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African American Studies

Alex Zamalin, Ph.D., teaches a class for the African American Studies Minor

Program: Minor - African American Studies
Credit Hours: 18

African American Studies at University of Detroit Mercy is a multidisciplinary minor that promotes the understanding of the African-American experience through scholarship, service learning and cultural events. Students taking the African American Studies minor come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, but they share an interest in their own and others’ cultures and see themselves as leaders in a multicultural society.

Students who earn a minor in African American Studies have a richer understanding of African and African-American culture and a keener appreciation of the relationship between race, diversity and society. Students from every college, major and professional school at University of Detroit Mercy can benefit from and contribute to the African American Studies minor. Through our partnerships within and outside of the University, students have the opportunity to work with faculty from a broad range of disciplines, attend academic and cultural events sponsored by the African American Studies Program, perform community service and internships within Detroit and the surrounding area and pursue international exchange through the Study Abroad Program.

Essence of the Minor

The African American Studies minor provides students with an academic understanding of and concern for the dignity and rich heritage of the African-American experience. Students in this 18-credit minor examine race, culture, and identity through urban, regional, national, and global perspectives. Multidisciplinary methods of inquiry and scholarly research in historical and contemporary theories of race will expose students to the history and culture of Africans, African Americans and Africans in the diaspora.

Career Opportunities

Students with an African American Studies minor may apply their knowledge to a wide variety of fields including politics and public policy, medicine and public health, law, media, the arts, education and social services. They are activists in their community and the voice of diversity in the workplace.

Courses

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    Winter 2017 Courses

    Critical Perspectives in African American Studies, AAS 2000, W, 1-3:30
    Instructor: Alex Zamalin
    Attributes: Service Learning

    An introduction to major concepts, theories, and paradigms of inquiry in African-American Studies. Students engage a variety of approaches through reading, discussion, of key works by African-American scholars and social thinkers, both contemporary and historical. Application of selected concepts, theories and paradigms of inquiry to relevant issues in contemporary Detroit.

    African American History, HIS 3480, MW, 1-2:15
    Instructor: Roy Finkenbine
    Attributes: Core Objective 5A

    A survey of African American history from the West African background to the present. Among the topics to be examined are: the transatlantic slave trade, the development of African American culture, slavery, free blacks, emancipation, life in the segregated South, 20th-century urban migrations, and the era of the civil rights movement, and beyond.

    African American Women in Music, MUS 2090, T, 6:40-9:10
    Instructor: Gail Mitchell
    Attributes: Core Objective 5D

    Students will trace the development of musical expression found throughout the African American woman's experience from slavery to modern times. Coursework includes mandatory concert attendance.

    Cross Cultural Socialization, PYC 4400, M, 4-6:30
    Instructor: Harold Greene
    Attributes: Core Objective 3C, Core Objective 5D

    Cross-cultural exploration of forces involved in the socialization process, drawing on research from anthropology, biology, and psychology.

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    Catalog: All Courses in the African American Studies Program

    African American Studies Courses
    University of Detroit Mercy

    The African American Studies program offers a variety of classes throughout the course of the major.  Not every class is offered each semester. Please talk with your advisor or the African American Studies program director, Alex Zamalin, about the courses you are interested in: zamalial@udmercy.edu.

    AAS 2000 Critical Perspectives in African-American Studies
    An introduction to major concepts, theories, and paradigms of inquiry in African-American Studies. Students engage a variety of approaches through reading, discussion, of key works by African-American scholars and social thinkers, both contemporary and historical. Application of selected concepts, theories and paradigms of inquiry to relevant issues in contemporary Detroit.

    AAS 2030 Race, Law and American Politics
    This course serves as an introduction to the relationship between race, law and American politics. We will study how law and the American political system in which it exists is itself a system of meaning, value and rules that is influenced by issue of racial identity. The questions we will ask are the following: how does race shape American politics? What are the modes of protest available for challenging racial inequality, and energizing American democracy?

    AAS 3020 Race and Political Thought
    This course serves as an introduction to the study of race and political thought. Historically, race has enabled regimes of discourse and power that have granted privilege to some and not others. As a complex system of social and political categorization, race has been a key marker of difference, inequality and power. Taking our orientation from the tradition of political theory, an enterprise devoted to the study of such topics like justice, equality, identity and power, we will attempt to (1) develop a political conception of race, (2) survey key debates that animate questions of racial identity and power, (3) consider ethical arguments and political solutions for the achievement of racial justice. We will consider the following questions in more detail: What exactly is race? How has it been constructed by the modern state? How does language work to codify racial distinctions? What is anti-black and colonial racism? What is "whiteness," and how is it constituted? What role does gender play in racial identity? Should race be abandoned? Are reparations or affirmative action ever a desirable policy for the achievement of racial justice?

