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Core Courses

AAS 701: "Proseminar in African American Studies"

This first-term introductory course is designed as a methods seminar in which students will have common readings for the first 3–4 weeks and the final 3–4 weeks of the Fall term. The common readings and facilitated discussions will focus on the origins of African American Studies as an interdisciplinary field and issues related to professionalization including research ethics, peer review and the publication process, and scholarly integrity—among other topics. For the rest of the course, AAS graduate faculty will introduce first-year students to research methods and approaches or theoretical models deployed in their own published research. Ph.D. students will read two articles or book chapters by each invited AAS graduate faculty as well as two to three articles or book chapters by other scholars whose work influenced the research methods and approaches of the invited faculty on a weekly basis. In this way, first-year students will be exposed to several research approaches within specific disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts represented by participating AAS graduate faculty. 

AAS 702: "Reading & Methods in African American Studies"

This course is designed to expose first-year students to the broad array of canonical texts that have shaped and defined the field since its inception. The 12-15 required books used for each iteration of this course will be drawn from a master list of 100–125 essential readings created, revised, and curated by the AAS graduate faculty, and this list will represent a broad disciplinary and interdisciplinary range. In addition to critically assessing the content, interpretive frameworks, and theoretical interventions of each of the 12-15 books, the faculty facilitator will initiate discussions about issues related to research ethics and the methodological approaches of the works under study. 

AAS 703: "Theorizing Blackness"

This course focuses on various theoretical approaches and paradigms—critical race theory, Black feminist theory, and Black queer theory among others—that shape discourses in African American Studies. 

AAS 598R: "Dissertation Colloquium" 

Taken during Year 3 by all AAS Ph.D. students, this colloquium will facilitate intellectual exchange and a create a space for the revision of the dissertation prospectus. 

The rest of the AAS Ph.D. program curriculum revolves around variable topics courses in the three cognate fields: “Topics in Gender & Sexuality,” “Topics in Social Justice & Social Movements,” and “Topics in Expressive Arts & Cultures.” Augmenting the graduate program offerings will be courses originating in other affiliate Laney Graduate School graduate programs to be cross-listed in AAS.