The Department of Transnational Studies

Graduate Course Descriptions – Spring 2013

AAS 560 PAP – Black Aesthetics – (Dual Listed with AAS 417 & AMS 437) – J. Pappas

Introduces the major image elements of sound, light, space and time-motion, and how they are used in film and television to influence perception. The course is designed to provide students with criteria to help them judge and experience media-articulated messages at different intellectual and emotional levels. Analyzes and discusses specially selected television and film materials in terms of how media elements can be used to influence perception and emotions. Encourage students to do comparative analyses of different types of mass media communications to discover relevant cultural elements and the principles underlying their uses.

Monday, 3:30 – 6:10 pm

97 Alumni

3 cr./SEM

Class #12605


AAS 570 EKE – Ancient African Civilization – (Cross Listed with HIS 549)P. Ekeh

This course examines intensively, humans and society in ancient Africa, stretching back to the evolution of humankind and includes an analysis of early forms of African state formations; Ancient Africa includes the following themes: (1) prehistoric ancient Africa; (2) the desiccation of the Sahara and its consequences; (3) African and Mediterranean civilizations; (4) Christianity and Islam in ancient Africa; (5) Africa’s ancient state formations; (6) the Bantu migration hypothesis (7) the mystery of the great Zimbabwe; and (8) the international slave trade and Africa’s misfortunes. All of these lead to an examination of the dynamics of civilizations in ancient Africa, including their failed forms, using Arnold Toynbee’s perspective on the rise and fall of civilizations as a theoretical point of departure.


Monday, 3:30 – 6:10pm

734 Clemens Hall

3 cr./SEM

Class #23681

Archived Courses

Spring 2011

Fall 2010

Spring 2010


Graduate Course Descriptions

NOTE: Not all courses are offered in all semesters.

AAS 500–American Art: Depicting Race
This seminar investigates the construction of race during the 19th and 20th centuries within American culture. With emphasis on how racial groups both promote and resist categorization, the seminar explores the structures, strategies, and representational systems through which race is fashioned. While focusing on the distinct manner by which visual culture (painting, sculpture, photography and film) promotes and delimits personal and group identities, the seminar will also consider the role of literature and popular culture.
(Course description prepared by L. Johnson)

AAS 520–Colonialism, Imperialism and Education
A comparative study of colonialism, neo colonialism, imperialism, internal colonialism, etc. from the perspective of education and culture. Illustrative material for the course will be drawn from the experiences of countries as diverse as the United States and Nigeria; Ireland and Brazil; India and Australia; Kenya and Jamaica; Vietnam and Ghana; and so on. Students in all fields of study interested in the role of education in society from the perspectives of social control, democracy, freedom and so on, will find this course relevant.
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 534–Education In Africa
Examines the role of education in national development from the perspectives of colonialism, neo colonialism, current global power relations, etc. While the course will rely on examples taken from the African experience, it should be of relevance to anyone interested in problems of national development in general. Consequently a background in African studies is not required
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 538–Introduction to Critical White Studies
This course seeks to explore, from the perspective of critical race theory, the concept of "whiteness" as an artifically constructed category with specific historically determined roles in the evolution of U.S. society. Topics wll include: ‘whiteness’ as an unstable, time and place dependent ethnic category; whiteness and ‘normality’ in the popular consciousness of U.S.citizenry; whiteness as a determinant of social spaces; whiteness as a determinant of power relations; whiteness and its intersection with class relations; how whiteness determines personal identity; whiteness, law and legal discourse; the role of the media in the ‘normalization’ of whiteness (nationally and transnationally); women of color and their interrogation of whiteness in white feminism; the politics of whites struggling against whiteness; people of color and their perception of whiteness. Among the texts that will be used are, Critical White Studies (ed. by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic), How the Irish Became White (by Noel Ignatiev), Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White (ed. by David R. Roediger), and The Invention of the White Race (by Theodore W. Allen). Course requirements will include, in addition to mandatory class attendance and participation (worth 20%), a 20 page term-paper (worth 60%) and a non-cumulative end of semester test based on selected course readings (worth 20%).
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 540–The African Diaspora
The term diaspora refers to the dispersion of a people with a common origin. The purpose of this seminar, therefore, is to look at (a) the causes, (b) the processes, and (c) the outcomes of the dispersion of African peoples from their homeland. Our geographic focus, however, will for the most part be restricted to the African diaspora in the Western hemisphere. Among the topics that we examine are: the survival and expression of elements of African cultural heritage; black social and political movements from the past to the present; the social, cultural and political cross currents and population movements within the Diaspora; influences exerted globally or upon the African homeland itself by the Diaspora; and so on.
(Course description prepared by K. Henry)

AAS 560–Black Women in US History
This reading and research seminar will examine the history of black women in the United States from the slave era through the reform movements that occurred after World War II. It will focus upon the range of demands placed on black women during the Gilded and Progressive eras, the founding of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896, their participation in the women’s suffrage movement, black struggles for liberation in the United States and in the African Diaspora, and black women’s role in women cultural movements, war, labor force participation, and health. It also will explore black women’s interaction with male-dominated groups and feminists from other racial and ethnic groups. Students will analyze black women as leaders, their leadership styles and the impact that they have made on constituents.
(Course description prepared by L. Williams)

