View the Africana Studies Faculty.
The Africana Studies Concentration
The Africana Studies (AFST) concentration employs rigorous interdisciplinary and comparative approaches for the study of over one billion people of African descent, a fifth whom are in the Diaspora. The central mission of the program is to prepare students for lifelong learning, graduate study in various fields, and careers in private and public organizations across the globe. AFST majors elect one of three concentrations: African-American Studies, African Studies, or African-Diaspora Studies. Each of these concentrations studies Africans in their own terms but always in a global context.
The AFST curriculum engages students in a critical examination of the intellectual, political, economic and cultural challenges and achievements of Africans and African-descended peoples. The study of these diverse and dynamic traditions does much more than embracing the centrality of race. It also encompasses imperial, national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious currents and intersections in such far-flung settings as Africa, North America, the Caribbean Basin, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe.
The Program draws on wide-ranging fields of inquiry that include history, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, religion, literature, music, drama, dance, film, and the visual arts. Through coursework that integrates and at often transcends disciplinary knowledge, students will learn to appreciate the specificity of Africa and its offshoots, the ways in which local and global forces interacted to shape a shared identity of Blackness as well as community-specific identities, and the trajectories of syncretism and other forms of intercultural exchange.
Students are encouraged to combine their scholarly study with service learning, study away, or study abroad. Course work in each of the three tracks must encompass at least three disciplines to ensure a genuinely interdisciplinary grounding in historical and contemporary issues along with practical applications of such knowledge (internships, civic engagement, and independent research).
Details on the structure of the major are provided below. Full descriptions of courses and requirements are available from faculty advisors and the program’s website. Africana majors are encouraged to look into allied Interdisciplinary programs such as American Studies, Women’s Studies, Global Studies, and International Relations for complementary courses and intellectual exchange.
Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning. Students are encouraged to engage in service-learning or engaged-scholarship opportunities to supplement classroom study of such issues as racial inequality, cultural exchange, and identity politics.
Study Abroad. Students are strongly encouraged to seek overseas opportunities, especially in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America that complement the major. Contact the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for more information. With prior approval, courses taken abroad may be applied to the major or other requirements.
Study Away. Majors are also encouraged to seek out study away opportunities in the U.S. in approved Centers or Institutes, Colleges, or Universities. For example, students may arrange to take language courses elsewhere in the summer, or devote a semester to undertake a pre-approved program of study and research.
Programs and Course Descriptions