The Department of Afro-American Studies investigates the social, historical, cultural, and aesthetic works and practices of populations of African descent throughout the Diaspora. A multi-disciplinary endeavor, our interrogations begin not with race as an assumed concept but as a site of profound social formation that must be considered in relation to gender, class, nation, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. We understand our mandate to be two-fold: to provide a coherent, grounded body of knowledge for our majors and minors as well as to serve the broader academic and co-curricular needs of the college. In all of these endeavors, we emphasize the need for students to develop their analytic capacities.
A student in our department is first a critical thinker, one who learns to ask questions, seek connections, un-pack what is invisible or ignored. Our courses emphasize close reading, research and writing, and our curriculum expects students to think about the Caribbean, Africa and Diaspora communities in Europe and elsewhere. In support of this expectation, we encourage students to travel abroad.
The major and Minor
The major and minor in Afro-American studies is designed to introduce students to central methodological, theoretical and historical foundations. This introduction is achieved through an interdisciplinary curriculum where a student engages various disciplines (for example, history, sociology, and literature).
African diaspora studies is an essential aspect of the Afro-American studies curriculum. Two courses on the African diaspora are required for the major and students may choose African diaspora studies. Interested students are also encouraged to consider the minor in African studies or the Five-College Certificate in African Studies as a supplement to their major.
THE AFRO-AMERICAN MAJOR
Members of the department
Study Abroad Adviser
Internships and study abroad may be offered where appropriate, and with the necessary permissions of the department, the Committee on Academic Policy, and/or the Committee on Study Abroad.
Requirements for the major
An Afro-American Studies major will have experience
* Studying closely classic texts, figures, historical periods or movements
* Considering the aesthetic principles undergirding 19th and 20th century African American culture
* Engaging texts, movements or events from many disciplinary standpoints
* Considering the impact of gender, class, nation, and sexuality on African American culture
* Thinking intellectually about the Diaspora
A major is also strongly encouraged to study abroad as well as to take courses in all seven areas of Latin distribution.
The major consists of eleven (11) four -credit courses as follows:
- Three required courses: 111, 117, and 201.
- General concentration: four 100- and 200-level courses; at least one of which must have a primary focus on the African Diaspora. Courses at the 300-level may also be used when appropriate.
- Advanced concentration: three courses organized in one of five areas or pathways: history, literature/cultural studies, social science, black women's studies, or Diaspora studies. Of the three courses, at least one must be at the 300-level; and at least one must have a primary focus on the African Diaspora.
- The designated capstone seminar in the junior or senior year. This course is required of all majors including honors thesis students.
THE AFRO-AMERICAN MINOR
Members of the department
Requirements for the minor
The minor consists of six (6) four -credit courses as follows:
- Two of the three required courses: 111, 117, or 201.
- Four elective courses, at least one of of which must be a seminar or a 300-level class; and at least one of which must have a primary focus on the African Diaspora.