Spring 2020 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Hill, Kim
Discipline and Number
HIST 4381 Section 001
MW Time 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Course Title
The African Diaspora

Description of Course:

Topics in Comparative History (3 semester credit hours) May be repeated as topics vary (9 semester credit hours maximum). Prerequisite: Completion of a 060 core course. (3-0) R

Much has been said and assumed regarding the cultural losses inflicted by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Less well publicized are the many ways that people of African descent maintained or renewed connections despite the geographic obstacles. Each week of this course will highlight a cultural trend or event that helped to foster a sense of international community among people of African descent sometime between 1600 and 1970. Our goals are to analyze the strategies behind these topics, understand their historical contexts, and analyze how they were remembered over time. Some of the communities we will observe had a literal political and physical presence; others were based on intangible commonalities such as religion and musical traditions. Studying these communities and the events that shaped them will help us understand the social and cultural history that was often obscured by colonial politics and slave societies.

Required Texts:

Nemata Blyden, African Americans and Africa: A New History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019). ISBN: 9780300198669

- Joy Gleason Carew, Blacks, Reds, and Russians: Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press, 2008). ISBN: 978-0-8135-4985-9. Free UTD Library E-Book

- Ruma Chopra, Almost Home: Maroons between Slavery and Freedom in Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Sierra Leone (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2018). ISBN: 978 -0-300-22046-9. Free UTD Library E-Book

- Ira Dworkin, Congo Love Song: African American Culture and the Crisis of the Colonial State (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2017). ISBN: 978-1-4696-3271-1

- Adam Ewing, The Age of Garvey: how a Jamaican activist created a mass movement and changed global Black politics (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2014). ISBN: 9780691173832. On Reserve in UTD Library

- Michael A. Gomez Black Crescent: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005). ISBN: 9780511802768. On Reserve in UTD Library

- Gerald Horne, Race Woman: The Lives of Shirley Graham Du Bois (New York: NYU Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780814736487. Free UTD Library E-Book

- Karl Jacoby, The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire (New York: W.W. Norton, 2017). ISBN: 978-0-393-35417-1

- Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, Uncovering the History of Africans in Asia (Boston: Brill, 2008). ISBN: 9789004162914. Free UTD Library E-Book

- Mariners Museum, Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas (Washington,DC: Smithsonian Books, 2002). ISBN: 978-1588340177. On Reserve in UTD Library

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Attendance and Participation: 10%
Three Response Essays (two pages each): 25%
Visual Map Exercise: 20%
Multi-media Blog Assignment: 20%
Final Assignment (Your Choice of an Essay or Presentation) 25%

The ultimate goal of these assignments is to model the process that graduate students use to choose a viable research project. Each assignment builds your analytical skills as you choose a specific academic focus. In each response essay, you will use evidence from assigned readings to answer one of the main questions from the syllabus. The in-class activities will help you review and compare the readings through group work. The map exercise will ask you to identify the locations and characteristics of two different communities that influenced African and African American relations any time from the 1600s through the 1960s. Those details will help you create an E-Learning blog entry that combines class material with your own research into an understudied aspect of the African Diaspora.
And for the final essay assignment, you will revise your earlier arguments to present a relevant research question that was not posed in the syllabus. You may choose one of two formats: an eight-page essay or a 10-minute presentation in the classroom. More details will be provided later in the semester.

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