Fall 2016


Introduction to African-American Studies

A multidisciplinary investigation into the lives and cultures of people of African descent in the Americas. Topics may include: the African background, religion and the black church, popular culture, slavery and resistance, morality and literacy, the civil rights movement, black nationalism, theories of race and race relations.

Vasquez (10A) CI; SOC


Introduction to African Studies

Multidisciplinary in scope, the course will survey critical social change in African cultures and civilizations through a study of history, art, literature, religion, economy, and politics, paying particular attention to the cultural impact of colonial rule on contemporary societies and states.

Shipley (10A) NW; SOC


History of Africa since 1800 (crosslisted with HIST 66)

This course explores some of the major historical processes unfolding in Africa since 1800. Our analysis will focus on social and economic history as we examine Africa's integration into the international economy during the nineteenth century, the rise of new social classes, and the creation of the colonial and post-colonial state. Our primary case studies will be drawn from east, west and southern Africa to highlight both the similarities and differences of their historical development. Open to all classes.

Sackeyfio-Lenoch (10A) NW; SOC


Toni Morrison (crosslisted with ENGL 63.02)

This course is an in-depth study of Toni Morrison’s major fictional works. We will also read critical responses by and about the author. We will examine Morrison’s earliest and arguably most foundational and influential works. Required texts will include, The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, A Mercy, and Conversations with Toni Morrison. Central to our exploration will be an analysis of Morrison’s observation that “the past affects the present.” Therefore, we will explore the social and historical factors that contribute to Morrison’s artistic constructions. Some of the issues we will examine include, alternative constructions of female community and genealogy, and representations of race, class, nationhood, and identity.

Vasquez (2A) CI; INT or LIT


Contemporary Africa: Exploring Myths, Engaging Realities (crosslisted with ANTH 36)

This course focuses on processes, relationships, and experiences that have shaped, and continue to shape, the lives of Africans in many different contexts. These include issues of ecology and food production, age, gender, ethnicity, exchange, colonialism, apartheid, and development. We will then embark on in depth readings of ethnographies that engage these issues and themes. In the processes we will move beyond prevailing stereotypes about Africa, to engage the full complexity of its contemporary realities.

Billings (10) CI; SOC


History of Modern South Africa (crosslisted with HIST 67)

After an initial overview of colonialism in Africa, this course will concentrate on Southern Africa, with special emphasis on the historical development, effects, and implications of the racial situation in the Republic of South Africa. Readings will be drawn from primary and secondary materials and from works of fiction. Illustrative films will be shown, and some opportunity offered to compare the history of race relations in South Africa with that in other African countries and in the United States. Open to all classes.

Sackeyfio-Lenoch (2A) NW; SOC


Colonialism, Development, and the Environment in Africa and Asia (crosslisted with HIST 75 and ENVS 45)

This course examines the environmental history of Africa and Asia, focusing on the period of European colonialism and its aftermath. Topics include deforestation and desertification under colonial rule; imperialism and conservation; the consequences of environmental change for rural Africans and Asians; irrigation, big dams and transformations in water landscapes; the development of national parks and their impact on wildlife and humans; the environmentalism of the poor; urbanization and pollution; and global climate change in Africa and Asia. Open to all classes.

Haynes (10) NW; INT or SOC


Masterpieces of Literature from Africa (crosslisted with COLT 51 ENGL 53.16)

This course is designed to provide students with a specific and global view of the diversity of literatures from the African continent. We will read texts written in English or translated from French, Portuguese, Arabic and African languages. Through novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, we will explore such topics as the colonial encounter, the conflict between tradition and modernity, the negotiation of African identities, post-independence disillusion, gender issues, apartheid and post-apartheid. In discussing this variety of literatures from a comparative context, we will assess the similarities and the differences apparent in the cultures and historical contexts from which they emerge. Readings include Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Naguib Mahfouz's Midaq Alley, Calixthe Beyala's The Sun Hath Looked Upon Me, Camara Laye's The African Child, and Luandino Vieira's Luanda.

