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African American History - The Civil War

West Valley Courses

Below are courses that cover social justice, African-American social issues, history, art and culture. Check the current schedule to see what is being offered.

  • ARTS 010: American Art -- A Multicultural Approach

This course is a multicultural history of American Art pre-colonial to contem-porary times. The course examines the multiple histories and identities pres-ent in American art and culture providing understanding and awareness of their participation within America’s visual expression. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • ARTS 013: African-American Art History

This course is a brief survey of the art of West African civilizations and the art of African Americans from colonial to contemporary time. It examines ways in which African American art has alternately reflected, shaped, and challenged such important historical events and currents as the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the Women’s movement, and contemporary identity politics. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • ARTS 095: New Media and Social Change

This course investigates how web-based technologies, internet multi-media, and photography have assisted in causing social change around the world through images. Evidence of social change from significant historical photo-graphic images from famous photographers with a variety of diverse back-grounds are explored for social and political context. The course also covers critical analysis of shifting perceptions and expectations regarding race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural identity, and ethnicity in contem-porary web-based visual media. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • CHST 005: Diversity -- Childhood and Culture

This course examines the development of social identities in diverse societies including theoretical and practical implications affecting young children, families, programs, teaching, education and schooling. Culturally relevant and linguistically appropriate anti-bias approaches supporting all children in becoming competent members of a diverse society are covered. This course also involves self-reflection of one’s own understanding of educational prin-ciples in integrating anti-goals in order to better inform teaching practices and/or program development. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • COMM 012: Intercultural Communication

Prerequisite: ENGL 905 or LRSV 941C. Advisory: READ 053. This course high-lights the importance of culture and how it constructs and creates verbal and nonverbal communication in global and domestic contexts. The emphasis is on the influence of culture, language, and social patterns on how members of cultures relate among themselves and with members of diverse groups. It is designed to help students appreciate and compare intercultural communica-tion patterns within the larger context of American culture. It provides theoreti-cal knowledge and practical application of effective communication within and between diverse cultural groups. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • COUN 050: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Explores cross-cultural theories and research relative to personal and cultural identity, communication styles, value orientation, leadership styles, social justice, cultural assimilation, the family, health care, education, the world of work, media in the United States, ethnocentrism and racism. The goals will be to enhance understanding, insights, and respect for diverse cul-tural groups. Cultures examined include: African American, Latino/Chicano, Japanese American, Chinese American, Vietnamese American, Native Ameri-can, and Middle Eastern. This course satisfies Cultural Diversity requirement for an Associate degree. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • DANC 061: Dance in America -- A Cultural Perspective

This course examines dance as a cultural expression in the USA. The course explores a range of dance forms with a focus on their social, political and religious significance. The course also considers the creative process and expression of the contemporary choreographer. Pass/No Pass Option. Trans-fer: CSU/UC

  • ENGL 1B: Critical Thinking Through Literature

Prerequisite: ENGL 001A. This course builds on composition skills developed in English 001A by introducing students to critical thinking and the analysis of literature, specifically fiction, poetry, and drama. Several sections each semester have a social justice studies focus. Students have the opportunity to practice a variety of writing techniques, interpretive strategies, and research skills. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • ENGL 012: African-American Literature

This course examines African-American Literature from the 1700s to the present. Emphasis is given to the development of a body of literature that attests to the mastery and enhancement by Black writers of the prevailing literary forms in each era in America’s cultural, social, and political history. Students in the course have the opportunity to examine how literature reflects the experiences of Africans adapting to life in new world America and carving out a new identity complete with the development of new literary styles and conventions. The literature is examined through lenses of conventional critical theory and elements of literature. Transfer: CSU/UC. Pass/No Pass Option

  • ENGL 046: Contemporary American Multicultural Literature

This course examines contemporary American literature by writers from at least three of the following groups: African American/Black, American Indian, Asian American/Pacific Islander, US Latino, European American, and Middle Eastern-American. Students examine issues such as race, class,gender, and sexualities as explored in the literary works. This course satisfies the 3-unit Cultural Diversity requirement for the associate degree. Transfer: CSU/UC. Pass/No Pass Option


