AFR 291
Africana Studies Approaches to AI Fall 2024
Division II

Class Details

The rise of artificial intelligence is a hot topic in contemporary thought. However, much of this thought ignores Africana Studies. This class asks the question, what can Africana Studies tell us about the mid-twentieth century rise of artificial intelligence? The course’s approach to answering this question has two parts. First, the course contextualizes the rise of artificial intelligence in the post-World War II moment, particularly around the Cold War. Second, it links this rise of artificial intelligence to the anticolonial politics and thought of this Cold War era, of which Africana Studies was central. In other words, the course shows that there is an increasing need for artificial intelligence in a world of challenges to the dominance of western thought and humanity. Just as western thought and humanity are challenged, via anticolonial action and Africana Studies thought, western thought and humanity increasingly go digital, into computers as a shield from critique.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 25
Expected: 20
Class#: 1370
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Quizzes and essays
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Africana Studies and Science and Technology majors and concentrators
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: AFR Core Electives
AFR Culture, Performance, and Popular Technologies

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