African American Studies courses
Director of undergraduate studies: Crystal Feimster, Rm. 403, 81 Wall St., 436-3563, email@example.com
FACULTY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
Professors Elizabeth Alexander, Elijah Anderson, David Blight, Hazel Carby, Kamari Clarke, Glenda Gilmore, Jacqueline Goldsby, Jonathan Holloway, Matthew Jacobson, Gerald Jaynes, Kobena Mercer, Christopher L. Miller, Joseph Roach, Robert Stepto, John Szwed (Emeritus), Robert Thompson, Emilie Townes, Michael Veal
Associate Professor Terri Francis
Assistant Professors Jafari Allen, GerShun Avilez, Crystal Feimster, Erica James, Paige McGinley, Anthony Reed, Edward Rugemer
Lecturers Kathleen Cleaver, Flemming Norcott, Deborah Thomas
The African American Studies major examines, from numerous disciplinary perspectives, the experiences of people of African descent in Black Atlantic societies including the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Students in the department explore the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social development of Black Atlantic societies. The major demands that students acquire both an analytic ability rooted in a traditional discipline and interdisciplinary skills of investigation and research.
African American Studies offers training of special interest to those considering admission to graduate or professional schools and careers in education, journalism, law, business management, city planning, international relations, politics, psychology, publishing, or social work. The interdisciplinary structure of the department offers students an opportunity to satisfy the increasingly rigorous expectations of admissions committees and prospective employers for a broad liberal arts perspective that complements specialized knowledge of a field.
African American Studies can be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. Appropriate majors to combine with African American Studies might include, but are not limited to, American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, English, Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, History, History of Art, Music, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theater Studies, and foreign languages. Regulations concerning the completion of two majors can be found under Special Arrangements in the Academic Regulations.
Requirements of the major The major in African American Studies requires twelve term courses including a yearlong history sequence (AFAM 160, 162), one course in the humanities relevant to African American studies, one course in the social sciences relevant to African American studies, the junior seminar (AFAM 410), the senior colloquium (AFAM 480), and the senior essay (AFAM 491). These courses examine ideas and problems that may originate in many fields but that have a common concern—the black experience. The distribution of requirements is intended to provide students with a broad interdisciplinary experience. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the history sequence by the end of their sophomore year.
Area of concentration Students majoring in African American Studies are required to choose an area of concentration comprising five courses. This cluster of interrelated courses is intended to ground the student's learning experience in one area of investigation. Often students will choose an area of concentration in a traditional discipline such as political science, sociology, American studies, history, or English language and literature. (This strategy is especially helpful for students planning to fulfill the requirements of two majors.) Students can also construct interdisciplinary areas of concentration that span traditional departments and encompass broader theoretical frameworks such as race and ethnicity, cultural studies, or feminism and gender studies. All majors are encouraged to take upper-level courses as part of their concentration, especially those courses centering on research and methodology. None of the seven required courses in African American Studies may be counted among the five electives in the area of concentration.
Junior seminar In their junior year students must take the junior seminar (AFAM 410, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies). This course provides majors with theoretical and methodological bases for the work they will do during their research-oriented senior year.
Senior requirement Senior majors participate in a colloquium (AFAM 480) that gives them an opportunity to exchange ideas with each other and with more advanced scholars; students submit a prospectus, compile a working bibliography, begin or continue research, and write the first eight to ten pages of the senior essay. After completing the colloquium, each student carries out the remaining research and writing of a senior essay (AFAM 491) under the guidance of a faculty member in the chosen discipline or area of concentration.
Students are strongly encouraged to use the summer between the junior and senior years for research directly related to the senior essay. For example, field or documentary research might be undertaken in urban or rural communities throughout the Black Atlantic diaspora. The particular research problem and design are to be worked out in each case with a faculty adviser.
Procedures Students considering a program of study in African American Studies should consult the director of undergraduate studies as early as possible. Areas of concentration and schedules for majors must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)
Specific courses required AFAM 160, 162, 410
Distribution of courses 1 relevant humanities course and 1 relevant social science course, both approved by DUS; 5 courses in area of concentration
Senior requirement Senior colloq (AFAM 480) and senior essay (AFAM 491)