Coly (2A) NW; INT or LIT


Introduction to Postcolonial Literature (crosslisted with ENGL 42)

An introduction to the themes and foundational texts of postcolonial literature in English. We will read and discuss novels by writers from former British colonies in Africa, South Asia, the Caribbean, and the postcolonial diaspora, with attention to the particularities of their diverse cultures and colonial histories. Our study of the literary texts will incorporate critical and theoretical essays, oral presentations, and brief background lectures. Authors may include Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, V.S. Naipaul, Merle Hodge, Anita Desai, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Paule Marshall, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Salman Rushdie, Earl Lovelace, Arundhati Roy.

Khan (2A) NW; INT or LIT

AAAS 80.06

Civil Rights in the US in the 20th Century (crosslisted with HIST 22)

This course examines movements for civil rights, broadly defined, in the 20th-century US. Students explore concepts of American citizenship, considering struggles for political inclusion and efforts to participate fully in the nation's social and cultural life. We focus on women's and gay rights and the struggles of African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians, examining how these and other groups have envisioned and pursued full American citizenship.

Rabig (11) CI; SOC

AAAS 80.07

Race, Media, Celebrity (crosslisted with FILM 50.xx)

How is fame understood through racial difference? This course explores the dynamic terrain of contemporary celebrity culture as it intersects with race. Looking across a range of media formats (music, television, and digital media) we will examine the construction of black celebrity from Barack Obama to Beyoncé. We will engage with the aesthetics and politics of black celebrity visibility, paying close attention to issues of gender, sexuality, and class. Topics considered include celebrity performance, scandal, and fandom in US public and popular culture.

Monk-Payton (2) CI; ART

AAAS 87.05

The Politics of Africa (crosslisted with GOV 42.01)

This course examines post-colonial politics in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular focus on the events of the last decade. The course will be structured around three main themes: (1) patterns of economic growth and decline; (2) the transition to democratic political systems; and (3) political violence and civil conflict. While the course covers broad trends across the continent, it will also draw on case studies from particular countries.

Horowitz (2) NW; INT or SOC

AAAS 87.09

African Popular Culture: Violence and Aesthetics (crosslisted with ANTH 12.14)

This course introduces a global socio-historical framework within which to examine African popular cultures across the continent and as they circulate globally. Considering the historical contexts of contact between Africa, Europe, and­­­­ the Americas, we will explore cultural, economic, and philosophic aspects of African expressive cultures. Focusing on Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa, we will study music, film, dance, social media, theater, and literature, and consider how ideas of what it means to be African are produced and contested through these media.


Shipley (2A) NW; SOC

AAAS 87.11

Language in Africa

*pending final approval*

Africa: home to around 2000 of the world’s 7000 languages, yet ask an average person on the street to name five African languages and they may be hard-pressed to do so. This course explores the languages of Africa from a historical, linguistic, and cultural standpoint, including the migration and diffusion of different language groups across the continent, similarities and differences in linguistic structure between African languages, the amazing complexity of the Khoisan languages (best known for their use of clicks), the effects of colonialism on language, writing systems, and many other topics.

McPherson (10A) NW; SOC


Independent Study in African and African American Studies

Available to students who wish to independently explore aspects of African and African American Studies which are not included in courses currently offered at Dartmouth. Open to qualified students with permission of the course instructor and the Chair. (Obtain Proposal Form in the program office.) No student may take more than two such courses without the approval of the Chair. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.


Senior Independent Research in African and African American Studies

For senior African and African American Studies majors toward the culminating experience, with permission of selected instructor and the Chair. (Obtain Proposal Form in the program office.)


Honors Thesis in African and African American Studies

Two terms of senior year with selected AAAS faculty member.

The honors student will pursue the project under guidance of selected faculty member and with permission of the Chair. See "A Guide to Honors in African and African American Studies."