African and African American Studies

African and African American Studies (AAAS) is an interdisciplinary program housed in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters at the UM-Dearborn. The program offers a flexible, challenging and stimulating course of studies for students who wish to pursue a major that will allow them to:

  • Acquire knowledge of the history and cultural legacies of Africans and African Americans throughout the Diaspora.
  • Ground themselves in the intellectual contributions of major African and African American scholars, political leaders, and artists.
  • Gain informed perspectives on crucial issues confronting African and African American communities throughout the world.
  • Refine their skills in analysis, discourse, and writing.
  • Apply their university learning as knowledgeable, engaged members of their home communities.

The Bachelor’s Degree in African and African American Studies offers students a working knowledge of the history of African Americans in the United States, the cultural continuities in philosophy, religion and the arts linking African Americans to the African continent, as well as the critical social, political and developmental issues facing African communities on the continent and throughout the diaspora. Students will have a grasp of the critical movements for change in African and African American history, as well as the contributions of outstanding political leaders, intellectuals and artists. Knowledge of the struggles of African and African descendants throughout the diaspora for greater human rights and a higher quality of life is a central feature of the major. These pedagogical objectives are facilitated by a commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and approaches that emphasize the value of an internationalist perspective. The major will consist of 30 credit hours, 24 of which must be at the upper level. This course of study prepares students to pursue a wide spectrum of professional studies, including law, social work, K-12 education, and civic leadership, public policy, communication, journalism, or to pursue the doctorate degree for a career in college level teaching and research.

Many of the courses offered in the African and African American Studies Program are cross listed with other disciplines, such as Anthropology, Communications, Economics, English, History, Music History, Psychology and Sociology.

Dearborn Discovery Core Requirement

The minimum passing grade for a Dearborn Discovery Core (DDC) course is 2.0. The minimum GPA for the program is 2.0. In addition, the DDC permits any approved course to satisfy up to three credit hours within three different categories. Please see the General Education Program: The Dearborn Discovery Core section for additional information.

Foundational Studies

Written and Oral Communication (GEWO) – 6 Credits

Upper Level Writing Intensive (GEWI) – 3 Credits

Quantitative Thinking and Problem Solving (GEQT) – 3 Credits

Critical and Creative Thinking (GECC) – 3 Credits

Areas of Inquiry

Natural Science (GENS) – 7 Credits

  • Lecture/Lab Science Course
  • Additional Science Course

Social and Behavioral Analysis (GESB) – 9 Credits

Humanities and the Arts (GEHA) – 6 Credits

Intersections (GEIN) – 6 Credits

Capstone

Capstone (GECE) – 3 Credits

Foreign Language Requirement

Complete a two-semester beginning language sequence.

Ancient Greek I and IIMCL 105 and MCL 106
Arabic I and IIARBC 101 and ARBC 102
Armenian I and IIMCL 111 and MCL 112
French I and IIFREN 101 and FREN 102
German I and IIGER 101 and GER 102
Latin I and IILAT 101 and LAT 102
Spanish I and IISPAN 101 and SPAN 102

Major Requirements

30 hrs (24 hrs must be upper level):

Introduction to Africana Studies
AAAS 300Introduction to AAAS3
Principles of African Worldview
Select 3 hours from the following:3
West Africa Since 1800
African Exper in the Americas
African American English
Topics in AAAS
African American History (17th-19th Centuries)
AAAS 316African American History3
or AAAS 368 Black Exp in U.S.-1865-Present
Contemporary African American History
Select 3 hours from the following:3
Detroit History and Culture
Psychology of Prejudice
Civil Rights Movement in Amer
Minority Groups
Race, Crime, and Justice
African American Intellectual History
AAAS 340Race and Evolution3
Literature, Visual and Performing Arts
Select 3 hours from the following:3
History of Jazz
Intro to Lit: African American
African-American Music History
Intro to Gospel Music
Black Cinema
W. African Music: Trad.&Glob.
Contemporary African Amer Lit
Black Women / Lit, Film, Music
African American Institutions
Select 3 hours from the following:3
Detroit History and Culture
African American Religions
History of Islam in the US
Odyssey of Black Men in Amer
Black Women, Rel & Spiritualty
Black Family in Contemp Amer
Economics & Politics of the Black Experience
Must Petition – See Program Director3
Research, Writing & Discourse in African/African American Studies
Must Petition – See Program Director3
Independent Study Project or Thesis in Crtical Contemporary Issues
Total Credit Hours27

Notes: At least 15 of the upper level hours in the AAAS major must be elected at UM-Dearborn

Minor or BGS/LIBS Concentration Requirements

To fulfill a minor or BGS/LIBS  concentration in African and African American Studies, a student must complete 15 credit hours of coursework (6 credit hours must be exclusively African/African-American in content – CAGF) in the program as outlined below.

