African and African American Studies (AAST)

Caree Banton
230 Memorial Hall

African and African American Studies Website

The African and African American Studies program promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the history, culture, and identity of Africans and African Americans. Students may pursue African and African American Studies as a dependent major alongside a primary major in Fulbright College. Students in any college may declare a minor. Advice on suitable primary majors to be taken with an African and African American Studies second major may be obtained from the program director of African and African American Studies.


AAST 10003. Introduction to African and African American Studies. 3 Hours.

This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of Africa and African Americans and their impact on the world order and society with an emphasis on that impact's manifestations in the United States of America. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

AAST 12003. History of Football. 3 Hours.

Explores the history of football in America from its invention in the nineteenth century, through its meteoric growth in the twentieth century, to the most recent developments. Examines the ways that the game has both reflected broader social and economic trends in America, and catalyzed them. (Typically offered: Fa, Sp and Su Even Years)

AAST 12303. History of Race and Medicine. 3 Hours.

Examines history of western biomedicine on the intersection of science, medicine, and race to trace origins of current racial disparities. Examples from the United States and other international developments. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 20203. The African American Experience. 3 Hours.

Examines various facets of African American culture that collectively construct the African American experience including art, literature, drama, migration, film, and education. Covers issues facing African Americans through a cultural and socio-political context to understand and appreciate African American impacts on the United States. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

AAST 20503. The Black Student-Athlete. 3 Hours.

Examines and deconstructs the experiences of Black student-athletes as they figure in University social, political, and economic life, as well as in popular culture and other aspects of our contemporary societies. Sources include poetry, music, websites, athletic manuals, contracts, as well as other media. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

AAST 30003. Black Horror in Films. 3 Hours.

Examines the intersection of Black bodies and the horror film genre, using American films from 1915-2023. Topics include: Black bodies in film, Blaxploitation, and Black experience as horror. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 30103. Black Love in Films. 3 Hours.

Examines the intersection of Black bodies and the love story film genre, using American films from 1915-2023. (Typically offered: Spring)

AAST 30203. African Americans in Sport. 3 Hours.

Historical, sociological, and political issues and debate surrounding African Americans in sport. Contemporary issues facing African American athletes and sports figures. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

AAST 30303. Carnival in Latin America. 3 Hours.

Addresses the history and implications of Carnival in Latin America, focusing on Brazil. Interrogates assumptions about the freedoms of Carnival. Examines debates surrounding how cultural appropriation, gender, and sexual orientation have permeated this event. Studies works by sociologists, historians, feminists, filmmakers, journalists, and musicians. (Typically offered: Spring)

AAST 31003. Diversity, Pedagogy, & Visual Culture. 3 Hours.

Investigates various issues of diversity and equity in relation to art and education. It discusses the application of the theories of diversity and equity into teaching, community organizing, activism, and art practices. Prerequisite: ARED 30003. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

AAST 31203. African American Students in Higher Education. 3 Hours.

Examines the impact of college environments on African American students. Focuses on the following topics regarding African American students: retention, student demographics, student characteristics, current trends, issues and problems, student success, sub-populations, student values, and implications for higher education. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 31303. History of Sports in Africa. 3 Hours.

This course considers the ways that Africans have strategically employed sports to confront and overcome both domestic and external challenges and how these approaches and the range of constituent strategies have changed over time. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 31903. The Making of the Modern Caribbean. 3 Hours.

History of the Caribbean from pre-Columbian to present times focusing in particular on indigenous origins, colonialism, slavery, rebellion, independence, nationalism, and political integration in the making of the modern Caribbean region. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 32303. African American History to 1877. 3 Hours.

History of the African American experience in North America emphasizing economic, social, and cultural perspectives. Topics include the African slave trade, the creation of race and racism, the institution of slavery, free community formation in North, and the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on African Americans. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

AAST 32403. African American History Since 1877. 3 Hours.

The course will study the major social, political, and economical issues relating to the African American experience beginning with the late post-Reconstruction period and will include all of the major personalities and influences in the Civil Rights Movement, from 1877 to the present. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

AAST 32503. The History of Sub-Saharan Africa. 3 Hours.

Sub-Saharan African history from the 18th century to the present, with emphasis on the impact of the slave trade, colonization, Independence, and contemporary issues of the post-colonial period. Examination of the ways Africans experienced change in terms of culture, society, economics, gender, religion, politics, and labor. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 32603. African Americans in Film. 3 Hours.

A survey of the history of images of African Americans in film, especially as these images are examined in the context of stereotypical renditions and/or realistic representations of African American experiences. Issues of African American history, culture, and socio-political context will be addressed in the analyses of these films. Prerequisite: ENGL 10203 and junior or senior standing. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 32703. African Americans in Documentary Film. 3 Hours.

Exploration of the African-American image and experience in the context of time, historical record and varying production viewpoints from diverse documentarians. African-American history, culture and socio-political context are addressed in the analyses of these documentary films from the perspectives of mainstream media, independent filmmakers and minority documentarians. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing. (Typically offered: Spring)

AAST 32903. Black Politics. 3 Hours.

