"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line."
  W.E.B. Du Bois, "Forethought," The Souls of Black Folk (1903)


The African-American Studies Program was developed to contribute to the intellectual richness of Vanderbilt University through teaching, research, scholarship, and creative production and performance which focus on the experiences and legacies, the articulations and creative expressions, of African and African-descended peoples throughout the world. In doing so the Program draws on virtually all fields of knowledge in the University (the Humantities, the Social Sciences, the Natural Sciences, and Fine Arts; Law, Medicine, Education, and Divinity) in order to provide rich, integrated sets of courses designed to enhance critical understanding and appreciation of African and African-descended peoples in behalf of enhanced life on a shared planet. Students may choose an interdisciplinary major or minor in African American Studies or take courses as electives. Those who choose to major or minor in the program must meet with the Program's Director to formally declare their intention to do so, to be advised regarding the requirements for a major or minor, and to be assisted in designing a course of study by which to fulfill those requirements and the student's own academic ambitions.

Lucius Outlaw, Jr., Director
VU Station B, Box 1516
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN. 37235-1516
phone (615) 343-6390
fax (615)343-1444

Majors in African-American Studies

Minors in African-American Studies

List of Courses

Spring 2002 Teaching Faculty And Advisory Committee Members

Spring 2002 Course Offerings



Major in African-American Studies:

The interdisciplinary major consists of 30 hours of core courses and 6 hours of electives. Requirements for the completion of the major include:

African American Studies 101: Introduction to African American Studies

African American History: History 279-280

African History: History 253-254

African American Humanities: Three hours in the humanities to be selected from English, Fine Arts, Music, Dance, and Religious Studies courses in the African-American Studies Program.

African Humanities: Three hours in the humanities to be selected from English, French, Humanities, Music, and Religious Studies courses in the African-American Studies Program.

African American Social Sciences: Three hours in the humanities to be selected from Anthropology, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology courses in the African-American Studies Program.

African Social Sciences: Three hours in the humanities to be selected from Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology courses in the African-American Studies Program.

Electives: Six hours of elective credit selected from the approved lists of elective course offerings at Vanderbilt and Fisk universities. Consult the African American Studies program office for the approved lists of courses.

African American Studies 299 Project: Senior Project in African American Studies.


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Minor in African-American Studies:

Students who elect to minor in African American Studies must choose an emphasis either in African or African American Studies. Each minor consists of 18 credit hours and requires the completion of the two-course (six hours) history sequence in the student's chosen geograhic area (African or African American); and three each of humanities and social sciences course work in the respective geographic area. Six hours of electives must be chosen from the lists of approved courses offerec by Vanderbilt or Fisk universities, which may be obtained in the program office in 018 Furman Hall. Elective courses are not restricted to courses in the student's selected geographic area. Courses must be selected in consultation with the program director.

History 279-280 or History 253-254

Humanities: Students must complete 3 hours in the humanities to be selected from courses in the African-American Studies Program. These courses must be selected in the respective geo-cultural area (African or African-American).

Social Sciences: Students must complete 3 hours in the humanities to be selected from courses in the African-American Studies Program. These courses must be selected in the respective geo-cultural area (African or African-American).

Electives: Students must complete 6 hours of elective credit. These classes may be any course offered in the African-American Studies Program; therefore they are not restricted to the students' selected geo-cultural areas.


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African-American Studies Courses:

The African-American Studies Program offers courses that explore the experiences of African-descended people on the African continent and throughout the African diaspora. Since a number of courses required by the Program are only offered every other year, students must consult the Program Director soon after they decide to participate in the program to design a feasible course of study. Students may take courses on an elective basis or choose an interdisciplinary major or minor.Courses taken at Fisk University may be counted as electives in the Program.

  African-American Studies Courses at Vanderbilt

AAST 101 01 - Introduction to African American Studies.

AAST 289 - Independent Study

AAST 294 - Special Topics

AAST 299 - Senior Project


HUMANITIES (African American):

African American Studies 114 - Introduction to African American Philosophies of Religion

African American Studies 145 - Interfaith Dialogue and African American Culture

African American Studies 263 - African American Literature

African-American Studies 294 01 - Special Topic: Contemporary Black Experience

Dance 114 - Black Dance in America

*English 115W 41 - FR SEM: African American Autobiography

*~English 115W 49 - FR SEM: Afro-Caribbean Women's Literature

*English 115W 50 - FR SEM: African American Literature

*English 115W 55 - FR SEM: Toni Morrison

*English 115W 56 - FR SEM: Harlem Renaissance

~English 271 - Caribbean Literature

English 272D - Movements in Literature: The Contemporary Black Experience

English 273C - Problems in Literature: Reading Race in 19th Century America

English 273D - Problems in Literature: Marginality in African American and South African Literature