Required courses

AAAS 300Introduction to AAAS3
Select 12 hrs of 300/400; 3000/4000 level courses:12

AAAS 300, introduces students to  important issues and debates within African and African American Studies. The course will always incorporate both African and African-American themes; however, the emphasis may vary to reflect the specialties of the professor(s) at a given time.

Each term, AAAS offers a wide variety of 300/3000 and 400/4000 level courses that are designed to fulfill the core requirements of the AAAS minor or concentration. See the listing of AAAS course offerings below. Successful completion of the program requires that a student complete at least six of the required 15 credit hours in courses that are exclusively African and African-American in content (CAGF), AAAS 313AAAS 316, AAAS 322, AAAS 325AAAS 333, AAAS 340AAAS 345, AAAS 368, AAAS 369 AAAS 371, AAAS 385, AAAS 386AAAS 388, AAAS 389, AAAS 390, AAAS 393, AAAS 403, AAAS 404AAAS 449AAAS 469, AAAS 470, AAAS 473, AAAS 477, AAAS 491, AAAS 498, AAAS 499).

Students pursuing a minor or  concentration in AAAS may choose to complete their coursework with a final thesis project (AAAS 498) that reflects particular interests developed during their course of study. The thesis option can be used to fulfill three hours of the required 15 hours of upper-level coursework. The AAAS thesis project will be completed under the direction of a faculty member whose scholarly interests are compatible with the research interests of the student.

For more information about the African and African American Studies program, please contact the CASL College Wide Programs Coordinator in 2036 CB, 313-593-4925.

AAAS 106     Intro to the African Past     3 Credit Hours

This course is a survey of the social, economic, political, intellectual and cultural heritage of the African peoples from pre-history to the present. The emphasis is on the internal dynamics of the African society through five millennia, as well as the impact of external forces on African life. Themes of particular interest: the roots of African culture, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the African Diaspora in the New World, the European Conquest and the character of the colonial order and the ongoing struggle to end the legacy of alien domination. (YR)

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAAS 239     Intro to Lit: African American     3 Credit Hours

A study of African-American literature designed to expose students to important periods, works, and authors within historical context. Topics will include slavery, reconstruction, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and the contemporary renaissance in Black women's literature. Students will be required to read critically, discuss, analyze, and write their responses to the several literary genres that will be incorporated (fiction, drama, poetry). (YR).

AAAS 300     Introduction to AAAS     3 Credit Hours

This gateway course in the African and African American Studies Program introduces students to the intellectual debates, historical perspectives and cultural issues central to the field of African and African American Studies. The course readings draw from the disciplinary strengths of the Humanities as well as the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Course materials include selections from literature, film, music, art, drama, folk and popular culture. The course content is supplemented by attendance at off-campus events and visits to institutions featuring significant aspects of African and African American history and culture.

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

AAAS 304     Detroit History and Culture     3 Credit Hours

This interdisciplinary course explores the political, social, and cultural history of Detroit by examining ways various groups and classes have interacted with and been shaped by structures of power and influence. This course highlights trade and commerce, newcomers, and the influence of organizations and institutions within the contexts of labor, race, ethnic, and religious histories and current affairs, and examines how these fit into the evolution of Detroit from the 19th century to the present. Where pertinent the influence of national and international movements are included. (YR)

AAAS 313     African American Religions     3 Credit Hours

Full Title: African American Religious Experience This lecture course presents a survey of African American expressions across diverse religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and will explore contested forms of spiritual expression such as secularism and new religious movements. The course tracks these experiences from the late 18th to the 21st century in light of the contemporaneous context of social, political, and economic forces in the United States. No prerequisites. (YR)

AAAS 316     African American History     3 Credit Hours

This course will trace the experience of African Americans from their first landing in Virginia in 1619 through slavery and the Civil War. Emphasis will be placed on the origins of racism, the development of the slave system in the United States and the historical developments that led to the Civil War. (YR).

