Black Studies Office
5305 Holmes Road

Kansas City, MO 64110
Phn: (816) 235-2636
Fax: (816) 235-5596
umkcblackstudies@umkc.edu
http://cas.umkc.edu/blackstudies

Program Description

The UMKC Black Studies Program is an academic unit that holistically investigates the experience, contributions and conditions of African-descent people in the formation and evolution of American society and culture. In accordance with these objectives, our focus extends to an examination of the active role of Africa and the African Diaspora in global society and human culture. The Black Studies Program – through both a social science and a humanities orientation – provides a unique and rich approach to exploring and comprehending the human experience.

The Black Studies Program is focused on the acquisition and dissemination of an instructive body of knowledge. The curriculum prepares students with a critical skillset that will enable them to pursue diverse employment opportunities. The Program makes available to students the foundational research for undergraduate, graduate and professional training in the discipline of Black Studies.

The Program currently offers undergraduate courses that can lead to a minor in Black Studies. Students can also obtain an Emphasis Area in Black Studies through the Bachelor of Liberal Arts Program. Black Studies offers students from any graduate discipline coursework toward a Graduate Certificate. In addition, coursework is available at the graduate level leading to an Informal Emphasis in Black Studies under the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Degree.

Interim Program Director:
Michael K. McDonald, Ph.D.

Program Advisor:
Veronica N. Wilson-Tagoen Ph.D - Undergraduate & Graduate

Professor(s):
Adrienne Walker Hoard, M.F.A, Ed.D

  • Art/Studio Art (Color Theory, African/African American Art), Art Education, African American Art History, and Black Studies.

Clovis E. Semmes, Ph.D.    

  • Black Studies and Sociology (African American Business Development, the Black Family, Critical Health Issues).

Associate Professor:
Jacqueline E. Wood, Ph.D.

  • Black Studies and English (Drama, Literature, Poetry).

Teaching Professor:
Veronica N. Wilson-Tagoe, Ph.D.

  • Black Studies, Black Atlantic Studies, Gender Studies, Literature (African, African American, Black British, British, Caribbean and Comparative), Literary Theory and Postcolonial Studies.

Library Co-Liaison(s):
Tracey Hughes, M.I.S.L.T., M.A.L.S.

  • Library Instruction and Reference

Gloria Tibbs, M.L.S.

  • Collection Development and Reference

Administrative Assistant:
Patricia C. Charles

The Black Studies Program at UMKC provides instruction for undergraduate students to develop proficiency in written and oral communications regarding the study of African descent people in the Americas and in the African Diaspora. Our curriculum offers in-depth knowledge regarding an African perspective on political systems, humanities contributions and social science research in higher education. While contributing to the general education requirements of UMKC in both the humanities and the social sciences, our program serves to enhance the global literacy and professional development of our undergraduate populations.

Undergraduate Degrees:

Undergraduate Minor:

The Black Studies Program provides critical skill sets in written and oral communication, research, analysis, theory building, multicultural understanding and global awareness. Through a holistic examination of the African American experience, we are committed to enhancing general education and to promoting professional development as well as the training of scholars in the field.

Graduate Degrees:

Graduate Certificates:

Courses

BLKS 201 Global Systems and the Origins of Black American Culture and Institutions Credits: 3

This multidisciplinary course examines global capitalism, European contact with Africa, the development of the African Diaspora, and the origins of Black American institutions and culture. Applying a Black studies perspective, the course explores such themes as cultural and gendered oppression, institutional destabilization, economic dislocation, liberation struggles, and creative impulses and aesthetics and the social and historical experiences of Black people in the Americas.

BLKS 302 Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations in African American Studies Credits: 3

This course will provide an in-depth examination of the theoretical and conceptual parameters of African American studies. We will study the evolution of the field, key scholars and creative intellectuals, and seminal categories of thought.

BLKS 315 Arts of African and New World Cultures Credits: 3

This historical survey of ethnographic arts examines the diasporas of African art and the influences of Africans on the arts of new world cultures (in Brazil, Surinam, Cuba, Haiti, and the United States) and Meso-American art and the influence of Meso-Americans on the arts of the Native North American cultures.

