The African Diaspora: History, Religions & Cultures

HS 3325 (BC/ARS Introductory Seminar)

Fall 2010
Prof. James A. Noel, SFTS
Saturday, 9-12 PM
Mudd 102 (PSR/GTU)
jnoel@sfts.edu
415-847-6532 (cell)

I. Course Description.
This team taught course is designed to fulfill the introduction requirement for students enrolled in the GTU’s Black Church/Africana Religious Studies certificate program. The course aims to provide students with the historical background, analytical tools, and spatial framework to situate the black church within a perspective now designated as “global” and to understand it as but one of the multi-varied expressions of black religion.

The first seven sessions of this course focuses on key topics constituting African Diaspora/Africana studies. We begin with a spatial and historical overview of African Diaspora/Africana Studies constituted by West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the US. Thus, this course will serve as the broader/global spatial and historical framework for situating and engaging in Black Church Studies.

After the first seven class sessions pertaining more properly to Africana Religious Studies, we will assume a topical approach in introducing students to the discipline of Black Church Studies. These sessions will be led by other African American GTU faculty whose teaching and research will enable us to approach various topics with a degree of depth that would not have been possible otherwise. Such topics will include the following: African American and African Roman Catholics, Womanist Theologies, Issues in Black Pastoral Care, African American Biblical Interpretation, Black Theology, etc.

Requirements: Students will demonstrate in a final term paper (12-15 typed, double-spaced) that they have gained a comprehensive knowledge of the religions, cultures and history of blacks in the Atlantic World from the pre-colonial period to the present as a framework for critically thinking and theologizing about the modern world and the ministry and mission of the Black Church.

I. Reading Assignments and Topics
Week1: Sept. 11th : Introduction: Problems and Methods in Africana/Black Church Studies. [Noel]
1) Harris, J. E., “The African Diaspora in the Old and New Worlds,” in General History of Africa, vol. V, pp. 113-36;
2) Knight, F. W., “The African Diaspora,” in General History of Africa, vol. VI, pp. 749-772.

Week 2: Sept 18th : Pre-Colonial History of West Africa. [Noel]
 1) Conniff, Michael L. & Davis J. Thomas, “Africa to 1500,” and “Africa and Europe before 1700,” in Africans in the Americas, pp. 7-45;
2) Abimbola, Wande, “Ifa: A West African Cosmological System,” in Religion in Africa, edited by Thomas D. Blakely, pp. 101-116.
3) Eric Williams, “Capitalism and Slavery,” in Caribbean Slave Society and Economy, edited by Hilary Beckles & Verene Shepherd, pp. 120-129.

Week 3: Sept 25th : History and Religions of Africans in the Caribbean and Latin America. [Noel]
 1) Conniff, Michael L. & Davis J. Thomas, “Africans in the Caribbean,” and “Africans in Brazil,” in Africans in the Americas , pp. 71-106.
2) Gonzalez-Wippler, Migene, Santeria: The Religion, A Legacy of Faith, Rites, and Magic, pp. 1-74.
Recommended:
3) Omari, Mikelle Smith, “Candomble: A Socio-Political Examination of African Religion and Art in Brazil,” in Religion in Africa, edited by Thomas D. Blakely, pp. 135-159.
4) Schuler, Monica, “Myalism and the African Religious Tradition in Jamaica,” in Caribbean Slave Society and Economy, edited by Hilary Beckles & Verene Shepherd, pp. 295-305.

Week 4: Oct. 2nd : History and Religions of Africans in North America. [Noel]
 1) Conniff, Michael L. & Davis J. Thomas, “Africans in the Thirteen British Colonies” in Africans in the Americas, pp. 122-154;
2) Wilmore, Gayraud, Black Religion and Black Radicalism, pp. 1-50.

Week 5: Oct. 9th : THE AFRICAN DIASPORA & ROMAN CATHOLICISM.
1) Cecelia Moore, African American Catholics in The Encyclopedia of American Religion, v. 4.
2) Emily Clark, Masterless Mistresses: The New Orleans Ursulines and the Development of a New World Society, 1727-1834 (Chapel Hill: 2007) [recommended]
3) Cyprian Davis, The History of Black Catholics in the United States (Crossroads: 1990). [recommended]

Week 6: Oct. 16th : The Art, Music & Literature of the African Diaspora. [Noel]
1) Knight, Roderic and Bilby, Kenneth, “Music in Africa and the Caribbean;”
2) Meadows, Eddie S., “African American Music;”
3) Pruitt, Sharon, “The Art of Africa and the Diaspora;”
4) Ojaide, Tanure, “Literature in Africa and the Caribbean;”
5) Harris, Truder, “African American Literature: A Survey;” in Africana Studies: A Survey of Africa and the African Diaspora edited by Mario Azevedo, pp. 243-342.

Week7: Oct. 23rd : African American Missionaries in Africa in the Nineteenth Century. [Noel]
1) Sanneh, Lamin, “Establishment of Christian Colonies: Sierra Leon, Liberia” in West African Christianity: The Religious Impact, pp. 53-105;
2) Schoffeleers, Michael, “Christ in African Folk Theology: The Nganga Paradigm,” in Religion in Africa, edited by Thomas D. Blakely, pp. 73-88.

Oct. 30th READING WEEK

Week 8 : Nov. 6th : Garveyism, Pan-Africanism, Black Nationalism, African Diasporic Independence Movements and the Modern Political-Economy. [Noel]
Mario Azevedo, ed., Africana Studies: A Survey of Africa and the African Diaspora edited by Mario Azevedo, pp. 159-237.

Week 9: Nov. 13th : INTRODUCTION TO TWIENTIETH CENTURY BLACK THEOLOGY. [Quick]

Week 10: Nov. 20th : INTRODUCTION TO WOMANIST THEOLOGY. [Nash]

Week 11: Nov 27th : ISSUES IN BLACK PASTORAL CARE & COUNSELING.

Week 12: Dec. 4th : PROBLEMS & METHODS IN BLACK CHURCH COMMUNITY OUTREACH & MISSIONS.