Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

AAS 102: Cultural Cross-Currents in the African Diaspora

Spring Semester, 2001

Fridays, 9:00-9:50, Cabell 247

Teaching Assistant: Jeff Fleisher
Office Hours: Fridays 10:00-11:00, Minor Hall, Room 106
Contact: fleisher@virginia.edu
982-2193 (office), 296-3699 (home)
You may also leave messages in my mailbox at the Woodson Institute, Minor Hall

Course Purposes & Goals:

The purpose of the discussion section is to synthesize ideas, clarify unclear points, and review the issues presented in the week’s lecture and readings. Because of the non-traditional format in which the class is being taught, discussion sessions have an added importance. This will be our time to synthesize the ideas presented in the lectures and readings and ground them within the specific goals of the course. Attendance, therefore, is absolutely critical.

The sessions are designed to create a dialogue around the course materials and thus enhance our understanding of them. This is your opportunity to raise questions about the reading or the lecture, present relevant thoughts and insights, and to bounce ideas off one another. The lectures and readings sometimes bring up issues that are touchy or that we may feel strongly about. Some of us may have put a lot of thought into these already, while others are being exposed to them for the first time. It is very important that we respect one another by listening to what people have to say and allowing others to express their opinions ¾ even if we don’t share them. I look forward to many lively discussions, but the premise of mutual respect must be strongly established in order for our time to be well spent.


Discussion section is a required element of AAS 102. It comprises 20% of the total grade for the course. Your grade will be based on attendance, weekly responses, leading one discussion section and active engagement.

Attendance (6 points): Regular attendance in weekly discussion sections is required. There are 12 meetings over the course of the semester—each is worth ˝ point for a total of 6 possible points. Note that being absent to more than three meeting will give you final discussion grade of 0.

Weekly Postings (5 points): Beginning in week 3 (January 29-February 2), you will be required to post an online response in our section mailing list related to the lecture or the reading for that week. Your posting must be sent no later than 5 pm on the Wednesday before section. In class I will discuss further what I am looking for in these postings. There will be a total of 10 required postings, each worth ˝ point for a total of 5 possible points.

Lead Discussion (5 points): In the first few weeks of the semester you will be grouped into a discussion team. You and your team will be responsible for leading one discussion session over the course of the semester. As a team you are expected to meet at least once before your assigned class to decide how you wish to run the class and what issues/questions you intend to cover. You are welcome to meet with me in advance to discussion your ideas or get suggestions. I encourage you to take risks and be creative in your choices as long as the focus remains on covering the week’s materials, and—of course—as long as all activities fall within college regulations. Since this is a team effort, all members will receive the same grade for a total of 5 possible points.

Active Engagement (4 points): Participation in the class includes talking and listening. Not everyone can speak all the time, but I expect everyone to be an active part of the conversation either as a speaker or as a listener. That said, if I feel you have not contributed to the class for some time, you should expect to be called on.

Attendance: 6 points; Postings: 5 points; Lead Discussion: 5 points; Participation: 4 points = 20 points