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Home > Academics > Undergraduate > Ethnic Studies >
Ethnic Studies
Course Description

Ethnic Studies 052
African American Women's History: Lifting As We Climb

African American women's history, exemplified by the reconstruction era slogan, 'Lifting as We Climb', has been characterized by struggles for self-definition and community uplift. This course provides an overview of this important yet often invisible history and illustrates the centrality of issues of race, class and gender to the history of the United States. The course examines the economic, political, cultural, social and sexual dynamics of African American women's history. We focus on pre-colonial Africa, slavery and life before 1865; reconstruction and Jim Crow; the great migration; the Harlem Renaissance; the civil rights era and protest years.

Three themes will be explored during the course. The first is the nature of diaspora and the extent of West African socio-cultural retentions; the second is the intersection of race, class and gender in limiting black women's options; the third is the diverse forms of resistance and struggles for social change which have been present in every era of African American women's history. The course draws on theoretical, historical and political writings by African American women in order to bring an outsider-within perspective to this hidden history. Videos and discussions will be used to enhance the class lectures.

May be taken for: Women's Studies/ History major/minor
Meets the Historical Perspectives, Multicultural Perspectives and Women and Gender General Education Requirements.

Required Texts
Darlene Clark Hine (1997) Hine Sight: Black women and the re-construction of American history, Indiana University Press.

Elizabeth Clark-Lewis (1996) Living In, Living Out: African American Domestics and the Great Migration, Kodansha International.

Louise Meriwether (1970) Daddy was a Number Runner, The Feminist Press.

Vicki Crawford, Jacqueline Rouse and Barbara Woods (1993) Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers 1941-1965, Indiana University Press.

Course Requirements
Class attendance and participation: 10%
Midterm examination: 25%
8-10 page paper: 40%
Final examination: 25%

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Last Updated: 6/22/17