This is a survey course designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of Black political participation in the United States and throughout the diaspora. In addition to analyzing important events in Black politics in the U.S., the course also examines evolving patterns of diasporic political participation throughout the world. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 33503. Black Digital Storytelling. 3 Hours.

Provides basic knowledge of the range of capabilities of available audio and video design applications through the intersection of technology, story, and pedagogy, offering perspective, personalization, and insight. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer)

AAST 33903. Civil Rights Policy and Politics. 3 Hours.

This course will draw from linkages between the protest phase of the civil rights and American political institutions. The course explores the institutional impact of the civil rights movement on the presidency, congress, the courts, administrative regulatory agencies, and civil rights advisory organizations. Prerequisite: AAST 20203 or AAST 32903 or PLSC 32903. (Typically offered: Spring)

AAST 35103. Black Indians in America. 3 Hours.

Examines the history of Black Indian slavery and Freedom in the Cherokee, Muscogee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole Tribes. Explores the switch to chattel slavery following colonialization, the experiences of African people enslaved by the tribes and their descendants, ongoing present-day disputes over tribal citizenship, human rights, and the American Indian identity. (Typically offered: Fall and Summer Even Years)

AAST 35203. Black in the City. 3 Hours.

Covers the history of Black people's relationship with the urban landscape. Students will use a wide array of primary sources to explore the ways in which Americans not only perceived the city but also sought to understand, master, and reimagine it and the uneven social and economic development that emerged as a consequence. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring Odd Years)

AAST 36703. Distant Relatives: The Global Black Diaspora. 3 Hours.

Examines the cultural, political, economic, and social experiences of different parts of the African diaspora in the Americas, with special attention to the Black Atlantic World, focusing on the making of the diaspora through slavery, the middle passage, and later coerced and voluntary migrations. (Typically offered: Spring and Summer Odd Years)

AAST 38503. Topics in African-American Literature and Culture. 3 Hours.

The study of works of African-American literature, with attention to particular themes, genres, authors, literary movements, historical moments, or other organizing principles. Content varies. (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

AAST 39703. South Africa: The Long, Ongoing Walk to Freedom. 3 Hours.

Examines the country's complex history and also the ways that this past is both remembered and memorialized. Closely examines the initial motivations for the colonization of South Africa, the experiences of Africans under colonial and, subsequently, apartheid rule and the ongoing legacies of these periods in contemporary South Africa. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 39803. Black Movements and Messiahs. 3 Hours.

Focuses on black movements and leaders across global African history since the Age of Revolutions to the present including political, economic, social, cultural, religious and artistic movements throughout Africa and the diaspora. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 399HV. Honors African & African American Studies Thesis. 1-6 Hour.

Independent thesis research and writing under the direction of an AAST faculty member. Prerequisite: Junior standing. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

AAST 40003. African & African American Studies Study Abroad. 3 Hours.

Examination of selected topics in conjunction with student participation in the bi-annual African & African American Studies Study Abroad program to Ghana. Topic variable, chosen by instructor. (Typically offered: Summer Even Years) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

AAST 400H3. Honors African & African American Studies Study Abroad. 3 Hours.

Examination of selected topics in conjunction with student participation in the bi-annual African & African American Studies Study Abroad program to Ghana. Topic variable, chosen by instructor. (Typically offered: Summer Even Years) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

AAST 40403. Black Italia. 3 Hours.

Explores the history, representation, and lived experiences, both prejudices and successes, of marginalized persons in Italy, particularly those of African heritage through an interdisciplinary lens. (Typically offered: Spring Odd Years)

AAST 40503. Historic Black Northwest Arkansas. 3 Hours.

Explores the history of Black Northwest Arkansas from settlement to the twenty-first century by examining, recovering, and documenting the lives of the region's enslaved and free people of color. Additional exploration of the communities, institutions, social, businesses, and artistic movements that define the black experience in Northwest Arkansas. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 41003. Communicating Body Image. 3 Hours.

Examines hidden assumptions about body image as it relates to the intersections of race, class, gender, and other major identity markers. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 41203. Africa and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. 3 Hours.

Examines the trans-Atlantic slave trade with a primary focus on the role of Africa and Africans in creating the unique economy and culture of the trans-Atlantic world. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 41503. Race and Society. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the sociological study of race and ethnicity within the United States, with emphasis on understanding how race and ethnicity operate within contemporary social institutions. Prerequisite: SOCI 10103 or AAST 10003 or AAST 20203. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 41603. African American Perspectives of Trauma, Loss, and Recovery. 3 Hours.

Explores dimensions of trauma, loss, and recovery within the lived experiences of African American individuals, families, and communities in the United States. Prerequisite: Junior standing or instructor consent. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 41703. Social Work with African American Families. 3 Hours.

An overview of historical and contemporary issues of African American families using culturally competent and strengths based frameworks. Focuses on the Black family as a social institution. Covers current trends affecting Black families, historical influences, evaluation of social policies, and programs of today. Prerequisite: Junior standing or instructor consent. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

AAST 41803. Black Environmental Justice. 3 Hours.

