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University Graduate School  
Kirkwood Hall 111 
Indiana University 
Bloomington, IN 47405 
(812) 855-8853 
Contact Graduate Office 

Afro-American Studies

Graduate Faculty
Adjunct Graduate Faculty
Master of Arts Degree
Ph.D. Minor in Afro-American Studies
Cross-Listed Courses

College of Arts and Sciences

Professor John McCluskey Jr.

Departmental e-mail:

Departmental URL:

Graduate Faculty

Martha C. Kraft Professor
Herman Hudson (Emeritus)

Winona Fletcher (Emerita, Theatre and Drama), Phyllis Klotman (Emerita), John McCluskey Jr., William Wiggins Jr.

Associate Professors
Akwasi Assensoh, Valerie Grim, Audrey McCluskey*

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Adjunct Graduate Faculty

Distinguished Professor
David Baker (Music)

Raymond Hedin (English), Eileen Julien (Comparative Literature)

Associate Professors
Carolyn Calloway-Thomas (Communication and Culture)

Graduate Advisor
Professor Frederick McElroy, Memorial Hall East M27, (812) 855-2248

The multidisciplinary Department of Afro-American Studies seeks to (1) create and share with academic and nonacademic communities scholarship of the highest quality dealing with the broad range of the Afro-American experience; (2) promote the study and understanding of the historical and contemporary connections among Africans, African Americans, and other New World black communities; and (3) affirm the democratic tradition of equal opportunity for all by combating all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, class, and religious differences. The department assumes the ongoing responsibility of creating materials and conducting seminal research that aids in the development and shaping of Afro-American studies as a discipline.

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Master of Arts Degree

The purposes of this program are: 1) to offer students an intense program in the analysis of Afro-American issues; 2) to expose students to both historical and current methodological approaches; 3) to expose students to issues throughout the African diaspora; 4) to refine critical and problem-solving skills in both the humanities and social sciences; 5) to extend a sound basis for those going into a doctoral program; and 6) prepare students for administrative, teaching, communication, and social service careers. In sum, the program provides a theoretical base of knowledge, methods of research, and a context for analyzing the African American context that can be invaluable either in further graduate studies or in a specific job or career choice.

The program will be open to any eligible student with a bachelorís degree from an accredited college. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Letters of recommendations, a brief personal essay, and GRE scores are the main sources of information upon which decision will be made.

Course Requirements
All students will complete a minimum of 32 credit hours with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. All students must take the three required courses for a total of nine credit hours: A500 Introduction to Afro-American Studies, A690 Directed Readings; and A698 Field Study Seminar. Students must take a minimum of 18 hours in one of the concentration areas: Arts (dance, film studies, music); Literature; or History, Culture, and Social Issues. At the time of admission, each student and the graduate advisor together plan a program of study, including the selection of a major concentration area.

M.A. candidates may satisfy the foreign language requirement by showing satisfactory completion of course work or passing a language proficiency exam. Students in the History, Culture, and Social Issues concentration have the additional option of selecting between the research skills of computer science or statistics.

Through the A698 Field Study Seminar students will have the opportunity to work in, for example, organizations, agencies, and archives and develop an alternative, thesis-length document.

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Ph.D. Minor in Afro-American Studies

The department offers the Ph.D. minor in Afro-American studies for students enrolled in any doctoral program at Indiana University.

For the Afro-American studies minor, students must complete 15 credit hours of graduate course work selected from the departmentís three concentration areas: (1) arts; (2) literature; and (3) history, culture, and social issues.

Doctoral students who wish to explore the wide range of course options available in Afro-American studies and cooperating departments should confer with the departmental graduate advisor.

Doctoral students in good standing are admitted to the Afro-American studies minor through interview or correspondence with the graduate advisor. At the time of admission, each student and the graduate advisor together plan an individualized program of study, including the selection of a major concentration area.

Course Requirements
A total of 15 credit hours, to include three courses (9 cr.) in one concentration area and two courses (6 cr.) in another area. With written permission of the graduate advisor, students may take four courses (12 cr.) in a single concentration area and one course (3 cr.) in another area.

A cumulative grade point average of 3.4 is required of work for the Ph.D. minor.

A comprehensive examination usually is not required; however, the decision to waive the examination rests with the faculty committee of the studentís concentration area.

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A500 Introduction to Afro-American Studies (4 cr.)
Representative readings in interdisciplinary and comparative scholarship; the origins and development of Afro-American studies; current issues and trends.
A590 Special Topics in Afro-American Studies (3 cr.) Intensive study and analysis of selected Afro-American problems and issues of limited scope, approached within an interdisciplinary format. Topics will vary, but will ordinarily cut across departmental concentration areas.
A591 Black Intellectual Traditions (4 cr.) Surveys the evolution of ďracialĒ ideas and ideologies among African Americans. Participants will discuss how Black intellectuals have engaged in dialogue and debate about strategies for coping with injustice, while formulating diverse concepts of justice, salvation, artistry, and positive Black identity.
A690 Core Readings in Afro-American Studies (4 cr.) Preparation for the comprehensive masterís examination. Colloquium in which students will read and critically examine, both in oral presentations and in written assignments, core texts which reflect the complexity and pluralism of Afro-American studies.
A698 Field Study Seminar (4 cr.) Development of the final masterís project. A critical paper, a thesis-length documentation of a field study, or a substantial record of creative activity is required.

