Office Hours : Tuesdays 11: 00am – 12: 00pm, David King 2007, or by appt. Course Goals

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Psyc 461 African-American Psychology
Instructor: Kerstin Youman, MA


Office Hours : Tuesdays 11:00am – 12:00pm, David King 2007, or by appt.

Course Goals: This course is designed to give an overview of topics and issues especially relevant for persons of African descent living in contemporary America from a historical and multi-dimensional perspective. We will explore the interplay between societal trends and the African American experience as well as the many contributions of African Americans to our culture. We will examine the challenges and adversity faced by African Americans as a historically oppressed minority from a strength and resilience perspective, in the hope that this educational experience will enhance our understanding of how to optimize conditions for African Americans.

Recommended Texts:

Belgrave, F. and Allyson, K. (2006). African American Psychology: From Africa to America. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Jones, R. (Ed). (2004). Black Psychology. 4th Edition. Hampton, VA: Cobb and Henry.

Assignments and Grading:

Class discussion 20%

Students will submit thoughtful questions based on the readings to stimulate classroom discussion for a total of 5 questions per student over the course of the semester. Grades will be based on both the quality of the questions and participation in class discussion.

Experiential Learning Essay 20%

Each student will participate in two cultural events in a similar context, one reflecting predominantly Euro-centric culture and one reflecting predominantly Afro-centric culture (e.g. live performance, religious service, museum visit, lecture). Each student will write a 3-5 page essay comparing and contrasting the experiences and relating them to topics covered in the middle portion of class (racial identity and self-concept thru culture).

Midterm take-home exam 30%

The midterm exam will cover the first third of the semester and will include 3 essay questions of which the student will answer 2, incorporating lecture material and readings into the response.

Final take-home exam 30%

The final exam will cover the final third of the semester and will follow the same format as the midterm exam.

Important Dates

Last day to add:   September 9

Last day to drop:  September 26

Midterm Exam Assigned: September 18

Midterm Exam Due: September 25

Essay Due: October 30

Final Exam Assigned: December 2

Final Exam Due: December 16, 10:15am

 Honor Policy Students will be expected to adhere to the university honor policy.

 If you are a student with disability and you need academic

accommodations, please see me and contact the Disability Resource Center
(DRC) at 709-993-2474.  All academic accommodations must be arranged
through that office.

There is no technology requirement for this course.


I. African-Americans and the History of U.S. Psychology

Early American Psychology

1st Wave of Black Psychology

2nd Wave of Black Psychology

Contemporary Issues

  • Aug 26  Introduction and Overarching Themes Jan 24    

  • Aug 28  Belgrave, F. and Allyson, K. (2006).  Chapter 1.

  • Sept. 2   1) Guthrie, R. (2004). The Psychology of African Americans: A historical perspective. In R. Jones (Ed.), (pp. 41-52).

  • Sept. 4   2) White, J. (2004). Toward a Black Psychology. In R. Jones (Ed.) (pp. 5-16).

  • Sept. 9  Jenkins, A. (2004). A humanistic approach to African American psychology. In Jones. (pp. 135-156).

  • Sept. 11 Boykin, A.W., Franklin, A.J., & Yates, J.F. (1980). Worknotes on empirical research in black psychology. In A.W. Boykin, A.J. Franklin & J.F. Yates, (Eds.). Research directions of  black psychologists. N.Y. : Russell Sage Press.

  • Sept. 16  Boykin, A. W., Allen, B., & Jagers, R. (Forthcoming) The psychology of African American experiences: An integrity-based perspective. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Chaps 2 and 3.

  • Sept. 18  Hunt, M. (2007). African American, Hispanic, and White beliefs about Black/White inequality 1977- 2004. American Sociological Review, 72, 350-415. Hand-out Midterm Take-Home Exam  

II. Racial Identity and Self-concept

  • Sept. 23    Gardner-Kitt, D. & Worrell, F. (2007) Measuring nigrescence attitudes in school-aged adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 187-202

  • Sept. 25 Midterm Take-Home Exam Due.