AAAS 320     African-American Music History     3 Credit Hours

A study of African American Music History from its African origins through the present. An understanding of the broad cultural, political, social, economic and media forces that have affected African Americans, their music and history- and in turn, the many important ways that African American music has influenced culture. Course examines multiple genre of music including classical, spiritual, jazz, blues and rap.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

AAAS 322     Psychology of Prejudice     3 Credit Hours

A consideration of ethnic (including racial, sexual, and religious) prejudice from the psychological point of view, focusing on the mind of both the oppressor and the oppressed. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): PSYC 170 or PSYC 171 or PSYC 101

AAAS 325     Econ of Poverty/Discrimination     3 Credit Hours

An analysis of the economic aspects of poverty and discrimination. Emphasis on the theoretical economic causes of poverty and the economic bases for discriminating behavior, the impact of poverty and discrimination on individuals and society, and the effect of reform policies on the two problems. (AY).

Prerequisite(s): ECON 201 and ECON 202

AAAS 333     Intro to Gospel Music     3 Credit Hours

This course explores the history and aesthetics of Black sacred music within cultural context. Major figures (Thomas A. Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, The Winans Family, Kirk Franklin), periods (slavery, Great Migration, Civil Rights movement), and styles (folk and arranged Negro spirituals, congregational songs, and gospel songs - traditional to contemporary) will be studied through recordings, videos, films, and at least one field experience. Underlying the course is the theory (Mellonee Burnim and Pearl Williams-Jones) that gospel music is an expression of African American culture that fuses both African and European elements into a unique whole. (OC).

AAAS 340     Race and Evolution     3 Credit Hours

An evolutionary survey of the biological differences among human populations in response to such factors as climate, culture, disease, nutrition and urbanization. The meaning of racial variation is discussed in terms of adaptation to environmental stress. "Race" is rejected, racism is discussed. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): ANTH 101

AAAS 345     West Africa Since 1800     3 Credit Hours

A history of the West African peoples since 1800, which focuses on their unique cultural heritage. Themes include: West Africa before the advent of alien domination, the European Conquest, West Africa under the Colonial regimes, and the liquidation of colonial rule and the reassertion of West African independence. (AY).

AAAS 3634     History of Islam in the US     3 Credit Hours

This course traces the long history of Islam and of Muslims in the United States (1730s-present), paying careful attention to the interaction among Muslims across the dividing lines of race, gender, immigrant generations, sect, political orientation, and class, and between Muslims and other Americans.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior

AAAS 368     Black Exp in U.S.-1865-Present     3 Credit Hours

The history of Blacks in America is traced from the Reconstruction era and the rise of Jim Crow segregation to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's and the current period. Special attention is paid to the migration of blacks to the north and the social-economic situation which they encountered there. Specific topics to be addressed include formation of the NAACP. (AY).

AAAS 369     Civil Rights Movement in Amer     3 Credit Hours

A survey of race relations and civil rights activities from late 19th century to the present. The principal focus, however, is on the period since World War II, especially on the mass-based civil rights movement (1955-1965) and the various policy debates and initiatives of the past thirty years, most notably affirmative action and busing. We also examine critiques of non-violence and integrationism. (AY).

AAAS 371     African Exper in the Americas     3 Credit Hours

The course is a survey of African populations and cultures from 1500 to the present throughout the Americas. The focus of the course is on the Caribbean and Latin American contexts of these populations, but comparisons to North America will be made. Topics include the slavery, the relationship between Africans and indigenous populations, religions, politics, music, and questions of race and ethnicity. Readings will include ethnographic description, history, biography and fiction. (YR).

AAAS 385     Black Cinema     3 Credit Hours

The course will examine selected films from African American and African film traditions in order to analyze how their cultural production is responsive to the conditions of social oppression, economic under-development, and neo-colonialism. How film traditions define "Black aesthetics" will also be discussed. (AY).

