sectors such as teaching, social work, human resources, criminal justice, management and administration, city planning, marketing, policy-making, medicine and law.

For the Degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Major in Sciences and Letters Curriculum

E-mail: loturner@illinois.edu

Minimum required major and supporting course work equates to 48 hours.

General Education: Students must complete the Campus General Education requirements including the campus general education language requirement.

Twelve hours of 300- and 400-level African American Studies courses must be taken on this campus.

A Major Plan of Study Form must be completed and submitted to the LAS Student Academic Affairs Office before the end of the fifth semester (60-75 hours). Please see your adviser.

Minimum hours required for graduation: 120 hours

Departmental distinction:
To graduate with distinction, students must complete the following:  

  1. 3.3 overall G.P.A
  2. 3.6 program G.P.A
  3. Complete AFRO 495 Senior Thesis Seminar with a grade of 3.3 or better
I. Core course requirements
AFRO 100Intro to African American St3
AFRO 220Intro to Research Methods AfAm3
AFRO 490Theory in African American St3
AFRO 495Senior Thesis Seminar3
II. Theory and Methods Requirement
At least one theory and one methods course beyond the core. The courses must be selected from a list maintained in the Department's advising office.6
III. Thematic Areas
Students must take at least one course each from the following five areas. At least 6 of the remaining hours must be taken from only one of any of the five areas. A list of courses is maintained in the Department's advising office.21
A. Comparative Race, Racialized Communities and Identities
B. Cultural Production and Cultural Movements
C. Political Economy, Public Policy and Contemporary Issues
D. Global Interconnections: Black Transnationalism and the African Diaspora
E. Black Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
IV. Cognate or Supporting Coursework
Students must complete 9 hours of supporting coursework. Supporting coursework courses consists of a set of courses which are logically grouped, and which reflect or support a student's interests outside of the African American Studies major. Supporting coursework courses must be approved by the Department's undergraduate advisor. 9
Total Hours48

Interdisciplinary Minor in African-American Studies

The Department of African American Studies offers a campus-wide interdisciplinary minor in African American Studies. The minor is premised on the following principles: Interdisciplinarity, the centrality of Black women and gender, the use of the Global Africa/African Diaspora as a contextualizing framework and an emphasis on black agency or self-determining activity of African peoples. A minimum grade point average of 2.33 is required for completion of courses taken in the program. The Department of African American Studies must approve a student's minor course plan.

I. Core course requirements
AFRO 100Intro to African American St3
AFRO 490Theory in African American St3
or AFRO 220 Intro to Research Methods AfAm
AFRO 495Senior Thesis Seminar3
II. Areas of Concentration
A. Comparitive Race, Racialized Communities & Identities. Students must take at least one course in this area. Students may choose courses from a list in the Department office. 3-4
B. Cultural Production & Cultural Movements. Students must take at least one course in this area. Students may choose courses from a list in the Department office. 3-4
C. Political Economy, Public Policy & Contemporary Issues. Students must take at least one course in this area. Students may choose courses from a list in the Department office. 3-4
Elective in any of the above areas3
Students must take at least one course focusing on Black Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies chosen from a list in the Department office. Students may count this course toward any of the required areas above.
Total Hours21

Students must not take more than 6 hours of 100-level courses. A minimum of 6 hours of 300- and 400-level courses is required.

AFRO Class Schedule

Courses

AFRO 100   Intro to African American St   credit: 3 Hours.

Interdisciplinary introduction to the basic concepts and literature in the disciplines covered by African American studies; surveys the major approaches to the study of African Americans across several academic disciplines including economics, education, psychology, literature, political science, sociology and others.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 101   Black America, 1619-Present   credit: 3 Hours.

Sociohistorical survey of African American experiences from the West African background to North America, from the 17th century to the present. Same as HIST 174.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 102   Researching the African Am Exp   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to research and documentation of the African American experience. Approved for both letter and S/U grading.

AFRO 103   Black Women in the Diaspora   credit: 3 Hours.

Explores the historical, social, economic, cultural and political realities of black women in the African diaspora with an emphasis on the U.S., Canada, Britain, Africa and the English speaking Caribbean. How macro structures such as slavery, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and globalization shaped and continue to circumscribe the lives of black women across various geographic regions. Discussion of the multiple strategies/efforts that black women employ both in the past and present to ensure the survival of the self and the community. Same as AFST 103 and GWS 103.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 105   Black Literature in America   credit: 3 Hours.

