Africana Studies

Students in Africana Studies acquire critical tools to examine the histories, politics, cultures, and economies of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe.  Africana Studies courses engage methods and theories from multiple disciplines including history, sociology, anthropology, literature, religion, and music.  Race has been a power social construction, and Africans and people of African descent have shaped and transformed ideas about identity, belonging, health, gender, ethnicity, “blackness” and “whiteness” all over the world. All students are welcome to pursue Africana Studies.

Students interested in Africana Studies should consider enrolling in one of the courses listed under Africana Studies on the First-Year Student website.

ARAB 101
Elementary Arabic 1
Common Area: Language Studies

This course, designed for students with no previous study of Arabic, introduces the script system of Arabic language, ensures the acquisition of basic speaking, listening, reading and writing in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and introduces the Arab culture around the world. Five class hours weekly.

ARAB 201
Intermediate Arabic 1
Common Area: Language Studies

This course reviews and expands the fundamentals of the Arabic language through oral and written expression accompanied by readings and culture. Prerequisite ARAB 102 or equivalent. Five class hours weekly.

CISS 150
Intro to Global Health
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies

It is  recognized  that  poverty  plays  a  central  role  in  many  preventable  diseases. With  the development of nations have come improvements in health. The linkages between health and development can only be understood within the broader context of socio-political and economic factors. In the landscape of globalization and international development there has emerged a vast international health regime. This course focuses on these linkages in the context of this international political economy of health. Key aspects are critically examined including the concepts and architecture  of  global  health,  the  global  burden  and  epidemiology  of  disease,  health  and development of nations, and political-economic determinants of health and development. This foundational course in global health will use a variety of analytical perspectives including political, legal, economic and epidemiological. The course focuses on developing countries.

EDUC 169
Schooling in the United States
Common Area: None

This course is an introduction to the problems and possibilities of public schooling in the United States.  In it, students will consider big questions—questions about the purpose of school, about who should be educated, about what should be taught, and about the factors that constrain decision-making.  In order to get a range of perspectives on those questions, the course will utilize a number of disciplinary lenses—history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, etc.


HIST 198
Modern Africa Since 1800
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies or Historical Studies

A survey of Africa’s complex colonial past, this course examines dominant ideas about colonial Africa and Africans’ experiences during colonialism. We explore the historical debates on pre-colonial Africa’s place in the global world; resistance and response to the imposition and entrenchment of colonialism; and the nature of colonial rule as revealed in economic underdevelopment, ethnicity and conflict, and the environment. The course concludes with an evaluation of the post-colonial outcome in Africa, particularly focusing on the challenges and promises facing present-day African nations as they grapple with neo-colonialism marked by dependency, political instability, ethnic conflicts, disease, over-population and indebtedness.

MUSC 150
American Music
Common Area: Arts
Surveys three main repertoires of music in the United States: folk and traditional music of urban, rural, and ethnic origin; jazz; and art music from Charles Ives to the present, with particular attention to the influence of science and technology on recent developments. No prerequisite.  One unit.

MUSC 218
Jazz Improvisation 1
Common Area: Arts
Introduces students to the fundamentals of jazz harmony and improvisation. Topics include chord and scale construction, harmonic progression, symbols used in improvisation, jazz scales and modes. These theoretical concepts are applied to the analysis and performance of standard jazz tunes. A portion of the class is devoted to performance and improvisation.  One unit.

MUSC 236
From Blues to Rap
Common Area: Arts

A survey of African-American from the early 20th century to the present day.  This course will consider various musical styles, with special emphasis on developments since 1950, including blues, gospel, R&B, rock and roll, doo-wop, soul, funk, disco, hip-hop, and rap-from the rural south to the urban north; from the east coast to the west coast; from the live stage to the recording studio.  Though the primary function of the course will be to consider the development of musical style (that is, the music itself), we will also consider broader questions concerning the influences on and influences of African-American music, issues of cultural appropriation and race, issues of gender and sexuality as they relate to the repertories being studied, and the agency of such music in social movements from the civil-rights era to the present day. This course is for anyone interested in music and American history.  The ability to read musical notation is not required. One unit.

RELS 107
Common Area: Cross-Cultural Studies or Studies in Religion

Examination of Islamic religious beliefs and practices from the origins of Islam to the present. Particular stress is placed on Islamic religious ideals, institutions and personalities. Central topics include: Islamic scripture and traditions, prophecy, law, rituals, theology and philosophy, sectarianism, mysticism, aesthetic ideals, art and architecture, pedagogy, and modern reinterpretations of the tradition. Also explores wider issues of religious identity by looking at the diversity of the Islamic tradition, tensions between elite and popular culture, and issues of gender and ethnicity.

THEA 141
Jazz Dance 1–2
Common Area: Arts

This is a studio course open to students with previous dance experience. It focuses on technique and touches on aspects of jazz history and its relationship to music and social history. The class is for students who have had at least six months of dance experience.

Back to First-Year Course listing »

Back to Course Schedule »