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Fall 2017 Courses


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AFROAM 101. Introduction to Black Studies, 3 credits                                     
Instructor: Bob Williams

TuTh 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.
Interdisciplinary introduction to the basic concepts and literature in the disciplines covered by Black Studies. Includes history, the social sciences, and humanities as well as conceptual frameworks for investigation and analysis of Black history and culture.

AFROAM 117. Survey of Afro-American Literature I, 4 credits  (ALU)
Professor Rusert                                                                              
Lecture: MW 10:10 - 11:00 a.m.                  Discussions:    F 10:10 or F 11:15
The major figures and themes in Afro-American literature, analyzing specific works in detail and surveying the early history of Afro-American literature. What the slave narratives, poetry, short stories, novels, drama, and folklore of the period reveal about the social, economic, psychological, and artistic lives of the writers and their characters, both male and female. Explores the conventions of each of these genres in the period under discussion to better understand the relation of the material to the dominant traditions of the time and the writers' particular contributions to their own art.

AFROAM 118. Survey of Afro-American Literature II, 4 credits (ALU)
Instructor: Nadia Alahmed

TuTh 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.
Introductory level survey of Afro-American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present, including DuBois, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, Walker, Morrison, Baraka and Lorde. (Gen. Ed. AL, U)  (Planned for Spring)

AFROAM 132. African-American History: 1619-1860, 4 credits  (HSU)
Instructor: Crystal Webster

Lecture: MW 2:30 - 3:20 p.m.          Discussions:    F 1:25 or F 2:30
The main aim of this course is to make you familiar with some of the most important developments and issues in African American history until the Civil War. We will focus on the black experience under slavery and the struggle for emancipation. Topics include the Atlantic slave trade, evolution of African American communities and culture, the free black community, the distinct experience of black women, and the black protest tradition. The format of the course is lecture supplemented by class discussions.

AFROAM 151. Literature & Culture, 4 credits (ALU)
Lecture 1: TuTh 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.        Instructor: Chloe Hunt

Lecture 2: TuTh 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.           Instructor: Kiara Hill                      
Relevant forms of Black cultural expressions contributing to the shape and character of contemporary Black culture; the application of these in traditional Black writers. Includes West African cultural patterns and the Black past; the transition-slavery, the culture of survival; the cultural patterns through literature; and Black perceptions versus white perceptions.

AFROAM 170 . The Grassroots Experience in American Life and Culture I, 3 credits (I,U)
Professor Demetria Shabazz
Wednesdays 2:30-5:00 p.m.

This course combines instruction in research techniques in a variety of Humanistic and Social Science disciplines, and hands-on experience with those techniques, with substantive materials focusing on the long struggle of minority populations for full participation in American cultural and public life. As students go through the year-long course, they will be encouraged to attempt their own research investigations, and in the second semester will be required to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, under the guidance of their mentor.

AFROAM 192F.  Freshman Survival Techniques, 1 credit
Instructor: Doris Clemmons

Thursdays 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.
The focus of this course is academic and social adjustment to the University community. This course will also explore how to cope with life issues.  Course Objectives:  To make academic excellence the #1 priority; to provide first-year students with tips on how to succeed academically; to help first-year students adjust academically and socially to the campus; to explore various topics that deal with academics and life issues; to provide first year students with internships, co-ops and summer employment opportunities; and, to match fist year students with peer mentors and academic advisors.

AFROAM 197A.  Taste of Honey: Black Film-Part I, 1 credit
Professor Bracey

Thursdays 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.,  Malcolm X Cultural Center
This course will take you on a historical journey exploring the roles of African American men and women highlighting their contributions and struggles in the American movie industry.  Students will learn about the ground breaking movies, roles and actors who helped pave the way for a future generation while breaking down racial barriers to tell the story of the African American experience.  In this course you will enjoy a great selection of movies that explore a variety of topics in multiple genres such as race, gender and stereotypes while reflecting on how these characteristics are portrayed in drama, comedy, musicals, crime, biographies and action movies.