Survey of the literary work of Black Americans from 1746 to the present. Exploration of the social, cultural, and political contexts that have shaped the Black American literary tradition by analyzing not only poetry, drama, autobiographical narratives, short stories, and novels, but also folktales, spirituals, and contemporary music. Same as ENGL 150.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Lit & Arts
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 106   Hist Arch Americas   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as ANTH 106. See ANTH 106.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 132   African American Music   credit: 3 Hours.

Survey of African American music, from its origins to the present with a focus on understanding details of musical performance and the ways in which music interacts with its social and political context. Examines genres such as spirituals, the blues, jazz, R&B, soul, and hip-hop. No previous musical background is necessary.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Lit & Arts
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 201   US Racial & Ethnic Politics   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as AAS 201, LLS 201, and PS 201. See PS 201.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 211   Intro to African-American Film   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as MACS 211. See MACS 211.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 212   Intro African American Theat   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as THEA 263. See THEA 263.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 215   US Citizenship Comparatively   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as AAS 215, AIS 295, GWS 215, and LLS 215. See AAS 215.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 220   Intro to Research Methods AfAm   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to various methodologies to be employed in the interdisciplinary field of African American/Africana studies. Prerequisite: AFRO 100.

AFRO 221   History of the Prison   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as HIST 219 and LA 221. See LA 221.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - Western

AFRO 224   Humanist Persp of Afro-Am Exp   credit: 3 Hours.

Presents the Afro-centric world view as it was manifested in traditional African society and in the Afro-American slave community. Shows that this world view merged with European notions of art and humanity, as revealed in modern Afro-American literature, art, and music. Same as CWL 226. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or consent of instructor.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Lit & Arts
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 226   Black Women Contemp US Society   credit: 3 Hours.

Sociological perspective of the experience of African American women in the contemporary United States. Specifically, an examination of relationships between the economy, state policy, culture, work and motherhood for this demographic group. Same as GWS 226 and SOC 223.

AFRO 227   Studies in Black Television   credit: 3 Hours.

Explores topics in black television in order to a) analyze the economic and political factors that lead to successful series; b) historicize black television of the Diaspora, including the U.S., Caribbean, UK, Canada, and Nigeria; c) identify conventions and define a "black aesthetic;" d) determine how black series in one genre (such as sitcoms or dramas) aid in mapping other genres; and e) discuss how these series navigate stereotypes and cultural shifts. Same as MACS 227.

AFRO 228   Hip Hop Music: History and Culture   credit: 3 Hours.

A study of hip-hop from its beginnings in the post-industrial South Bronx of the 1970s to the global present. By focusing on the work of specific artists and movements, we will compare and contrast the production and consumption of hip-hop with other forms of popular music (including jazz, rock, disco, and pop). This course shows how musicians and listeners use hip-hop to express ideas about topics such as economics, nationalism, black power, feminism, and violence.

AFRO 231   Lang Diff Dis: American Persp   credit: 3 Hours.

Discusses the interaction of culture, ethnicity/race and language among American minorities. Emphasizes language difference theory as related to social and regional dialects and bilingualism/multilingualism. Distinguishes language differences from language disorders through examination of assessment and treatment approaches for different aged populations. Same as SHS 231.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 243   Pan Africanism   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as AFST 243, PS 243, and SOC 267. See PS 243.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - Non-West
Social & Beh Sci - Soc Sci

AFRO 259   Afro-American Literature I   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as CWL 259 and ENGL 259. See ENGL 259.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 260   Afro-American Literature II   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as CWL 260 and ENGL 260. See ENGL 260.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 261   Intro to the African Diaspora   credit: 3 Hours.

Introduction to the origin, development, and maturation of the African diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean, beginning with the transatlantic slave trade and up to the end of the 20th century. Same as ANTH 261.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 272   Minority Images in Amer Film   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as ENGL 272. See ENGL 272.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Lit & Arts
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 275   Afro-American History to 1877   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as HIST 275. See HIST 275.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 276   Afro-American Hist Since 1877   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as HIST 276. See HIST 276.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 281   Constructing Race in America   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as AAS 281, HIST 281, and LLS 281. See HIST 281.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 287   African-American Women   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as GWS 287 and HIST 287. See HIST 287.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 290   Af Am Urban Hist Since 1917   credit: 3 Hours.

