Intro African American Studies

African-American Studies Final Exam Guide

The purpose of the African American and African Studies final exam is to assess students’ knowledge of the Black/Africana Studies discipline. In general, your final exam will cover all class notes, class handouts, documentaries, and readings


Your notes from the course readings are your best resource for studying. To do well on the final, review the notes you made while you were reading. Re-read key sections of the course texts.


In order to help you focus your studying, I have provided a partial list of topics and terms that you should know.


Homer Plessy

Plessy v. Ferguson

Atlanta Exposition Address

Jim Crow Laws

W.E.B. DuBois

Black Nationalism

13th, 14th and 15th Amendments


Plessy v Ferguson

Booker T. Washington


Racial uplift

Racial Democracy

Loving v. Virginia

U.S. 2000 Census

Multiracial Movement

Black Lives Matter


I. Essay Questions

Each essay question will ask you to explore in depth one or more of these overarching themes, drawing on materials (lectures, films, readings, discussion). The best (“A”) essays will be: a) be well reasoned; b) successfully develop course themes; c) draw on course lectures  and  texts to support the claim(s) being made.


Major Essay Themes

• Race as a social construction/racial ideologies in historical and contemporary contexts • The history, demographics, and memory of slavery and its abolition in the United States/Brazil

• The interplay of race and gender in African diasporic n life/labor in slavery and freedom • The history of African-Americans’ legal and social status from the colonial era through Reconstruction. (Be sure to cite specific legislation, constitutional provisions and amendments, and judicial rulings, where applicable.)

• The relationship of “race” and “place” in African American and American discourses of community and identity


Essay Guiding Questions

What is “race”? When and where did it originate as a form of human classification? How have scholarly conceptions and popular perceptions of race varied across time and space?


Define the concept of “racial democracy” in Brazil. How do race relations dynamics in Brazil differ from the dynamics of race relation in the US? How do Brazilian scholars interpret the relationship between class, race and social inequality in Brazil?


What purpose does African-American Studies serve in understanding the Black lived experience(s) and struggle for liberation? What role do you see African-American Studies play in the creation of understanding and freedom struggles?


How have definitions of blackness been challenged and/or reinforced? Explain using historical and political contexts.


Why and how are Black Feminisms political? What are the origins of Black Feminisms? What do we mean by Black Feminist Thought? What are some of the core themes in this perspective? What are some of the factors that can differentiate the experiences of African American women? Who can produce black feminist thought?


How does current gender and race ideology (sexism and racism) affect the relationship between black women and men, black women and white women, and heterosexual black women and black lesbians?


What does Black Lives Matter have to do with the remaking of American democracy?