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2015-2016 Catalog

AFS 105 Reversing Sail

In this course students learn about the diverse communities of people of African descent throughout the world. What does the term 'diaspora' mean in the context of people of African descent around the world? Do all black people have the same concept of belonging to an African Diaspora? The class will cover different forms of black migration from the African continent and the conditions of peoples' emigration. We will discuss the scholarly debates about what constitutes slavery and other forms of unfree labor. Why did Africans' sell captives, and are there any critical differences between different kinds of unfree labor? Students learn about transoceanic movements of people (Atlantic, Western Indian Ocean), movements within Africa, and examples of black communities in Europe, for comparison. In this period of globalization, is there any cultural cross-fertilization between different black diaspora communities? Why or why not? The class also engages questions of what impact such communities have had on their host societies. Have they truly remained marginal? Have they affected cultural process in those societies, or not, and if so, how? Issues of culture, ethnicity, and identity will be explored in the diverse settings where we find the African Diaspora. [GM2]