Examination of the changing interaction among black urban communities, the broader urban citizenry, municipal government, the local and national urban-industrial economy, and federal policy over time, giving particular attention to discourses about the black "ghetto" as both a physical space and set of social conditions. Same as HIST 284. Prerequisite: AFRO 101, HIST 276, HIST 172, SOC, 225, or PS 201.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 298   Spec Topics African-Am Studies   credit: 3 Hours.

Seminar on selected topics with particular emphasis on current research trends. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or AFRO 101, or consent of instructor.

AFRO 310   Race and Cultural Diversity   credit: 4 Hours.

Same as AAS 310, EPS 310, and LLS 310. See EPS 310.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 340   Dancing Black Popular Culture   credit: 3 Hours.

Same as DANC 340. See DANC 340.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Humanities - Hist & Phil
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 342   Black Men and Masculinities   credit: 3 Hours.

The sociological study of African American men in the contemporary U.S. Specifically, black manhood and masculinities and the experiences of this demographic group as it relates to the economy, state, policy, and institutions such as family, criminal justice system, and education. Same as SOC 325. Prerequisite: Introductory social science course.

AFRO 372   Class Politics & Blk Community   credit: 3 Hours.

Exploration of the complex history of class relations among African Americans during the twentieth century, examining both the internal and external shapers of black class stratification. Considers the historical development of contemporary black "underclass", and the parallel expansion of the black middle class today. Same as HIST 384. Prerequisite: AFRO 101, HIST 276, or SOC 225 or consent of instructor.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition

AFRO 373   AfAm Cultr Politic Mid20C   credit: 3 Hours.

Focusing on African American culture and history from World War II until the early 1960's, topics include citizenship, migration, urban life, the African Diaspora, Civil Rights Movement, and art forms. Approved for both letter and S/U grading. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 and AFRO 101, AFRO 261, ENGL 260 or HIST 276.

AFRO 378   Race and Revolutions   credit: 3 Hours.

Focus on the relationship between race and slavery during the revolutions in American and Haiti, respectively. We will seek to understand how the themes of slavery, revolution and race affected blacks, whites and indigenous Americans. We will learn about life during the Revolutionary era by reading the biographies, political pamphlets and personal letters of former slaves, Revolutionaries and everyday men and women as well as historical scholarship. Same as HIST 389. Prerequisite: One African American Studies or History course at either the 100- or 200-level or the consent of instructor.

AFRO 381   Black Women and Film   credit: 3 Hours.

An examination of the contribution of Black women film directors to cinema. The study of documentary, experimental, animated, fictional shorts, and feature films will reveal their unique approach to constructions of the intersection of race and gender. Starting from the 1920's up to the present, the course considers themes, aesthetics, historical contexts, and ideological discourses presented in the films. Same as MACS 381. Prerequisite: College level film course or consent of instructor.

AFRO 382   African Amer Families in Film   credit: 3 Hours.

Uses film as case studies to examine the diverse structures, social classes, and internal dynamics among African American families. Critical family processes such as family formation patterns, dating mate selection, parenting, male-female/gender relations, child adolescent, and adult development, family routines and practices, family communication, and family stress and coping will be examined. Also considers how families interact within larger contexts, such as the local neighborhood and key institutions (school, workplace, social service agencies). Films will be supplemented with readings drawn for diverse disciplines (African American Studies, Anthropology, Family Studies, History, Psychology, and Sociology) that allow us to examine key substantive, theoretical, methodological, and policy issues in the study of African American families. Same as HDFS 324.

AFRO 383   Hist of Blk Women's Activism   credit: 3 Hours.

Examination of the history of twentieth century black women's activism, specifically concerned with how African American female activists have been critical to building, sustaining and leading black freedom movements. Same as GWS 383 and HIST 383. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or AFRO 101 or AFRO 103 or consent of instructor.

AFRO 398   Spec Topics Afro-Am Studies   credit: 3 Hours.

