Apr 21, 2024  
Mercy University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
Mercy University 2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog
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BHSC 296 - Topics: The Black Family


Credit(s): 6
6 hours lecture, 6 hours contact
Prerequisite(s): An intermediate level social science course on the family.
The seminar examines the socio-cultural factors that have affected the Black family in the United States. Beginning with a study of family structures in West Africa, students will analyze the evolution of the Black family against the backdrop of slavery, Emancipation, and Reconstruction, the Depression era, the exodus to the urban North, and contemporary social-political conditions. Readings from Billingsley, Blassingame, Frazier, Gutman, Ladner, Moynihan, Stack and others will be discussed. The primary question to be addressed is whether or not Black family structure was substantially weakened by slavery and concomitant factors or whether the Black family persisted as an effective and dynamic institution through a myriad of adaptive cultural mechanisms. Scholars who have characterized the Black family as pathological as well as those who have identified inner strengths and resilience will be critiqued. This central debate will anchor the discussions of contemporary concerns: single-parent families in the Black community, Black teenage pregnancy, increased divorce rates, female-centered households. Although the primary emphasis will be on Black families in the U.S., some comparative material (Caribbean and West African sources) will be used. A Life Arts Project is required. Only open to students in the B.A. Liberal Arts and Sciences program.



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