English 274 01 - Major Figures in Literature: Toni Morrison

English 288G 01- African American Novel

English 350 01 - Special Problems in English and American Literature: Restoring Race in 19th Century American Literature

English 355 01 - Special Topics in English and American Literature: Afro-American Literature: Diaspora and Dissension

Fine Arts 293 - SR SEM: 20th Century African American Art

Fine Arts 294 01- Special Topic: African American Art: Harlem Renaissance

Fine Arts 325 - Special Topic: African American Art

Music 148 - Survey of Jazz

Philosophy294A 01 - Selected Topic: Philosophy of Race

Religious Studies 107 - African American Religious Tradition

*Religious Studies 115W 05 - FR SEM: Gandhi, Luthuli, and King

Religious Studies 204 - Evangelical Movement in America

Religious Studies 205 - Black Church in America

Religious Studies 219 - Martin Luther King Jr., and the Social Roles of Religion

Religious Studies 250 - Black Islam in America

Spanish 294 - Afro-Hispanic Literature



*English 115W 63 - FR SEM: African Literature and Theory

French 239 - African Novel

Humanities 115 01 - African Literature

*Music 160 - Musical Cultures of the Non-Western World

Music 171 - African Music

African American Studies 276 - Anglophone African Literature

Religious Studies 294 - Special Topic: Religions in Africa

Religious Studies 294 - Special Topic: Traditional African Religions, Christianity and Islam


SOCIAL SCIENCES (African American):

African American Studies 255 - Racial and Ethinic Minorities in the U.S.

African American Studies 258 - Rise of the Iberian Atlantic Empires, 1492-1700

African American Studies 259 - Iberian Empire, 1700-1820

African American Studies 264- Brazilian Civilization

African American Studies 279 - History of Black Americans

African American Studies 280 - African American History to Reconstruction

African American Studies 294 02 - African American Women since Reconstruction

Anthropology 219 - Origins of African American Culture

Anthropology 224 - Political Anthropology: Crosscultural Studies in Conflict and Power

~Anthropology 237 - Ethnicity, Race, and Culture

History 172 - Comparative Slavery in the Americas

*History 295 01 - UG SEM: Black Protest

History 295 02 - UG SEM: Civil Rights Revolution

*History 295 07 - UG SEM: African Resistance and Adaptation in the Americas

History 381 - African American History in the 20th Century

Political Science 115W 02 - FR SEM: Race and Gender Politics

Psychology 266 - Interpersonal and Intergroup Relations

*Sociology 115W 03 - FR SEM: Otherness in the U.S.: Images of Race, Gender, and Sexual Preference

*Sociology 115 09 - FR SEM: Poverty and Inequality in the U.S.

Sociology 115 12 - FR SEM: Race and Race Relations in the Contemporary South

Sociology 255 - Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the U.S.

Sociology 258 - The South in American Culture

Sociology 262 - Interpersonal and Intergroup Relations

Sociology 294 - Special Topic: Race, Gender, and Sports



African American Studies 235 - Human Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa

African American Studies 253 - African History: Sub-Saharan Africa

African American Studies 254 - African History: Africa since 1800

African American Studies 294 - Special Topic: Genocides and Terrorisms in Africa

Anthropology 231 - Archeology of Africa

*History 115W 46 - FR SEM: Crises in the Horn of Africa

Histroy 264 - Brazilian Civilization

History 295 02 - Resistance and Adaptation to Slavery in Americas

Political Science 219 - African Politics

*Sociology 275 - Sociology of Contemporary African Societies

* denotes courses that count towards CPLE credit

~ denotes classes that count only as an elective for African-American Studies minors

NOTE: The subjects of special topic and seminar classes are subject to change (usually offered every other year); therefore credit is only granted towards those classes related to African or African-American topics.

Revised November 2001

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African American Studies Teaching Faculty and Advisory Committee Members, 2001-2002:

Lucius Outlaw, Jr., Philosophy, Director Larry Griffin, Sociology
Victor Anderson, Divinity Yollette Jones, History
Lewis Baldwin, Religious Studies Amy Kirschke, Art and Art History
Greg Barz, Blair School of Music Jane Landers, History
Vereen Bell, English William Luis, Spanish & Portuguese
Beth Boyd, Women's Studies & American and Southern Studies Deak Nabers, English
Michael Cole, History Anthere Nzabatsinda, French
Anne Demo, Communications Studies & Theatre Ljerka Rasmussen, Blair School of Music
Dennis Dickerson, History Wayne Santoro, Sociology
Teresa Goddu, English Sheila Smith-McKoy, English

Spring 2002 Course Offerings:

AAST 101.01. Intro African American Studies.
Outlaw, L. [TR 1:10-2:25]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 226.01. Gender, Race & Class.
Boyd, E. [MWF 10:10-11:00]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 256.01. South in American Culture.
Griffin, L. [TR 1:10-2:25]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 259.01. Iberian Empire 1700-1820.
Cole, M. [TR 1:10-2:25]
This is an upper-level course on the late colonial history of Latin America. For the benefit of those who will be taking this class without having taken History 258 or for whom this might be their only Latin American history class. this course will begin with a brief review of the Spanish, Amerndian, and African populations which created Latin America and the structures of Spanish colonial society. Thereafter, it will examine in depth the burbon reforms; the social, economic, and polotical tensions in the mature colonial society of the 18th century; and the wars of independence leading to the dissolutin of the Spanish empire in the 19th century.