    AAS 3100 Science, Technology and RaceCredit Hours: 3
    This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies, with a particular emphasis on the intersection of this field with the social category of race. The course examines the ways in which science and technology constantly recreate and reconstruct the concept of race, and how race and racial categories color research and practice in science and technology. The course includes multiple case studies detailing the links between these concepts in U.S. history, and a global, historical survey of race concepts in science and technology from pre-Darwinian racial thought to the Human Genome project.

    AAS 4900 Integrative Seminar
    A seminar designed to allow students to integrate critical perspectives encountered in African-American Studies courses. Students design and complete an individual culminating project involving service -learning or scholarly research on a relevant topic from the contemporary or historical African-American experience.

    ENL 2850 African American Literature
    Introduces students to the aesthetic traditions and cultural history of African American literature through a critical examination of its significant authors, genres, and movements. Emphasis is given to the issue of African American identity and its dense interrelationship with history, culture, politics, and art in the African American literary tradition, and to the contributions and challenges of that tradition to U.S. literary history as a whole.

    PHL 3650 African Philosophy and Culture
    The course is an introduction to the emerging field of sub-Saharan African philosophy, and includes the study of ethnophilosophy (description and criticism of communal world views of some African peoples); sage philosophy (views of African thinkers regarded as wise by their communities); liberation philosophy, and professional academic African philosophy. Note: This course fulfills Objective 5d of the University Core Curriculum.

    POL 4670 Politics in Africa
    A comparative study of politics in selected countries and regions of Africa, touching on such problems as apartheid, education, standard of living, and modernization. The course examines the social and political changes as well as stagnation in Africa, including some of the evolution of governmental, educational, commercial, and religious institutions which shape African society, and the different patterns of political and social change which have emerged since independence.

    PYC 4400 Cross-Cultural Socialization
    Cross-cultural exploration of forces involved in the socialization process, drawing on research from anthropology, biology, and psychology.

    MUS 2090 African-American Women in Music
    Students will trace the development of musical expression found throughout the African American woman's experience from slavery to modern times. Coursework includes mandatory concert attendance. May be taken to fulfill Objective 5D, Comparative Experience.

    HIS 2900 Modern Africa
    This is an overview of the modern African past from the transatlantic slave trade to the present. Topics include the slave trade, statemaking in pre-colonial Africa, colonial domination by Europeans, movements for independence, and post-independence issues.

    HIS 3480 African American History
    A survey of African American history from the West African background to the present. Among the topics to be examined are: the transatlantic slave trade, the development of African American culture, slavery, free blacks, emancipation, life in the segregated South, 20th-century urban migrations, and the era of the civil rights movement, and beyond.

    HIS 4480 Topics in African American History
    An intensive examination of selected topics or periods in African American history, such as the Atlantic slave trade, slavery, black abolitionists, the emancipation experience, life in the segregated South, the urban experience, the civil rights movement, African American culture, and black nationalism.

    HIS 4910 Black Abolitionist Workshop
    A workshop approach to the problems and issues of research and writing in African- American history, using the resources of the Black Abolitionist Archives. Students work collaboratively on ongoing projects examining personalities, communities, and social movements between 1830 and the end of the Civil War.

Events

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    2016-17 Events

    October 19 | 3-4 p.m. | Commerce & Finance Building, Room 233
    Dudley Randall and the Black Arts Movement
    Dr. Melba J. Boyd
    Melba Joyce Boyd is Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies at Wayne State University. She is the author of 13 books, including Wrestling with the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press (Columbia University Press) which received the 2005 Black Caucus of the American Library Association Book Honor for Nonfiction and the editor of Roses and Revolutions: The Collected Writings of Dudley Randall (2009) which received the 2010 Library of Michigan Notable Books Award and was a finalist for a 2010 NAACP Image Award in Literature. Her 1994 book, Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911, was widely reviewed and praised.

    October 5 | 3-4 p.m. | Commerce & Finance Building, Room 233
    Abolitionism and Iberian Nationalisms at the Turn of the Century
    Dr. Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo

    Adolfo Campoy-Cubillo is an assistant professor of Spanish at Oakland University. His work focuses on the colonization of Morocco by Spain and the cultural production of the Moroccan migrant community in present day Spain. Some of his most recent work includes Memories of the Maghreb: Transnational Identities in Spanish Cultural Production (Palgrave 2012), co-edited a special issue on Western Sahara, “Considering Western Sahara. Multidisciplinary approaches to Post-Colonialism” (Transmodernity 2015, and published annotated editions of Ramón J. Sender's Imán (Stockcero 2014) and Jose Díaz Fernández’s El Blocao (Oxbow 2015).

Affiliated Faculty

Mithu Battacharya, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Decision Sciences

Ann Eskridge
Adjunct Faculty of English

Roy Finkenbine, Ph.D.
Professor of History, Department Co-Chair and Director of the Black Abolitionist Archive

Harold Greene, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology

Cheryl Munday, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Director of the Detroit Mercy Psychology Clinic, and Affiliated Faculty, Program for Research on Black Americans, Institute for Social Research

Carmen Stokes, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Nursing

Prasad Venugopal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics

Alex Zamalin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the African American Studies Program


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