Hide Advanced Options
Courses - Fall 2023
African American Studies Department Site
Emotions and Culture in the African American Community
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Credit only granted for: AASP417 or AASP498E.
Formerly: AASP498E.
Emotions are affective states, both positive and negative, that reflect an individual's continuous stream of experience. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the role of culture and racism in shaping the ways in which African Americans experience, express, understand, and control emotions on a behavioral, physiological, and psychological level. We will begin with exploration of historical influences such as the role of African culture on contemporary African American norms of expressivity and the role of antebellum slavery, the eugenics movement, and blackface on stimulating contemporary stereotypes about African American emotional temperament (e.g., stereotypes regarding aggressiveness, anger, and violence). We will conclude with discussions of the impact of discrimination on emotional and physiological reactivity and factors that promote emotional resiliency. The course materials will require students to grapple with the contemptuous disconnect between the African American cultural tradition of free emotional expressivity and the survival strategy to control emotions in response to a society threatened by Black emotionality.