AAST 263.01. African American Literature.
Smith-McKoy, S. [TR 9:35-10:50]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 276.01. Anglophone African Literature.
Smith-McKoy, S. [TR 1:10-2;25]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 280.01. African American History Since Reconstruction.
Dickerson, D. [TR 9:35-10:50]
The political, socio-economic and intellectual history of African Americans from the end of Reconstruction to the present. Cultural and institutional issues and 20th century protest movements will be emphasized.

AAST 289.01. Independent Study.
Description Forthcoming

AAST 294B.01. Special Topic: Culture & Communication.
Demo, A. [MWF 1:10-2:00]
Description Forthcoming

AAST 299.01. Senior Project.
Description Forthcoming

English 272G.01. Race in America.
Bell, V. [TR 4:00-5:15]
A discussion-based examination of the nature of the conflict between black and white cultures in America from the period just before the beginning of the Civil Rights era and then following it to the present day. Reading assignments will begin with Ralph Ellison's Invisible man and will inlcude fiction and non-fiction (i.e. memorois and autobiographies) by black writers of the period. These will be supplemented by some readings in social history and analysis and by films by Spike Lee and others. In-class and a final exam.

English 273G.01. The Literature of American Civil Rights.
Nabers, D. [TR 11:00-12:15]
This course will examine the relationship between African-Aerican literary forms and the development of civil rights movements and evolution of civil rights thinking in America. We will focus in particular on the slave narrative and the protest novel, and we will pursue questions such as : How are African-American literary forms shaped by political exigencies, and in what sense might they be said to shape such exigencies? What is the relationship between civil standing and aesthetic authority in American culture? How are literary and political authority connected in American civil rights movements? Authors to be considered include Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, William and Ellen Craft, Harriet Jacobs. Zora Neal Hurston, Richard Wright, Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Clarence Brown.

French 388.01. Seminar Francophone Literature.
Nzabatsinda, A [W 3:10-5:00]
Description Forthcoming

Music 148.01 Survey of Jazz.
Barz, G. [TR 11:00-12:15]
The goals of this Survey of Jazz course include increasing our awareness of the social, political, and artistic worlds from which jazz emerges. In many ways, jazz musicians have assumed critical roles in the social and cultural history of the United States, perhaps the world. Yet jazz remains a uniquely American art form. Thus, our "analysis" of jazz as an art form will necessarily take into account the position of jazz in 20th century American cultural history. This analysis will afford students a thorough understanding of and appreciation for jazz, its roots, and the peoples who created (and continue to create) the music.

We will develop a historical survey of the unique development of modern jazz from its origins as an African American art form that will include topics such as African retentions, the synthesis of African and European styles, Ragtime, Stride, Blues, Boogie-Woogie, Dixieland, Big Band, Swing, Bebop, Cool, Third Stream, West Coast, East Coast, Hard Bop, Funk, Rhythm & Blues, Jazz-Rock Fusion, Free Jazz, and the contemporary return to earlier styles. Although basically non-technical in approach, the fundamentals of jazz improvisation and performance will be discussed and demonstrated. Jazz is essentially an oral/aural form of expression and communication, and therefore a substantial amount of time will be spent listening to, discussing, and experiencing recorded examples of "classic" jazz and the artists who have created it. The development of regined listening skills, the ability to evaluate jazz performance, and the ability to identify historical influences are major components of the course.

Music 171.01 African Music.
Barz, G. [TR 9:35-10:50]
This course will introduce students to the musics and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa. To approach an understanding of the functions and symbolic meanings of sub-Saharan music-cultures, we will focus on important ethnomusicological concepts and methods and survey their applications to and implications for the study of African music. We will accomplish this via weekly case studies, lectures and discussion, video, and listening sessions. The course will emphasize assigned readings as well as encourage independent student research. By the end of the semester students will be able to recognize and identify musical selections from disparate cultures from throughout sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the following:
* Recognize and discuss the significance of musical traditions to those who make them (including issues of community formation, colonization, religion, Western impact, etc.)
* Identify a wide range of ways that Africans use music to add meaning to their lives (including rituals, rites of passage, etc.)
* Identify African musical instruments and other aspects of material culture associated with various musical performances in Africa (by drawing on the Sachs-Hornbostel system commonly used organological identification.)