May 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Africana Studies

Telephone: (302) 831-2897
Program Office: 417 Ewing Hall
Faculty Listing:

Africana Studies (AFRA) is a multidisciplinary department designed to present a comprehensive study of the origins, conditions, and experiences of African Americans in the United States and the diaspora using the perspectives and techniques of various disciplines in the arts, humanities, social, and behavioral sciences. We explore the social, political, economic, and cultural roots of contemporary problems, seeking to relate them to the major value systems in the country and the world. The Department serves as a catalyst for multiethnic and cultural understanding, producing students who will be social agents of change.

Students from diverse disciplines take Africana Studies courses to fulfill general university requirements as well as to supplement their majors. The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of the department allows flexibility for students seeking to understand the relationships between their respective majors in other areas and Africana Studies.

Students may choose to pursue a major or a minor in Africana Studies. The Africana Studies major is conceived in two ways: one is the general major, consisting of 19 required credit hours and 12 credits that fit into three breadth areas: Cultural Understanding; Analysis and Social Justice/Public Service.

The second is a concentration major. It consists of the same 19 required credit hours for the general major, plus three courses (nine credits) in a concentration, plus one elective course (three credits). The Concentrations allow Africana Studies majors to focus in areas where there is already demonstrated interest and ample courses, and where the additional focus may serve the student’s interest in pursuing advanced degrees in journalism, writing and literature, law and public policy, or other disciplines.

The Concentration in Africana Art, Literature, and Cultural Studies (AALCS) examines artistic representations and creations of people of African descent to discover how identities shape and are shaped by cultural events, preconceptions, norms, and standards, and how in turn these expressive forms affect ongoing developments of cultural life individually, socially, and globally. As such, this concentration allows students to gain a firm footing in the practice of literary and cultural criticism as they become familiar with humanistic inquiry in the discipline of Africana Studies. AALCS is designed to enable students to use a variety of sources and interdisciplinary methods to gain an awareness of multiple cultures, subcultures, and values both within and outside the artistic community of the Diaspora. This concentration thus emphasizes skills in the formal analysis of artistic artifacts, historical inquiry, and cultural contextualization as it pertains to literature, art, music, film, language, and religion in order to connect the reading of culture and texts to their daily lives.

The Africana Gender Studies concentration focuses on the life experiences of people of African descent in order to understand the complexities of the world, cultures, regions, and academic disciplines through the lens of gender. This concentration will examine issues related to sexuality, the body, race, class, business, health, artistic movements, law, media, sociology, psychology, as well as other academic disciplines in order to study the meaning of “male” and “female” as it relates to social roles and sexual identities.

The Law, Public Policy and Social Justice concentration focuses students’ coursework around issues of law, inequality, social justice, and public policy as it relates to the global experiences of people of African descent. Our social justice courses draw upon sociology’s long standing interest in normative patterns as well as questions associated with the fields of anthropology, history, political science, social psychology, economics and law. We draw on these fields for theoretical understanding of matters such as legal studies, political activism, and community service. Law and public policy courses focus on the causes and consequences of the unequal distribution of power, wealth, and status in the U.S. and world economy, and collective attempts to change social arrangements. For students interested in focusing primarily on social inequality, this concentration offers courses that include dimensions of stratification (race, class, gender); power structure research and social network analysis; the ideologies that justify and criticize inequalities; and the propagation of social movements.

The Africana Studies (AFRA) Social Studies Education concentration is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of people of African descent that can be used to teach at the K-12 level. This concentration will equip students with an education-focused degree that has trained them to teach culturally relevant concepts, history, and problems from the perspective of people of African descent. Students will take all the necessary courses to prepare them for the teaching practicum and gain student-teaching experience in the classroom. Upon completion, students will receive a Bachelors’s degree in AFRA along with a minor degree in History. 

To declare a major in Africana Studies, a student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. A grade of C- or better is required for a course to count towards the B.A. degree in Africana Studies. Although some courses are listed in more than one category, a course may only receive credit towards the major in one category.

An undergraduate minor in Africana Studies is available for those students wishing to pursue related careers in this area. The program is designed to present a comprehensive study of the origins, conditions, and experiences of African Americans using the perspectives and techniques of various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It explores the social, political, and economic roots of contemporary problems, seeking to relate them to the major value systems in this country and the world.