The course offers an interdisciplinary study of race and ethnicity in the United States, with a focus on social justice movements of U.S. ethnic and racial groups. This course provides a basis for a better understanding of the socio-economic, cultural and political conditions of key race-ethnic social groups, and explores the evolution, impact, and future of Ethnic Studies itself. Students have an opportunity to examine the history of social justice and racial equality movements in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s through to the present, and analyze the emergence of Ethnic Studies as an academic discipline to provide a relevant education in contrast to ethno-centrism, eurocen-
trism, and white supremacy in the U.S. Course materials encourage the use of applied methodologies in Social Justice and Ethnic Studies in order to provide a depth of insight into struggles, and mobilization strategies for equity, self-determination, liberation, decolonization, and anti-racism. Transfer: CSU/UC


This class covers the historical development of global fashion with emphasis on the contributions of Native American, African American, Asian American, and Latina and Latino American communities. Textile techniques and garment construction theories and knowledge from these communities are examined with a particular emphasis on agency and group-affirmation. Students have the opportunity to study and actively engage in anti-racist movements using global textile techniques. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • HIST 012: African-American History

This course surveys the political, economic, and social developments of African-Americans from  1619 to the present. Topics include Africans before European contact and slavery in the US, abolitionism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the rise and resistance to Jim Crow, WWI, WWII, the Civil Rights movement, and the present state of African-Americans. Transfer: CSU/UC. Pass/No Pass Option

  • PSYC 009: Psychology of Women -- A Multicultural Perspective

The course introduces the student to the gender-role development of women in terms of the biosocial and cultural factors involved in intellectual and personal-emotional functions. Examination of psychological research and theory will focus on multicultural factors; that is, gender as it relates to race, class, culture and ethnicity in United States society. This course will satisfy the 3-unit Cultural Diversity requirement for an Associate degree.Transfer: CSU/UC. Pass/No Pass Option


This sociology course analyzes race and ethnicity by addressing global dynamics, cross-cultural comparisons, and U.S. minorities, including Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and/or Latina and Latino Americans, among other ethnic groups. The course focuses on social interactional patterns and social structures, including economic, political, educational, religious, and other social institutions – that support or challenge racism, stratification, and inequality across the U.S. and globally. The course assesses efforts to promote racial harmony and solutions to address racial/ ethnic inequality. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • WGQS 001: Introduction to Women's Studies

This course introduces students to the study of women and gender, from an intersectional perspective. The course provides an overview of the “waves” of women’s rights movements in U.S. history and debates about women’s roles in society. With this grounding in a variety of feminist discourses, students have the opportunity to explore contemporary women’s rights issues in both local and global contexts. Topics include: the social construction of gender, race, class, sexualities, and disabilities in different cultures; women’s sexuali-ties and gender identities; health and reproductive issues; family structures; violence against women; the economics of women’s labor, paid and unpaid; education, political activism and social justice. All genders are equally wel-come in this course. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • WGQS 002: Women in the Arts -- Multicultural Perspectives

This course introduces students to the study of women’s creative work in literature, the visual arts, and the performing arts, and feminist art. The course presents an overview of new theories and methods of scholarship, including the use of gender, race, culture, and class as lenses of analysis. Students have opportunities to examine how this new scholarship is changing appraisals of women’s contributions to the arts. Pass/No Pass Option. Transfer: CSU/UC

  • WGQS 003: Introduction to Gender and Queer Studies

This course introduces concepts and research in the fields of Gender and Queer Studies. Students have the opportunity to conceptualize gender and sexuality as fluid and using an intersectional, social justice-focused approach to identity, study gender and queer theory, and examine cultural norms and social expectations about behavior associated with various sex and gender categories from a variety of societies and historical periods. The course presents cross-cultural and historical perspectives on a continuum of sex and gender identities and sexualities, with a focus on LGBTQ+i dentities and their social construction over time. Students analyze legal and social issues in contexts of sex, gender, sexuality, and other intersectional identity categories such as race, ethnicity, class, ability, age, nation of origin,and documentation, language, and housing status.Transfer: CSU/UC. Pass/No Pass Option

Other Courses

Free Coursera course by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Learners will deepen their understanding and appreciation of ways in which race, ethnicity and cultural diversity have shaped American institutions, ideology, law, and social relationships from the colonial era to the present.

The purpose of this course is to examine the African American experience in the United States from 1863 to the present. Prominent themes include the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Reconstruction; African Americans’ urbanization experiences; the development of the modern civil rights movement and its aftermath; and the thought and leadership of Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.

Black Minds Matter is a public series that is designed to raise the national consciousness about issues facing Black students in education. The series intentionally addresses the pervasive undervaluing and criminalization of Black minds. Tangible solutions for promoting the learning, development, and success of Black students are offered.