Cross Listings: ART-HIST 315.

BLKS 320 Critical Health Issues in Black Communities Credits: 3

Beginning with the African context and the opposition of chattel slavery, this course examines social, cultural, and historical factors affecting the health status of African Americans to the present era. It explores a variety of health-related issues including the interplay between environment, biology, and culture; folk and popular health practices; structured inequality and oppression; lifestyle, beliefs and values; and the organization and delivery of health care.Moreover, this course moves well beyond the idea that medical care-its presence, absence, or quality-is the singular or most critical factor determining the health of a people, community, or society. It reveals the importance of social phenomena in disease resistance and health promotion. Historical shifts from the prominence of infectious to chronic diseases; the implications to health of chattel slavery, sharecropping, segregation, poverty, and structured inequality; the relationship between psychosocial factors and disease, i.e. destabilized social settings that compromise resistance to disease; environmental racism; and the health status of African Americans as it relates to the organization of work, family structure and function, religious beliefs, the organization of medical care, lifestyle, consumer manipulation, and post-industrial society are major issues addressed by the course.

BLKS 321 The Black Family and Male-Female Relationships Credits: 3

This course examines the historical evolution and current status of the African American family in the United States. Utilizing the African experience as its starting point the course conveys a broad understanding of the role of the family in human survival and progress. We investigate such issues as male-female relationships, sexual practices, dating, marriage, single parenting, the education and socialization of children, and so on. We also examine an array of social and economic issues, including institutionalized inequality, that affects the viability of today's African American family.

BLKS 325 African American Business Development Credits: 3

This course investigates the various challenges to African American business development and entrepreneurship on the united States. We study the lives of successful, pioneering African American businesswomen and men in order to assess how they managed to transcend the barriers of racism and structured inequality. We explore why certain kinds of enterprises emerged among African Americans and why others did not, and we scrutinize the traditional business problems for African Americans of capitalization distribution market penetration, and wealth creation.

BLKS 330 African American Migrations in Literature Credits: 3

The course examines representations of two different trajectories of migration in African American literature: African American journeys from the south to northern and mid-western regions of America, and concurrent migrations of Caribbean people to the US in the early twentieth century.

BLKS 331 African American Literature I Credits: 3

This course provides a survey of African American literature from its beginnings to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. Areas of interest will include abolitionist literature (especially Slave Narratives), turn-of-the-century literature and the Harlem Renaissance. This course will examine any or all of the following literary forms: fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography and essay. It will view African American literature in its historical and cultural contexts.

Cross Listings: ENGLISH 331.

BLKS 332WI African American Novel Credits: 3

This course will examine the African American novel in the 19th and 20th centuries; the emphasis will be on the period from the 1920s to the present. The novels will be examined in their historical and cultural contexts.

Prerequisites: RooWriter.

Cross Listings: ENGLISH 332WI.

BLKS 333 African American Literature II Credits: 3

A survey of African American literature from its beginnings to World War I. This course will cover a range of authors, several genres, and culture forms, which may include fiction, poetry, drama, autobiography, essay, oral, contract and/or slave narratives, folklore, and songs.

Cross Listings: ENGLISH 333.

BLKS 334 From Field Shout to Hip Hop: African American Poetic Traditions Credits: 3

This course examines the development of African American poetry from its early forms as field shouts, ballads, and blues to present forms including spoken word and hip hop. Includes authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tupac Shakur, and Jessica Care Moore.

BLKS 335 Stages Toward Freedom: African American Dramatic Traditions Credits: 3

This course explores the development of African American dramatic traditions from the eighteenth century through the Harlem Renaissance Black Arts Movement, to current postmodernism. Includes authors such as W.W. Brown, Zoran N. Hurston, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks.

BLKS 337 The Civil Rights Movement in African American Literature Credits: 3

This course examines how African American literature shaped ideas about freedom, rights, citizenship and race in the civil rights movement. It draws on a variety of literary forms-speeches, essays, autobiographies, fiction, drama, poetry and film-to explore the movement's impact on communities and cultures as well as its various debates and competing visions.

