Three students talking in class.

HIS 403: African Past to Afro Future: The Black Experience in the Americas

Instructor: Dr. Dalia A. Muller, Director of the Honors College


This course explores the history of Afro-descendant people in the Americas. Together, we will examine how Afro-descendants have responded to, engaged with, and [re]invented the idea of “Africa,” while forming and reforming Afro-Diasporic identities from the 1600s to the present. The class will be organized in three sections. The first examines the history of slavery in the Americas, and centers on the scholarly debate over the loss and retention of culture across the middle passage and under slavery. The second section centers on emancipation and the creation of post-emancipation societies. We will focus on freedom struggles, migration, ideologies of racial uplift, and the emergence of Pan-Africanism, as well as the concurrent rise of white supremacy and de-africanization campaigns in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The final third of the course investigates the resurgence of African culture in the Americas during the Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude movement, as well as the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. the course will end with a serious look at the current challenges that Afro-descendants face in different parts of the Americas. We conclude by studying the history of afro-futurism, analyzing liberatory or apocalyptic futuristic visions of key contemporary artists and activists. This is a reading and writing intensive course. We will mainly read works of history, but will also engage with poetry, novels, graphic novels, podcasts, films and more.

Last updated: October 23, 2017 3:51 pm EST