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Major & Minor

The African American & African Studies (AAAS) curriculum is tailored to address historical and contemporary issues of relevance to African-descended peoples and the African continent. Grounded in interdisciplinary frames in the humanities and the social sciences, the AAAS major and minors integrate the research and study of Africa with the global study of African peoples and their complex institutions, histories, and cultures.

Using tools of inquiry from the liberal arts disciplines to create learning experiences that are real-world oriented, the AAAS undergraduate program prominently features and directly reflects African and African diasporic concerns, perspectives, and frameworks.

Of particular focus are questions of national sovereignty and cultural autonomy, economic advancement and political stability, ethnic identities, racial justice, immigration and transnational networks, civil rights, gender construction and performance, the role of indigenous knowledge systems and practices, and other topics of interdisciplinary and global relevance to African, African-American, and African diasporic life.

BA in African American & African Studies

See the full requirements for a BA in African American & African Studies

The African American & African Studies (AAAS) undergraduate major prepares students for a wide range of academic and professional fields relevant to public, private, and civil-society sector careers. Designed to provide curriculum that includes broad humanistic traditions in culture, arts and literature, history and historiography, and extensive social and behavioral theoretical foundations as intrinsic components of the study of Africa and the African diaspora, the AAAS major aims to provide its graduates interdisciplinary knowledge, skills, and competencies.

Combined with language training and learning abroad opportunities, AAAS is a unique and highly relevant undergraduate major program fostered through well-designed courses, and by engaging students inside and outside the classroom.

The major prepares you:

  • To understand and meaningfully engage with the experiences, histories, and realities of African American life.
  • To gain awareness of the historical, political, social, and economic realities that shape African societies today.
  • To examine the transnational social and cultural networks stemming out of the migrations of African peoples on a global scale.
  • To appreciate the artistic and cultural contributions of African peoples to world cultures and civilizations.
  • To explore the underlying tensions and larger conflicts experienced by peoples of African descent in racially and ethnically unequal societies.
  • To appreciate the social-political movements born out of the struggles of African-descended people against historical injustices, oppression, and dispossession (the Civil Rights, Black Power, Pan-Africanist movements, etc.).

African Languages

In addition to the broad scholarship informed by African and African diasporic realities and groundings in the humanities and social sciences, the undergraduate major fully integrates languages into its undergraduate degree curriculum.

Our language program prepares you for global work, citizenship, and the world. We currently offer courses in Swahili and Somali. Courses in Arabic are offered through the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures.

Undergraduate Minor

See the full requirements for a minor in African American & African Studies

The undergraduate minor in African American & African Studies provides you the opportunity to supplement you major field of study with valuable and highly applicable knowledge of the historical and current issues that impact African, African-American and African diasporic social, political, and economic realities, including the related systems of thought, values, and representations.

Undergraduate majors can also earn an ethnic studies minor in comparative US race and ethnicity.