BLKS 338 Women's Literature in Africa and the African Diaspora Credits: 3

This course is a comparative examination of the variety of literary works produced by women of African descent in the United States, the Caribbean and Africa. Students will explore the cross-cultural implications of texts in light of the intersections of gender, race and class.

BLKS 349 Symbols and Codes from the Diaspora: African American Visual Arts Survey Credits: 3

This course provides an examination of the theoretical and conceptual parameters of African and African American visual aesthetics. Through the writings of key scholars in African American aesthetics, students will study symbolic forms and patterns from various African cultures throughout the Diaspora and investigate formal image categories within African Diaspora visual culture.

BLKS 351 African American Art History: Part I, 1600-1960 Credits: 3

This course presents a comprehensive survey of African American visual art from 1600 through 1960. Critical issues in early American art history highlight the expressions of African American artists and scholars. Students will investigate artistic expressions of this period.

BLKS 403WI Writing for African American Studies Credits: 3

This course instructs students in how to produce advanced knowledge in the field of African American studies. It provides training in the construction of quality research papers for graduate, scholarly, and professional work and exposes students to a wide array of scholarly journals, databases, and authoritative resources in African American studies. Each time the courses taught, students will develop their research around a specific topic defined by the instructor.

Prerequisites: RooWriter.

BLKS 404 Research Seminar Credits: 3

This course introduces the logic, theory, and techniques of empirical research and applies them to African American Studies. It exposes students to a variety of research approaches in order to examine their utility for producing knowledge within the field.

BLKS 410 African American Art History: Part II, 1960-Present Day Credits: 3

This course presents a survey of African American visual arts from 1960 to the present. Visual arts include new media and processes for Diaspora artists. Students investigate contemporary artists within African Diaspora visual culture.

BLKS 480 Special Topics/Seminar Credits: 1-3

In-depth exploration of special topics in Black Studies. When available, topics will be announced prior to registration. Course may be repeated for up to six credit hours.

BLKS 490 Directed Study/Research Credits: 1-3

Individual research and learning projects supervised by a faculty member. Course may be repeated for up to six credit hours.

BLKS 496 Internship in Black Studies Credits: 1-3

This Internship course presents an opportunity for undergraduate students to integrate their academic studies in the discipline of Black Studies with community service and engagement. As a student intern within a business or professional organization in the urban Metropolitan community, the student gains critical information about the processes and procedures of this business entity in relation to African American community members.

BLKS 5502 Conceptual and Theoretical Foundations in African American Studies Credits: 3

This course will provide an in-depth examination of the theoretical and conceptual parameters of African American studies. We will study the evolution of the field, key scholars and creative intellectuals, and seminal categories of thought.

BLKS 5503 Writing for African American Studies Credits: 3

This course instructs students in how to produce advanced knowledge in the field of African American studies. It provides training in the construction of quality research papers for graduate, scholarly, and professional work and exposes students to a wide array of scholarly journals, databases, and authoritative resources in African American studies. Each time the course in taught, students will develop their research around a specific topic defined by the instructor.

BLKS 5504 Research Seminar Credits: 3

This course introduces the logic, theory, and techniques of empirical research and applies them to African American Studies. It exposes students to a variety of research approaches in order to examine their utility for producing knowledge within the field.

BLKS 5510 African American Art History: Part II, 1960-Present Day Credits: 3

This course presents a survey of African American visual arts from 1960 to the present. The Black Arts Movement, the Black Aesthetic, mainstream arts institutions and Black collectors are reviewed. Visual arts include new media and processes for Diaspora artists. Students investigate contemporary artists within African Diaspora visual culture.

BLKS 5520 Critical Health Issues in Black Communities Credits: 3

Beginning with the African context and the imposition of chattel slavery, this course examines social, cultural, and historical factors affecting the health status of African Americans to the present era. It explores a variety of health-related issues including the interplay between environment, biology, and culture; folk and popular health practices; structured inequality and oppression; lifestyle, beliefs, and values; and the organization and delivery of health care.Moreover, this course moves well beyond the idea that medical care- its presence, absence, or quality- is the singular or most critical factor determining the health of a people, community, or society. It reveals the importance of social phenomena in disease resistance and health promotion. Historical shifts from the prominence of infectious to chronic diseases; the implications to health of chattel slavery, sharecropping, segregation, poverty, and structures inequality; the relationship between psychosocial factors and disease, i.e. destabilized social settings that compromise resistance to disease; environmental racism; and the health status of African Americans as it relates to the organization of work, family structure and function, religious beliefs, the organization of medical care, lifestyle, consumer manipulation, and post-industrial society are major issues addressed by the course.

