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Africana Studies

Major and Minor

Program Committee 

Frederick Hord, Africana Studies, chair
Caesar Akuetey, Modern Languages
Steven Cohn, Economics
Mary Crawford, Chemistry
Jessie Dixon, Modern Languages
Tony Gant, Art
Konrad Hamilton, History
Nicole Malley, Music
Magali Roy-Féquière, Gender and Women’s Studies
Kelly Shaw, Psychology

The major in Africana Studies is a program of study which focuses critically on the contributions of African and Diasporan cultures and peoples to human civilizations. It provides an understanding of how Black people have negotiated the forces and events shaping their experiences, and critiques that negotiation. The program is interdisciplinary and international, using the knowledge and tools of a wide range of disciplines to study the cultures and societies of African and African-descended peoples worldwide. Principal focus is given to Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. Students learn to think critically about the role of race in: the distribution of power, status and resources; the definition of individual and group identities; and the construction and impact of social structures. Students also examine how race connects to culture, gender and class. The Africana Studies major seeks to produce knowledgeable, well-rounded individuals with strong analytical, writing and interpersonal skills. Graduates in Africana Studies can look forward to careers in law, foreign services, business, social work, academia, public affairs and other opportunities.

Majors in Africana Studies may also take advantage of opportunities for off-campus study through Knox’s Program in Buenos Aires, the ACM Chicago Program, the Washington Semester, the Dakar Program, the ACM Botswana Program, the ACM Costa Rica Program, the ACM Tanzania Program and individually-arranged internships.

The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:

  • Writing Key Competency - AFST 383 and 390 serve as writing intensive courses for majors under the conditions outlined in the course description.
  • Speaking Key Competency - AFST 254 and AFST 392 serve as speaking intensive courses for majors under the conditions outlined in the course descriptions.
  • Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - The Africana Studies Program develops basic computer literacy in the discipline through all individual courses, and develops advanced computer literacy in the discipline through both capstone courses for majors.

Departmental Learning Goals

Graduates with a major in Africana Studies will be able to:

  1. Describe and interrogate the history and culture of African Americans.
  2. Describe and interrogate historical and social contexts of contemporary African and Caribbean life.
  3. Identify different disciplinary approaches of Africana Studies and the ways in which these approaches are synergistic. Infer consequent interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary potential approaches.
  4. Articulate changes in their own perspectives and the perspectives of others with regard to major issues in Africana Studies as a function of knowledge and understanding.
  5. Identify and critique their own paternalism as it relates to their understanding and practicing of norms.
  6. Identify their own disciplinary lenses and frameworks, their strengths and weaknesses, and their influences on interpretations and conclusions regarding Africana experiences.
  7. Articulate the roles of power, social justice, and activism, and their inter-relationships as ways to engage in the real world.

Requirements for the Major and Minor

Africana Studies Course Descriptions