AFROAM 236. History of the Civil Rights Movement, 4 credits  (HSU)
Professor Parker

Lecture:  MW 11:15 – 12:05 p.m.       Discussions:   F 11:15 or F 12:20
Examination of the Civil Rights Movement from the Brown v. Topeka decision to the rise of Black power. All the major organizations of the period, e.g., SCLC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and the Urban League. The impact on white students and the anti-war movement.

AFROAM 236. History of the Civil Rights Movement, 4 credits  (HSU)
Instructor:  Crystal Webster

*On-line only. Contact: to register.

AFROAM 250. African American Short Stories, 3 credits  (ALU)
Professor Jimoh

Tuesdays 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Students in this course will receive an introduction to the African American short story and to the major themes, issues, concepts, as well as the literary techniques and forms prevalent in African American literature.

AFROAM 264.  Foundations of Black Education in the U.S., 4 credits  (HSU)
Professor Francis
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
The education of blacks from Reconstruction to 1954. Includes public schools, colleges, and non-school education.  The involvement of religious associations, philanthropic organizations, the Freedman’s Bureau, the Black church, and the Federal Government will also be discussed.

AFROAM 295P. Policing, Protesting and Politics: Queers, Feminists and BlackLivesMatter#, 3 credits   (Same as WGSS 295P)
Professor Frye

Over the past year few years, a powerful social movement has emerged to affirm to the country and world that Black Lives Matter. Sparked by the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Stanford, Florida, and Zimmerman's acquittal as well as the police killings of other black men and women, including Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, and Freddie Gray, this movement challenges police violence and other policing that makes black communities unsafe as well as social constructions of black people as inherently dangerous and criminal. Police violence against black people and the interrelated criminalization of black communities have a long history, older than the US itself. There is a similarly long and important history of activism and social movements against police violence and criminalization. Today, black people are disproportionately subject to police surveillance and violence, arrest, and incarceration. So, too, are other people of color (both men and women) and queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people of all races but especially those of color. This course will examine the history of policing and criminalization of black, queer, and trans people and communities and related anti-racist, feminist, and queer/trans activism. In doing so, we will interrogate how policing and understandings of criminality - or the view that certain people or groups are inherently dangerous or criminal - in the US have long been deeply shaped by race, gender, and sexuality.

AFROAM 326.  Black Women in U.S. History, 4 credits  (HSU)
Professor Parker

MW 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
The history of African American women from the experience of slavery to the present. Emphasis on the effect of racist institutions and practices on women. The ways in which women organized themselves to address the needs of African Americans in general and their own in particular. The achievements of such leaders as Mary Church Terrell, Harriet Tubman, Ella Baker, and Mary McLeod Bethune as well as lesser known women.

AFROAM 365. Composition: Style & Organization, 3 credits
Instructor: Kourtney Senquiz

TuTh 11:30 – 12:45 p.m.
Expository writing focusing primarily on argumentative and narrative essays. Discussion and practice of logic—inductive and deductive reasoning—as it relates to the argumentative essay form. Topics as thesis on main idea, organization, style, unity, supporting evidence, avoiding logical fallacies, and basic writing mechanics, including constructing sentences, paragraphing, transitions, and correct grammar.

AFROAM 395G.  Peer Leadership and Facilitation, 3 credits
Instructor: Doris Clemmons

Tuesdays 5:30 - 6:45 p.m.
This is the second part of a two-semester course that is designed to help upper-class (junior and senior) students’ focus on developing leadership and outreach skills. The course will enable upperclassmen to work directly with newly entering first semester’s students and to help them facilitate the transitional process from high school to college. Students in the class will serve as Peer Leaders to assist first year students form effective study groups; learn how to study for exams and how to manage their time more effectively.  Peer leaders are required to keep assigned office hours and to make regular appointments with their mentees.  They also are expected to work as a team within small groups to prepare and present their research projects to first year students.  They are expected to team teach discussion groups within a freshmen transition class and to prepare and critique their own weekly classroom presentations.  They are expected to keep a weekly activities log on their assigned student mentees.