BLKS 5521 The Black Family & Male-Female Relationships Credits: 3

The course examines the historical evolution and current status of the African American family in the e United States. Utilizing the African experience as its stating point, the course conveys a broad understanding of the role of the family in human survival and progress. We investigate such issues as male-female relationships, sexual practices, dating, marriage, single parenting, the education issues, including institutionalized inequality, that affects the viability of today's African American family.

BLKS 5525 African American Business Development Credits: 3

This course investigates the various challenges to African American business development and entrepreneurship in the United States. We study the lives of successful, pioneering African American businesswomen and men in order to assess how they managed to transcend the barriers of racism and structured inequality. We explore why certain kinds of enterprises emerged among African Americans and why others did not, and we scrutinize the traditional business problems for African Americans of capitalization, distribution, market penetration, and wealth creation.

BLKS 5534 From Field Shout to Hip Hop: African American Poetic Traditions Credits: 3

This course examines the development of African American poetry from its early forms as field shouts, ballads, and blues to present forms including spoken word and hip hop. Includes authors such as Phillis Wheatley, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tupac Shakur, and Jessica Care Moore.

BLKS 5535 Stages toward Freedom: African American Dramatic Traditions Credits: 3

This course explores the development of African American dramatic traditions from the eighteenth century through the Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, to current postmodernism. Includes authors such as W.W. Brown, Zora N. Hurston, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks.

BLKS 5537 The Civil Rights Movement in African American Literature Credits: 3

This course examines how African American literature shaped ideas about freedom, rights, citizenship and race in the civil rights movement. It draws on a variety of literary forms-speeches, essays, autobiographies, fiction, drama, poetry and film-to explore the movement's impact on communities and cultures as well as its various debates and competing visions.

BLKS 5538 Women's Literature in Africa and the African Diaspora Credits: 3

This course is a comparative examination of the variety of literary works produced by women of African descent in the United States, the Caribbean and Africa. Students will explore the cross-cultural implications of texts in light of the intersections of gender, race and class.

Cross Listings: ENGLISH 5538

BLKS 5549 Symbols and Codes from the Diaspora: African American Visual Arts Survey Credits: 3

This course provides an examination of the theoretical and conceptual parameters of African and African American visual aesthetics. Through the writings of key scholars in African American aesthetics, students will study symbolic forms and patterns from various African cultures throughout the Diaspora and investigate formal image categories within African Diaspora visual culture.

BLKS 5551 African American Art History: Part I, 1600-1960 Credits: 3

This course presents a comprehensive survey of African American visual art from 1600 through 1960. Critical issues in early American art history highlight the expressions of African American artists and scholars. The Negro Crafts Movement, New Negro Movement and Harlem Renaissance. Students will investigate artistic expressions of this period.

BLKS 5580 Special Topics/Seminar Credits: 1-3

In-depth exploration of special topics in Black Studies.

BLKS 5590 Directed Study/Research Credits: 1-6

Individual research and learning projects supervised by a faculty member.

BLKS 5596 Internship in Black Studies Credits: 1-6

This Internship course presents an opportunity for graduate students to integrate their academic studies in the discipline of Black Studies with community service and engagement. As a student intern within a business or professional organization in the urban Metropolitan community, the student gains critical information about the processes and procedures of this business entity in relation to African American community members.

BLKS 5599 Research Thesis Credits: 1-6

Individually directed research leading to preparation and completion of a thesis.

BLKS 5699 Research and Dissertation Credits: 1-12

Individually directed research leading to preparation and completion of a doctoral dissertation.

BLKS 5899 Required Graduate Enrollment Credit: 1

Enrollment required during the completion of a thesis/dissertation.