Psychology is the study of human motivation, how human beings perceive themselves and others, how human beings behave, and how human beings change. This class will focus on psychological issues in the context of the African American community and Black experience. We begin the course with an overview of Black/African American psychology as an evolving field of study and consider the Black/African American Psychology paradigm as one of the key conceptual frameworks for understanding the psychological experiences of African Americans. In the second part of the course, we explore a range of topics that pertain to the psychological experiences of African Americans such as racism and discrimination, achievement and schooling, kinship and family, racial identity, religion and spirituality, and African American mental health. A focus of the course is the range of theoretical and methodological approaches that scholars have developed to conceptualize the thoughts, styles, and behaviors of African Americans. Finally, we conclude the course with discussions of current topics, controversies, and recent advances in African American psychology. Throughout the course, a primary objective will be to consider how our knowledge of African American psychological experiences can be used to promote African American psychological health and wellness.
In order to fully reflect upon privileges that are afforded as a result of social and cultural positionality, we must also deepen our empathy towards individuals and communities that experience various forms of disadvantage as a result of being the “other”. Otherism is the overarching term that describes various prejudices (i.e., racism, classism, sexism, ageism, etc.) and the experience of being different, odd, weird, and an outsider in various social contexts and settings. Upon completion of this course students will:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the historical roots of psychology from an African centered perspective and be able to identify the development of Black Psychology as a distinct system of psychological thought and research.
- Display knowledge of the African centered world views and its role in the psychological study of people of African descent.
- Demonstrate an understanding of how the “Lived Black Experience” can aid in the overall understanding of the Black experience and provide a frame of reference for which to study the psychological experience of other people throughout the world.
- Explore his or her world views as it relates to their personal psychological and social experiences.
EVALUATION/ASSESSMENT: This course will use a combination of didactic discourse, consciousness raising seminars, audiovisual literature, and extensive discussion focusing on the historical and cultural representation of psychology from an “othering” centered perspective.
Parham, Thomas A., Ajamu, Adisa and White, Joseph, L,. (2011).The Psychology of Blacks: Centering Our Perspective In African Consciousness. Forth Edition, Prentice Hall
Wright, Bobby, E. (1984). The Psychopathic Racial Personality and Other Essays: Third World
Press, Chicago (Book Provided by Instructor)
Russell, Kathy, Wilson, Midge, and Hall, Ronald, (1993). The Color Complex:
The Politics of Skin Color Among African- Americans. Anchor Books Division
of Random House, Inc. New York