Africana Studies


The struggle of Africans and people of African descent to move forward in their societies, often against overwhelming odds, is one of the most compelling areas of inquiry ...

Program Overview

As a field of inquiry, Africana Studies describes and analyzes the origins and experiences of people of African descent wherever they live or have lived. This field is informed by the intellectual traditions of African American, African and African Diasporic studies. While it has a renewed focus on the connections and movements of African descended people from different sites of Africa and the diaspora, it also values in-depth study of Black people in discrete local, regional and national contexts. This field is inherently comparative, international, and interdisciplinary in approach. It is vital to embrace the range of fields in the humanities and social sciences-including the performing arts.  

Community Voices

Spotlight on Africana Studies students and alums

Courses and Requirements

The major prepares students for a number of careers: government, politics, international affairs, law, education, journalism, public health, religious studies, literature and the arts, and business management, to name only a few.

Learning Goals

Africana Studies majors and minors should:

  • Be aware of important events and themes in African American, African Diaspora and African histories.
  • Have exposure to the broad array of theoretical perspectives on black life and experience, including an understanding of the constructedness of race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in the study of black conditions, progress and social change.
  • Have considered the roles of cultural forms (literature, art, religion, music, etc.) in the lives of peoples of African descent in Africa and the diaspora, and how cultural forms create links among those peoples.
  • Develop an awareness of the political economy of race and power in national and transnational contexts.
  • Have the ability to read, write, and argue with rigor and discipline.
  • Have the ability to critically appreciate and analyze texts.
  • Have the ability to conduct independent primary research.
  • Have an understanding and capacity to employ various research methodologies.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 40 credits:

CRPE-200Foundations of Africana Studies4
CBL requirement: Select at least one of the following courses:4
Social Justice in Education
At least 16 credits at the 300 level from the approved course list for Africana Studies, in at least two different disciplines, of which only 4 credits may be CRPE-395 (AFCNA-395 if before fall 2023) 116
16 credits of additional courses from the approved course list for Africana Studies 116
Total Credits40

Courses to be counted for the major are drawn from departmental and College offerings, as approved for Africana Studies. Students may also count courses taken at the other Five College institutions, subject to approval by the chair.

Other Requirements

  • Concentration statement. Students who major in Africana Studies will construct their own concentrations with the guidance and advice of a faculty advisor who is affiliated with the program. The concentration statement must be approved by the program. The concentration statement will include a description of the concentration, which disciplines it draws on, a discussion of its intellectual merits and an explanation by the student of why the concentration has been constructed in the particular ways proposed. The student needs to list courses pertinent to the concentration, as well as any relevant experiential learning opportunities including Community-Based Learning (CBL) classes, community service, and internships.

Additional Specifications

  • The Africana Studies major is available only to students who entered the College before fall 2023. Students entering fall 2023 or later should instead refer to (CRPE).
  • When declaring a major, each student chooses an advisor from the committee. In addition, the student must have the approval of the program chair.
  • Students who declare an Africana Studies major automatically fulfill the College's "outside the major" requirement.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 20 credits:

CRPE-200Foundations of Africana Studies4
Twelve credits credits at the 200 level or higher from the approved course list for Africana Studies12
Four credits at the 300 level from the approved course list for Africana Studies 14
Total Credits20

CRPE-395 (AFCNA-395 if before fall 2023) may not be counted towards the minimum 4 credits at the 300 level.

Courses Meeting Requirements for the Africana Studies Minor

Art History
ARTH-106Arts of Africa and Its Diasporas4
ARTH-290AWIssues in Art History: 'African and African American Women Artists'4
ARTH-290SWIssues in Art History: 'Here +54: From the Smithsonian to Soweto, Arts of the African Americas and Africa'4
ARTH-300AFSeminar: 'Curating African and African American Art: Up from the Basement and into the Collection'4
Critical Race & Political Econ
CRPE-200Foundations of Africana Studies4
CRPE-208Introduction to Twentieth-Century Critical Race Theory4
CRPE-244The Historical-Grammar of Black Feminist Thought Across the Caribbean and the Americas4
CRPE-308Luminous Darkness: African American Social Thought After DuBois4
CRPE-363A Social Movements' History of the States from Grassroots Organizing to Social Movements4
DANCE-132Introduction to Hip Hop2
DANCE-133Introduction to Breakin'2
DANCE-142West African Dance2
DANCE-146Afro-Fusion Dance2
DANCE-232Intermediate Hip Hop2
DANCE-234House Dance2
DANCE-272AFDance and Culture: 'Improvisation from an Africanist Perspective'4
DANCE-272FDDance and Culture: 'Funk Styles'4
ECON-306Political Economy of Inequality4
ECON-349ECAdvanced Topics in Economics: 'Analysis of Empire of Cotton'4
ENGL-217SATopics in English: 'South African Literature: Postapartheid and Beyond'4
ENGL-257Survey of African American Literature4
ENGL-350ABTopics in African American Literature: 'Abolition and Climate Change'4
ENGL-350ATTopics in African American Literature: 'Race and the Aesthetics of Taste'4
Environmental Studies
ENVST-210Political Ecology4
Film, Media, Theater
FMT-240PEIntermediate Courses in Production and Practice: 'African Performance Aesthetics'4
FMT-330ATAdvanced Courses in History and Theory: 'African Theater'4
FREN-219Intermediate Level Courses in Culture and Literature: Introduction to the French-Speaking World4
FREN-341NECourses in Francophone Studies: 'Revisiting the Negritude Movement: Origins, Evolution, and Relevance'4
GEOG-314China in the Global South4
Gender Studies
GNDST-206FAWomen and Gender in History: 'Labor and Family in African History'4
GNDST-210WRWomen and Gender in Philosophy and Religion: ''Womanist Religious Thought'4
HIST-142Introduction to Pre Colonial African History4
HIST-213History of Turtle Island: Introduction to Native North America4
HIST-245EUTopics in African History: 'European Expansion in Africa'4
HIST-245FATopics in African History: 'Labor and Family in African History'4
HIST-245MWTopics in African History: 'Modern West Africa, 1800 to the Present'4
HIST-245NDTopics in African History: 'Nationalism and Decolonization'4
HIST-245SVTopics in African History: 'Slavery and Emancipation in Africa'4
HIST-282African American History from Emancipation to the Present4
MUSIC-161Beginning West African Drumming Ensemble1
MUSIC-226World Music4
MUSIC-228African Opera in Theory and Practice4
MUSIC-229African Popular Music4
POLIT-234Black Metropolis: From MLK to Obama4
POLIT-252Urban Politics4
POLIT-355Race and Housing4
POLIT-387PDAdvanced Topics in Politics: 'Other Political Dreams'4
RELIG-181Introduction to African Diaspora Religions4
RELIG-246Womanist Religious Thought4
RELIG-331AFAdvanced Topics in Religion: 'African American Spiritualities of Dissent'4
RELIG-361The Aquatic Life of Black Devotion4

Contact us

The Critical Race and Political Economy Department introduces students to the intersectional and interdisciplinary study of race, colonialism, migration, and political economy.

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