Africana Studies: Short Answer Assignment

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Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example


Each student is required to respond to each question as thoroughly as possible, evidencing that you have read and interpreted the reading(s) that address the questions. Try to answer each question in the order in which it is given and to the best of your ability.

Be thorough and creative! Each answer should span no less than two paragraphs or 15 sentences and should be written in Times New Roman 12-point font within 1-inch margins; while I have given the range as a guideline, I am more concerned with the quality of the work instead of the quantity. Write to the best of your ability and in your own words.

1. Who is Dr. Wosene Yefru and what is his relationship with Africana studies at TSU? What is also his discussion of NCBS and ASCAC in relationship to the Africana Studies curricula at TSU? Be sure to read the Introduction of the text, African-centered Critical Thinking.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

2.Why does Al-Hadid suggest that TSU was an historically Black institution before 1977? What is the history that Al-Hadid is writing about? Be specific here. Discuss the history of TSU and white faculty, administration and the “Settlement and Merger Periods?” (See Al-Hadid’s article on “Africana Studies at TSU”).(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

3.Describe the development of the discipline of Black/Africana Studies at Tennessee State University. Why did students want a department and what were factors that kept the department from being granted by the administration during the 1960s? In other words, if the predominately-white (PWI) institutions granted Black/Africana studies programs in the late 60s and early 70s, why did TSU develop a department in the early 90s? Why so late and what was the pushback even into the 1980s and 90s? (See Al-Hadid’s article on “Africana Studies at TSU”).(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

The development of the discipline of Black/Africana Studies at Tennessee State University (TSU) was a gradual process that mirrored the broader Civil Rights Movement and the push for African American representation and recognition in higher education.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

In the 1960s, TSU, like many other historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), experienced significant activism and demands from students for a Black Studies department. Students wanted a dedicated department to study and explore the history, culture, and contributions of Black people, which were largely overlooked or misrepresented in the traditional curriculum. They sought an education that reflected their own experiences and the richness of African American heritage.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

However, despite the demands from students, the administration at TSU, as well as many predominantly white institutions (PWIs) across the country, initially resisted the establishment of Black Studies departments. There were several factors contributing to this resistance:(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

  1. Systemic Racism: The higher education system in the United States was deeply rooted in systemic racism, and many academic institutions were hesitant to make significant changes to the curriculum that challenged the existing Eurocentric perspective.
  2. Fear of Change: Administrators at TSU and other PWIs were apprehensive about the potential impact of a Black Studies department on the established order of education and its funding structure. They feared it might alienate white students and donors or be seen as divisive.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)
  3. Lack of Understanding: Some administrators may have lacked a thorough understanding of the importance and significance of Black Studies and its potential contributions to academic and societal growth.
  4. Budgetary Constraints: At times, universities cited budgetary constraints as a reason for not establishing a dedicated Black Studies department, claiming that they did not have the resources to support such an initiative.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, amid the Civil Rights Movement and increased pressure from student activists, some PWIs did create Black Studies programs as a way to address student demands and demonstrate a commitment to diversity. However, at TSU, the establishment of a Black/Africana Studies department faced ongoing challenges and pushback throughout the 1980s and 1990s, which delayed its creation until the early 1990s.

The pushback against the department’s establishment at TSU during the 1980s and 1990s can be attributed to various factors:

  1. Institutional Resistance: Even in the 1980s and 1990s, the remnants of systemic racism and resistance to change persisted within the administration of TSU, making it difficult for student demands to be fully addressed.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)
  2. Resource Allocation: As mentioned earlier, budgetary concerns often served as a reason to delay the establishment of a Black Studies department. The administration might have prioritized other programs or initiatives, leaving little funding available for Black/Africana Studies.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)
  3. Political Climate: The political climate of the time also played a role. In periods of conservative political dominance, progressive academic initiatives, such as Black Studies, might face more resistance.
  4. Lack of Diverse Faculty: The recruitment and retention of qualified Black/Africana Studies faculty members might have been a challenge, making it difficult to build a strong academic program.

