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Interdisciplinary Concentration in African American Studies

Program Planners

Interdisciplinary concentrations in African World Studies focus on the history and culture of the African continent and of people of African descent throughout the world. Because of the enormous breadth of this subject African World Studies has three distinct concentrations: African Studies, Diaspora African Studies, and African American Studies.

The African American Studies Concentration examines contributions of men and women of African descent to the independence movement, economic growth, jurisprudence, military initiatives, arts, literature, and culture of the United States. The importance of discussions of race, justice, equality, gender, and class to an understanding of American and global history are examined through detailed study of black contributions, constructions of identity, and liberation struggles led by persons of African descent. Students who elect this emphasis have the option of focusing on literature produced by persons of African descent living in the United States. This includes attention to oral traditions of the USA and their African antecedents as well as to writings of ante-bellum and post-bellum citizens. How African Americans used literary forms as tools to encourage freedom, justice, and equity; ways race gender and class influenced those works; and the artistic traditions of African American communities are all examined.

Self-Designed Alternatives

The interdisciplinary concentration in African American Studies focuses on the history and culture of the African continent and of people of African descent throughout the world. Through careful advisement, using the self-designed option—or a combination of faculty-designed and self-designed, students may also complete additional emphases, including, but not limited to: Caribbean Studies, Francophone Studies, Africana Herstory, and/or Race, Justice and Equality.

Faculty Sponsors

Piper Kendrix-Williams (African-American Studies/English)

Courses and Requirements

The interdisciplinary concentration in African World Studies requires a total of six courses from the lists below plus one approved course in laboratory science and one in quantitative reasoning. Each emphasis requires some core courses plus others as specified. First Seminars may count toward completion of this concentration if their subject matter is appropriate. Students must consult with faculty sponsors to determine whether their first year seminars can be so applied, and to obtain written permission to do so. Courses listed in the following emphases do not have prerequisites unless specified.

Core Courses

Two of the following including at least one in Social Sciences and History:

Arts and Humanities
  • AAS 377/African-American Literature to 1920
  • AAS 378/African American Literature: 1920-1980
  • AAS 251/Harlem Renaissance When in Vogue
Social Sciences and History
  • AAS 101: Introduction to African American Studies
  • AAS 179/African American History to 1865
  • AAS 179/African American History since 1865

Additional Courses

Four courses from the lists below, making sure at least two of the six courses for the concentration (core plus electives) are in Social Sciences or History:  

Arts and Humanities
  • AAS 201/African and Diaspora Religions
  • AAS 223/Early African American Poetry
  • AAS 225/Contemporary African American Poetry
  • AAS 235/African American Film
  • AAS 240/History of Jazz
  • AAS 243/History of African American Theater
  • AAS 249/African American Folklore
  • AAS 251/Harlem Renaissance when in Vogue
  • AAS 347/African American Art History
  • AAS 348/African American Music
  • AAS 375/WGS 365/Black Feminist Thought (prerequisite: any AAS or WGS course)
  • LIT 377/African American Literature to 1920
  • LIT 378/African American Literature 1920 to 1980
  • WGS 360/Literature by Latinas and Latin American Women
Social Sciences and History
  • AAS 179/African Americans to 1865
  • AAS 180/African Americans 1865 to the Present
  • AAS 310/Great Lives in African American History
  • AAS 280/Women of African Descent in Global Perspective
  • AAS 282/US Race Relations
  • AAS 376/HIS 365/ WGS 361/African American Women in History
  • HIS 375/The Old South
  • AAS 321/Race, Gender and the News (same as JPW 321)
  • PSY 318/Social Psychology of Power, Oppression, and Privilege (prerequisite: PSY 101)
  • Approved topics course in African or African American Women’s History
Please note: The Liberal Learning Program has been renamed The College Core, and some of its components have also been renamed. Learn More