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About Africana Studies

Overview

Consortium of Studies in
Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora

Programs included are the following:
- Africana Studies
- American Studies
- Asian American Studies
- Colonialism Studies
- Latino Studies

The Africana Studies program is part of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism and Diaspora. Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the study of the people of the African continent and people of African descent in the global African Diaspora. Students can elect to major in Africana studies or pursue a minor in the discipline.

The Africana studies major exposes students to the historical, political, social, economic, and cultural systems and institutions that reveal the lived conditions and creativities of Africana peoples within the countries of the African continent and the African Diaspora. Moreover, Africana studies critically interrogates the sociohistorical contexts in which western epistemologies developed, while examining the important contributions to human labor, talents, and natural resources made by African peoples to the movement to modernity experienced and claimed by Mediterranean and western states.

Africana studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the philosophical foundations of knowledge production and highlights the history of complex interaction between the social and biological sciences in providing justification for the oppression of Africans and peoples of African descent. It also provides a critical approach to major social and cultural processes that are essential to an understanding of contemporary globalization.

Contemporary Africana studies grows out of the curricular transformation that accompanied the Civil Rights and Black Power eras that called for social, political, and economic justice in the United States and abroad and that demanded a more diverse and inclusive educational agenda. Africana Studies as a field of study has grown and expanded since its origins more than four decades ago. Contemporary Africana Studies incorporates many disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, but retains its distinctive inclusion of a social justice lens. The field also draws on nineteenth and early twentieth century intellectual movements focusing on political, experiential, and other relationships of peoples of Africa and the global Diaspora.

The goal of an in-depth study of Africa and the global African Diaspora is to develop critical thinking, research, and writing skills while educating students about the political, cultural, historical, and contemporary importance of peoples of Africa and of African descent, as well as the sociopolitical and economic problems faced by that global community. Equally important, the mission is to teach students methodological skills that will enable them to conduct independent research.

Graduates of Africana studies programs go on to careers in academia, government, education, and public service. The intellectual skills acquired in this discipline are also an excellent preparation for careers in public health, public policy and urban planning, journalism, law and criminal justice, and business, both nationally and internationally.