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African American History, 1444-1877
AFAM 203
Spring 2011 not offered
Crosslisting: HIST 241

The period between 1454 and 1877 of African American history is dominated by the context of slavery in the Americas. The overall goal of the class is to more comprehensively and efficiently interpret the predominant historical phenomenon of African slavery in the Americas. We will utilize five principle methodologies to interpret the African American experience in North America and the United States: political-economy, anthropology, sociology, history, and epistemological archaeology.

The political-economy section will address the geography, institutions, and simultaneous processes that contributed to the trans-Atlantic slave trade (technical innovation and a secular revolution in Europe, the growth and development of the Atlantic plantation complex, slavery in Africa) that then provided the conditions of possibilities for an early African American experience. This section will also address major sources of scholarly debate such as the profitability of slavery, newer sources of scholarly inquiry such as the institution's contribution to the American system of law, and determining the extent to which the legal abolition of slavery was based on moral or economic motivations.

The anthropological and sociological section will personalize, individualize, and compare the experience of blackness during New World and capitalist slavery in the modernizing Americas. This section will employ some of the fundamental conditions by which sociologists and anthropologists have used to define what constituted slavery--extraneousness, social death, and sterility--and first apply it to the African experience in the Americas between 1454 and 1877, and then seek points of comparison across the globe and throughout history. These sections will address the relative severity of the institution of slavery--as measured by slave law--and the psycho-social effects of the institution on the ruling groups--drivers, planters, white southern society, and the United States.

The epistemological archeology section will expand discussion of the collective perceptions of the African American experience and the character and destiny of the slave laborer to determine its contributions to grander theories of civilization (romantic racial nationalism) and the template of conscious experience in the Americas. The historical section will summarize change and continuity in the African American experience from the expansion of Europe, through the making, expansion, perfection, and fall of the institution of slavery in the United States (and beyond). We will arrive at the reality of the first generation after emancipation.

Essential Capabilities: None
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AFAM
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM-MN)(AFAM)(AFST-MN)(AMST)

Last Updated on MAR-26-2023
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