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African-American Culture (AAS 306)

About This Course

"A challenging and yet exhilarating undertaking would be teaching a class that endeavors to examine the culture of a group that historically was severely emasculated and disenfranchised. Add to the complications of examining such a group the reality of the fact that the analysis of this group is supposed to begin at the very point in which their emasculation and disenfranchisement theoretically ceased -- 1865, two years after their emancipation and immediately after the Civil War. Consider also that culture can and has been defined differently by many scholars. Some begin by defining culture from a geographic perspective, while others use race, ethnicity, religion, history, family relationships, etc., to determine the commonality that links people together.

What to Expect

What I expect you to discover in this course is how all the aforementioned categories of culture (race, ethnicity, class, geography, family relationships) contribute to the creation of a broadly conceived definition of culture. As well, what I hope to achieve in this course is the establishment of a perspective that bridges the gap between 1865 and the millennium so that it will become evident that while 135 years have passed since the end of the Civil War, many of the realities that were problematic during the antebellum period still exist as problems today, only packaged or conceived differently.

The expectation for you as a college student is that you will engage this culture called African American as your own culture, with thoughts on how you may have responded to the historical moments that shaped the culture, while examining what the effects this so-called African American culture may have had or is still having on you. While this may seem like a tall order, and it is, it is a task that can be fairly comfortable to those of you who will put forth the effort.

What We Will Cover

In this class you will be introduced to aspects of African American culture that will be very painful to consider, especially within the framework of the human experience and the fact that these events are historically accurate and fairly recent in the context of American history. Additionally, we will constantly reiterate the fact that while these events and individuals who lived through these moments are contributors to African American culture, they are also significant contributors to what is an American culture that must acknowledge all the growing pains it endured to reach its millennium moment.

More specifically, what we will do in this class is examine what constitutes African American culture. To assist us in our efforts we will use literature, film and music as a narrative for contemporary and classic lifestyles, along with various other points of departure for discussion on how or what black culture may have evolved to in our current millennial moment."

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

If you have any questions about the Center for Diversity (CDPI), or are interested in learning more about promoting diversity at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

CDPI LogoDr. J.W. Wiley, Chief Diversity Officer
Office Location: Kehoe 610
Phone: (518) 564-5410
Email: diversity@plattsburgh.edu