African American Studies

Scope and Objectives

The Department of African American Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, an undergraduate African American Studies minor, a Master of Arts degree, and a concurrent degree program (African American Studies MA/Law JD). A major or minor in this field offers a broadening of cultural experiences and perspectives for those seeking more information about African Americans and the African diaspora. Career-wise, all students profit from African American studies courses in an era when employers and academic institutions are actively seeking those with multicultural and interdisciplinary skills and backgrounds.

The fundamental goal of the African American Studies curriculum is to offer students a comprehensive and multidisciplinary introduction to the crucial sociocultural and social justice issues facing African Americans and their counterparts in other areas of the African diaspora today. The curriculum is designed to meet this goal in two primary ways. First, it offers students an interdisciplinary exposure to particular features of the African American experience. Core courses offer an in-depth understanding of historical, anthropological, sociological, psychological, economic, and political aspects of African America. The curriculum also offers opportunities to study the literary, musical, and artistic heritage of peoples of African descent. Second, students analyze key issues through additional courses that bring to bear concepts, theories, and methods of traditional academic disciplines in areas such as cultural analysis and production, social justice, and public policy. Students may also do individualized study with a professor and/or an internship for course credit.