Department of Africana Studies

The intellectual domain of Africana Studies (AST) consists of four major areas:

  • The study of African and European American relationships beginning in the sixteenth century;
  • The study of African American community building, i.e., the establishment and organization of economic, educational, religious, and cultural institutions focused on Black self-determination;
  • The study of women in the African diaspora, (US, Caribbean, African, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-European)
  • Africanity and diaspora studies in the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

Each of these areas may be examined further by focusing upon specializations in the humanities (e.g., literature, film, journalism, communications), social sciences (e.g., research, public policy, health care), physical sciences (e.g., environmental studies), or interdisciplinary studies (e.g., women's studies, management, education).

Students in Africana Studies have traveled to Belize and South Africa to study the traditions and contemporary politics of indigenous communities and cultures.

An AST major or minor is appropriate for students with strong interests in studies of Americans of color; the study of race, gender, and class in the humanities or social sciences; social justice; or one or more subject areas indicated above.

The department prepares students for the labor market and continued professional and graduate training by providing a solid knowledge foundation of critical, analytical, and technological skills.

Pre-graduation internships are available for all interested students. Study abroad and modern language skills are highly recommended. Students interested in dual-degree programs, double-majors or self-designed majors should consult with department faculty to design an individualized program.

Learning Outcomes

Students of the Africana Studies Department gain:

  • Substantial social, cultural and political knowledge of major events, and experiences of people of African descent in the U.S.
  • Critical examination and sophisticated understanding of the major historical events that have created and shaped the African diaspora, particularly blacks in the U.S.
  • The ability to apply methods of critical inquiry to interpret, analyze, critique and assess contemporary issues faced by peoples of African descent in the U.S.
Janie Ward photo

Janie Ward, Chair

Office Hours: M-F, 8:30AM-4:30PM