The major in Africana Studies consists of nine interdisciplinary and disciplinary courses in African American, African diaspora, and African studies. The course requirements for the major in Africana Studies are outlined in the following categories:
The minor in Africana Studies consists of five disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses in African American, African and African Diaspora Studies. The course requirements for the minor in Africana Studies are outlined in the following categories:
Students considering a minor in Africana Studies are encouraged to consult with the Africana Studies Program Director by the fall of their junior year.
This introductory course in Africana Studies focuses on major humanities and social science disciplinary and interdisciplinary African American and African diaspora themes in the context of the modern world. The African American experience will be discussed in its appropriate historical context, emphasizing its important place in the history of the United States and connections to African diasporic experiences, especially in the construction of the Atlantic world. Course materials are covered chronologically and thematically, building on historically centered accounts of African American, African diaspora, and African experiences. The goal of the course is to introduce prospective Africana Studies majors and minors to the intellectually engaging field of Africana Studies; provide an overview of the major theoretical and methodological perspectives in this evolving field; and provide historical context for critical analyses of African American experiences in the United States, and their engagement with the African diaspora. This course will be offered by faculty members with primary appointments in the Africana Studies Program every fall semester.
Building on the gateway course – Introduction to Africana studies (AFS 1101) – Africana Studies majors are required to complete one Africana Studies Intermediate Seminar. These 2000-level seminars expand on the major concepts and methodologies in AFS 1101 by deeply engaging intersectional theories of race, class, gender, and sexuality, as multi-layered and co-constituted. The Africana Studies Intermediate Seminars are organized around major national and transnational themes that shape African American, African diaspora, and African experiences. These themes include but are not limited to: comparative slavery and resistance; black feminist thought; Africana political thought; Africana literary traditions; religions in the African diaspora; democracy and citizenship in African American & African diaspora contexts; colonialism and postcolonialism in African & African diaspora contexts. These seminars pay particular attention to students’ analytical, writing, and communication skills. Students will be required to write several short analytical papers drawn from the works of major Africana Studies intellectuals in the humanities and social sciences. Students who plan to major in Africana Studies are encouraged to take the AFS 1101 before fulfilling the Africana Studies Intermediate Seminar requirement. Faculty members with primary appointments in the Africana Studies Program are currently designing new courses to meet expectations for the content, structure, and pedagogy of the Africana Studies intermediate seminar.
The Africana Studies capstone interdisciplinary seminar will require students to conduct intensive research on a major topic in Africana Studies that they have explored during the course of their academic experience in the Africana Studies Program. This senior seminar will require students to apply rigorous humanities or social science theories and concepts to African American, African, or African diaspora themes in the formulation of their final research projects. The final research project will culminate in a major research paper (25-30 pages) drawn from the student’s track in African American studies or African & African diaspora studies. Students will present the final project to the Africana Studies faculty and students. This seminar will be offered by faculty members with primary appointments in the Africana Studies Program every spring semester. Prerequisite: AFS 1101, Africana Studies Intermediate Seminar, or permission of Instructor. Africana Studies minors and students who have taken Africana studies courses can also take the Africana Studies senior seminar.
The honors project requirement is adapted from the Bowdoin College honors project policy. According to Bowdoin College policy, a degree with departmental or program honors is awarded to students who distinguish themselves through advanced scholarship in the discipline. In Africana Studies, the successful honors project uses the intellectual and interdisciplinary tools of Africana studies to produce an exemplary project based on systematic reading, research, questioning, and reflection. The project can emerge from questions raised in a course, in an independent study project, or through a non-academic experience. The project will culminate in a substantial paper or creative presentation. The writing of an honors thesis does not automatically lead to the granting of honors. Honors will be conferred by the Africana Studies Program Committee when the final project demonstrates a significant degree of original research and/or theoretical creativity.
For more information on program honors, click here.