Graduate Studies

Department of African American Studies

Some academic departments and colleges do not provide a major at the graduate level. However, these departments or colleges do offer courses for graduate credit. Permission to use these courses in a degree program must be obtained from the appropriate Departmental Graduate Committee.

Chairperson: F. Erik Brooks
Office: Morgan 232
Telephone: (309) 298-1181

Graduate Faculty

  • F. Erik Brooks, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jo-Ann Morgan, Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles
  • Alphonso Simpson, Jr., Ph.D., University of Wyoming

Associate Graduate Faculty

  • Audrey P. Watkins, Ph.D., University of Illinois-Chicago

Associate Professor

  • Safoura A. Boukari, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Course Descriptions

African American Studies (AAS)

402G (cross-listed with HIST 402G) The Civil Rights Movement. (3) An intensive study of the history of the African American civil rights movement, concentrating on the period from World War II through the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1978 Bakke decision. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or AAS 100 or permission of the instructor.

420G (cross-listed with SOC 420G and WS 420G) Race, Class and Gender. (3) The course will examine issues of race, class, and gender in historical, cultural, and contemporary societal contexts. Prerequisites: WS 190 or AAS 100 or SOC 100; or permission of the instructor.

444G Teaching African American Studies. (3) A study and development of African American Studies curricula K-12. Includes a study of the problems and procedures of teaching African American Studies, supervised study, pupil’s activities, organization and development of teaching materials.

445G Critical Issues in the Education of African Americans. (3) Study of African Americans’ historical and contemporary struggles for educational access, equity, and excellence. Special emphasis given to the achievement gap, standardized testing, dropout/retention rates and alternatives to the sponsored curriculum such as Afrocentric education and culturally relevant pedagogy. Prerequisites: AAS 100 or permission of the instructor.

456G African and Diaspora Healing Practices. (3) Examination of the source, history and survival of indigenous African and Diaspora healing methods and concepts: midwives and herbalists to evil eyes and juju.  The role of the herbs and other natural elements will be covered. Prerequisites: AAS 100 and graduate standing.

466G (cross-listed with GEOG 466G—Africa) Geography of Africa. (3) Analysis of the physical and cultural geography of Africa.  Not open to students with credit for GEOG 466G—Africa.  Individuals who receive credit for AAS 466G—Africa may take 6 s.h. maximum of GEOG 466G if the regional studies subtitles are different. Prerequisite: two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

481G Postcolonial Theory and African Literature. (3) This course will address works of Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusaphone African writers in English translations; examine the basis of postcolonial literary theory, current trends, and how it relates to the contemporary reality of twenty-first century Africa. Prerequisites: AAS 100 or AAS 281 or AAS 381.

483G African Film and Cinema. (3) Study of African film and cinema in different parts of Africa with emphasis on colonial cinema and cinema houses, and on contemporary films and home videos as elements of modern popular culture in Africa.  Prerequisites: AAS 100 or AAS 380.

488G Black Speech and Language Communication. (3) Course covers historical and contemporary development and practice of Black communication behaviors.  Pre-diasporan influences on Black communication styles, the role of oral communication during slavery, and issues such as the ongoing contentious debates about the use of Ebonics will be explored.  Prerequisites: AAS 100.

491G Seminar in African American Studies. (1–6) Topics will vary from semester to semester, and will be announced prior to registration.

494G Religion in African American Culture. (3) This course acquaints students with religiosity and spirituality among African Americans and provides understanding of a worldview, via concepts of nature, God, and human interaction, that reflects African cultural retentions in the U.S.  Prerequisites: AAS 100.

501 Africa and the African Diaspora World. (3) This course examines current theoretical perspectives on the African Diaspora, and explores African history, cultural survivals, and influences of Africa in the context of globalization.

502 Research Methodology in Africana Studies. (3) An advanced study of research methodologies used in Africa-centered research. This course will not only provide students with the necessary tools to critique, design and execute research projects which focus on African and African American experiences and issues, but will offer alternative ways of seeing and investigating the world from African and African Diasporan perspectives. Afrocentricity, Standpoint epistemology among other approaches as well as techniques of Oral history, Case study, Narrative, Life Story, Biographical, Historical, Ethnographic, Black feminism/womanism will be addressed.

536 Graduate Colloquium in Womanist Theory. (3) This course provides advanced explorations into the African and African American Women’s Perspectives and examines other feminine discourses pertaining to activism/contributions of Black Women in Africa, the U.S., and Europe.

570 The Anglophone Caribbean in the Era of Globalization. (3) This course studies the history, culture, politics, and economics of Anglophone Caribbean with a focus on the effects of globalization on the region.

571 (cross-listed with WS 571) Women in Anglophone Caribbean: The Jamaican Experience. (3) This course examines the influence of race, class and gender on women in the Caribbean, within a largely matrifocal society, and Caribbean women transnationally.

576 Graduate Readings in African and African Diaspora World Studies. (1-3, repeatable to 3) Readings selected in consultation with a member of the graduate faculty in African American Studies. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and department chairperson.