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    Western Michigan University
  Nov 19, 2017
Undergraduate Catalog 2017-18
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ANTH 3580 - The African Diaspora: Peoples and Cultures

The African Diaspora in the Americas, product of the transatlantic slave trade, has impacted every society in North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America and has produced a diverse array of distinctive cultures and communities. And yet, the communities, cultures, and cultural influences of the African Diaspora are often neglected within the usual regional divisions of area studies courses, despite a solid tradition of anthropology dealing with the peoples and cultures of the African Diaspora. This body of research raises many issues at the cutting edge of anthropological thinking about the nature of cultural continuity and change, identity, consciousness and tradition, and the co-construction of race and nation, to list but a few. This course will introduce the work of pioneering anthropologists of the African Diaspora throughout the Americas, situating their work in the context of various intellectual and political currents of the 20th century, and tracing their legacy in contemporary anthropology and related fields, such as cultural studies and ethnohistory. Much of this recent work reconceptualizes an Atlantic World or “Black Atlantic” that is rich with contemporary interconnections and movements of people between points in the Americas, Europe, and Africa that complicate earlier notions of unidirectional influences from Africa to the New World. We will attempt to map a dialogue between anthropological work on African diasporic culture(s) (situated within the predominately white/Euro academy) and the political and social concerns and consciousness of Afro-American people themselves (not just U.S. African-American, but all of the Americas).

Credits: 3 hours

Notes: This course satisfies General Education Area IV: Other Cultures and Civilizations. Cross-listed with AFS 3580.

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