Course Description

African American Studies 1: Introduction to Black Studies, AF AMER 1

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Introduction of methods, theories, conceptual frameworks, and key debates in black studies. Interrogation of how race structures notions of identity and meaning of blackness in relation to class, gender, and sexuality; essential role of African people in development of capitalism, liberalism, and democracy; what various disciplinary lenses and epistemologies (history, literature, sociology, geography, cultural studies, political theory, philosophy, etc.) reveal about experiences of black people in modern world. Key thinkers and ideas from across humanities and social sciences are highlighted. P/NP or letter grading.

Key Information

Credit: 5 quarter units / 3.33 semester units credit
UC Los Angeles, African American Studies

Course Credit:

Upon successful completion, all online courses offered through cross-enrollment provide UC unit credit. Some courses are approved for GE, major preparation and/or, major credit or can be used as a substitute for a course at your campus.

If "unit credit" is listed by your campus, consult your department, academic adviser or Student Affairs division to inquire about the petition process for more than unit credit for the course.

UC Berkeley:
Unit Credit

UC Davis:
Unit Credit

UC Irvine:
Unit Credit

UC Los Angeles:
General Education: Historical Analysis; Literary and Cultural Analysis; Social Analysis;

UC Merced:
Units toward degree (see your advisor)

UC Riverside:
General Education: Elective units

UC San Diego:
General Education: TMC 1 course toward Humanities/Culture or lower division disciplinary breadth if noncontiguous to major; ERC - 1 course for Americas Regional Specialization; Sixth - 1 NAHR

UC San Francisco:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Barbara:
Unit Credit

UC Santa Cruz:
Unit Credit

Course Fees

None

More About The Course

This course introduces students to Black Studies as an intellectual, political, and cultural project steeped in a long and international tradition of Black radicalism. It broadly surveys the historical and ongoing process of Black politics, cultural production, and identity formation as structured through race and its intersection with gender, sexualities, and class. Though primarily focused on the U.S., many lectures and course materials extend beyond this country’s borders to explore the development, over time, of Black life, community, and culture against persistent anti-Black racism, economic and political exploitation, and gender oppression. 

Students watch pre-recorded video lectures via mobile device or desktop browser. Reading assignments accompany all lectures. Two exams and weekly discussion board posts/participation determine the final grade. Students are responsible for keeping up with reading assignments, lecture presentations, and watching the assigned films. This course features high-quality, documentary-style video lectures produced by the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. 

This is a fully asynchronous course. Students do not need to be online at a specific time or report to a physical location for any portion of the class.

Relevant Website

Course Creator

J. Pierre

Jemima Pierre (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research and teaching interests are located in the overlaps between African Studies and African Diaspora Studies and engage three broad areas: race, racial formation theory, and political economy; culture and the history of anthropological theory; and transnationalism, globalization, and diaspora.

She is the author of The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (Winner of the 2014 Elliot Skinner Book Award in Africanist Anthropology; long listed for the 2013 OCM - BOCAS Literary Prize; Recipient for the 2012 Bevington Fund First Book Grant). She is currently completing a book, Race and Africa: Cultural and Historical Legacies, which is under contract with Routledge Press (“Framing 21st Century Social Issues Series”).

Dr. Pierre has an ongoing ethnographic research project that focuses on historical and contemporary resource extraction in Ghana as a way to think through the relationship of race and political economy in the African postcolony. Her essays on global racial formation, Ghana, immigration, and African diaspora theory and politics have appeared in a number of academic journals including, Cultural Anthropology, Feminist Review, Social Text, Identities, Cultural Dynamics, Transforming Anthropology, Journal of Haitian Studies, Latin American Perspective, American Anthropologist, Philosophia Africana, and Politique Africaine.

For more information, please visit the UCLA Department of African American Studies and UCLA Department of Anthropology.

Jemima Pierre (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research and teaching interests are located in the overlaps between African Studies and African Diaspora Studies and engage three broad areas: race, racial formation theory, and political economy; culture and the history of anthropological theory; and transnationalism, globalization, and diaspora. ...

Jemima Pierre (Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin) is a sociocultural anthropologist whose research and teaching interests are located in the overlaps between African Studies and African Diaspora Studies and engage three broad areas: race, racial formation theory, and political economy; culture and the history of anthropological theory; and transnationalism, globalization, and diaspora.

She is the author of The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (Winner of the 2014 Elliot Skinner Book Award in Africanist Anthropology; long listed for the 2013 OCM - BOCAS Literary Prize; Recipient for the 2012 Bevington Fund First Book Grant). She is currently completing a book, Race and Africa: Cultural and Historical Legacies, which is under contract with Routledge Press (“Framing 21st Century Social Issues Series”).

Dr. Pierre has an ongoing ethnographic research project that focuses on historical and contemporary resource extraction in Ghana as a way to think through the relationship of race and political economy in the African postcolony. Her essays on global racial formation, Ghana, immigration, and African diaspora theory and politics have appeared in a number of academic journals including, Cultural Anthropology, Feminist Review, Social Text, Identities, Cultural Dynamics, Transforming Anthropology, Journal of Haitian Studies, Latin American Perspective, American Anthropologist, Philosophia Africana, and Politique Africaine.

For more information, please visit the UCLA Department of African American Studies and UCLA Department of Anthropology.


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