  • Sept. 30    Sellers (2006) Racial identity matters: The relationship between racial discrimination and psychological functioning in African American adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 187-216.

III. Culture



Spirituality and Religion


  • Oct 2  1) Kalam ya Salaam. It Didn't Jes Grew: The Social and Aesthetic Significance of African American Music. African American Review, Vol. 29, No. 2, Special Issues on The Music. (Summer, 1995), pp. 351-375.; 2) Maultsby, P.K. A map of the music. African American Review, Vol. 29, No. 2, Special Issues on The Music. (Summer, 1995), pp. 183-184.

  • Oct 7   1) Belgrave and Allison, Chapter 7, 174-180; 2) Mattis, J. (2004). Spirituality and religion in African American life. In Jones, (pp. 93-116).

  • Oct 9 No readings. Attend 2 cultural events instead.

  • Oct 14 NO CLASS (Columbus Day).

 IV. Child Development, Socialization and Education

Family Structure and Parenting Practices

Education- Pre-school through Graduate Level 

  • Oct 16 Simons, L. et. al. (2006) Parenting practices and child adjustment in different types of households: A study of African American families. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 803-825.

  • Oct 21 Boykin, A.W. and Ellison, C. (1995). The multiple ecologies of Black youth socialization: An Afrographic analysis. In R. Taylor (Ed). African American youth: Their social and economic status in the United States. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press.  

  • Oct 23   Ware, F. (2006) Warm demander pedagogy: Culturally responsive teaching that supports a culture of achievement for African American students. Urban Education, 41, 427-456.

  • Oct 28    1) Potts, R. (2003) Emancipatory education versus school-based prevention in African American communities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 173-183; 2) Abbdul-Adil, J. & Farmer, A. (2005) Inner-city African American parental involvement in elementary schools: Getting beyond urban legends of apathy. School Psychology Quarterly, 21, 1-12.

  • Oct 30    Experiential Learning Essay Due. Discussion of cultural events. Taylor, A. & Graham, S. (2007) An examination of the relationship between achievement values and perceptions of barriers among low-SES African American and Latino students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 52-64; 

  • Nov 4 ELECTION DAY. Long, et al (2007) Academic motivation and achievement among urban adolescents. Urban Education, 42, 196-222.

  • Nov 6  1) Vasquez, M.J. & Jones, J. (2006). Increasing the Number of Psychologists of Color: Public Policy Issues for Affirmative Diversity. American Psychologist, Vol 61(2), Feb-Mar 2006. pp. 132-142.; 2) Allen, (2000). The Black Academic: Faculty Status among African Americans in U.S. Higher Education. (2000). The Journal of Negro Education, 69, Knocking at Freedom's Door: Race, Equity and Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education, 112-127.


V. Mental Health and Physical Health

Adjustment and Physical Health

Risk and Resilience Factors

Prevalence of Psychological Disorders

Help Seeking and Treatment

  • Nov 11    Lewis-Trotter, P. & Jones, J. (2004). Racism. In Jones (Ed.), (pp. 559-588).

  • Nov 13    Harrell, J., Floyd, L., Daniels, I. & Bell, S. (2004). Psychophysiological methods: Enduring value to research within Black Psychology. In Jones (Ed.), (pp. 663-684).

  • Nov 18   1) Franklin-Jackson, D. and Carter, R. (2007). The relationship between race related stress, racial identity, and mental health for Black Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 33, 5-26.; 2) Gordon, E. (2004). Defiance: Variations on the theme of resilience. In Jones (Ed.), (pp. 117-128).

  • Nov 20    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity—A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services. Chapter 3 (pp. 51-76).

  • Nov 25   Lee, C. (2004). Counseling African Americans. In Jones (Ed.), (pp. 631-650).

  • Nov 27 NO CLASS Thanksgiving Holiday

VI. African-American Strengths

  • Dec 2 Hand out Final Take-Home Exam. Hayles, V. et. al. (2004). African American strengths: A selective contemporary review. In Jones (Ed.), (pp. 405-426).

  • Dec 4 Wrap up.

  • Dec 16 Final Take-Home Exam Due by 10:15am

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