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CAS 422 / AFAM 422 - Contemporary African American Communication

Contemporary African American Communication is a cross-listed course between the CAS and African American Studies department. The class examines how the historical and contemporary experiences of black communities have shaped communication and culture.  It presumes that although different communities may share a common language, how that language is used--its idioms, modes of address, and patterns of speech--can differ in significant and important ways. This class considers multiple topics and issues including: Competing theories of racial difference; the impact of the civil rights movement on communication; presidential rhetoric and race; interracial and interethnic communication dynamics; the communication of interracial couples; gender and communication; black popular culture; how race impacts communication in business settings. Students of every race, ethnicity, and persuasion are welcome in this class.

Course Objectives

  • Expose students to explanations about how the communication of black communities differs and does not differ from non-black communities.
  • Examine how racial identity is constructed through communication and how those constructions shape personal, economic, and political systems in the United States.
  • Enhance students’ understanding of how their own communication is shaped by culture, race, relationships, and social expectations.