Introduction to African American Studies afam 170 mwf 1: 00-1: 50 p m. Butte 307 Sherrow O. Pinder

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Introduction to African American Studies

AFAM 170 MWF 1:00-1:50 p.m. Butte 307

Sherrow O. Pinder

Butte 717

Office hours: Mondays and Fridays 2:00-3:30 p.m. or by appointment. /530-898-6041 (w)

This course introduces the aims and objectives of African American Studies. It is a critical examination of the African American experience and its antecedents. This includes an assessment of how the dominant society impacts African Americans, including such factors as racism, poverty, and the current social/economic status of African Americans.
To explore these issues we will engage standard social science and historical studies as well as journalistic commentaries and documentaries. Students are encouraged to remain open-minded and to develop their own framework for analyzing the various historical events, issues, and theories we will encounter.

Learning Objectives

1. To understand the nature of classical African civilizations and their relationship to the rest of the world.

2. To develop knowledge and understanding of the history, process, and motivation of the enslavement of African Peoples.

3. To develop knowledge and understanding of ideas and philosophies of outstanding Thinkers, Writers, Leaders, and Artists of African ancestry.

4. To develop understanding and knowledge of African American Studies as an Evolving Afrocentric Human Science.

5. To develop an understanding of the history of and appreciation for Black Aesthetics and the Arts.


Jacqueline Bobo, Cynthia Hudley, and Claudine Michel (eds.). The Black Studies Reader. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Sherrow Pinder, Whiteness and Racialized Ethnic Groups in the United States: The Politics of Remembering. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2013.

W. E. B. Du Bois, Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Terri Hume Oliver. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.

Special Needs: If you have any medical or other condition that affects your ability to participate fully in any element of the course, you must inform me NO LATER THAN THE FOURTH CLASS MEETING. Once such documentation of a medical or other condition is provided, I will try to meet any special needs you may have. If a new condition arises during the course, official and personal documentation is ABSOLUTELY required.

Academic Integrity: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Plagiarism and cheating clearly violate the Principle of Academic Integrity as it is explained in the CSU, Chico Catalogue. If you are suspected of either cheating or plagiarism during the course, you will receive an “F” for the assignment or exam and depending on the circumstances, may fail the course. Additionally, all occurrences of plagiarism and cheating will be reported to the proper judicial board for disciplinary action.
Attendance: You are expected to attend class regularly and be actively involved in the learning process. STUDENTS WITH MORE THAN TWO (2) ABSENCES WILL BE PENALIZED WITH THE REDUCTION OF THEIR FINAL GRADE FOR THE COURSE BY ONE FULL LETTER GRADE (e.g., a student who earns an A- but has missed 3 regularly scheduled classes will receive a B- for the course). Tardiness is greatly discouraged. Out of respect for me and your fellow students, I expect you to attend class on time. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class session. If you arrive after attendance has been taken you will be technically absent for that day.

Engagement: The intensity and workload of this course demand that students take the readings seriously. You must set aside sufficient time, space and energy for reading (and in some instances, re-reading) course materials prior to coming to class.

In addition to the books that are required for this course, there are several articles on reserve at Meriam Library. Please do not take the readings placed on library reserve for granted. Be advised that this material is as integral to the course as the assigned books and will be central to presentations, class discussions, writing assignments and the mid-term and final exams.
The class meets three times a week. Students must come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings. You are expected to participate regularly in class discussions. Likewise, all students are required to do an in class presentation (5 minutes each). Each presentation must be a critique of the readings, and at least one question must be posed for class discussion.
Short Papers: The writing assignment for this course consists of short papers. Detailed instructions for format and the completion of these short papers will be discussed in class.
Examinations: All students are required to take a mid-term and a final examination. The mid-term will be given on April 4th during regular scheduled class time. The final exam will be given during the scheduled examination period for this course.

Engagement/Attendance 10%

Short Papers 20%

Presentation 20%

Mid Term Exam 25%

Final Exam 25%

Final grades will be determined by the following scale:

93-100 = A

90-92 = A-

87-89 = B+

83-86 = B

80-82 = B-

77-79 = C+

73-76 = C

70-72 = C-

60-69 = D

0-59 = F


Week 1

January 25- Introduction & Course Overview

January 27- Bobo et al. “Introduction,” p. 1-12.

January 29- Robert L. Harris Jr. “The Intellectual and Institutional Development of African Studies,” p.15-20.


February 1- Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom,” p.389-411.

(Short Paper Due)

January 3- Beverly Daniel Tatum, “Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom,” p.389-411.

