Honors in Africana Studies

A 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.

Overview

The honors project requirement is adapted from the Bowdoin College honors project policy. A degree with departmental or program honors is awarded to students who distinguish themselves through advanced scholarship in the discipline.

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. The level of 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.

Eligibility

Permission to apply for an honors project in Africana Studies is reserved for students with distinguished academic records in the Program. Students who wish to pursue an honors project should consult with the Director of the Africana Studies Program and with the faculty member who might become the main advisor for the project. This should be done prior to the semester in which the project begins in order to ensure faculty availability. Students considering honors should expect to do preliminary research in the summer preceding their senior year.

Proposal Submission and Review

By the end of the second week of classes in the initial semester of the proposed project, the honors candidate should present a 2-3 page written description of the proposed project to the Director of the Program and the faculty advisor. The Director, potential faculty advisors, and members of the Africana Studies Program Committee will review the project proposals and determine which students will be encouraged to pursue honors projects. The number of honors projects in Africana Studies in any given year is limited, and project proposals will be judged competitively. It is expected that honors projects in Africana Studies will number between 80 and 120 pages. Those students whose projects are determined not eligible for honors may be encouraged to continue their projects as intermediate or advanced independent studies for that semester.

Committee Composition

The project will be supervised by a committee of two faculty members, one of whom is a principal advisor and the other a second reader, at least one of whom should be a member of the Africana Studies Program Committee or an affiliated faculty member. The second reader is chosen by the principal advisor in consultation with the student and the Director of the Africana Studies Program. During the two semesters that a student is working on an honors project, the Director is available for consultation with the student and with the faculty members directing honors projects. Faculty supervising an honors project should be kept informed of deadlines by the Director and must communicate with the Director about how the project is progressing. In this respect, the Director will have the same role in the project as that of a department chair.

Project Phases

The honors project advising committee will determine the project’s feasibility at the end of each phase. Failure to meet deadlines will result in the project’s downgrade to an independent study if work is satisfactory, or disqualification.

Honors Designation

The final recommendation of the student’s advisors and the honors committee determines whether program honors are to be awarded. The Africana Studies Program does not distinguish levels of departmental honors. The grade for the independent study is determined by the student’s principal advisor, in consultation with the second reader.

Deadlines

Africana Studies majors are eligible to pursue an honors project in Africana Studies if they:

  • Possess a cumulative index of at least 3.0 (B) and a GPA in Africana Studies courses of at least 3.3 (B+) upon the start of their senior year
  • At any point in this process the primary advisor and program director can agree to demote the honors project to an independent study that does not require a defense, and is subject only to review and approval of the primary advisor

Submission to Hawthorne-Longfellow Library

Theses should be typed in conformity with official college instructions and delivered to the Hawthorne-Longfellow Library. Complete information of all of the library requirements can be found at http://library.bowdoin.edu/services/services-for-honors-students/