Advanced seminar on selected topics with particular emphasis on current research trends. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours. Prerequisite: Junior status and one of the following: AFRO 224, or HIST 275 or HIST 276, or ENGL 259 or ENGL 260.

AFRO 400   African Diasporic Lit Americas   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Critical examination of the contributions of writers of African descent from the Caribbean (English, French, Spanish) and the United States. Major works of fiction, poetry, drama and essays from Cuba, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, St. Lucia, the United States and other countries are analyzed within a post-colonial theoretical framework. Same as CWL 400. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 224 or AFRO 259 or AFRO 260 or consent of instructor.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Cultural Studies - US Minority

AFRO 410   Hate Crimes   credit: 3 Hours.

Hate crimes represent the manifestation of intergroup bias and aggression. Examples of these crimes will be examined while analyzing longstanding theories in social psychology. Same as PSYC 410. 3 undergraduate hours. 3 graduate hours. Prerequisite: PSYC 201 or consent of instructor.

AFRO 411   African American Psychology   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Introduction to the research, theories, and paradigms developed to understand the attitudes, behaviors, and psychological and educational realities of African Americans. Same as PSYC 416. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or one psychology course.

AFRO 415   Africana Feminisms   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Explores readings and research from the perspective of feminists throughout the African diaspora, with a focus on Black feminist thought emanating from the United States. Same as AFST 420 and GWS 415. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 103 and an additional 300 or 400-level African American Studies course or consent of the instructor.

AFRO 453   Plantation Soc in Americas   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Comparative and interdisciplinary approach to study of the development of New World societies with focus on plantation agriculture from the 15th to 19th centuries. Course considers Portuguese, Spanish, British, French, and Dutch colonization. Students will study the relative importance of culture versus economy and demography in determining social structure. Same as HIST 470. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: A survey course in early United States history and/or western civilization; junior status, or consent of the instructor.

AFRO 460   Slavery in the United States   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Examination of slavery in the U.S. using primary sources (slave narratives, songs and tales, plantation records, laws and newspapers) from the 18th century through emancipation. Same as HIST 482. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or AFRO 101 and one 300-level AFRO course.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition

AFRO 466   Race, Science, and Medicine   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Examines the development of race in in medical and scientific thought; how public health and medical institutions deploy the concept; and the process by which race emerged as a valid though controversial topic of scientific and biomedical inquiry. Also addressed is the relationship between slavery and nineteenth-century medicine, the birth of the eugenics movement, legacies of medical exploitation and mistrust, trends in genetic medicine, and contemporary disparities in health outcomes and health care delivery. Same as HIST 483. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 or AFRO 101 and one 300-level AFRO course.

AFRO 474   Black Freed Move, 1955-Present   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Presents the struggle of African Americans for self-definition, self-development, and self-determination from the inception of the civil rights movement to the contemporary period. Same as HIST 478. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 101, HIST 276, or consent of instructor.
This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:
Advanced Composition

AFRO 481   Urban Communities & Public Pol   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Examination of how public policy has shaped urban communities and the life chances (i.e., the social, economic, mental and physical well-being) of families of color. Emphasizes the theoretical, political, and economic context of public policy making and specifically address urban issues of housing, communities and families, employment, welfare, and poverty. This course will draw on scholarship by sociologists, historians, policy analysts, race theorists, and economists. Same as SOC 472 and UP 481. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

AFRO 490   Theory in African American St   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Introduction to various theories and methodologies rising out of the study of the Black world based on African American intellectual traditions. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 and one additional 400-level AFRO course, or consent of instructor.

AFRO 491   Methodology in African Amer St   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Introduction to various methodologies to be employed in the interdisciplinary field of African American/Africana studies. Access to personal computer SPSS software is required. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 and AFRO 220 and an additional 300 or 400-level African American Studies course or consent of instructor.

AFRO 495   Senior Thesis Seminar   credit: 3 Hours.

3 undergraduate hours. No graduate credit. Prerequisite: AFRO 100 and AFRO 220 or AFRO 490.

AFRO 498   Spec Topics African Am Studies   credit: 3 or 4 Hours.

Seminar on selected topics with particular emphasis on current research trends. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to a maximum of 6 undergraduate hours or 8 graduate hours. Prerequisite: Upper level AFRO course (300 or above) or consent of instructor.