examines the diverse experiences of African people worldwide, focusing
especially but not exclusively on African, African American and Caribbean
affairs and culture. Using the tools of the social sciences and humanities, we
investigate the structures, organizations, problems and perspectives of blacks
in Africa and the African Diaspora. Our mission is to advance the study and
understanding of the historical as well as the contemporary connections among
As a discipline, Africana Studies acquaints
students with myriad ways of thinking (historical, sociological,
anthropological, geographical, political, psychoanalytic and literary),
researching (ethnographic, quantitative, and qualitative methods), and writing
about Africana people. Issues of particular interest to Africana Studies
scholars include: African agency, Diasporic identities, colonialism, the
Atlantic slave trade and New World slavery, decolonization, independence,
nationalism, post-colonialism and migration).
courses appropriate for prospective majors
Introduction to Africana Studies
Introductory courses that
fulfill distribution requirements
AFST 100, Introduction to Africana Studies
AFST 100, Introduction to Africana Studies
For course descriptions and requirements for the major,
refer to the Academic
Bulletin: Africana Studies.
Suggested curricular flow
through the major
Three courses to fulfill the Africa/African
Africana Studies Elective
One course to fulfill Africa/Africana Diaspora requirement
Studies courses at the 300-level
During the spring of their senior year, Africana Studies
Studies majors are required to complete a thesis or project that is based on an
original research topic that resonates with their concentration in African or
Diasporan studies. The thesis/project must clearly demonstrate that the student
understands the concept of African agency, can apply theories and methods of the
discipline, and articulate the historical trajectory of the particular topic
Honors in Africana Studies
The awarding of honors in Africana Studies is based on the student’s grade point average within the major and the completion of a thesis that has been vetted by a committee of Africana Studies faculty. An honors thesis should be approximately fifty (50) pages in length and should demonstrate advanced research and writing skills; extensive use of primary and secondary sources; and effective utilization of key theories and methods in Africana Studies. Honors candidates will present their work in a public forum as part of Africana Studies 400. The department faculty will read the final thesis and engage each candidate in an oral defense before rendering a decision on honors.
Students who are eligible to pursue honors in Africana Studies will be notified in the spring semester of their junior year. To be eligible for consideration for honors, an Africana Studies major must have a minimum 3.5 grade point average in the major by the end of the fall semester of junior year and must maintain this GPA through the spring semester. The student must not have any breach of the College’s academic code of conduct. Candidates for honors will begin research and writing the prospectus for their theses in the fall of the senior year, under the direction of a departmental advisor in their area of interest. Honors candidates should therefore register for AFST 500: Independent Study in Africana Studies in the fall to fulfill this requirement.
For more information about the honors process, students consult with the department chair or with their major advisor.
Independent Study and Independent Research
The Africana Studies Department encourages advanced students in the major to undertake independent research and independent study projects. The student, in consultation with the supervising professor, will submit a topic proposal and program of work the semester before the study is undertaken.
Independent study allows a student to pursue an academic interest outside the listed course offerings. The study may include library research and reading and may culminate in several short papers, a single paper, or any other project acceptable to the supervising faculty member and the student.
Independent research, like independent study, allows a student to pursue an academic interest outside the listed course offerings, but it involves primary research which is largely self-initiated and self-directed. Students are encouraged to present the results of independent research at a professional conference, regional meeting, or other public forum.
Opportunities for Off-Campus Study
In order to gain a deeper understanding of African and African diasporic communities, students are encouraged to study abroad. Typically, students have studied in Cameroon or Tanzania. For a full list of study abroad options, students should contact the Center for Global Study and Engagement.
Learning component of the Africana Studies major complements classroom
instruction by requiring students to engage directly with people of African
descent through some form of cultural immersion in Africa or in the Diaspora.
By doing so, students will come to understand and evaluate issues relevant
to these communities more substantively. Examples of experiential learning
opportunities that may be approved by the Department include: Study Abroad,
Service Learning Courses, Mosaic Programs, Internships, Independent Research.