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  CONTACT: Jennifer Sroka
PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: August 24, 2004

African and African-American Studies program introduces three new classes this fall

DEARBORN---Three new courses will be offered this fall by the African and African-American Studies (AAAS) program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The courses--"Dissed: Difference, Power, and Discrimination," "Introduction to Gospel Music," and "Voices of Black Women in Literature, Film and Music"--will begin the week of Sept. 8.

The first session of each course is free and open to the public.

"Dissed: Difference, Power, and Discrimination" will be taught by Lora Lempert, associate professor in behavioral sciences at UM-Dearborn. The class examines the unequal distribution of power--social, economic, and political--in the United States and other countries which results in favor for privileged groups.

Students will examine a variety of institutional practices and individual beliefs that contribute to disrespect. They'll take a look at ways that beliefs and practices, like viewing inequality as a consequence of a "natural order," obscure the processes that create and sustain social discrimination. Students also will examine systems, behaviors, and ideologies that maintain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power and resources.

"Introduction to Gospel Music" will be taught by Prof. Deborah Smith Pollard, director of the African and African-American Studies program at UM-Dearborn. Pollard also hosts and produces "Strong Inspirations" on Detroit's WJLB-FM.

The course explores the history and aesthetics of Black sacred music within cultural context. Major figures (Thomas Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, the Winans Family, Kirk Franklin), periods (slavery, Great Migration, Civil Rights movement), and styles (folk and arranged Negro spirituals, congregational songs, and gospel songs-traditional to urban contemporary) will be studied through recordings, videos, and films.

Pollard also will teach the final new course this fall, "Voices of Black Women in Literature, Film and Music," which examines works produced by Black women authors, activists, filmmakers and musical performers in order to determine the methods they have incorporated in order to challenge and eradicate the prevailing stereotypes about Black women while advancing their own personal and racial agendas.

It also focuses on the extent to which race, gender, and class have shaped the creative work of Black women. Students will be required to read, discuss, analyze and write their own responses to the works of such firebrands as author Zora Neale Hurston, activist Ida B. Wells, filmmaker Julie Dash, and singer Billie Holiday.

For information on enrollment options in the above classes, call UM-Dearborn's Enrollment Services at (313) 583-6500. For more information on the classes, contact Pollard at (313) 593-5213 or debpoll@umd.umich.edu.

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