AFROAM 494DI.  Du Bois Senior Seminar, 3 credits         (Integrative Education Course for AfroAm Seniors& Juniors)
Professor Rusert
Tuesdays 11:30 – 1:25 p.m.
This course builds on the intellectual, activist, and cultural-criticism traditions promoted by Massachusetts-born, African-American polymath W.E.B. Du Bois to fulfill the Gen. Ed. Integrative Experience requirement. The course asks students to consider the evolution of their academic, personal, and professional goals in relation to their previous coursework both inside and outside Afro-American Studies and the university’s Gen. Ed. curriculum. Particular attention will be placed on the social justice and cultural knowledge aspects of African American Studies. Department majors may use course writing assignments as the foundation for a subsequent senior research project.


AFROAM 591C. Digital Video Production and Research in the Black Community, 3 credits       (Open to both graduate and upper-level undergraduate students)
Professor Demetria Shabazz
Tuesdays 2:30-5:00 p.m.

This course aims to increase the utility and impact of research produced at UMass by creating, adapting, implementing, supporting, and sustaining innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation. It will also engage students in extensive outreach, education, and advocacy to ensure that scholarly work in the Du Bois Department has a global reach and accelerates the pace of research across disciplines. The course will teach visual methodological research methods and digital camera usage to explore social networks, the inclusion of community partners in research, and black neighborhood and community spaces. We draw on the substantive and methodological experiences of visual researchers using photography, film, and video and the evident challenges of representing such a diversely situated experience as that of African Americans. We will discuss and learn camera use and operation, data collection and analysis, ethical concerns, community partnerships, refinement of research questions, and theoretical use and development of imagery in research regarding the African American community.

AFROAM 597D. The Sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois, 3 credits         (Open to both graduate and upper-level undergraduate students)
Professor Bracey
Wednesdays 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
This course will focus on the contributions of W.E.B. Du Bois to the study of the sociology of African Americans and race relations in the U.S. We will be examining such works as The Philadelphia Negro, the Atlanta University Studies, reports for various government agencies and selected essays. The course also will address Du Bois' influence on the work of other sociologists such as E. Franklin Frazier, St. Clair Drake, Oliver Cox and William Julius Wilson.  The course is open to both graduate and upper-level undergraduate students.

AFROAM 652. Literature of the Harlem Renaissance, 4 credits
Professor Smethurst
Tuesdays 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
An intensive study of the literature and orature associated with the Harlem Renaissance, from the philosophical underpinnings supplied by Du Bois, Johnson, Locke, Garvey, and Randolph to the varied poetic visions of Hughes, Spencer, Brown, Cullen, and McKay to the fictional explorations of Toomer, Hurston, Fisher, Larsen, Fauset, and Thurman to the inspiration supplied by blues, jazz, and folklore of the African American tradition. Journals connected with the movement and the contributions of interested patrons such as Van Vechten, Cunard, and the Spingarns, and the relations of the Harlem Renaissance to other contemporary American literary currents (realism, naturalism, and modernism.)

AFROAM 692L. Black Studies: History, Theory & Practice, 4 credits
Professor Shabazz
Thursdays 2:30 – 5:00 p.m.
This seminar begins with a discussion of antecedents to institutionalized Black Studies departments and programs that emerged on college campuses starting in 1968; explores the historical development of the field up to and including today; and concludes with informed speculation concerning challenges to its future. Readings and reflections on the origins of Black Studies on the UMass Amherst campus will specifically be covered. Topics for exploration include the interrelationship of Black Studies to traditional fields and disciplines, the transition of Black Studies from political movement to professionalized institutionalization, the changing audience involved in that transition, and interpretations of American history and culture within the Black Studies matrix that challenge standard narratives regarding these issues.

AFROAM 701-702. Major Works in Afro-American Studies I and II (9 credits each)
*Open to Afro-American Studies M.A. and Ph.D. students only.