Introduction to Africana Studies

AAS 150 Section Y, Section Y1 (BGS Only)

Professor: Edmund Abaka
Sample Syllabus: Sample Syllabus 
Course Overview: 

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of Africana studies (comprising Africa and the African diaspora) with a recognition of the relationship between its activist, service-oriented mission, and its scholarly mission. Thus, through an examination of social movements, intellectual work, and artistic creation, we shall explore the emergence and development of the cultural, political, historical, psychological, and economic dimensions of the diverse experiences of Africans and people of African descent. 

We shall consider the construction and expression of Black identity as expressed through literature, history, politics, and the arts. We shall examine how the field of Africana Studies can and does shape the study of education, literature, law, art, and so forth. We will look at leaders of various social movements through their writings and speeches. 

By the end of this course, you will be able to discuss the activities of the student movements of the 1960s and their role in the emergence of Africana Studies. You will also be able to identify some of the major intellectual figures behind the Black experience. You will understand and be able to distinguish between the philosophies of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X. Finally, you will be familiar with the major figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the specific roles they played in the flowering of African American music, literature, and the arts in general.

Course Goals:

  • To help students understand the role of students/youth and intellectuals in the emergence of the field of Africana Studies
  • To help students understand the nature of communities from which people of African descent came and appreciate the contribution of this society to African diaspora culture
  • To discuss the philosophies and activities of some of the major African American intellectuals, leaders, and community activists
  • To help students understand black identity and black popular culture as expressed through literature and the arts