AAAS 388     W. African Music: Trad.&Glob.     3 Credit Hours

West African popular music contains a unique mixture of African, Cuban, European and American influences. With the advent of radio and recording, music that was once locally based is now part of a national and international popular music industry. This course offers an overview of modern West African music, both traditional and popular. The course begins with an introduction to traditional West African instruments and musical genres. Next, there is an exploration of the fusion of traditional African styles with European, Cuban and American styles during and after the colonial era. The course culminates with an examination of the contributions of West African musicians to the World Music scene, focusing on issues of representation and Fair Trade.

Prerequisite(s): MHIS 100 or MHIS 120 or MHIS 130 or MTHY 100 or AAAS 106 or AAAS 275 or HUM 100 or HUM 270

AAAS 389     Odyssey of Black Men in Amer     3 Credit Hours

This course will examine the struggle of African American men for personal, political, and creative expression. This course incorporates several literary genres (narrative, fiction, essay, drama, and poetry) and the literary voices of black men who range from professional writers to politicians, from athletes to actors. Students will be required to critically read, discuss, analyze, and write their own responses to the literature found in the texts. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): COMP 280 or COMP 270 (COMP 106 or COMP 220 or ENGL 230 or CPAS with a score of 40) and (ENGL 200 or ENGL 231 or ENGL 232 or ENGL 233 or ENGL 235 or ENGL 236 or ENGL 237 or ENGL 239)

AAAS 390     Topics in Af & Af Am Studies     3 Credit Hours

This course examines problems and issues in selected areas of African and African American Studies. The specific title of the course will change in the Schedule of Classes according to content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topic differs. (OC).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Professional Development or Undergraduate

AAAS 393     Black Women, Rel & Spiritualty     3 Credit Hours

This lecture course surveys descriptive and critical literature relevant to the religious and spiritual experience and thought of African diasporic women. Studying religiosity and spirituality among this population helps students understand this influential, culturally-constructed world view of Black women as they engage in a variety of institutions including healthcare, economic activity, the criminal justice system, politics, and social relationships. The course gives particular attention to Black feminist and Womanist literature on these topics. (AY)

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

AAAS 403     Minority Groups     3 Credit Hours

The status of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States with particular reference to the social dynamics involved with regard to majority-minority relations. Topics of study include inequality, segregation, pluralism, the nature and causes of prejudice and discrimination and the impact that such patterns have upon American life. Students cannot receive credit for both AAAS 403 and AAAS 503. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAAS 404     Dissed: Differ, Power, Discrim     3 Credit Hours

Have you ever been dissed? Why are some people targets of disrespect? This class examines the unequal distribution of power - social, economic, and political - in the United States and other countries that results in favor for privileged groups. We will examine a variety of institutional practices and individual beliefs that contribute to disrespect. We'll look at ways that beliefs and practices, like viewing inequality as consequence of a 'natural order', obscure the processes that create and sustain social discrimination. We will engage in the intellectual examination of systems, behaviors, and ideologies that maintain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power and resources. Students will not receive credit for both AAAS 404 and AAAS 504.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Junior or Senior
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAAS 4401     Seminar: African Diaspora     3 Credit Hours

Research seminar on the history of the African Diaspora in the Atlantic World. This course covers examples of classic texts in the field, as well as significant new scholarship, with an emphasis on critical reading, analysis, and the development of an independent research project. Students gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the African Diaspora in the New World, derived from lectures and discussions providing an overview of this subject, as well as the micro views gleaned from sharing classroom presentation about students? individual research topics. The graduate version of this course includes weightier readings and assignments, with a research paper for potential publication.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 300 or AAAS 2755 or HIST 345 or AAAS 345

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore or Graduate

AAAS 449     Black Family in Contemp Amer     3 Credit Hours

The African-American family is examined in relationship to the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped its characteristic patterns of family life. These forces include the influence of slavery, urbanization, racial discrimination and urban poverty. The patterns of family life include parental roles, family structure, kinship relations, and gender roles. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

AAAS 469     Contemporary African Amer Lit     3 Credit Hours

An intensive study of major 20th-century African-American writers. Fiction, poetry, autobiography, and drama will be examined but one genre will be stressed in any given term, e.g., the novel. Lectures will provide historical and biographical context for analysis and discussion of the works. Students cannot receive credit for both AAAS 469 and AAAS 569. (YR).