A501 Seminar in the Harlem Renaissance (4 cr.)
Study of the major historical figures of the period designated by cultural historians as the Harlem Renaissance (ca. 1919-29), emphasis on the sociopolitical reasons for the proliferation of art, music, and literature during this significant decade with examination of the causes and lasting influences on contemporary black culture.
A502 Seminar on Wright, Baldwin, and Ellison (4 cr.) A close critical study of selected works by Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison to assess their relationship with Harlem Renaissance emphases, contemporary American writing, and the black arts movement. The relationship of these men and their works to relevant sociopolitical issues such as McCarthyism, the liberation of African nations, and the civil rights campaigns of the early 1960s will also be examined.
A561 Afro-American Autobiography (3 cr.) A survey of autobiographies written by black Americans in the last two centuries. The course emphasizes how the autobiographers combine the grace of art and the power of argument to urge the creation of genuine freedom in America.
A571 Black Literature for Teachers (3 cr.) A survey of black American literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the present with opportunities for research into teaching materials. This course is designed primarily for teachers. Credit not given for this course toward Ph.D. minor.
A579 Early Black American Writing (3 cr.) Afro-American writing before World War II with emphasis on critical reactions and analyses. Includes slave narrative, autobiography, rhetoric, fiction, and poetry.
A580 Contemporary Black American Writing (3 cr.) The black experience in America as it has been reflected since World War II in the works of outstanding Afro-American writers: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
A583 Blacks in American Drama and Theatre, 1767-1945 (3 cr.) Image of blacks as reflected in American drama from 1767 to 1945. Selected dramas of both white and black playwrights, such as Isaac Bickerstaffe, William Wells Brown, Eugene OíNeill, and Richard Wright, who depicted blacks on the stage.
A584 Blacks in American Drama and Theatre, 1945-Present (3 cr.) Image of blacks as reflected in American drama from 1945 to present. Emphasis on the contributions of black playwrights, such as Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Ted Shine, and Ed Bullins.
A585 Seminar in Black Theatre (3 cr.) Contributions of blacks to the theatre in America. Reading and discussion of selected dramas and critiques with opportunities for involvement in the oral interpretation of one or more of the plays.
A678 Early Black American Poetry, 1746-1910 (3 cr.) A literary and historical survey of general trends and individual accomplishments in early Afro-American poetry, ranging from narrative folk poems, the formalist poetry of Jupiter Hammon and Phillis Wheatley, and the popular poetry of Frances E. W. Harper and Paul Laurence Dunbar, to early modern poetry.
A679 Contemporary Black Poetry (3 cr.) An examination of black poetry from Dunbar to the present, emphasizing the emergence, growth, and development of black consciousness as a positive ethnic identification.
A680 The Black Novel (3 cr.) Analysis of the Afro-American novel from the Harlem Renaissance to the present: genesis, development, and current trends. Emphasis on traditions arising out of the black experience and on critical perspectives developed by black critics and scholars.
A689 Independent Project in Black Literature (3 cr.) Designed to meet individual interests of students by providing opportunities for research on a chosen topic and by encouraging nontraditional approaches or settings in the application of concepts developed in formal classes.

A594 Black Music in America (3 cr.)
A survey of black music from its African origin to the present with special emphasis on its social, economic, and political implications.
A597 Popular Music of Black America (3 cr.) A sociocultural and musical analysis of urban black popular music, its performers, producers, and composers from the 1940s to 1980 rhythm and blues, rock ní roll, soul, ballads, funk, disco, and the raps.
A699 Independent Project in Black Music (3 cr.) Designed to meet individual interests of students by providing opportunities for in-depth research on a chosen topic and by providing settings for the creative and practical application of concepts developed in formal class settings.

A552 History of the Education of Black Americans (3 cr.)
Education of black Americans and its relationship to the Afro-American experience. Trends and patterns in the education of black Americans as they relate to the notions of education for whom and for what.
A669 Independent Project in Black Social Issues (3 cr.) Designed to meet individual interests of students by providing opportunities for research on a chosen topic and by encouraging nontraditional approaches or settings in the application of concepts developed in formal classes.

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Cross-Listed Courses1


L655 American Literature and Culture 1900-1945 (4 cr.)


M582 The Bebop Era (3 cr.)

M583 Duke Ellington (3 cr.)
M584 Research in the History and Analysis of Jazz (3 cr.)
M596 Art Music of Black Composers (3 cr.)


E450 Folk Religions (3 cr.)
E455 Anthropology of Religion (3 cr.)
E457 Ethnic Identity (3 cr.)
E650 African Systems of Thought (1-3 cr.)

Communication and Culture
S727 Seminar in Cross-Cultural Communications (3 cr.)

Criminal Justice
P680 Seminar: Issues in Criminal Justice (3 cr.)

F609 African and Afro-American Folklore/Folk Music (3 cr.)
F625 North American Folklore/Folk Music (3 cr.)

E531 African History from Ancient Times to Empires and City States (3 cr.)
E532 African History from Colonial Rule to Independence (3 cr.)
E534 History of Western Africa (3 cr.)

Political Science
Y657 Comparative Politics (3 cr.)

S610 Urban Sociology (3 cr.)
S631 Intergroup Relations (3 cr.)

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1 A student may choose one of the following courses or other approved cross-listed courses to satisfy a concentration in literature; the arts; or history, culture, and social issues.

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Last updated: 21 Aug 2001
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