Ultimately, despite the obstacles, the persistence of student activism and advocacy, coupled with the changing social and political landscape, helped to establish the Black/Africana Studies department at TSU in the early 1990s. Once the department was created, it likely became a valuable asset to the university, promoting inclusivity, cultural understanding, and academic excellence.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

4. Discuss the thesis (point of article) of Kaila Story’s article and her main argument. What is she charging Black/Africana studies to do and why? Why is this discussion important for her? For full credit you must discuss the point of her article and her rationale for her conclusion. You must also use the gender and sexuality chart discussed in class to explain the point and rationale of Story’s article. (See Kaila Story’s article)

5. Discuss both racial and gender oppression on the plantation in Patricia Hill Collins’ “The Past is Ever Present.” Describe the origin and meaning of the controlling images in the white imagination. Be sure to explain Patricia Hill Collins’ argument in detail. For full credit you must discuss gender and violence on the plantation as well as the normative structure of white masculinity and femininity? Again, use critical thinking and evidence from the readings. For full credit, think about the role of white masculinity in the making of early America.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

Racial and Gender Oppression on Plantations: Plantations in the colonial and antebellum periods of American history were notorious for their systematic oppression of enslaved African Americans. Enslaved individuals endured extreme physical and psychological violence, forced labor, and inhumane living conditions. Slaves were considered property and subjected to the will of their white owners, leading to a deeply entrenched system of racial oppression.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

In addition to racial oppression, there was also gender oppression experienced by enslaved women. They faced double oppression due to their race and gender. Enslaved women were often sexually exploited and subjected to grueling labor, both in the fields and in the household. They had limited agency and were relegated to subordinate roles, as their bodies were used as instruments of production and reproduction by their white male owners.

Controlling Images in the White Imagination: Controlling images refer to the stereotypes and portrayals constructed by dominant groups to justify and maintain their power over marginalized groups. In the context of the white imagination, controlling images were created and disseminated by white individuals to rationalize the oppression of enslaved African Americans. These images perpetuated racist ideologies, reinforcing notions of black inferiority and white supremacy.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

For example, some of these controlling images included the “Sambo,” depicting African Americans as childlike, lazy, and submissive, the “Mammy,” portraying black women as nurturing and submissive caretakers, and the “Brute,” depicting black men as dangerous and hypersexual. These stereotypes were used to dehumanize enslaved individuals and justify their exploitation.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

Normative Structure of White Masculinity and Femininity: White masculinity and femininity on the plantation were influenced by power dynamics inherent in the slave system. White men held the dominant role in society, both economically and politically. They were seen as the epitome of strength, control, and authority, which were used to legitimize their ownership and subjugation of enslaved individuals. The white male’s ability to exert control over enslaved people was central to the establishment and maintenance of the plantation system.

On the other hand, white women occupied a complex position in this system. While they were legally and socially subordinate to white men, they still held power and control over enslaved people, especially enslaved women. White women were often involved in overseeing domestic duties, including the management of enslaved individuals working in the household. The prevailing image of white femininity was that of gentility, purity, and moral virtue, which often contrasted with the stereotypical portrayal of enslaved black women as promiscuous and lascivious.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

The Role of White Masculinity in the Making of Early America: White masculinity played a significant role in shaping early America, particularly in the establishment and expansion of the plantation economy. The ideology of white supremacy and the construction of white masculinity as dominant and authoritative justified the exploitation and dehumanization of enslaved individuals. This notion of masculinity was essential for upholding the social and economic hierarchies that characterized the plantation system.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

In conclusion, the plantation system in early America was built upon racial and gender oppression, with white masculinity serving as a cornerstone of power. The controlling images propagated by the white imagination reinforced these oppressive structures and legitimized the dehumanization and exploitation of enslaved African Americans. The history of plantation life is a painful reminder of the enduring legacy of racism and sexism in American society.(Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example)

Africana Studies Short Answer Essays Example


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