January 5-Johnnetta B. Cole, “Black Studies in Liberal Arts Education,” p.21-33.
Week 3

February 8- Pinder, “Introduction,”

(Short Paper Due)

February 10-James Jennings, “Theorizing Black Studies: The Continuing Role of Community Service in the Study of Race and Class,” p.35-40.

February 12- Robin D.G. Kelly, “How the West was One: On the Uses and Limitations of Diaspora,” p. 41-46.

Du Bois, “Of Our Spirit Strivings,” 3-14.

Week 4

February 15- Elsa Barkley Brown, “Womanist Conscious: Maggie Lena Walker and the Independent Order,” 47-63.

(Short Paper Due)

February 17- Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, “Discontented Black Feminists: Prelude and Postscript to the Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment,” p.65-78.

February 19-Du Bois, “Of the Dawn of Freedom,” p. 15-42; “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others,” p. 43-61.
Week 5

February 22-Carol Mueller, “Ella Baker and the Origins of ‘Participatory Democracy,’” p.79-90

(Short Paper Due)

February 24- Angela Y. Davis, “Black Women and the Academy,” 91-99.

February 26 -Du Bois, “Of the Meaning of Progress,” p. 62-75.

Du Bois, “Of the Wings of Atlanta,” p. 76-88 & “Of the Training of Black Men,” p. 89-110.

Week 6

February 29-Frederick Knight, “Justifiable Homicide, Police Brutally, or Governmental Repression?: The 1962 Los Angeles Police Shooting of Seven Members of the Nation of Islam,” p.139-152.

(Short Paper Due)

March 2- Marlon B. Ross, “some Glances at the Black Fag: Race, Same-Sex Desire, and Cultural Belonging,” p.153-173.

March 4- Jacqueline Bobo, “The Color Purple: Black Women as Cultural Readers,” p.177-192.

Week 7

March 7- Stuart Hall, “What is this ‘Black’ in Black Popular Culture?,” p. 255-263.

(Short Paper Due)

March 9- Catherine R. Squires, “Black Talk Radio: Defining Community Needs and Identity,” p. 193-210.

March 11- Du Bois, “Of the Black Belt,” p.111-135 & “Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece,” p. 136-163.
Week 8

March 14-18 Spring Vocation—No Classes
Week 9

March 21-Film

March 23-Film

March 25-Discussiom

Week 10

March 28- Laura L. Sullivan, “Casing Fae: The Watermelon Woman and Black Lesbian Possibility,” p.211-223.

March 30- Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” 177-182. (On Reserve)

April 1-Review for Exam
Week 11

April 4-Midterm Exam

April 6- Evelynn Hammonds, “Black (W)holes and the Geometry of Black Female Sexuality,” p.301-314.

April 8- Du Bois, “Of the Sons of Master and Man,” p.164-189 &“Of the Faith of the Fathers,” p.190-208.

Week 12

April 11- Aycee, J. Lane, “Black Bodies/Gay Bodies: The Politics of Race in the Gay/Military Battle,” p.315-328.

(Short Paper Due)

April 13- Ann duCille, “Dyes and Dolls: Multicultural Barbie and the Merchandizing of Difference,” p.265-280.

April 15- Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “Racial Formation,” 13-22 (On Reserve).
Week 13

April 18- Pinder, Chapter 1, “The Emergence of Whiteness in the United states,” p.1-31.

(Short Paper Due)

April 20- Pinder, Chapter 2, “Whiteness as Property and its Impact on Racialized Ethnic Groups,” 33-64.

April 22- Pinder, Chapter 3, “Antidiscrimination Measures and Whiteness: The Case of Affirmative Action,” p.65-98.
Week 14

April 25- Pinder, Chapter 4, “Whiteness and the Problematics of Whiteness Studies,” 99-129.

(Short Paper Due)

April 27- Pinder, Chapter 5, “The Quandary of Antiracist Whiteness,” p.131-160

April 29- Du bois, & “Of the Passing of the First Born” p. 209-216 & “of Alexander Cromwell,” 217-229.
Week 15

May 2- Pinder, “Conclusion: Reflections,” p. 161-168.

(Short Paper Due)

May 4- Du bois, Du bois, “Of the Coming of John,” p.230-251.

May 6- Du Bois, “Of the Sorrow Songs,’ p. 252-266.
Week 16

May 9- Cynthia Hudley and Rhoda Barnes, “Home-School Partnerships Through the Eyes of Parents,” p. 359-365.

(Short Paper Due)

May 11- “Randi L. Miller, “Desegregation Experiences of Minority Students: Adolescent Coping Strategies in Five Connecticut High Schools,” p.367-377.

May 13- Review for Final Exam.
Week 17

May 18- Final Exam 2:00-3:50 p.m.

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