AAS 561–Equality of Educational Opportunity: International Comparisons
Today access to equal educational opportunity is a pre-requisite, with rare exception, for success in life. However, the reality is that almost all educational systems throughout the world are plagued by some form of discriminatory practice rooted in such forms of social differentiation as class, gender, race, religion, etc. Our purpose in this course is to study this phenomenon and its wider implications by means of case-studies derived from these select countries: Algeria. Australia, China, Hungary, India, South Africa, Brazil, U.K., France, Israel, and the U.S.
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 562–Race in the U.S. and in the World
This course explores the most exciting readings on the history of race in the United States since the late nineteenth century, with three bigger goals in mind. The first is to give students a solid theoretical grounding in the analysis of race and racism. The second is to think about the American History of race and racism as a subset of larger global historical phenomena that stretch back throughout the modern and early modern periods and involve intellectual exchanges and institutional forms that transcend oceans and national boundaries. The third is to acknowledge the importance of the concept of race in efforts to resist white supremacy, and to gauge the international dimension of anti-racist liberation movements in the United States. After a two-week theoretical introduction the course covers topics such as: race and Western civilization; race and nation; race and empire; race, gender, and consumption; race and cities; race and uplift; the concept of race in the work of W.E.B. DuBois; race, class, anti-imperialism, and radicalism; race and the civil rights movement; race and liberalism; and race and conservatism. The course will be taught in conjunction with the meetings of the Association of African American Life and History, which will take place in Buffalo from October 5-9. Students will be expected to attend sessions of the conference. Assignments include a book review and two longer papers.
(Course description prepared by C. Nightingale)

AAS 565–Issues of identity and Memory in Contemporary Africana Art
The course will look at contemporary art from the African Diaspora. By examining photography, film, electronic arts, the graphic novel, cyber-culture, performance and more traditional art practice we investigate the "imaginary" versus the "real" in regards to the construction of identity. The class will also take a look at the history of images, and within this context will look at the strategies contemporary artists employ in regards to current manifestations of the body as a site excavating/constructing memory and it’s role in the construction/deconstruction of identity. A second component will be to examine how disciplinary boundaries are being crossed in this new age of globalism, as well as how this affects aesthetics and artistic production. Using multiple cultural and geographic points of departure we will discuss how these themes of identity, memory, and history are being articulated by artists internationally. The class includes the work of African, African-American, Black British, British Asian, Afro-Vietnamese, Aboriginal and other diaspora artists.
(Course description prepared by D. Jack)

AAS 570–Ancient African Civilization
An intensive examination of man and society in Ancient Africa, stretching back to the evolution of mankind and including an analysis of early forms of African state formations, Ancient Africa will include the following themes (1) prehistoric ancient African; (2) the desiccation of the Sahara and its consequences; (3) African and Mediterranean civilizations; (4) Christianity and Islam in ancient Africa; (5) Africa’s ancient state formations; (6) The Bantu migration hypothesis; (7) the mystery of the Great Zimbabwe; and (8) the international slave trade and Africa’s misfortunes. All of these will lead to an examination of the dynamics of civilizations in ancient Africa, including their failed forms, using Arnold Toynbee’s perspectives on the rise and fall of civilizations as a theoretical point of departure.
(Course description prepared by P. Ekeh)

AAS 572–Africa and the Slave Trade
This course is designed to examine the history of the international slave trade from Africa by Arab traders (c. 950-1850) and European nations and merchants (1450-1850). It will search for the international origins of the African slave trade from the larger historical context of the changes in the Old and New Worlds, including the strengthening of Western Europe and of Tsarist Russia and the relative weaknesses of Africa. It will evaluate the ideological and intellectual justification of the slave trade in Islam, Christianity and in secular Western scholarship. The course will also assess the social, political, economic, and psychological impact of the slave trade on Africa and Africans and trace the links between the slave trade and the origins of European imperialism in Africa.
(Course description prepared by P. Ekeh)

AAS 576–Academic Research and Publication
A survey of knowledge production and dissemination from the perspective of the "business" of publishing academic research. Topics include: the significance of publishing in higher education; research and knowledge dissemination in developing countries; the role of transnational publishing conglomerates in knowledge dissemination; the history of the book; key elements of the production of books and journals; the editing and management of journals; and the impact of the internet on scholarly publishing. The course will also have a practical component in terms of tracing all the steps from completion of a journal article and book manuscript through submission to eventual publication. This course is both theoretical and practical in orientation.
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 585–The History of Universities
Explores the history of universities from antiquity to the present. Advances the thesis that at the generic level the university is an embodiment of a civilization’s pinnacle of achievements in which its evolution has truly been a function of global civilizational influences. The course will survey institutions of higher learning in places as diverse as ancient Egypt, medieval Europe, Islamic Africa, the United States, modern Europe, and Latin America.
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)

AAS 586–The Multicultural School Curriculum
Among the many educational reform trends in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom in recent years has been the well-intentioned advocacy of infusing the school curriculum with a multicultural perspective. This course critically examines the successes and failures of this trend. Topics that will be covered include: a general history of education from the perspective of the struggle for civil rights; the sociological basis of curriculum theory, practice and development; the history of multiculturalism in school curricula; multiculturalism and the hidden curriculum; the multicultural class lesson: theory versus practice; the alternative school movement and the politics of the multiculturalism; the multicultural curriculum and school achievement; the future of the multicultural curriculum: debating the pros and cons.
(Course description prepared by Y. Lulat)