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Afro-American Studies

Mission

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

Advisers

Members of the department

Study Abroad Adviser

Riché Barnes

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:

THE AFRO-AMERICAN MINOR

Advisers

Members of the department

Requirements for the minor

The minor consists of six (6) four -credit courses as follows: