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Department of African and African-American Studies

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Why study African and African-American studies?

African and African-American studies reflects the human experience where Africa meets Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Undergraduate Programs

The undergraduate academic program focuses mainly on Africa, Afro-America, and Arabic & Islam, but due attention is paid to the Caribbean and Latin America. The program deepens the knowledge and enriches understanding of the history and culture of African peoples in Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas as a necessary and desirable end in itself but also as a useful background for professionals whose careers may involve them in these geographical and cultural areas. Essentially interdisciplinary, the major gives students a basis for interpreting the historical and contemporary experiences of African peoples in Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas, both broadly and in relation to a particular region, historical period, or cultural manifestation. The major, with its flexibility and opportunity for fieldwork, encourages students to engage in independent study, if possible in a relevant community. Most undergraduate courses are also open to nonmajors.

Why study African and African-American studies?

African and African-American studies reflects the human experience where Africa meets Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Graduate Programs

The graduate academic program focuses on the study of Africa, African America, and the Afro-Caribbean. The department offers an M.A. in African and African-American studies and an African studies graduate certificate program. Graduate courses are also available to students working toward interdisciplinary advanced degrees in participating disciplines or other departments and programs. 50 faculty members affiliated with the department facilitate the offering of interdisciplinary graduate degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

The M.A. program produces scholars, teachers, and other professionals who have the intellectual and scholarly capacity to make ongoing contributions to the world in which they live. The graduate program encourages students to adopt a critical perspective requiring an integrative approach to the study of the arts, humanities, and social sciences that does not abstract them from their political and social contexts but rather relocates them within the social and political contexts out of which they have developed. Students must focus not only on the experiences of Africans and African Americans, but also on the connections of those experiences to the cultural, political, and economic forces of the larger world to which Africans and African Americans have been and are inextricably linked. The department accommodates a variety of individual academic objectives under the umbrella of Africa and its diaspora, but students must demonstrate academic coherence in their plans.

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