Provides an overview of the foundations of environmental justice as it relates to African-American communities. Expands the definitions of the environment and deconstructs the connection between slavery, land loss, gentrification, and food deserts. Finally, the course explores federal policies that shapes built environments, and its influence on African-American culture. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 42603. Modern Africa. 3 Hours.

Examines the last half-century of Africa's history, focusing on the last few decades. Introduction of Africa's colonial past, revolutions and struggles for independence. Review of African development in the post-colonial and contemporary era, successes and failures of independent Africa, and the challenges the continent faces today. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 43203. Racial Identity, Politics, and Public Policy. 3 Hours.

Examines how race and perceived racial differences affect political discourse, mobilization, representation, and political outcomes. Prerequisite: PLSC 32903 or AAST 10003 or Junior standing. (Typically offered: Spring Even Years)

AAST 43803. The American Civil Rights Movement. 3 Hours.

Introduction to the history and development of the civil rights movement in the United States. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 44703. Account Planning. 3 Hours.

An introduction to applied advertising research and account planning. Integrate consumers' perspectives into creative strategy to developing brand stories for clients. Write creative briefs, positioning statements and prepare copy-testing research instruments to evaluate messages. Utilize consumer research for creating messages for diverse cultures. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: Minimum 90 hours completed, no in-progress hours or coursework accepted, 2.5 overall GPA, JOUR 10303 with a grade of C or better, and ADPR 37203 and ADPR 37403, with a grade of B or better. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

AAST 45203. Black Utopias/Dystopias. 3 Hours.

Explores how thinkers in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Africa, as well as movements such as fugitivity, colonization, and emigration to Haiti, Canada, Liberia, Ghana, Paris, and numerous other spaces, envisioned ideal forms of community that would shield them from the perils of white supremacy and racist oppression. (Typically offered: Fall Odd Years)

AAST 45603. The Old South, 1607-1865. 3 Hours.

Survey of the political, social, and economic development of the antebellum South. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 45703. The New South, 1860 to the Present. 3 Hours.

Survey of the development of the Civil War and postwar South to the present. (Typically offered: Fall Even Years)

AAST 45803. Cultures of Africa. 3 Hours.

An exploration of the people and places of Africa from a variety of anthropological perspectives. Classic and contemporary works will be studied in order to underscore the unity and diversity of African cultures, as well as the importance African societies have played in helping us understand culture/society throughout the world. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 46103. Race: History and Theory. 3 Hours.

This seminar-style course explores race through the lens of history and theory. It examines works that are in conversation with Marxist, feminist, legal, and poststructuralist theories and that explore concepts key to the study of race, such as class, gender, ideology, identity, culture, and discourse. (Typically offered: Irregular)
This course is cross-listed with AAST 4613, HIST 4833.

AAST 46203. African American Art History. 3 Hours.

Surveys African American art from the seventeenth century to the present. It begins with a discussion of the transatlantic slave trade and it examines art produced in what Pratt terms the "contact zones." It then follows developments in African American art from the Antebellum Period to the present. Prerequisite: ARHS 21003. (Typically offered: Fall)

AAST 48103. Africans and Slavery in Colonial Latin America. 3 Hours.

Explores the diverse experiences of slaves and free Blacks in colonial Spanish and Portuguese America from 1500 to around 1888, demonstrating that bondage and the practice of African slavery was a pillar of political authority in colonial Latin America. (Typically offered: Irregular)

AAST 48203. Black Freedom in the Age of Emancipation. 3 Hours.

Comparative study of Atlantic World freedom movements from the perspective of the African Diaspora. Focuses on the histories, meanings, and legacies of the various types of black emancipation in the Atlantic World and the cultural technologies that enabled them. (Typically offered: Spring)

AAST 48503. Studies in African American Literature and Culture. 3 Hours.

The study of works of African American literature, with attention to particular themes, genres, authors, literary movements, historical moments, or other organizing principles. Content varies. At least one major research paper will be required. (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for up to 9 hours of degree credit.

AAST 48603. Gender, Race, and Power. 3 Hours.

Examines how communication shapes gender, race, sexuality, and power. Rather than focusing exclusively on interpersonal communication, this course looks at theories of power that shape institutional macro communication. (Typically offered: Fall Even Years)

AAST 4890V. African & African American Independent Study. 1-6 Hour.

An exploration of African & African American Studies topics independently with a faculty member. Topic variable with permission of faculty member. (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

AAST 49203. History of the Black Press. 3 Hours.

Covers the historic context of contributions and innovations to U.S. newspapers by African Americans. Also investigates the role of the black press from its beginnings in 1827 through the civil rights movement. Prerequisite: Junior standing. (Typically offered: Spring Even Years)

AAST 49303. African American Political Ideology. 3 Hours.

A survey course designed to identify and examine characteristics and functions of several variants of black political ideology/thought. (Typically offered: Fall Odd Years)
This course is cross-listed with AAST 4930, PLSC 4930.

AAST 4990V. African and African American Studies Seminar. 1-12 Hour.

Explores the various aspects of the African & African American experience as it relates to the development of relationships in American society and the world at large. Variable topic each semester. (Typically offered: Fall, Spring and Summer) May be repeated for up to 12 hours of degree credit.