Prerequisite(s): (COMP 106 or COMP 220 or COMP 270 or COMP 280 or CPAS with a score of 40) and (ENGL 200 or ENGL 230 or ENGL 231 or ENGL 232 or ENGL 233 or ENGL 235 or ENGL 236 or ENGL 237 or ENGL 239)

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Graduate

AAAS 470     Black Women / Lit, Film, Music     3 Credit Hours

This course will examine works produced by Black women authors, activists, filmmakers and musical performers in order to determine the methods they have incorporated in order to challenge and eradicate the prevailing stereotypes about Black women while advancing their own personal and racial agendas. It will also focus on the extent to which race, gender and class have shaped the creative work of Black women. Students will be required to read, discuss, analyze and write their own responses to the works of such firebrands as author Zora Neale Hurston, activist Ida B. Wells, filmmaker Julie Dash, and singer Billie Holliday.

Prerequisite(s): FILM 240 or FILM 248 or FILM 385 or AAAS 239 or AAAS 275 or HUM 303 or HUM 221 or HUM 222 or HUM 223 or ENGL 231 or ENGL 232 or ENGL 233 or ENGL 237 or ENGL 239 or ENGL 248 or ENGL 200 or ANTH 303 or PSYC 303 or SOC 303 or WGST 303

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate
Can enroll if College is Arts, Sciences, and Letters

AAAS 473     Race, Crime, and Justice     3 Credit Hours

This course is an analysis of race and its relation to crime in the criminal justice system. Students will analyze and interpret the perceived connection between race and crime, while exploring the dynamics of race, crime, and justice in the United States. This course is designed to familiarize students with current research and theories of racial discrimination within America's criminal justice system.

Prerequisite(s): SOC 200 or SOC 201

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman

AAAS 477     African American English     3 Credit Hours

An examination of the structure, history and use of African-American English. Topics will include the pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary of African-American English, theories of origin, linguistic repertoire and code-switching in African-American communities, the Ebonics controversy, and the role of this variety in education and identity formation. Student cannot receive credit for both AAAS 477 and AAAS 577.

Prerequisite(s): LING 280 or LING 281 or LING 480

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAAS 491     Topics in African Diaspora     3 Credit Hours

This course deals with African Diasporan history from the 19th century to the present. The method is by definition cross-cultural and comparative, requiring that the works or figures under study represent a diversity of Diasporan nationalities and/or cultures. The course may focus on a wide range of topics. Students cannot receive credit for AAAS 491 and AAAS 591 when the topic title is the same.

AAAS 491C     Topics in AAAS     3 Credit Hours

Topic: Senior Research Seminar: Africa and the New World Diaspora. A history research seminar exploring the broad history of Africa and its descendants in the New World. Emphasis will be placed on a series of cross-cultural but interconnected themes including: African civilizations, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and comparative systems of servitude, the Haitian Revolution, the American Civil War, the European conquest of Africa, trans-Atlantic systems of inequality, the World Wars, the African intellectual renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and Independence Movements in Africa.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 300

AAAS 498     Thesis     3 Credit Hours

Students pursuing the AAAS minor or an area of focus in African and African American Studies may choose to complete their coursework with a final thesis project that reflects research interests developed during their course of study. This thesis, which can be used to fulfill three (3) hours of the required upper-division course work, will be written under the direction of a faculty member whose scholarly expertise is compatible with the research field(s) of the student. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): AAAS 275 or AAAS 239 or ENGL 239 or HIST 106 or AAAS 106

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

AAAS 499     Independent Study     3 Credit Hours

Students pursuing the AAAS minor as well as those interested in focusing on some particular area in African and African American Studies may wish to do research on a topic not covered in the regular AAAS curriculum. This course provides an opportunity for students to conduct such research under the direction of a qualified faculty member. The project must be defined in advance in writing. (OC).

Prerequisite(s): AAAS 275 or AAAS 239 or ENGL 239 or AAAS 106 or HIST 106

Restriction(s):
Cannot enroll if Class is Freshman or Sophomore
Can enroll if Level is Undergraduate

 
*

An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally