Spring 2020 Course Schedule

For instructions on how to register, please visit the UIC Registrar's Registration Information or view the current UIC Schedule of Classes.

To view all courses that the African American Studies department offers, click here.

Spring 2020 Course Offerings

AAST offers a wide range of interdisciplinary classes. Want to know about our classes offered next semester?

Click here to view our courses!

AAST 100. Introduction to African American Studies. 3 hours.
Instructor: Jane Rhodes

Monday/Wednesday 1:00 – 1:50PM (lecture), Friday discussions at 9AM, 10AM, 11PM, and NOON

This course will discuss the African American experience, focusing on African and African American culture, the slave trade, slavery and emancipation in the Americas, Twentieth Century social relations, and struggles for civil rights. Major/Minor Required CourseGeneral Education: Understanding the Individual & Society; Understanding U.S. Society.


AAST 101. Introduction to African Diaspora Studies. 3 hours.
Instructor: Mario LaMothe
Monday/Wednesday 8:00 – 9:15AM

This course examines the historical and contemporary, forced and voluntary, migrations of people out of the continent of Africa from the 15th century to the present; the complex histories and experiences of identity formation and transformation; the cultural, religious and creative possibilities that have flowed from these movements. For instance, a focus on rites and festivities similar to mardis-gras and Kwanzaa will illuminate how people of African descent cultivate communal belonging, relay cultural memory, and manifest diaspora consciousness. Major/Minor Required CourseGeneral Education: Understanding the Past; Exploring World Cultures


AAST 105. African Americans in Film, 1900-Present: Individuals and Ideas on Screen. 3 hours.
Instructor: Raphael Nash
Same as MOVI 105 and COMM 105
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 – 4:45PM

This course covers the history of Black people in American film – looking both at films produced and directed by African Americans, and at the relationship between Black filmmakers, performers, and audiences to the Hollywood film industry. In this course we will explore the changing politics of Black imagery in the first century of American film-making, from Birth of a Nation to Moonlight, and situate this examination within the cultural and political contexts that make these images “legible,” enjoyable, or enraging to film audiences.  Central to this exploration will be a study of African American visual culture and its participation in the historical and contemporary dialogue about race, gender, class, and sexuality in American society.General Education: Understanding Creative Arts; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 111. Introduction to African American Literature Since 1910. 3 hours.
Instructor: Helen Jun
Same as ENGL 119
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 3:00 – 3:50PM

AAST 111 is a course that introduces students to some of the most visible and influential African American writers of the 20th century, including Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Gwedolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison, and Claudia Rankine. Students will study African American literature and cultural production within the historical contexts of urbanization, segregation, criminalization, and social movements. General Education: Understanding Creative Arts; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 125. African American Religious Traditions. 3 hours.
Instructor: Johari Jabir
Same as RELS 125
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 – 10:45AM

African American religious traditions make up a wide range of beliefs and practices by persons of African descent. This course is an introductory course in religious history designed to trace the African American religious experience from the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the present. We will study practices of voodoo and hoodoo, Islam and Christianity, and humanism among African Americans. This course pays particular attention to African American forms of ritual, music, literature, and creative expression. General Education: Understanding the Past; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 207. Racism: Global Perspectives. 3 hours.
Instructor: Andrew Clarno
Same as SOC 207
Monday/Wednesday 3:00 – 4:15PM

An introduction to global, transnational, and comparative perspectives on racism. Analysis of race and racism not only in the United States, but also in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and other contexts. General Education: Understanding Individual and Society; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 225. Racial and Ethnic Groups. 3 hours.
Instructor: Patrisia Macías-Rojas
Same as SOC 225 and LALS 225
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 – 3:15PM

Sociological and social-psychological analysis of racial, religious, and other ethnic groups; consideration of historical and current social problems arising from their relationships in society. Same as SOC 225 and LALS 225. General Education: Understanding Individual and Society; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 242. History of Modern Africa. 3 hours.
Instructor: Kirk Hoppe
Same as HIST 242
Monday/Wednesday 11:00 – 11:50AM (lecture), Friday discussions at 11PM and NOON

The effect of European partition and colonialism; African military and political resistance; economic imperialism; the rise of nationalism; the problems of independence. General Education: Understanding the Past; Exploring World Cultures


AAST 247. African American History to 1877. 3 hours.
Instructor: Julius Jones
Same as HIST 247
Tuesday/Thursday 5:00 – 6:15PM

Between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries, twelve million Africans were forcibly transported to the Americas.  This course examines one stream of this forced migration to what would eventually become the United States.  It will provide a general knowledge of the major themes and issues in the history of African-descended people in the United States, from their first arrival in North America, through the processes of enslavement and the growth of plantation slavery, to the end of slavery and the aftermath of Reconstruction.  We will explore the black struggle for freedom and full citizenship and the long process of emancipation.  We will trace the emergence of a distinct African American culture, and pay special attention to how black men and women struggled to create community, give meaning to their labor, establish and protect family ties, and preserve bodily integrity.  Black men and women daily performed large and small acts resistance to the institutions of slavery and racial discrimination, and we will therefore investigate the array of actions that black men and women took on their own behalf to overcome the constraints under which they lived.  We will simultaneously investigate the ways gender shaped the experience of slavery and freedom for African-American women and men. General Education: Understanding the Past; Understanding US Society.


AAST 258. Race and Urban Life. 3 hours.
Instructor: Tyrone Forman
Same as SOC 258
Tuesday 6:00 – 8:30PM

This course examines the experiences of Blacks in urban areas since the 1900’s.


AAST 262. Black Music and Black Feminism. 3 hours.
Instructor: Johari Jabir
Same as ENGL 262
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 – 1:45PM

Music is a crucial epistemology in the history of black people throughout the Diaspora. This course will explore the centrality of black women’s “musicking” over several periods and crossroads such as enslavement, the Civil War, reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, the modern civil rights movement, and the current moment. The primary disciplinary frames of the course are Black Cultural Studies and Black Feminist Studies, but we will engage several fields of knowledge that will trouble the linear logic(s) of race, gender, class, nation, and even progress. General Education: Understanding Creative Arts; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 266. The African Novel in the Twenty-First Century. 3 hours.
Instructor: Nicholas Brown
Same as ENGL 266
Monday/Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45PM

If the first great wave of modern African novels seemed clearly unified by a concern with the precolonial past, the colonial encounter, and hopes for decolonization, the second was unified by its disillusionment with the ideals of decolonization and by its exploration of the difficulties confronting the newly independent African nations. After that the story becomes much less clear. While outstanding novels continued to be written, a coherent narrative of the field appeared elusive. While this phenomenon partly reflected serious problems with the publishing industries in many African countries, it may not have been entirely negative. It may be that the lack of a thematic center has opened up the field for the most recent generation of African novelists. On one hand, it is apparent that for practical reasons many African novelists are now writing for an audience is not primarily African. On the other hand, the last two decades have seen a renaissance in ambitious African fiction, even as its responsibility to the African context has at times been questioned. This course will offer the opportunity to read some of the most important African literary texts of the past twenty years, as well as to evaluate the current state of the field. General Education: Understanding Creative Arts; Exploring World Cultures.


AAST 271. African Americans and the Politics of Incarceration. 3 hours.
Instructor: Almethia Franklin
Same as SOC 271 and CLJ 271
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00AM – 12:15PM

In recent years, Chicago has witnessed a resurgence of social movements challenging racialized violence by the Chicago police, federal immigration authorities, and national/homeland security agencies. Building on long histories of struggle, social movements in Chicago are deepening the links between campaigns to resist the criminalization of Black youth, the deportation of Latina/x/o migrants, and the surveillance of Arab/Muslim communities. This course will introduce students to the history of policing in Chicago, from the Haymarket affair through the Burge torture scandal, with attention to links between local police and federal law enforcement agencies. General Education: Understanding Individual and Society; Understanding U.S. Society


AAST 356. Constitutional Law: Women, Gender, and Privacy. 3 hours.
Instructor: Kevin Lyles
Same as POLS 356
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 – 1:45PM

A multidisciplinary examination of U.S. constitutional law and politics in shaping issues of gender, privacy, race, and sexual orientation; including reproduction, labor, sexual harassment, political participation, and women and crime.


AAST 358. Constitutional Law: African-American Legal History. 3 hours.
Instructor: Kevin Lyles
Same as POLS 358
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00AM – 12:15PM

Survey of the African-American constitutional experience from the 1600s to the present, focusing on landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court.


AAST 398.  Independent Study: Special Topics. 3 hours.
Selected topics for individual research. Course Information: May be repeated to a maximum of 9 hours. Prerequisite(s): Consent of the instructor and approval of the head of the department of African-American studies.


AAST 401. Senior Seminar in African American Studies. 3 hours.
Instructor: Ainsworth Clarke

Monday/Wednesday 9:30 – 10:45AM

This Senior Seminar allows students to embark on their own interdisciplinary study of the African American experience. You will design and complete an individual research project using research approaches you have learned about as an African American Studies Major or Minor. Each student will be given the tools to creatively and successfully explore an issue central to the culture and communities of African Americans, past and present. This course is not organized around a specific topic, but is focused on student projects. In the past, students have conducted research on a wide range of topics: Gender and Soul Food; The Politics of Teaching of Black History in Chicago High Schools; Race and Aging in Assisted Living Facilities; Transracial Adoption; Slave Marriage; A Cultural History of the Mammy Figure.  Your research topic is limited only by your curiosity! Through weekly assignments, progress reports, and discussions, we will build a supportive and dynamic learning community. Major/Minor Required Course.


AAST 407. Seminar in Comparative Racialization. 3 or 4 hours.
Instructor: Tyrone Forman
Same as SOC 407
Thursday 6:00 – 8:30PM

This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore racial formation from a global, transnational, and comparative perspective. Moving beyond an exclusive focus on race in the United States, we examine historical and contemporary processes of racial formation in contexts such as Latin America, South Africa, Europe, Palestine/Israel, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean. In doing so, we discuss topics such as colonization and empire, slavery and genocide, settler colonialism and racial capitalism, gender and sexuality, national liberation and post-colonialism, and war and policing.


AAST 481. [Topics in African and African American History] Black Feminist Biography. 3 or 4 hours.
Instructor: Lynette Jackson
Same as HIST 485
Thursday 3:30 – 6:00PM

African and/or African American history for students with significant background in the field. Topics vary.


AAST 481. [Topics in African and African American History] History of Jim Crow. 3 or 4 hours.
Instructor: Lynn Hudson
Same as HIST 485
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00AM – 12:15PM

African and/or African American history for students with significant background in the field. Topics vary.


AAST 501. Interdisciplinary Seminar in Black Studies. 4 hours.
Instructor: Beth Richie

Tuesday 10:00AM – 1:00PM

Graduate introductory seminar to the intellectual traditions, theoretical frameworks, and methodological innovations shaping the interdisciplinary field of Black Studies.


AAST 502. Graduate Colloquium in Black Studies. 1 hour.
Instructor: Madhu Dubey

Tuesday 3:30 – 4:30PM

Interdisciplinary research and writing colloquium in the field of Black Studies. Course features the research of faculty, guest lectures, and advanced graduate students from UIC and Chicago’s broader scholarly community.