A major or minor in Africana Studies introduces students to the comprehensive study of the African Diaspora. We offer students the analytic tools to understand the root causes and changing nature of inequality around the world. Our curriculum is designed for undergraduates interested in deepening their study of the social sciences, humanities, and public health through an attention to the historical and contemporary experience of black people.
As a matter of knowledge, students will gain an understanding of the world from the perspective of African-descended people. Our courses provide an appreciation of how communities and individuals have responded to racism and inequality over time. Knowledge of African and Diaspora history is crucial for cultural and political literacy.
As a matter of utility, Africana Studies offers students the tools to achieve excellence in fields as diverse as public health, government, sociology, education, social services, and medicine. It provides an ideal approach for understanding the experiences of marginalized groups and ethnic communities. Our recent Africana Studies majors and minors have gone on to graduate programs in public health, international studies, education, social work, social policy, and law.
Students must successfully complete three core courses in Africana Studies from the following list:
- Introduction to Africana Studies (362.112)
- African History (100.121-122 or 362.121-122)
- Introduction to the African Diaspora (362.104)
- Introduction to African American Studies (362.111)
Each student must complete a minimum of 24 additional credit hours, comprised of elective courses offered by participating faculty, including courses offered by visiting faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and Dean’s Teaching Fellows.
Requirements for the Minor
Students who wish to minor in Africana Studies must complete a minimum of 18 credits, including two core courses and electives. Three of the electives must be upper- level courses.
Each student must complete a minimum of 24 additional credit hours comprised of elective courses offered by participating faculty. At least 12 credit hours must be in courses at the 300 level or above. The Center staff maintains an updated list of appropriate current course offerings, including courses offered by visiting faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and Dean’s Teaching Fellows, and will assist students in selecting courses to construct a coherent program of study. Participating faculty will also be encouraged to develop courses specifically for Africana studies, including interdepartmental and/or team-taught courses.
Honors in Africana Studies
To be considered for honors in Africana Studies, students should have strong academic records and a promising potential research project. Honors students are required to undertake a two-semester independent course of study in their senior year during which they will prepare an honors thesis in consultation with a faculty adviser in the student’s particular area of interest. For the first semester of honors, students may take either a senior honors seminar in a relevant discipline, subject to approval from the director of undergraduate studies, or an independent study with a faculty member of their choice (AS.362.510: Senior Thesis in Africana Studies I). Upon successful completion of the first semester of honors, students will take an independent study (AS.362.511: Senior Thesis in Africana Studies II) in their second semester. Both semesters of Senior Thesis in Africana Studies may count as electives toward the Africana studies major or minor. Those interested in pursuing honors should submit an application, including a research topic proposal, by May of their junior year.