African American Studies

  • CAS AA 500: Topics in African American Studies
    Topic for Spring 2021: "Identity." This course takes seriously the ongoing dependence on "identity" in cultural tensions, artistic expressions and cultural debates. Where did it come from, what does it mean and why does it matter? Via a cross-cultural exploration of literary, historical and critical works we engage how "identity" is claimed, mobilized and sometimes weaponized.
  • CAS AA 501: Topics in African American Literature
    Topic for Fall 2019: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic. Considers the first century of black Atlantic literature, including poetry and prose by Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, and Frederick Douglass. How did these writers represent the early modern world? How did they work to change it?
  • CAS AA 502: Topics in African American Literature
    Topic for Spring 2020: Tracking Changes in the Twentieth-Century African American Novel: Negotiations of Genre and Gender. Readings of Slave Narratives and Neo Slave Narratives, and the Urban Novel. Authors include Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Walter Mosley.
  • CAS AA 504: African American and Asian American Women Writers: Cross-Cultural Perspective
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: one previous literature course or junior or senior standing.
    Cross-cultural comparison of selected African American and Asian American women writers examines strategies by the "Other" to navigate cultural constructions of race, class, and gender. Attention to literary histories.
  • CAS AA 507: Literature of the Harlem Renaissance
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., EN 120 or WR 100 or WR 120).
    An exploration of the literature of the "New Negro Renaissance" or, more popularly, the Harlem Renaissance, 1919-1935. Discussions of essays, fiction, and poetry, three special lectures on the stage, the music, and the visual arts of the Harlem Renaissance. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS AA 514: Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic World
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: junior standing.
    The role of slavery in shaping the society and culture of the Afro-Atlantic world, highlighting the role of labor, the sexual economy of slave regimes, and the various strategies of resistance deployed by enslaved people. Also offered as CAS HI 584. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS AA 517: Urban Politics and Policy
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)
    Explores the impact of American urban politics on the implementation of local policy. Topics include deindustrialization, white flight, neighborhood effects, housing policy, schools, regionalism, and factors that constrain policy-making capacities. Also offered as CAS PO 517. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Writing-Intensive Course, Teamwork/Collaboration.
    • The Individual in Community
    • Teamwork/Collaboration
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • CAS AA 519: Inequality and American Politics
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 100 or WR 120)
    This course examines the role of income inequality in shaping American politics and policy. Combining research from history, political science, economics, and public policy scholars, we will consider a range of important topics, including inequality in public voice, money and politics, and attitudes towards redistribution. We will apply this knowledge as part of a final paper project in metropolitan Boston. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Writing- Intensive Course, Research and Information Literacy.
    • The Individual in Community
    • Research and Information Literacy
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • CAS AA 523: Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in US History
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar.
    The history of childhood in US History intersects with the interdisciplinary area of childhood studies. Within that, the histories of Black children and children of ethnic minorities and historically marginalized young people is a burgeoning subfield. This course examines how identities inclusive of (and structural inequities associated with) race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and sexuality have differently affected the lives and experiences of young people in the United States from the colonial period through to the 21st century. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Historical Consciousness (HCO), Creativity/Innovation.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Creativity/Innovation
    • Writing-Intensive Course
  • CAS AA 580: The History of Racial Thought
    Study of racial thinking and feeling in Europe and the United States since the fifteenth century. Racial thinking in the context of Western encounters with non-European people and Jews; its relation to social, economic, cultural, and political trends. Also offered as CAS HI 580.
  • CAS AA 588: Women, Power, and Culture in Africa
    Understanding the role of women in African history. Topics include the Atlantic slave trade, power, religion, the economy, resistance movements, health, the state, and kinship. Emphasis on the period before independence. Also offered as CAS HI 588.
  • CAS AA 591: Black Thought: Literary and Cultural Criticism in the African Diaspora
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: two previous literature courses or junior or senior standing.
    An introduction to literary and cultural thinking in African-America and the Black Diaspora. The course hones in on specific trends, themes, and characteristics of this work and assesses its relationship to broader political and social contexts. Also offered as CAS EN 537.
  • GRS AA 677: Critical Studies: Black Diaspora Theory and Practice
    Explore "diaspora" as a keyword for black studies, intervene in the term's emergence, usage, and many theorizations. Beginning with Paul Gilroy's take on diasporic culture and consciousness, course goes on to complicate/extend/challenge through lens of black gender and sexuality studies. Effective Fall 2021, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Aesthetic Exploration, Critical Thinking.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • The Individual in Community
    • Critical Thinking
  • GRS AA 683: African Diaspora Religions
    An introduction to religions of the African Diaspora, with a specific focus on the Caribbean and the Americas. In this course, students engage diverse traditions such as Africanized Christianity, Cuban Santeria, Haitian Vodou, Brazilian Candomble, and African American Spiritualism.
  • GRS AA 716: African Diaspora Arts in the Americas
    Study of the transmission of African artistry in the Caribbean, South America, and the United States from the period of slavery to the present. Topics include Kongo and Yoruba arts and their influence on the arts of Santeria, Vodun, and carnival. Also offered as GRS AH 716.
  • GRS AA 740: Science, Technology, Media: Race and Contemporary Criticism
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: for GRS students only
    This course focuses on racial engagements with science, technology and media. Topics range from genomics to artificial intelligence, medicine and popular culture. Though rooted in literary and cultural criticism, these interdisciplinary texts will also provide an introduction to various methodologies.
  • GRS AA 804: Seminar: The Family
    Explores the rise of "modern" families and the plurality of contemporary family forms and processes including gay and lesbian families and new reproductive technologies. Particular attention to social and economic inequalities and their implications for family life. Also offered as GRS SO 804.
  • GRS AA 808: Seminar: Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations
    Formation and position of ethnic minorities in the United States, including cross-group comparisons from England, Africa, and other parts of the world. Readings and field experience. Also offered as GRS SO 808.
  • GRS AA 871: African American History
    Surveys the history of African Americans from their African origins to the present, investigating their critical role in shaping the meaning of race, rights, freedom, and democracy during slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the civil rights era. Also offered as GRS HI 698.
  • GRS AA 882: History of Religion in Pre-Colonial Africa
    Study of the development of religious traditions in Africa during the period prior to European colonialism. An emphasis both on indigenous religions and on the African roots and the growth and spread of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the continent as a whole. Also offered as GRS HI 749 and GRS RN 682.